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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Pickoff Moves

Angels Batter Padilla, K-Rod Notches #60: Angels 7, Rangers 3

I expected the Rangers to win this game, seeing as how Mike Scioscia sent Dustin Moseley out there; Moseley, whatever his other positive aspects might have been, is a back-of-the-rotation guy whom you do not want to leave in any game at Arlington and facing that team's otherworldly offense. He lasted for five innings, plus pitching to three in the sixth; Mike Scioscia had enough and yanked him at an opportune time.

That brought in Justin Speier, and despite all indications to the contrary, he managed a clean sixth without either of his inherited baserunners scoring, and that with men on second and third and one out. He got himself into a bases-loaded, two-out jam in the bottom of the seventh, but Kevin Jepsen got Nelson Cruz to make a routine fly out to right to end the threat.

The Angels beat Vicente Padilla slowly but steadily. There has been talk from some quarters, perhaps the Angels broadcast booth, that Padilla has changed his stripes and he's stopped hitting so many batters; but he's about in line with his recent career, with 15 on the season after this game, and he might have another one or two in him yet. He plunked Erick Aybar in the second, and Garrett Anderson made him pay for it with a two-run jack that gave the Angels an early 2-0 lead.

It went like that for a while; the Angels would get a small lead, and Texas would whittle it back down on scoring groundouts and the odd RBI single that followed Moseley's self-inflicted pain; for the most part, Texas mounted a dull offense against Moseley, and for that he deserves some credit. Moseley is probably going to have a marginal career in the Show, and his staying power with the Angels is directly proportional to the Halos' ability to keep pitching depth stocked at Salt Lake, but it's good to see him do well in tough circumstances like this.

The Halos finally broke through in the seventh, converting Sean Rodriguez's leadoff walk into a run on a couple wild pitches, and a GA single that drove in Erick Aybar. Kendry Morales, inserted as a pinch-runner for Vlad after the latter reached in the sixth on a leadoff double, himself doubled in the ninth to cash in Erick Aybar. (It was Vlad's first appearance since September 12.) Bill White, the reliever who gave up Morales' double, did himself no favors, loaded the bases, and walked the hacktastic Gary Matthews, Jr. to drive in a run, a Grabowski Principle moment if ever there was one.

The Angels have had a run where they can't seem to sustain a big lead in late innings with non-save situations, and Jason Bulger managed to bollix this opportunity, too, making two outs but presenting Frankie with a by-the-book one out save opportunity. He got it without too much difficulty, a reminder of how deceptive the save state is.

Yahoo boxAngels recap

Manny Goes Yard Twice: Dodgers 10, Giants 7

There really wasn't much of a reason for the score to be this close, the main one being a sloppy and, yes, partly unlucky ninth with Jonathan Broxton on the mound; sure, he had problems with balls getting stuck under the tarp, not to mention some atrocious defense from Angel Berroa, but the fact remains that the balls under the tarp were hard-hit rockets down the line. Broxton's ninth-inning explosions make him dubious in my mind as a closer, but his 2.012 WXRL is third on the team after Hong-Chih Kuo (2.716) and Cory Wade (2.511), all the while doing so in much more highly leveraged situations (his 1.50 leverage index is the highest on the team for any pitcher not named Takashi Saito).

That bit of grumbling out of the way, the Dodgers offense did what you'd hope it would against Brad Hennessey, knocking him out in the third; the Dodgers drew 11 free passes, two of them run-scoring. The award for not only weirdest play of the game but perhaps of the year came in the top of the fourth, when Nate Schierholz struck out swinging on a wild pitch. At first Omar Vizquel broke for home and appeared to score easily as the ball evaded Russell Martin, but he was later called back and the run was erased; apparently, there is a rule (which I have been unable to find) that on a wild-pitch strikeout where the ball hits the batter, the ball is immediately dead and no baserunners may advance. At the time it appeared to be a critical ruling, but the subsequent scoring probably nullified any effect it had on the game.

Manny homered twice, which was really the game's highlight, though; he had been on a little longball slump of late, and so it was really good to see him go yard, one of them an opposite-field shot.

Yahoo boxDodgers recap

Postseason Races

Joe Saunder's Kidney Stones May Keep Him From His Tuesday Start

Sounds painful.

Update: Joe Saunders will miss his next start, per today's TV broadcast. Also in the Times.

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Hoping Vlad gets his BA to .300. it'll be close.

Twins also eliminated from the WC race yesterday.

Jepsen needs to be on the post season roster.

Most important development yesterday was it sounds like Howie is coming back. Darn, I was hoping to see him take some cuts in Tempe Monday and Tuesday morning, but now it sounds like he's ahead of the schedule posted when the weekend started.
Also, it's worth noting that GA is having a productive year. Probably not going to make 100 RBI's, but he'll finish with around .300 BA and close to 100 RBI's. If I recall correctly, his contract is up at the end of the year. It'll be a tough decisions.
MLB's standing page says the Twins were eliminated today, not yesterday.
Rob i saw that too afterwards, but i heard it on the Red Sox broadcast this morning (i think i understood correctly)

maybe it was one of those three way tie scenarios, i don't know, but IIRC, yesterday for the Sox to clinch, all it would take was a Sox win AND a Yankee loss.

so i don't know i see your point and saw the MLB standings too today, so all i can figure it was some funny tie breaker or the Sox announcers didn't count right or I misunderstood them
and for what it's worth, the BP Playoff odds report has (had) the Twins at 0% Sunday morning before the games started.

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