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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Rally, Clunky: Mariners 4, Angels 3 (10 Innings)

The sad thing about this loss is that Matt Palmer's seven scoreless frames will go largely forgotten, though even there, the risk is in overestimating their value; he let himself get sucked into full counts in six of the 25 batters he faced, and had thrown 71 pitches by the end of the fourth. Not that that's intrinsically terrible, but it seems like "gritty" is the operative adjective with every single one of his starts. Nevertheless, considering the absolute garbage the bullpen has been, and how difficult his first two innings have been for him since his callup with the Angels, to hold the opposition scoreless for seven frames is no small feat.

The Angels' rally in the seventh, sparked by Izturis' reaching on an error by Russell Branyan (he failed to grab a fairly routine grounder right at him), got the Halos their first run when Erick Aybar hammered a Felix Hernandez pitch into the right center gap. The Angels got two more in the eighth when Vlad and Torii Hunter singled in succession, and then Brandon Morrow intentionally walked Kendry Morales to load the bases, hopefully setting up the double play. Izturis then knocked in Vlad on a scoring groundout to second, and Gary Matthews, Jr. singled home Torii. The Angels could have had more, but then Matthews made one of his frequent-enough, dumb-as-a-post baserunning blunders, and got caught too far off first when Ichiro threw behind him to nail him at first.

It wasn't the first time the Halos have made stupid baserunning mistakes, but it was a piece with the general idiocy of tonight's game. Brian Fuentes got the first batter he faced, Betancourt, on two pitches. Then, Adrian Beltre fouled a pitch to right that Izturis almost caught, but for the new foul ground seats that got in the way. Beltre singled, and that was the difference in the game, because the next batter, Ken Griffey, Jr., popped out to short, and that would have been the game.

Only, not, and Branyan singled, and Jose Lopez — Jose Lopez! — homered, and the game was tied; Jose Arredondo's ensuing meltdown in the 10th was almost guaranteed, especially after he gave up a leadoff double to late-innings sub Wladimir Balentien.

This is a bad team. The worst part about it, though, is that they're only mediocre, not horrible, and so the 2010 draft won't be especially lucrative for the Angels. I have better things to do with my afternoons, and so I'm giving tomorrow's tickets away to someone else. This is misery. I'm sick of the slap-hitting, singles-driven offense that keeps hitting into double plays (I'm talkin' to you, Bobby Abreu — two in one night, my God). Send Kendrick down, call up Brandon Wood, and quit with the fooling around already.

Update: Mike DiGiovanna speculates that it could be Sean Rodriguez rather than Brandon Wood who gets the call up if Howie Kendrick gets sent down to Salt Lake to find his stroke. I wouldn't object, I know that much. It's way past time to shake things up.

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