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Sunday, July 05, 2009

Comebacks Delivered While You Wait: Angels 9, Orioles 6

However the story of this season gets written up, one part of it that has probably been underestimated is Joe Saunders' sudden suck; after April, he's got a 4.61 ERA, and 25 walks in 70.1 IP (prior to today). He added three more walks and six runs to that total today, five earned; the unearned one came thanks to a Howie Kendrick misplay in the top of the third on what should have been a tailor-made double play ball; he ended up getting nobody, and that opened the door to a three-run inning.

It was pretty typical for Saunders today, as he gave up a pair of RBI doubles that inning. It's so bad that you wonder whether he's hiding an injury, because he gave up five walks in his last start, and has been over his career 5.2 BB/9 mark this year generally (only just, at 5.3).

The Angels tied it up on Vlad's almost totally unexpected two-out homer (season .394 SLG prior to today), and re-tied it in the sixth on Erick Aybar's double. That eventually led to the Angels' big rally in the seventh, which had a couple of runs score thanks to bases-loaded walks by reliever Chris Ray. Ray has returned from Tommy John surgery, and not to be impolite, but you do wonder why he's on a 25-man roster at this point.

As it turned out, that was not only enough, but aside from a line drive sac fly off Juan Rivera's bat, all the scoring either side would do. The insertion of Ty Wigginton as a pinch hitter in the eighth led to him briefly playing shortstop, but no comedy or chances occurred subsequently. The Angels won, and deservedly so.

Update: Chris Ray was sent to get an MRI on his shoulder after today's game. Elbows and shoulders are often directly connected on pitchers.

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