Sunday, August 09, 2009
Mo' Dat, Please: Angels 3, Rangers 2
- I can take a taut game as long as neither side (preferably the Angels' opponents) turns it into a blowout. This was a great game from that perspective — I sincerely would have enjoyed this even if the Angels had lost, just because the pitching was so good.
- Josh Hamilton apparently fell off the wagon, and there are pictures on Deadspin to prove it. The Rangers held a strange press conference before the game to confirm this; whether his reintroduction to the bottle has anything to do with his less-than-great 2009 season or not I can't say (he's hitting .229 after this game), but he went 2-for-4 against the Angels yesterday.
Look, I know that a lot of people are able to chase off their demons in AA, and if that works for them, great... having seen the MLB Network special on Hamilton earlier in the year, I couldn't help but wonder whether he wouldn't come back to booze. As distasteful as I find the overtly religious aspects of AA, at the same time I wonder sometimes whether it also fuels a sort of denial that ultimately can lead to relapse.
- Jered Weaver... mmm. Another great game when the Angels needed a pick-me-up after Friday's horrific slaughter. He struck out 11, tying a recently-set career mark (against the Twins), gave up a two-run home run, but otherwise was excellent. The radio broadcast claimed he went through a dead arm phase earlier in the year, and boy, does he look like he's gotten out of it. And, all this despite a fastball that was averaging around 89 MPH. Good show, Jered!
- Kevin Jepsen provided another outstanding game, getting a crucial strikeout of Michael Young, and then getting Marlon Byrd to fly out to right to end the Rangers' threat in the eighth. Scioscia left him in in the top of the ninth to face right-hander Andruw Jones (who went down swinging), so that Brian Fuentes would only face a pair of lefties. That move mostly paid off, though it wasn't without its scary moments: Hamilton hammered a sinking liner up the middle that Erick Aybar nabbed with a diving catch. Two batters later, he got David Murphy to line out to Kendry Morales, who nonchalantly picked it off as though he were throwing around the horn.
- Is Vlad Guerrero really back? His solo homer
provided the margin of victorytied the game today, and he was 2-for-4. It was a pretty solid outing for a guy who needs to build some up.
- In related news, it looks like Trevor Bell will replace Joe Saunders in the Angels' rotation as of Wednesday. Bell was yanked from his start early on Friday night. He's one of several options the Angels are considering; the current plan has Saunders returning on his first day of eligibility in 16 days.
The two guys behind me were besides themselves pulling out their hair when Scioscia brought Brian Fuentes in with two outs to go. If Fuentes doesn't come in with three consecutive lefthanded batters due up when does he come in? A line out to short, a hard smash single (one hop before second base) up the middle, and a line out to first base later and Fuentes had the save. Fuentes is not all the way back in top form. Still I will take Fuentes at'em ball pitch over Justin Speier's gopher ball pitch in the 9th inning of a close game. Yes, I know it is not black and white. There are more choices than that--Jason Bulger, Darren Oliver, or leaving Kevin Jepsen in the game.