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Monday, September 28, 2009

Games, Games, Games

Angels Magic Number Down To Two*: Angels 7, A's 4

I was massively hung over from Saturday's party, and so this one passed by pretty quick, and without my attendance. That's too bad, because it's the final weekend homestand of the year, and I've been just terrible about going to midweek games.

Joe Saunders was excellent through six, and lost it in the top of the seventh, when he faced six batters while failing to make an out. I was reading Steve Waverly's analysis at MVN.com of the five biggest things wrong with the Angels, and of course one of those is the bullpen. Bad as the Angels' bullpen has been, is it really smart to let Saunders hang himself and leave the bases loaded for one of those poor schmucks to come in and give up the game? Because by the time Scioscia woke up from his long winter's nap to haul Darren Oliver from his warmups beyond the left field fence, the tying run was at the plate. I understand the need to rest your relievers, but at some point — and it's a damn sight shorter than six batters — there's gotta be a hook. Fortunately, Oliver got Eric Patterson to pop out on a bad bunt, and extracted a GIDP from Rajai Davis, of all people.

A very frustrating game despite the win, consoled somewhat by a rousing late-innings comeback by the Rays to win 7-6 over the Rangers in Arlington, thus knocking the Angels' magic number to two. They could clinch tonight, but the way they've been playing lately, I wouldn't be surprised if they lost two of the next three just to keep us dangling.

ESPN boxAngels recap

*Oops, originally said "one". Duh.

Shirley, You Must Be Choking: Pirates 6, Dodgers 5

Jonathan Broxton's choking up a three-run lead and a loss in the bottom of the ninth? Look away, look away.

ESPN BoxDodgers recap

Lather, Rinse, Repeat: Pirates 11, Dodgers 1

I am reminded of Helen's 2004 trip to Chicago, in which the Cubs started September 27 in the lead for the Wild Card with a four-game homestand to play against the lowly 72-83 Reds. They then proceeded to lose three of the next four, and go 2-5 to finish the season, losing their Wild Card bid to the Astros, who finished their remaining games 6-0. I don't think the Dodgers are in any real danger of losing the division — and they already have a postseason berth locked up no matter what — but this kind of sloppy play reminds you of exactly those kinds of pratfalls that happen when everybody gets tired. The Pirates are young, have good pitching in places (Zach Duke is one such), and are plenty loose. The Dodgers seem to be running on fumes, as witness the Mark Loretta error that opened a huge door; ultimately, Hiroki Kuroda gave up four unearned runs (regular season sauce for the gander?). Once they clinch, it'll help tremendously if they can start resting some regulars.

ESPN BoxDodgers recap

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i believe technically the magic number is 2 for the Halos, but with Texas in town, that is of no consequence unless they get swept.

Then it'll be M# = 2 STILL and we can start to sweat.
In The Soth's defense, Saunders had thrown all of 74 pitches through the first six innings. At that point in the game, even after the first two guys reach, they may only just be making the call to the pen to get someone warming up. It's doubtful Oliver would have been ready any earlier than he came in. Maybe one batter.
Ah, screwage. Fixed above. Thanks for the catch, guys.
Broxton choke? Try horrible defense and hits falling in. Not that Broxton was as sharp as he normally is, but he was by no means to blame.
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