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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Two Games Worth Of Suckage

Angels' Offensive Funk Continues As A's Post Shutout: A's 3, Angels 0

Relative to the fairly high standards he's established for himself this year, Jered Weaver was off last night. He had a lot of trouble getting strike one over the plate, failing to get a first-pitch strike for most of three straight innings (the second and third, and to the first two batters of the fourth). I give him a pass; you can't be on all the time, the A's are pretty hot down the stretch, and the Angels are weary, to put it mildly.

Once again, the failure of the offense was the problem; you wonder how badly Vlad will have to hit before he gets pushed out of the cleanup spot. Kendry Morales is also slumping, it's true, but Vlad has exhibited only flashes of his old self, and he's not adjusting well to aging. Mike Scioscia has announced he'll shake up the batting order for today's game; not only that, but Weaver — not surprisingly, given how he pitched — was suffering from a stiff back.

Finally: Jeff Mathis and his two throwing errors in the seventh inning that allowed a run to score, one which was eventually ruled an earned run for his batterymate Jason Bulger. First, Mathis is amazingly bad as a catcher defensively; the only reason I can understand him being kept around is that he's cheap. I don't quite buy commenter Suboptimal's belief that he's worthless, but it's clear that he's not even necessarily that valuable as a defensive replacement, and all the talk about catcher's ERA is especially important. That odd belief — backed up by exactly nothing — was utterly demolished by Matt Welch back in August. The Angels need to be giving Bobby Wilson a good look now, and see whether he's capable of better defense, at least, behind the plate, at least until Hank Conger's ready for prime time.

With an 8-3 Texas slaughter of Tampa Bay, the Angels' magic number remains stuck at four, following their third straight loss.

ESPN BoxAngels recap

Dodgers Blow Another Chance At Clinching*: Pirates 3, Dodgers 1

In an eerily similar game, the Dodgers' offense came up short while allowing a cellar-dwelling club a win that could have nibbled one off their magic number. There was something bizarre about the whole scene; apparently martial law has been declared in Pittsburgh for the G-20 summit (or something very like it), and movement in the city is restricted. Correspondingly, starter Jon Garland gave up three runs but none earned thanks to two Dodger errors.

T.J. Simers hopes Manny will heat up for the postseason, but really, given his .260/.376/.474 line in the second half, is there any reason to think he will? Manny went 0-for-4 last night, one of three of the first five batters to do so; expecting a revival in time for the postseason is hoping for an awful lot.

The Rockies beat the Cards 2-1 on Yorvit Torrealba's walkoff sac fly, and so the magic number stays at four.

ESPN BoxDodgers recap

*Yes, I know they couldn't have actually clinched here. But the series was a possibility, diminished now by one game.

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