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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Do-Over: Red Sox 4, Angels 3

It really felt like this game was much further away for the Angels than it was for most of the night, and mainly that was due to their offensive ineffectiveness against Boston starter Jon Lester. Much of that feeling of being 20 runs out came from one bad inning, the fourth, in which an overly-timid youngster, Peter Bourjos, failed to call off his teammates to take charge of a play he clearly should have made — catching Carl Crawford's pop to center. As it was, both baserunners scored and Crawford reached successfully, though mercifully, the play was ruled an error and Crawford recorded no runs batted in. Dan Haren instantly, and both fairly and unfairly, became the loser.

The Angels did virtually nothing against Lester, save for a single run in the seventh that felt like some kind of alien gift, Jeff Mathis knocking home Erick Aybar. Aybar's managing to get into scoring position (by way of a stolen base) was of itself a topic of some horror to the Red Sox, who feature the now-dubious Jarrod Saltalamacchia behind the dish as their starting catcher, the elderly Jason Varitek no longer able to discharge those duties reliably. Salty famously had a case of the "yips" while he was with Texas and later, last year, with Boston. He's been pretty terrible at throwing out baserunners in his career (the 30% he took into today's game was a career high — his career figure is 21%), and I expect the wild pitch was a generous call in the second. Finally the scorer could handle it no more in the eighth, and with Bobby Jenks on the mound, charged him with an outright passed ball that allowed Bobby Abreu to score from second base. He stood at the plate stunned, hands wide, as if he expected the ball to materialize from the ether. Abreu charged him like a freight train, gathering steam as he passed third, and by the time Salty realized his peril, it was far too late.

Gifted with such a boon, the Angels proceeded to squander it, with Mike Scioscia electing to bring in a pinch hitter for Mark Trumbo (the only batter in that part of the lineup capable of changing the game with one swing of the bat), and a pinch runner for Alberto Callaspo. The pinch runner was odd; the pinch hitter, indefensible. Bobby Jenks had a 7+ ERA going into the inning, and if you have any faith in Trumbo at all, you leave him in the game against a struggling reliever who's lost 4-5 MPH on his formerly league-leading fastball. Instead, Maicer Izturis bounced out meekly, 4-3, ending the frame and the threat. It seemed the opposite of good managerial tactics, eventually a ransacking of the bench (Bobby Wilson came in to play first base for Trumbo), and nothing to show for it.

ESPN BoxAngels recap

At last, a couple random comments about the game's environment:

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There was an article in the OC Register shortly before the season began about new, "healthier" food options at Angel Stadium this year. I've linked it below.


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