Saturday, April 07, 2012
Opening Day, Finally: Angels 5, Royals 0
The same can't be said of the Angels, who most definitely reloaded in the offseason. That did not, of course, mean the Halos' spring was without doubt. Jered Weaver's 5.40 ERA wasn't exactly confidence-inspiring, and even though the clock resets on the bus back to Anaheim, it's still somewhat unnerving as a fan to watch him struggle, even despite the dry, hot Arizona air.
Judging by today's effort, I needn't have worried. He surrendered two hits twice, but nobody ever even reached third base. In fact, perhaps the scariest thing you could say about the game was the two errors by "third baseman" Mark Trumbo, and both times Weaver bailed him out. Both resulted in a new baserunner:
- In the second inning, in Trumbo's first chance as a major league third baseman, he cleanly fielded Yuniesky Betancourt's routine grounder — and promptly threw the ball away. Pujols was able to recover — not for nothing does he have those Gold Gloves — but the comic sight of him tapping a toe blindly around the bag, hoping to stumble into it, was unbelievable.
- In the seventh, Betancourt was once more at the plate, when he hit a pop foul that Trumbo should have had — and simply muffed. I don't care what Terry Smith thought of it, that play is the third baseman's all the way and not the catcher's, because the third baseman is facing the ball.
All the scoring hit like a tsunami in the eighth, when Kendrys Morales stroked a one-out single to get things rolling. That brought in pinch runner Alexi Amarista, and two batters later, the Angels managed to load the bases on Chris Ianetta's single. That it was not an RBI single did not escape the crowd, and not a few boos went in Dino Ebel's direction as a consequence.
Angel fans got what they were hoping for in the next at-bat, for Peter Bourjos tapped a 40-foot infield single off reliever to short; such was Betancourt's haste to get to the ball and Bourjos' speed that the former had no time to make the play. Erick Aybar, who hitherto had seen a grand total of nine pitches in three at-bats, managed to make this one count, clearing the bases in what seemed to me a generously scored triple. The out attempt, wild and offline, was made at the plate, upon which Aybar continued motoring to third. It was an unpleasant day for Royals reliever Aaron Crow, who previously has schooled the Angels.
Torii Hunter drove in the last run of the game with a single against the inning's second reliever, Greg Holland. The top of the Angels lineup definitely performed below expectations on opening day, garnering a mere 3-15; but that beat the Royals, whom Weaver and Scott Downs skunked (0-16). In all, a fine game to start the season.
Finally, a few comments on food, as I am wont to do this time of year:
- Ruby's is gone. I consider this a net positive, as their truncated menu left me nothing I could eat.
- The Katella Grill is downsized and moved from its former endcap position on the first base side to a location just a few dozens of feet away. They have a very nice chicken salad that I tried, and enjoyed.
- The sushi place on field level is gone, as is the old Mexican stand. Chronic Tacos has a prominent stand in the latter's place.
- The last of the Home Run Grills at home plate and on the first base side have been replaced with a beer stand. This means Clyde Wright has the only barbecue franchise in the entire stadium.
- There's a place in the outfield that sells street tacos; I haven't been there, but Helen has. I may try them one of these days.