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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Power Struggle: Padres 3, Angels 2

Fangraphs reckons Albert Callaspo as the goat in this one, mainly for failing to make outs in critical situations. Shortly behind him was recent hero Mark Trumbo, who went 0-for-4; you allow for such nights if they don't become too commonplace. And while it's tempting to say "Albert Pujols, another 1-for-4 with a meaningless single", his outs were made to right field. So, progress?

The puzzler for the Angels, though, was the man on the mound, Dan Haren, who looked lost against the National League's second-worst offensive team. If you can't blank the Padres, something is terribly wrong, and last night's start was a continuation of the "Where's Haren" picture book the Angels have suffered from all year. Meanwhile, Dodgers castoff Eric Stults baffled the Angels, which isn't all that difficult these days. I haven't looked at their numbers against lefties, but it's none too surprising.

Finally, there was a perhaps significant oddment in the final out. Erick Aybar — he of the 4-for-4 night, a lone spark among a dead collection of rally killers, missing the cycle by a home run — reached on an infield single as the tying run. With two out and the winning run 90 feet away, Mike Scioscia left late inning defensive sub Ryan Langerhans in to hit — instead of sending in Vernon Wells, who had not started and remained on the bench. Scioscia used the odd justification that

"Langerhans had been swinging the bat well," Scioscia said.

In his last nine minor league games, Langerhans had batted .179. He had not batted since May 13.

It's so crazy it begins to sound like an upraised middle finger to Jerry Dipoto — "I'm still in charge of the lineup!" — or maybe early onset dementia. When you have a guy who — at least theoretically — could win the game with one swing of the bat, why aren't you using him?

ESPN BoxAngels recap

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