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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

As If 2012 Never Ended: A's 9, Angels 5

The blithe details of the game belie the kind of team I believe the Angels now are, one directly reflected in the current standings. Only a half game ahead of the hapless Astros, they would be in last place in the 2012 AL West. As then, once more they find ways to lose. While the prior losses that mostly got us to this state were close, this one wasn't, embarrassingly handed to the team by last year's division winning A's. I haven't paid much attention to spring training, owing to an extended vacation in New Zealand virtually all of February that quenched any desire I had to leave home for any reason whatsoever, but what I did see of the Angels in Arizona was disheartening, the bullpen especially.

C.J. Wilson's annoying habit of exploding one inning of every single start continued, and right away with the first, in which he surrendered three runs in a horrid mess of walks and singles, as a drunk man might keep retching long after disgorging the contents of his stomach. But then — and only after surrendering a solo homer to Coco Crisp to start the second — he settled down, and actually managed to outpitch the A's starter, Jarrod Parker, the latter only lasting 3.1 innings.

Usually when you can chase the other team's starter, it's a pretty good sign you've got a shot at a win. But by this point, the Halos were still down 4-2. They eventually turned that around in the sixth to make it 5-4 in an inning that saw the dubiously hired Josh Hamilton make his lone contribution, a sac fly to tie the game.

So the end of hope. The Angels held the A's at bay through two outs of the seventh, with Scott Downs — who has been dreadful this year, mostly — posting a very respectable inning, to give way to Kevin Jepson, who had been doing fairly well. As it happened, that was a horrible mistake, for as the Register's Jeff Fletcher tweeted, pinch hitter John Jaso hits righties better over his career by about .250 points of OBP (.789 vs. .539). While it wasn't exactly predictable that Jaso would homer, he did, and so, later, did Brandon Moss, who uncharacteristically hit 21 last year. A lesson, perhaps made starker by the enthusiastic boos that accompanied Jepson when he slunk back into the dugout after finally retiring DH Nate Freiman, four batters after his entrance into the game.

The game featured a mess in the offense, too, as the Angels stranded thirteen base runners, and headliner Josh Hamilton went 0-for-4 with a sac fly as duly noted before. Not a propitious start for the homestand, or the season. It is the sort of thing that makes you wonder whether the owner can be fired.

Various observations: ESPN Box

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Good to have you back, Rob.
+1 on the good to have you posting again.

I'm not quite sure what Weaver's poor performance may have to do with a possible pre-existing injury to his NON-pitching arm.
Yeah, I heard about that elsewhere. Will fix this up presently.
nice observations

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