Josh Hamilton's ignominious ending of this game — walking away from first base, which allowed catcher Jason Castro to double him off — was certainly its most memorable moment, but the fact that the Angels were three-hit by Bud Norris
should have been a much bigger concern. Norris owns a career 5.25 ERA on the road
, nearly a full two runs higher than his 3.50 ERA at home. The Angels didn't get a man past first base all night — no batter had a chance with RISP — and so the vaunted offense, the thing Arte spent so much money allegedly fixing last year, failed to show up at all. Even Mike Trout, last year's wunderkind
, went 0-for-4, and looked horrible doing it, including a three pitch strikeout to end the eighth. Anyone who doesn't believe Trout is in the midst of a powerful downturn hasn't been watching his at-bats.
Some years ago, when the A's were wretched and the Angels on what now appears to be the final season of their long post-2002 competence, Philip Michaels wrote that the A's are like Lourdes for other teams: they'll cure what ails ya. So the Angels now, afflicted by bad pitching, starting (as last night with Tommy Hanson) and relief, and offensive offense.
I'll be taking some days off from the park. Maybe they'll figure it out; maybe they won't. But this isn't their year, and the sooner they stop letting contracts like Hamilton's, the better.