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Sunday, July 06, 2008

Blue Jays Down Lackey, Sloppy Angels: Blue Jays 7, Angels 5

A truly ugly game of the sort the Angels haven't turned in in quite some time; remember 2006 when the Angels led the league in errors? This promised to be a real pitcher's duel, but despite the errors, the real problem was Lackey's inability to contain his opposition; only one of the runs was unearned, that due to a rare Figgins misplay on Vernon Wells' grounder in the third, allowing Marco Scutaro to score from second.

The Jays pretty much ran at will; the radio broadcasters mentioned that the Angels have now allowed something like 22 consecutive stolen bases against them, and given the team's sloppy catching tandem, it's no surprise. Whenever you see an opposition baserunner make for second, it's almost a foregone conclusion that the throw will be late and/or wild. The Jays nabbed four bags by pilferage, including a double steal by Alex Rios and Wells that likely influenced the three-run third. Toronto got another gift bag with an embarrassing passed ball off Napoli in the seventh that allowed Brad Wilkerson to reach second (to no effect, whew); Napoli seems occasionally prone to that, and looking it up, that was his sixth passed ball this year, tying him for second in the league with Jose Molina and Kelly Shoppach.

About the only good thing to come of the evening was a solid outing by Darren O'Day, who went unscored upon, the only Angel to do so; Justin Speier, whom he replaced, gave up his customary run and a pair of stolen bases besides. The cost of mediocrity in free agency is axiomatic, but nowhere more so than in middle relief.

As for the offense, as expected it failed to show up against Roy Halliday, who brought his B+ game to the yard, allowing a couple runs on a Vlad Guerrero homer, but none else. Halliday only really got into two jams all night, men on second and third situations with one out in the third and with two outs in the fifth; neither resulted in any damage. The Angels scratched a two-out run off Scott Downs (on a Vlad double, who had a fine offensive night, going 2-for-4 with three RBIs), but the real rally came off closer B.J. Ryan. In shades of the Angels' June 1 walkoff in which they battered him for two runs to win the game, the Angels also picked a couple off him last night. This time, the deficit was too great; with men on the corners, Mike Napoli bounced into a double play (no three-true-outcomes there!), driving in a run but squelching the nascent rally.

Yahoo boxMLB.com recap

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