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Saturday, April 07, 2012

Opening Day, Finally: Angels 5, Royals 0

So finally Opening Day, and a game worthy of it, unlike the epic 16-inning marathon in Cleveland that the home team ultimately lost 7-4, a game that included a blown save in the ninth to rub salt into that team's wounds. 2012 doesn't look like it will be kind to the Tribe.

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:

Such misadventures aside, the game was remarkably well-pitched by both starters, though I do wonder how many more shutouts through five innings we'll see this year. Mike DiGiovanna tweeted during the game that this happened 50 times last year, and starting the season in exactly the same way is surely a bad omen. It was also, of course, against relatively infrequently seen lefty junkballer Bruce Chen, so there is that.

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:

ESPN BoxAngels recap

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