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Monday, July 23, 2012

They Can Win, Too: Angels 7, Rangers 4

I have a silly picture of me in a foam Trout hat, which is the only thing you can do this year. Even with the series win, the Angels ended the day five games back, which isn't insurmountable, but they'll have to sweep in the Texas series upcoming to even get to one game back and make it a race. I'm mostly focusing on Mike Trout, who's doing impossible things with pitched baseballs now that he can hit big-league fastballs and positively pwns breaking stuff, what can't he do? Eventually he'll come back to earth, but I plan on enjoying every single day he's in uniform, regardless of what else happens. Last night, he set a rookie league and franchise record for scoring runs in 14 consecutive games. That's ... amazing.

Jeff Passan yesterday on Twitter alerted me to the fact that since June 1, Josh Hamilton has been hitting .201/.290/.396, while Albert Pujols has a healthy .327/.411/.605 slash line over that same time. Endpoints matter, of course, and small sample sizes have consequences for everyone, but it was significant a few days ago that Rangers manager Ron Washington had publicly called out Hamilton for not making adjustments. Certainly, last night's game was a case where he really had a horrible time; he looked to be swinging for the fences all the time, and missed badly almost every time.

Meantime, Dan Haren had a great return game from the DL, giving the Angels better than a quality start in six innings. If Ernesto Frieri was scary in the closer role, and Scott Downs a bit tired and wheezing from overuse early in the season, you could forgive them both given the Rangers' offensive firepower. But the biggest surprise of the second half so far has to be a rejuvenated Kevin Jepsen, who cruised through the seventh, and with the seemingly effortless way he did it suggests he might take an occasional eighth inning role going forward. That's always a pleasant surprise.

The Angels two home runs, the first Bobby Wilson's improbable shot that chased starter Matt Harrison; and the second Pujols' off Alexi Ogando, whom Rangers blogger Evan Grant thinks may be somehow off — possibly hiding an injury? However they came by it, it was good to see the Halos cadge another win off the Rangers at a time when they desperately needed it.

ESPN BoxAngels recap

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