Matt Palmer in action

He may be a doughy, 30-year old rookie he doesn’t even take his wedding ring off to play (seriously, who does that?), but he did exactly what the Angels needed him to do.

Of course that wasn’t how I felt when the game started.  I must admit his rocky start had me hanging my head.  He barely escaped the first inning and was shaky in the second, he was on the ropes but somehow he survived.  Then, suddenly, it just clicked, Matt Palmer turned into Jim Palmer for the next four innings.  The Angels somehow did it again, plucking an unknown from the minors, dropping him into the rotation and squeezing some solid work out of him (though I wouldn’t count on that happening with Anthony Ortega on Saturday).

But then the seventh inning happened.  Palmer was rolling coming into the inning, only to have the clock strike midnight and turn back into a pumpkin.  Dear God, no, they’re going to the bullpen.  Daniel Davidson comes in, walks in a run, its deja vu all over again.  Out comes Scioscia again, he’s calling for… is it?  No, it couldn’t be.  Not again.  Not Bulger, no!!!!!

Haven’t we seen this not work twice already this year?  Bulger is brought in to get a ground ball only to give up a homer.  Twice this has happened, can he make it a hat trick?  First hitter slips a grounder past Izturis, two runs in and I’m ready to cry.  Then it happens.  A pop-up by Magglio and then a GIDP by Cabrera.  Bulger did it?  I don’t believe it.  I rewind my Tivo to make sure, then I rewind again.  Sure enough, the bullpen finally comes through, sort of.  Threat over, a few innings later, the game is over.  Angels win and I am still in disbelief.

The Good:

  • Figgins with the AMAZING two-out bunt single to drive in two and break the game open.  That was one of the best plays I have seen in a long time.  Huge huevos.  That also might be the only time I have ever seen a bunt single score two runs.  Detroit never saw it coming.
  • Mike Butcher earning his paycheck with Palmer.  He tells the kid to change his arm slot after the second inning and, presto change-o, the kid is looking like an ace.
  • Two games in a row of every Angel starter getting a hit?  What did you do with my team?  Impostors!
  • Hunter manning up through illness to still crank another home run.  Dude is nails.

The Bad:

  • With everyone producing, I am robbed of another chance to complain that Brandon Wood still hasn’t played.
  • Going with Bulger in the 7th shows just how scared Scioscia is of using Shields.  Where there is smoke there is fire.

Halo Hero of the Night:

  • How can it not be Matt Palmer.  Nobody expected anything from him and he gave the Angels six strong innings and a win.  He may never pitch that well again in his life, but I don’t really care, last night he was the man.