Well, thanks to Scott Downs in the 8th, the Angels were faced with the prospect of yet ANOTHER extra innings fiasco. These extra innings wouldn’t bother me this much if it wasn’t for the fact that the Angels’ offense seems to shut down after the 9th inning. Thank god the Angels put an end to the game before things got out of hand. Now that it’s over the Angels can look to moving forward and take on a key road series early on. It’s great that the Angels have taken 3 series in a row, going 6-2 the past 3 series.
Aside from the Scott Downs 8th, which wasn’t THAT bad, the Angels bullpen looked stronger than it has in recent memory. Especially Fernando Rodney, who is showing more and more control and ability to hit his spots as the season moves forward. Then again, that’s exactly what Fernando Rodney looked like in the beginning of last season when Fuentes went on the DL. This could be yet another early season fluke that has become widespread among various players in baseball. Oh, and Vernon Wells finally got a base hit. It wasn’t a home run, but it was still sweet on the stomach.
- Jeff Mathis hit a walk off sac fly, which is nice to see, especially in such a clutch situation. He didn’t strike out like we’re all so accustomed to seeing; he made solid contact with the ball and delivered in a high pressure situation. It feels good to see one of the lesser Angels deliver in a key spot.
- Vernon Wells went 1-5 with a rally starting single in the 12th. It’s great to see Vernon finally contribute to a Halo victory, which we’ve been waiting to see for a quite a few days now. Contributing to an extra inning walk off victory has to instill a significant amount of confidence in Wells, which will do wonders for getting him back into his groove. Baseball is a mental game after all, and once Wells gets back into a positive state of mind he’ll contribute well to the middle of the lineup. It feels good to finally have something positive to say about Wells (even though the rest of his game before the 12th was subpar), now he just has to build up on this groundwork he laid for himself today. If he can do that, there’s nowhere but up for him as an Angel.
- Bourjos struggled at leadoff bad, striking out 4 times in 5 at-bats. Bourjos looked strained in the box today, especially during his 4th AB of the game. Bourjos took 3 consecutive fastballs in the same exact spot, and flailed weakly each time. Bourjos is trying too hard to create opportunities for his team, it’s best to keep him batting 9th for the time being to alleviate some pressure. Maybe if Bourjos can find a strong and consistent stroke he’ll be testing his hand for a permanent spot in the leadoff spot after the All-Star break.
- Ervin Santana continues to push the case for the Angels having the top 1-2-3 in the AL. The top three starters of the Angels staff have held the defense to 3 runs or less in each of their starts. With this staff, the Angels are set up perfectly to let win streaks roll on the backs of their starting pitching. With the Angels going with a 4 man staff for the time being, this staff will come into a big winning streak. What a better staff to have than Weaver-Haren-Santana to guide the young Tyler Chatwood and help him grow into his potential.
Who else would be in this spot besides Wells? Sure he didn’t deliver any game winning blasts or game saving defensive plays; he still set the Angels up to stop the bleeding of another extra inning game before it got out of hand. He started off the game winning rally in the 12th, and scored the game winning run. A part of me wanted to give this award to Jeff Mathis, then another part of me realized that true Halo Heroes don’t hit weak fly ball outs, not matter how game-winningy of an out it is. Plus, he is Jeff Mathis after all.