Well, that was just the worst.
If you didn’t watch today’s game, consider yourself lucky. Just about everything that could go wrong did. Well, not everything. I suppose the stadium could’ve been struck by a meteor or we could’ve been forced to watch this game and Battleship in split-screen. Otherwise, it was all wrong. I’m not going to rehash it all for you, partly because it is too painful, but mainly because three particular incidents were the most costly.
- David Pauley should never have been pitching in this game when he was. Scott Downs had not been used yet, but Scioscia just had to “save him for a closing opportunity.” Good work, Sosh. Now you’re best reliever didn’t get into a game, but your worst pitcher did and the hump couldn’t even get out the opposing pitcher. Worse yet, Scioscia didn’t handle Pauley properly. The final play of the game came with Pauley facing left-handed Will Venable with two out. Why he didn’t intentionally walk Venable so Pauley could go righty-on-righty against Cameron Maybin and his .210 average, I will never know.
- The tenth inning was just a disaster. First, Scioscia burnt an out by having Maicer Izturis bunt wit Trout on first, which is stupid because he never gave Trout a chance to steal the base (which he did the very next batter) and because Izturis screwed up the bunt and because sac bunting is evil. Then, Howie Kendrick couldn’t get the ball in play with one out and the bases loaded. But the coup de gras was Peter Bourjos swinging at the first pitch even though the Padre pitcher Brach had been struggling to find the strike zone. Barf. A hundred times barf.
- Ryan Langerhans inadvertently set off a chain reaction that cost the team the game. First, he butchered a deep flyball to left field that resulted in a double and him wrecking his shoulder. Not to be mean to the guy, but if he hadn’t turned that ball into a circus, he wouldn’t have gotten hurt. Had he not gotten hurt, the Angels would not have had to begin the defensive musical chairs with John Hester coming into catch, Wilson going to first, Pujols moving to third, Izturis shifting to second and Kendrick taking over in left. It was then because Howie was in left, where he has minimal experience, that Kendrick bobbled the two-out hit by Venable, allowing Richard enough time to come around and score.
All of that added up to probably the most costly Angel loss of the season. I’m not saying the season is over, but, well, it isn’t looking good. They are “only” six games under .500 and could could back over the hump if they could just rattle off a long winning streak. However, if they can’t even win a series against the lowly Padres, who is that winning streak goign to come against? So, like I said, the season isn’t over but it isn’t exactly far from over either.
- Big ups to David Carpenter for escaping the seemingly inescapable mess that Langerhans zig-zag route on the John Baker double caused. Situations don’t get much more high pressure than that and the rookie manned up in a big way.
- Mike Trout is already putting the fear of God in people. The Friars wanted nothing to do with him by the time extra innings rolled around.
- It might be the most Vernon Wells move ever to finally get on a hot streak and then get hurt. God just doesn’t want Vernon Wells to be good at baseball.
There is so much blame to go around here, but Howie takes the fall today. I don’t really blame him for bobbling the ball in left seeing how he was pressed into emergency duty, but I totally blame him for choking in the 10th inning when all he had to do was put the ball anywhere in play and Trout and his turbo-speed would’ve scored.