What a game
Despite the Angels taking an early lead on some fielding shenanigans by the Pirates offense that Joe Blanton held marvelously through 7 innings the Angels bullpen was not able to keep it together to give the Angels and Blanton a much needed win. It's a shame to see the Angels lose so much momentum so fast after an incredible game against the Seattle Mariners just days ago. To make matters worse Peter Bourjos was forced to exit the game very early on due to a sprained thumb, losing him would make this loss even more significant.
This reminds me too much of the 19 inning loss in Oakland that saw the Angels lose Bourjos for weeks.
I did quite enjoy Victor Rojas' funeral voice when speaking of Blanton's wasted effort as soon as Frieri blew the same. That takes some of the pain away.
- I would have rather the Angels just went down 1-2-3 in the 10th to avoid the whole "despite a fantastic rally blah blah blah" talk. This feels even worse than it should, especially when you consider the Angels near comeback against the Yankees just days ago. that's just the kind of team the Angels are, they can never really push it the whole way to finish off when it really matters. They have monster games here and there with losses like this sprinkled in between which really sucks up a lot of momentum the Angels worked so hard for. Lucky for us the Angels are about to face Detroit, and despite their status as a top team in the AL they can never find a way to beat the Angels. They can easily make up for this ugly series by playing grade A ball against the Tigers. That sounds silly, but then again this is just a ridiculous team (and I mean that in the most negative way possible).
- Early on in the game the Angels were able to capitalize off sloppy defense by the Pirates to bring 5 runs across the plate in one inning. In the middle of that rally with two outs and Mike Trout up Bourjos laid down an incredible take-out slide that was so strong it not only kept the double play out of the defenses hands, but it allowed two runs to cross the plate. Unfortunately this move took Peter Bourjos out of the game, which eventually led to the Angels demise. I hate to say this, but J.B Shuck is a terrible defender, he's just so unsure about himself. He never really looks totally confident making some of the bigger plays and that was painfully apparent today. Bourjos' injury forced Shuck to move into left where he misplayed multiple balls in the 9th inning behind Frieri that allowed the Pirates to tie up the ballgame. Had Trout still been in left those catches would have been no deal whatsoever. On top of that in the 10th Trout was not able to make a play by the hair of his chin, and I'm confident had Bourjos been in center he could have caught that. Not that it would have went to the 10th had Bourjos stayed in.
- Even though I ragged hard on Shuck for his mediocre defense costing this team the game it wasn't all on him, Frieri was the second half of that equation. Maybe if he didn't open the 9th with 6 straight balls this wouldn't have happened. Frieri had been fantastic in his previous appearances, much akin to when he first broke in with the team. That all went for naught today as he blew a 3 run lead in the 9th, and a marvelous 7.1 IP 1 ER start by Blanton, who also struck out 6. I'm gonna take a quick second here to talk about how much I hate Jepsen, he's convinced too many people he's a serviceable reliever when he just cannot get the stressful outs when they appear to him. Too bad one of those people is Mike Scioscia, who continually uses him in key appearances, even though there aren't much better options than him. Maybe the Angels should look into replacing Jepsen this offseason if they want to make a real playoff push.
I know Frieri blew a 3 run lead, and that makes him a real ass; but Jepsen just could not give the Angels a chance to fight back. What kills me even more is the Angels rallied for three runs behind 10-6 in the 10th inning. Had Jepsen been able to come in an get at least 1, maybe 2 painless outs the Angels would have likely been walk off winners.
Thanks for the help there.