If this game had the feeling of a spring training game, there is a reason. Everything about this game smacked of evaluation mode. That's actually a good thing, but it doesn't make for particularly compelling viewing.
The most glaring example was Garrett Richards' gameplan. Richards has been very successful the last few weeks without any really bad games, but he was bad in this one. Why? Because he was working on his changeup like he was pitching in a Cactus League game. The funny thing is that Richards has had all of this success largely because he has scrapped his changeup. It just isn't a good pitch for him and has always been his weakest offering. He has managed to reduce the gap in his platoon splits without it even though that is usually the goal of throwing a changeup.
The changeup didn't work at all in this game as both the homers he allowed came off of that pitch. But that's OK because this game means nothing to anyone… just like spring training.
– I have to say, Tommy Hanson mostly looked pretty sharp pitching in relief, regularly pumping it in at 94 MPH and even touching 95 MPH a few times. It is almost like his screwy delivery and issues with maximum effort makes him well-suited to a relief role. If only an intrepid blogger had made that suggestion over a month ago as an alternative to having Hanson waste away in Triple-A. Now he is going to get maybe one more relief appearance which isn't enough to evaluate him, so he is just going to get non-tendered for some other team to scoop up and expirement with.
– Howie Kendrick is doing his very best to both up his trade value and make the Angels think twice about potentially trading him this winter. Seriously, I know it is a foregone conclusion, but it seems like there has to be a way to keep Howie in the fold (and I think that way might be signing Masahiro Tanaka).
– Collin Cowgill had a terrific game defensively, the kind that makes you realize what kind of value he could have as a bench player next season. The problem though is J.B. Shuck. Shuck doesn't bring a lot to the table as a hitter other than contact skills, but he is also a defensive liability. Cowgill isn't much of a hitter either, so while they both have some value, they can't co-exist. In this day and age of four-man benches, the Halos can't afford to have to reserve outfielders that are minimal contributors with the bat. That's probably why Cowgill will be in some other organization by April.
Halo A-Hole of the Game
Sorry, I know that it probably wasn't his call to work on his changeup in this game, but it was his fault that he didn't execute it.