We cracked it, you guys. The Angels will finally return to contention if they can just make it so Jered Weaver faces the Twins 162 times a year.
The last time we saw Weaver face the Twins in Anaheim, he threw a no-hitter. Apparently Jered enjoyed that experience and did his darndest to relive it. After surrendering a hit to the second batter of the game, Jered retired the next 19 batters he faced. He'd walk one batter and allow one more hit before being pulled after the eighth inning. And it was a good thing he was so excellent because the Angel offense went missing against the unstoppable force that is… Mike Pelfrey?
The Angel offense went missing again, mustering just one run on five hits and one walk against a Joe Blanton wannabe. That left them in a rather precarious position after Ernesto Frieri came in and got wild again in the ninth. After walking and plunking the first two batters, it looked like we were in for another ErnestNOOOOO! moment. That is when the fun began.
Justin Morneau hit what seemed to be a short pop fly that Frieri allowed to drop, but the infield fly rule was never called. Frieri threw to first base and the runner broke for second where he was easily put out in a pickle. Confusion ran supreme. Supposedly the umpires decided Morneau's pop-up wasn't high enough, despite their being no minimum height rule in the rulebook. And it was a good thing too because if the rule had been invoked, Frieri would've just allowed the tying run to advance to third with one out for free. Much to the shock of everyone, Frieri composed himself after that stroke of serendipity and walked a batter before striking out Chris Herrmann to end the game and avoid yet another embarrassing sweep for the Halos.
– One thing I'll say about the infield fly call debate is that the Twins runner did attempt to advance when the Frieri threw over to first. Had the infield fly been called, he still would've been out as he "advanced at his own peril." There is a chicken-egg argument there though as he may not have attempted to run to second had the umpire made an audible infield fly declaration.
– Let's talk about Frieri even being allowed into this game. I am pretty conservative when it comes to pitch counts, but there did not seem to be a need to pull Weaver after 114 pitches. Not all pitches are created equal and one could certainly argue Jered threw an "easy" 114 pitches. Another inning shouldn't have been a problem. On the flip side, Frieri threw a messy 27 pitches just 15 hours earlier, so he was not exactly well rested himself. Scioscia should've paid for that decision but that bizarre double play made him look like a genius.
– Was I the only one who got a spark of glee when it looked like Collin Cowgill hurt himself? Nothing against Cowgill, but had he been hurt, the Angels would've had no choice but to finally promote Kole Calhoun.
– Trumbo was back in the four-hole and had some very good at-bats in that spot. Beating up on the Twins is nothing to brag about, but he looks like he could be turning the corner.
Halo Hero of the Game
Clearly Weaver gets the nod, but the umpiring crew deserves a strong honorable mention.