After a few weeks of scratching and scraping for runs, dealing with some bullpen hiccups and sorting through rotation uncertainty, the Angels once again seem to be playing like a well-oiled machine. The offense is hitting well again. The starting pitching (except for the currently empty Richards-vacated spot) has been strong the last few times through the rotation. The bullpen looks impenetrable once more, which is still weird to say considering how they started the season. They look like they are getting ready to peak once again and their timing couldn’t be better.
Run Expectancy Rundown
Mike Trout continued to bust out of his slump, once again proving that we should never worry about Trout when he slumps. Gordon Beckham got an odd start but made the most of it, finally getting on the board with his first hit and homer as an Angel. Poor Josh Hamilton missed his first homer at the Big A this year by just a matter of inches. Still, at least he is hitting again.
The big concern in the game though was that Albert Pujols left early with some sort of injury. The Angels insist it is minor, but given how closely his health and productivity are linked, it is cause for at least some worry.
WTF got into Adeiny Hechevarria? He’s one of the worst hitters in baseball. I was legitimately surprised to learn that he had actually hit a homer before the one he got off Santiago. At least Jeff Mathis lived up to expectations by fanning twice in three ABs.
Starting Pitcher Scores
For a while there, it really looked like Hector Santiago was going to live to see the seventh inning. He was so close! Alas, Scioscia played it safe and went to the bullpen. It was probably the right call, but still, I wanted Santiago to finally go deep for once. Then again, I don’t think you should get a reward like that when you get taken deep by Hechevarria.
Henderson Alvarez wasn’t all that bad for Miami, but the few hits he did allow were all hit very hard.
A fine job all around by the Angels bullpen, though Fernando Salas did give up a hit, which is a new thing for him. Huston Street gave us a pitch count scare, but managed to get out of it before things got too bad. The Miami bullpen was fine, but gave us the satisfying moment of using their closer despite being down several runs just so they could get him some work.
As they’ve done of late, the Angels fell into a small hole early but then quickly climbed out of it and rocketed straight to near win certainty. Works for me.
I’m not saying it is his motivation, but it sure seems like Trout started to heat up right when all this “Alex Gordon for MVP” nonsense flared up.