The Angels narrowly avoided getting no-hit by Justin Verlander, but only barely. Even with so little time left in the season it seems like this avoidance was just temporary. There isn’t an Angels fan out there who would disagree that ending up on the wrong side of a no-hitter is the manifest destiny for this feast-or-(mostly) famine lineup. An unlikely hero saved them from their fate in this game, but are there enough heroes among them to stave off the inevitable embarrassment for the rest of the year?
Run Expectancy Rundown
On the good side of the inevitable spectrum is Chris Iannetta hitting. He’s been in a deep slump, but he managed to be the one guy to come up with a hit in this game. He was inevitably going to break out of the slump, the Angels should just consider themselves lucky that he broke out in the ninth inning of this game and saved them from embarrassment, for now.
It was not a prolific offensive outing for the Tigers, but when five of your seven hits go for extra bases, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll get a good ROI on those seven hits. Clustering four of those hits and two of those homers together in one inning is also a pretty good idea.
Starting Pitcher Scores
Hector Santiago avoided his inevitable regression for some time, but this was the most vintage Hector start of the year. He labored through the lineup the first two times through but managed to keep the other team in check only to fall apart when he went through the order the third time and thus failed to make it out of the fifth inning. Even had he not gotten shelled, Hector ran his pitch count so high, he would have been done after the fifth anyway.
Justin Verlander was just terrific and maybe that was inevitable as well. He’s been steadily rounding into form this month, so this dominant effort might have just been the end result of that. As easy as it is to assign full blame for this one-hitter to the Angels offense being inept, let’s not discount the fact that when Justin Verlander has things going he is nearly untouchable.
Detroit obviously didn’t need their bullpen, but the Angels did. More importantly, they needed the back end of their bullpen to soak up some innings and, mercifully, they did. Bedrosian and Rucinski each went multiple innings and both avoided allowing a hit.
Even with Verlander shutting down everything, the Angels were very much in this game right up until Santiago fell apart in the fifth. But once that happened, it was pretty clear that even if the Angels did scratch out some hits, they weren’t going to scratch out enough to overcome the deficit.
Someone has to wear the horns here and Pujols gets that distinction as he fanned once and saw the fewest number of pitches out of anyone. The least he and the rest of the Halos could’ve done is tried to juice Verlander’s pitch count to tire him out or force him out of the game. Oh well.