It would be easy (and reasonable) to make Mike Trout‘s three-RBI night or the return of Johnny Giavotella‘s magic clutch powers the story of Thursday’s series-clinching win over the Dodgers, but I feel the that Angels bullpen, which held LA hitless over the final 4⅔ innings, deserves some love. Everyone rags on relievers when things are going poorly, but rarely are they lauded when things go well.
The bullpen’s performance, which featured stellar outings from Jose Alvarez, Greg Mahle, Fernando Salas, and Joe Smith, is especially remarkable given just how overworked they’ve been the last three weeks. The 61⅓ innings they’ve thrown in May is the fourth most of any bullpen in baseball, and a full 50 of those innings came in the month’s first two weeks. That they were still able to throw a baseball at all Thursday let alone toss 4+ scoreless innings, is worth recognizing.
Run Expectancy Rundown
Mike Trout‘s blistering May continues. His two-hit, three-RBI night Thursday was his eighth multi-hit effort of the month and raised his slash line to .373/.455/.672 in May. Albert Pujols also kept the good times rolling, collecting a double and a walk and raising his OPS to .700 for the first time all year.
The tail end of the order also had a good night: Johnny Giavotella notched a clutch, go-ahead single in the fifth, quietly extending his hit streak to eight games; Carlos Perez launched his long-awaited first home run of the year. The Angels have now scored seven runs or more in six of their last eight games.
Starting Pitcher Scores
Jhoulys Chacin‘s second start didn’t go quite as well as his Angels debut. The right-hander was plagued by control issues early—tossing his first two wild pitches of the year—and seemed to find trouble any time Chase Utley came to the plate.
Ross Stripling wasn’t any better, and his near no-hitter debut is looking more and more like an anomaly with each subsequent start. Bet he wishes now he hadn’t been pulled that night.
The Dodgers bullpen was as bad as the Angels’ was good Thursday. Well, at least Chris Hatcher was. He allowed two runs (plus two inherited runs) on four hits in just two-thirds of an inning, raising his ERA to 6.35.
Again with the fifth-inning surge.
Alvarez entered the game in a bases-loaded, one-out situation in the fifth and allowed only one run to score. If he doesn’t stop the Dodgers there, maybe the Halos don’t come back.