Who would've thought it? The Angels knocked the cover off the baseball Tuesday night, riding solo home runs to victory over the Kansas City Royals. Albert Pujols, Howie Kendrick, Josh Hamilton, and Mike Trout all absolutely clobbered baseballs, sending them screaming into orbit.
A night after Joe Blanton laid another solid turd out there on the Angel Stadium mound, Jason Vargas did some solid clean-up duty, gobbling up 7 innings while limiting the Royals to only two runs. He also did something out of character: he struck hitters out. He actually struck 7 hitters out. It was a rare night indeed, in Anaheim.
The bullpen did a solid job of nailing things down as well, something you just don't read a lot in relation to the 2013 Angels. Is there eason for optimism? Or is this simply another temporary mirage in the Southern California baseball wasteland?
— Josh Hamilton, a day after being removed for yet another mysterious head-case/light-headed/blue eyes/something issue, tore the cover off the baseballs. After working a second inning walk, he launched a howitzer into deeps center field and later ripped a laser that unfortunately found Kansas City shortstop Alcides Escobar's glove. If making random excuses will help Hamilton to snap out of his funk, then so be it.
— I'm not entirely sure of Mike Scioscia's rationale when it comes to the management of his bullpen this season. Before you say something snarky, like, "Thank you, detective" or "hey-o, here comes Captain Obvious," here's the thing. Jason Vargas had already thrown 100 pitches by the end of the 7th inning. That's enough to usually send a starting pitcher to the showers. Job well done.
Mike Scioscia, however, thought Jason Vargas still looked pretty strong, thus sending him out there to start the 8th. Jason Vargas proceeded to throw four straight balls. Mike Scioscia then wasted no time in yanking him.
My question is this: If you weren't going to give that long of a leash to Jason Vargas anyways, then why would you send him out to begin with? Why not start with a fresh arm out of the pen, instead of risking anything with Vargas? This has happened way too many times this season. I don't understand it. But no wonder. The team won.
Halos Hero of the Game
Jason Vargas might just have been the best offseason acquisition for the Angels.