I think it is safe to say that Fuentes should never be allowed to face Cleveland again.
Alright, who broke the closer? I want answers people!
For the second night in a row Brian Fuentes aka "Tito" pitched like Tito Jackson and failed to get a single batter out. The one reliable reliever the Angels had all season now looks to have finally succumbed to the ineptitude of the bullpen that surrounds him. Tito has now faced eight consecutive batters over the course of two and is yet to record, allowing six runs in the process. Fortunately for him, he was at least able to keep the Tribe in the ballpark last night which made it possible for Jason Bulger (Wow, Jason Bulger the savior? Can we PLEASE make a trade now?) to come in and bail his ass out. One horrific performance can be written off to a bad night, but two disasters in a row is cause for serious concern.
Of course Brian Fuentes wasn't the only Halo hurler who struggled last night. Jered Weaver has now officially become part of the triumvirate of struggling Angels starting pitchers, joining Joe Saunders and Ervin Santana. Thanks to Weaver's uncanny knack for deciding to throw belt-high fastballs over the middle of the plate on 0-2 counts, he was knocked around for four runs on eight hits and three walks over five innings. For Weaver, his troubles seem far less concerning than his compatriots (Santana=physical, Saunders=mental) in that he just seems to be struggling with his command a bit right now. I like to think that this is easily fixable, but then again I said the same thing about Joe Saunders.
Yet in spite of an underwhelming start for Jered Weaver and another meltdown from Brian Fuentes, the Angels still came out on top thanks to the unlikely heroics of Gary Matthews Jr. With two outs and the bases loaded in the ninth inning of a tied game, Matthews was probably the absolute last person the Angels wanted at the plate, but not only did he come through, he came through in a big way with a bases clearing double that provided the Halos with that cushy three-run margin that unbeknownst to them they would need all of.
- The Palmer magic was on display again as he stepped up to toss three shutout innings, keeping the Angels in the game and was rewarded with yet another win, pushing his season record to an unlikely 9-1.
- So much for being worried about Juan Rivera's legs. I can't believe the Angels would let him play the field unless they were positive he was 100% healthy after what happened with Vladimir Guerrero.
- The recent power surge from the Angels looks to have taken Scioscia out of his smallball frame of mind and I am not sure it is a good thing. The old Scioscia would have pinch-hit for Mike Napoli in the ninth with the game tied and runners and first and second with no outs. He would have then had the pinch-hitter lay down a sacrifice bunt and the Angels would play for one run. Instead, Sosh went for the big inning. I am glad to see him show some philosophical flexibility, but let's not mess with what a formula that has worked so well for so long.
- Looks like Sosh still doesn't have all that much faith in Howie Kendrick as was evidenced by him pinch-hitting for Howie with Maicer in the ninth. It was the right call, for sure, but it shows that Kendrick still has some work left to do.
I just can't do it, I just can't give Private Matthews the Hero of the game. One big hit cannot erase let's go with option B
I am just as shocked as anyone that Bulger was able to extricate the Halos from that bases loaded jam. Bulger has been called upon to save the day in similar bases loaded situations and all of those situations have ended in tears for the Angels. He pulled it off this time though and for that he deserves Halo Hero honors.