The Angels fought through the wind and the rain to get Weaver his fourth win of the year. The bullpen came through, although Fraudney continued his high wire act before giving way to the steady hand of new closer Jordan Walden, allowing the Angels a nice win to start the road trip. Did I mention that the game was played in what might be best descrbed as the Arctic Circle? I caught the first three innings on the radio where they could not stop talking about how cold it was. Then the TV guys spent a good portion of the telecast complaining about the bitter chill in the air. So apparently, it was less than ideal to play baseball. I can't imagine playing in 34 degree weather in the pouring rain, but at least I was comfortable on my couch.
Angels 4 White Sox 3
Jared Weaver gets his fourth without his best stuff. Weaver started strong but the rain delay seemed to take away some of his momentum, resulting in Adam Dunn hitting a two run homer to make the game interesting. What is encouraging was that Weaver battled and used his defense to go seven innings, and when he needed it, he found the right pitch to get out of a couple of tough jams. I think it was more of ace level performance than his previous 15 strikeout effort because it proved he a gamer who gives the Angels a shot to win every time he heads out on the hill.
The kids are alright. Mark Trumbo went 2 for 4 with a double and an RBI, Hank Conger was strong behind the plate in his second consecutive start, and Peter Bourjos had another hit in his more comfortable nine hole spot. Don't look now, but the once decrepit Angels are starting something of a youth movement. Obviously, Trumbo's place will be less certain when Kendrys Morales returns, but Conger seems to be cementing himself as a legitimate starting catcher. I cannot imagine that Jeff Mathis is comfortable with his place in the line-up at all.
Fraudney will eventually give me a heart attack. Fernando Rodney fooled us with three straight outings where he went straight through his part of the line up. But this game featured the return of "The Wild One" as Rodney walked one on his way to throwing more balls than strikes. If not for the 3-0 free swinging gift Carlos Quentin gave him, the story may have very well been how the Angels bullpen blew another one.
I officially have a Walden man-crush. The kid was so calm and cool in the ninth that he even handled the boneheaded decision by the umpires to suspend play for THREE WHOLE MINUTES due to rain. Walden went 1,2,3 with a wicked strikeout and looked every inch the closer he is. If they can ever figure out how to get through the middle innings, Walden appears to be more than capable of closing the door on a regular basis.
So yes, Mighty Maicer did leave five runners on base in what is becoming a real concern for the Halos, namely that they have issues getting two out hits. But his night included a 3 for 5 performance with the big 2 out, 2 RBI base hit that proved to be the difference in the game. Itzuris has played a solid third base and shortstop and so far has done it without getting hurt. I half expected him to break in half from the cold, but he perservered and has been the consumate leadoff main for the Angels.