This game was over before the 3rd out of the game was recorded. Sending Richards out to face the Rangers put the Angels in a tight spot, having him exit due to inury pretty much flushed the whole game down the toliet. A bullpen game it was, at least for the Angels, and this offense cannot back up a bullpen, which they eagerly proved last night. Takahashi killed this team once he opened the floodgates to a 6 run fifth while Branyan proved that his "production" is still meaningless. Luckly for the Angels they still have 3 more games to play in the set, giving them more then a good chance to quickly close the gap in the AL West by this weekend. But there is still the even better chance that the Angels playoff push will be dead by Friday morning.
Rangers 8 Angels 4
Garrett Richards injury pushed the Angels into even dire-er straits, now the big question that hangs over this teams head is "Who's going to pitch every fifth day now?". Unless Reagins finds a way to pull a gem off the waiver wire or Salt Lake there's no question that this team won't survive to see October, all thanks to Reagins and his inability to pull off a deal before the trading deadline. The past few weeks multiple blown saves and holds have cost this team many games on the Rangers, which could have all been changed had Reagins pulled a deal for a reliever. This whole fifth starter business could have been avoided by letting Takahashi start a few games, because taking him out of the bullpen wouldn't have stretched it thin with the added reliever. Luckily for us the Angels best pitchers are coming out for the rest of the series to give this team a fighting chance, let's just pray the bullpen doesn't find a way to blow this series.
- Joel Pineiro, who was recently moved to the bullpen, made an appearance in last night's loss to the Rangers. He did the unthinkable and struck out all three batters he faced in his appearance, turning more then a few heads along the way. Last night was the perfect chance for Joel Pineiro to sneak his way back into the rotation by proving he still has some worth, and proving that worth is what he did. Hopefully the Angels can pull a fifth starter from anywhere, because last night's game proved the Angels badly needed a long reliever, a role which might be greatly suited for Pineiro. If he can string together a few more performances like this and he might find his way back into the rotation as early as next week, though I personally believe he serves a greater purpose in the bullpen.
- What about Russell Branyan's home run, has he got it figured it out or is he just getting lucky? He's hit two home runs in his past 4 games, but those were the only two hits he recorded in those 4 games. Last night's home run came in a pinch hit situation, which is something we've been waiting to see from Branyan for a long time. The power on the bench is laughable with Branyan being the only "power" (and I use that term loosely) hitter on the bench. If he does have any real power he's barely displayed any of it so far with the Angels. I'm probably asking for too much out of him, but Reagins promised us bench power when he signed Branyan, and so far we've seen very little of that.
- Despite his limited use this season, Bobby Cassevah has proved his worth in this bullpen. Last night he was thrust headfirst into the action with little time for preparation and he delivered, pitching 2.2 innings and giving up only 1 run in the process. I know that line doesn't really look that special, especially with that ugly Loss attached to it, but he did a helluva lot better then every other Angels reliever that pitched last night. Thompson and Takahashi absolutely stunk last night, Thompson gave up 2 home runs while Takashi gave up the four runs that led to the demise of the Angels. Cassevah and Pineiro were really the only bright spots in last nights game, heightening my hopes that they will be able to cure this bullpen of their right-handed ailments.
I really have no words for this man, except "Please don't pitch tonight."