I'm not saying that the Angels' season is over, but the fat lady definitely seems to be warming up her vocal cords backstage.
The Angels needed to come out strong tonight to respond to last night's tough loss, if only to show the Rangers that they weren't dead yet. Instead, they acted like an obedient dog and rolled right over almost from the first pitch.
Sure enough, Chatwood gagged up two runs to start the game. Exactly what the scuffling Angel lineup didn't need, an early deficit to try and overcome, nor did the beleaguered bullpen need Chatwood expending a bunch of pitches so early in the game. Even had Tyler been able to right the ship after that, he was obviously headed for an early exit.
The worst though was the way the offense went out of its way to prove just how totally inept it really is. In very un-Angel like fashion, they got the leadoff man in each of the first three innings. Unfortunately, they "took advantage" of those baserunners in a their usual tragic way. That leadoff man was erased without ever becoming a threat in the first and second inning by way of inning-ending doubleplays. Then in the third, the Halos finally broke through to plate a run with one out, starting what might have been a comeback rally to get back in the game. Or at least they would have had they not run themselves right out of that inning. Aybar made an out on the very play the run scored on by stupidly trying to take an extra base, which was quickly followed by Peter Bourjos getting picked off at first base without Holland ever actually making another pitch after the run scored. Any life the Angels had in them died when Bourjos got picked off as they managed just two more baserunners before sparking a meaningless rally in the ninth inning.
I am contractually obligated at this point to point out that the Angels could still win the next two games and claw their way back to four games back, which would keep them alive in the AL West, barely. But after another pitiful effort, I really have very little hope of that happening.
- Peter Bourjos may have screwed up royally by getting picked off to end the third inning, but he more than made up for it earlier with his nice takeout slide on the eminently hateable Ian Kinsler in the first inning. I didn't think I could like Bourjos any more than I already do, but it turns out he found a way.
- Tyler Chatwood, I'd like to introduce you to the rookie wall. You've probably already met though since it seems that you ran into it at full speed tonight. I still think Chatwood has a nice future, but he is obviously starting to head in the wrong direction right now. Command continues to be a major issue for Chatwood who threw a first pitch strike to just six of the sixteen batters he faced tonight. And he actually didn't throw a single first-pitch strike to any of the seven batters he faced in the two-run first inning. The stuff and velocity are still there for Chatty, so I don't think he is getting dead arm or anything, he just doesn't have any confidence left and is afraid to attack hitters consistently. If this bad stretch continues like this, the Halos might not have a choice but to call a premature end to his season just so he doesn't ruin himself mentally. They can't really afford to lose any rotation depth right now, but they also don't want to risk his future either.
- I'll be very curious to see what strings Mike Scioscia tries to pull tomorrow. I know that he isn't prone to overreacting or making grand gestures, but I don't see how he doesn't at least tap the panic button a little bit after these two losses and try something a little desperate before the season fully circles the drain in the next two days. I doubt he'll free Hank Conger, but I wouldn't be surprised if we see a fairly outlandish lineup tomorrow, probably one that features Russell the Muscle and maybe lacks a veteran or two that Scioscia had been hesitating to bench.
Sorry, kid, but you let me down.