Jordan Walden came awfully close to making Yogi Berra proud, didn't he? It was nearly deja vu all over again for the rookie closer, but this time Waldo managed to wiggle his way out of it.
Like I said in the game preview, Cleveland is just a bad, bad place for Angel closers and Walden seemed set out to prove me right. Fortunately, Matt LaPorta must be my Walden's guardian angel, because he bailed Jordan out in a big way by bouncing into an easy doubleplay to grant Walden a reprieve. Of course, that still left Walden to deal with last night's hero, Jason Kipnis, and dealt with him he did, by smoking the kid on four pitches.
Game. Set. Match, Walden.
Now the question is if Jordan is over this slump he's fallen into. Based on his pumped up reaction, I would say that he was pretty relieved to survive this outing but it wasn't in a way that suggested that he was worried about the future, which is great, because that is the kind of mindset a reliever needs. I feel confident that he's going to be in solid shape mentally going forward, but mechanically, he probably still needs some work, even though he wasn't nearly as wild as he was on Monday.
Just to be safe though, let's hope the Angels can maybe score more than two runs tomorrow to win comfortable and spare us from a third Walden save adventure in Cleveland.
- Maybe my Mathis hatred is biasing me, but did it seem to anyone else like Weaver was shaking Mathis off a lot? The only reason Scioscia backs Mathis is because he supposedly handles the staff well and calls a good game, but if the staff ace is constantly shaking him off, how good a game can he really call?
- After tonight, Howie Kendrick is now has nine hits in his last eighteen at-bats. If that doesn't grant him some kind of temporary exemption from Mike Scioscia's infielder rotation, I don't know what will. Seriously, I am going to burst an artery if Kendrick isn't in the lineup tomorrow.
- I just realized I almost completely glossed over Weaver's performance tonight. If the fact that he allowed just one run over seven innings and I didn't feel compelled to mention it doesn't prove just how tremendous he has been this season, I don't know what does. But what really pushes it over the top is that I actually felt kind of disappointed in his performance tonight because he "only" went seven innings. That is how high the bar is set for him nwo.
Sure, he almost blew the game again, but he showed some real huevos by escaping a no-out, bases load jam and he has to get some credit for that.
I don't know. Walden's speed gun readings weren't quite up to par once again. I guess that could have been a function of the way their gun is "tuned" but I wish now I'd had Gameday on as the TV didn't show the speed on every pitch. I didn't consciously take note of Weaver's readings but don't remember thinking they were off his norm. We'll see.
That only looked like an easy double play. Credit to Howie on that do-or-die short hop play. Yes, it should be made but, no, it isn't always. He attacked the bounce instead of letting it play him. Well done, unsung Angels hero!
Hey, Mr. The Monkey! Did you listen to the Baseball Today podcast yesterday? Looks like Law does like something. He tacitly tipped his cap to the Angels when he said something like, "The horrible Central Division champion will be in the playoffs while the Angels and Rays will be left out." I hope that was his point anyway. Please don't let him be advocating expanding the playoffs to look like the NHL!