Everything went according to plan today for the Angels, probably even better since they got a strong performance out Joel Pineiro. So why do I feel like the Halos are just running in place?
Entering this game, it felt like the Angels were set up to disappoint. They were facing a lousy team and had their worst starting pitcher on the mound. It was a brutal, soul-crushing loss waiting to happen.
Only it didn't.
Shockingly, Joel Pineiro not only failed to suck, but he actually kind of pitched his ass off. Wonderful! Better yet, Old Man Abreu found a way to sock his seventh homer of the season. What a delightful surprise! And despite it being a close and crucial game, the bullpen was nearly perfect. Unbelievable! This should be cause for celebration, but it just isn't. Want to know why?
The damn Rangers keep winning.
This is supposed to be the stretch of the schedule where the Angels were going to make up ground on Texas. Seven games into this favorable ten-game slate, the Angels have lost half a game in standings. Man, this playoff chase thing is hard.
- I kind of glossed over Joel Pineiro's day in the summary, but don't let it go unnoticed that he was fairly sharp and very efficient today. Minnesota helped him out a bit by swinging early and often, but Pineiro did a good job of keeping the ball down. I definitely thought that he was going to spend the rest of the season with a giant fork sticking out of his back, but, for now at least, he seems to have had the fork removed.
- Jason Kubel and Danny Valencia are hardly base-stealing threats, but credit Hank Conger for snipering them both on their steal attempts. On one hand, it shows how little respect the Twinkies had for Hank's throwing ability, on the other hand, he did manage to make two throws to second without airmailing either of them. This is progress.
- Mike Trout may have gone hitless, but he is now 17-4 in games he starts. If he starts any less than 18 games the rest of the season, Mike Scioscia needs to get his head checked.
Welcome back to the land of the living, Joel!