Tonight, Mike Trout, Los Angeles is yours... OK, maybe you have to share it with the LA Kings, but you can totally have the non-hockey loving portions of the Southland.
In his first ever Freeway Series appearance, Trout went out and one the game pretty much by himself. He stepped on a pitch for a solo home run to get the Angels on the board. Then he delivered a clutch two-out single to tie the game up. Finally, he worked a walk and stole a base to set himself up to score the game-winning run in the ninth inning. Heck, he even finally provoked a big hit out of Albert Pujols! Is there nothing this kid can't do?
The Angels are all Trout, all the time and that is just fine with me. I'm just glad that the other LA baseball fans got to see it too.
- Maybe we should put all that "Richards should replace Santana" talk on hold, eh? Tonight was just not a good night for Garrett Richards who fought his command from the first batter of the game until he mercifully got the hook at the end of the fifth. Five walks in five innings is pretty bad, but where Garrett's command almost cost the Angels the game was when he somehow threw a pickoff throw to second about 20 feet wide of the base, allowing a run to score. To his credit, he battled his way through four shutout innings after that mistake and kept the Angels in the game since his stuff was actually good when he could get it over the plate (with a big assist to Tony Gwynn Jr. and his two GIDPs).
- Of course, Richards almost compounded his earlier mistake by getting picked off first base one pitch before Mike Trout launched a home run that would've tied the game had Garrett still been on base. Explain to me again why we can't just have a universal DH? Do we really need to see rookie pitchers TOOTBLANing all over the basepaths? Methinks not.
- Howie Kendrick needs to either be benched or dropped even lower in the order. He absolutely killed the Angels tonight with two GIDPs. His average has been coming up slightly of late, but his situational hittng remains miserable as he seems to have no ability whatsoever to lift the ball in the air when the situation calls for it. All he does is pound the ball into the dirt as is shown by him having the seventh-highest groundball rate (57.5%) in the majors amongst qualified hitters
- It sure looks like Jordan Walden is officially buried in the bullpen. For the third straight night, it was LaTroy Hawkins getting the call out of the bullpen in a tight spot instead of Walden. And then it was taken a step further with Jason Isringhausen coming into a high leverage situation as well. Frankly, I'm glad Scioscia is not being stubborn with Waldo and letting him work out his issues without forcing him into pressure situations. I'm also pleased that Sosh is finally starting to show some faith in Izzy, who has pitched so rarely in close ballgames thus far despite his strong numbers.
- Ernesto Frieri has been in the league for a bit, but this is the first time he has done so as a high-profile reliever. Despite this, the Dodgers already knew to use a right-handed hitter against him as opposed to a lefty. It is probably a wise move given how much his two-seamer can dive away from a lefty, I just can't believe the league is that quick to adapt. Also of note, this was the first appearance Frieri made with the Halos in which he did NOT strike a batter out.
Andre Ethier got an $85 million extension during the game and fanned three times. So does that mean Trout should get $850 million? Because I'm totally cool with that.
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