For the first time all season the Angels won a game exactly according to the plan they drew up when they put this roster together. Pujols hit ball far. Starting pitcher dominate. Angels win. Hulk smash.
Or something like that.
The point is Pujols hit another homer and even picked up two hits after that for good measure. This is what the Angels paid him to do and, as much as I mocked the notion before, he might be turning the proverbial corner, for real this time. That is huge for this Angel lineup. They've obviously been struggling to score runs this year but the assumption before the season was that Pujols would carry them during their cold spells. He hasn't done that yet which has only served to exacerbate the cold stretches. But now, he is heating up as the rest of the team has gone a bit cold (again), and lo and behold the Angels are finding ways to win. It may not be pretty, but it is a formula that works.
Of course, the other key component of the formula is getting stellar starting pitching, which the Angels finally got from Dan Haren. Even though Seattle has a lousy lineup of their own, seeing Haren dominate them like he did was a great sign and strong indicator that his back has healed up, though he still seems to be missing an MPH or two off his fastball. But hey, let's not focus on the negative. He was great, Pujols was great, the Angels won. I'll take that every day of the week and twice on Sunday.
- I know the Angels are struggling to score runs, but sacrifice bunting with the second batter of the game?!! You're killing me, Scioscia. Sac bunting is kind of stupid to begin with, but that is just inexcusable and it is something Scioscia keeps doing with Trout on first. What I don't get is why Scioscia doesn't just let Trout try to steal second? He is a great base stealer, let him go and save yourself from giving away an out.
- Peter Bourjos had a hit, but his three strikeouts are probably going to be what Scioscia notices. At this point, Bourjos is playing simply to be part of a quasi-platoon with Kendrys Morales but he isn't going to sell Scioscia on the notion if he can't even put the ball in play.
- Say what you want about small sample size thus far, but this Bobby Wilson as primary catcher thing just isn't working. He can't hit at all and basestealers are 21-for-26 against him now. At this point, I'm not even sure he is good enough to be a back-up once Iannetta returns.
Yeah, Haren had a shutout, but how can I resist rewarding Pujols for being a one-man offense for really the first time all season?
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