Well look at that, a four game winning streak. I had forgotten what these looked like. The Angels weren't really great tonight but got a couple of timely hits and some strong bullpen work to steal a victory from Seattle and creep ever closer to .500.
Angels 6 Mariners 4
-- Now this is more like the Albert Pujols we were all salivating over during spring training. Pujols jacked a three run homer to get the Angels back into the game. Couple that with another walk and Albert is looking very comfortable at the plate. What I found interesting was that after the home run he talked with Maicer Itzuris for the entire rest of the time in the dugout. Maybe all he needed was a friend...
-- Yes Mike Trout is going to be a superstar, but right now it's important to remember he is still a rookie. Trout is mired in his first slump of the season and I am sure didn't endear himself to the manager by not getting the bunt down in the ninth. Trout will have better days, but tonight wasn't one of them.
-- Anyone else think Howie Kendrick was going to strike out in the ninth? Mr. Unclutch finally delivered when it mattered. Nice work Howie
-- Wow, was Ervin Santana bad tonight. 7 walks in 5 innings is downright atrocious. Dude couldn't find the plate with GPS and a flashlight. It's a real testament to how crappy Mariner hitters are that they only scored four runs off Ervin.
Okay this may be a bit off the wall but stay with me. Hisonori Takahashi has not exactly been lights out this year. But for one night he did exactly what was needed. He came in for Santana and threw strikes. His two innings of scoreless relief allowed the Angels to get back into the game. Then the rest of the pen sewed up the win. If Takahashi can repeat his performance from tonight then maybe the bullpen is deeper than we thought. After all, when will be the next opportunity to give him this award?
Since MLBTR put the thought of Mike Napoli in my head I just went to check his season stats. For those not inclined to take a look (since his performance doesn't fit with the "we never should have dumped Naps" theory), he's hitting a below-career .233 with a below-career OBP of .325, seven HR's and 50 K's. So, really (and as predicted) he's gone back to being the uninspiring, under-performing and declining player the Angels got rid of.
I guess I know why he hasn't been held up as a model of Scioscia's ineptitude lately.
Better a year too soon than a year too late. Again, it's just a weird twist of fate that we didn't "win" that deal by getting a guy who could hit .270/20HR/90RBI. While I always thought Wells contract was ridiculous, I had no reason to believe he couldn't be a productive player in the Torii Hunter vein. OK, not spectacular. Baseball is a funny game.
Oh, and lookee here. The Dbacks extended Miguel Montero so I guess that whole "We're going to chase the best available catcher" thing is off the table. Yes, we need to hope Conger works out.
Yes, we'll all take this win and late comeback and all but, once again, only seven hits for the night. Mark Saxon did some fun research to notice that team BA is down .015 and scoring is down .2 per game since Mackey Hatcher was fired. If the numbers were completely unacceptable WITH Mickey, what are the LOWER numbers with him gone? That new hitting philosophy must have a steeper learning curve than expected. Anyway, the reason the problem is less noticeable is that other aspects of the Angels' game have improved, putting less of a spotlight on the hitting. And winning, too. Winning is good and makes everyone feel better about life. But the truth is that the [lack of] hitting is still very worrisome.