Did anyone expect the Angels to come away with this game? I didn't, and I'm not saying this just to "save face". Jered Weaver always, ALWAYS, has a rough time pitching in Texas, especially on Sunday Night Baseball. This is a game the Angels were doomed to fail, even though they showed very early promise. The winds were high and the home run ball was on, and unfortunately the Angels could not keep up with the Rangers in this evenings makeshift homerun derby. Just as the Rangers couldn't keep up with the Angels high-powered offensive showing in yesterdays game the tables were turned on the Angels, who fell behind to the Rangers very early and could not comeback. The Angels just losing this game on it's own isn't too much to get worked up over (though plenty of Angel 'fans' would be quick to argue); the real pain came from Weaver's early exit from the game. A comeback line drive led to Weaver injuring his elbow in an attempt to get out of the way, and while it doesn't seem to anything seriously debilitating it is still a hit the pride of Weaver and the Angels.
Even though the Angels have opened the season against two playoff contenders they still have a tough road to face with a red-hot Oakland coming up. The Angels are going to have to let the fact of the loss slide off their shoulders and continue on to tomorrow, because if they can play with a short-term vision they can take the series against the Athletics.
-- Even though the Angels came away with a 2-run lead early on, the 1st inning to be precise, it was quickly given away by Jered Weaver. The homerun ball has always plagued Weaver in Texas and it was very apparent this would continue to be the case with Lance Berkman's 2-run home being followed by David Murphy's solo shot. Weaver's pitch count rose high early on due to his inability to keep the ball in the strike zone, which inevitable led to the 4 walks and 2 bombs. The homerun game, which is a popular attraction in Texas, continued past Weaver's exit from the game to spoil Mark Lowe's spotless season. Ian Kinsler's 3-run bomb in the 6th inning off of Lowe gave the Rangers the final push they need to put the Angels far out of reach of the lead. I hate to sound like I'm making excuses for our players, but I have to believe that Mark Lowe's bad outing was due to him simply being "in the wrong place at the wrong time". I know as a professional he has to go out and get the job done, but coming into the situation Weaver left for him against a team like Texas is a recipe for disaster. The fact that Richards and Williams pitched clean innings to finish the game shows that the monumental pressure thrown on Lowe by Texas was relieved by Kinsler's game breaking bomb. I wouldn't throw Lowe to the wolves yet, as I know many of you are quick to jumpstart this sort of thing.
-- So far this season the biggest problem from the offense has been Josh Hamilton's inability to get his feet under him. Coming into the series in Texas you could almost feel all the pressure on Hamilton, and the overwhelmingly negative reaction Hamilton received in Texas put him in a real bad spot mentally. From what we've seen Hamilton is a mentally sensitive guy, it's not a surprise an occasion like this would shake him up. This is a one-time thing however, next time in Texas Hamilton will be less like a hurt-puppy and more like a lover scorned. Aside from Hamilton's 1st inning double play that kept the Angels from breaking the game wide open early on he was on top of his offensive game. The fact that Hamilton collected 4 total bases off of 3 hits without striking once is a sign of huge progress. In the past few days Hamilton has been walking and collecting more base hits, the key for him will be to keep the progress rolling through Oakland. He doesn't want to be like Pujols and see his small steps ruined by huge leaps back.
-- Another Angel hitter that has showed signs of good progress is Mark Trumbo, who had two hits and batted in 2 of the Angels 3 runs. Trumbo is slowly beginning to regain his lost power, though he has a long way to go in terms of plate discipline. He isn't showing the same discipline he did for the first half of the 2012 season when he was making exceptional progress on laying off bad pitches and balls. When Trumbo had a strong hold on the strike zone and the pitches he wanted to hit he was one of the best power hitters in the game, but once he resorts to his free-swinging ways is when he becomes much less of a valuable player. Something tells me that the Trumbombs will be flying quite generously over the course of this coming week.
Why call out an Angel player for being an A-hole when we have a perfectly suitable Ian Kinsler ready and waiting to be slapped with the label. Just look at his dumb "I'm-having-trouble-holding-this-bowel-movement-in" expression. If he had that look on his face all the time it would be a lot easier to stomach games like this where he just has to make sure he's a part of everything that's going on. Games where Kinsler walks all over the Angels is just the absolute worst.