Games in which the Angels take a 5-0 lead should not end up being this stressful. But when your pitching staff is a collection of youngsters and reclammation projects, nothing is going to come easy. The hurlers almost threw this game up on more than one occassion but managed to wiggle out of enough trouble to get the win. I want to say the Mariners lost this game as much as the Halos one it, since the M's left 13 men on base. But in the end the Angels managed just enough offense, defense and pitching to pull out the win and eek a bit closer to .500.
-- If you had to choose today who would represent the Angels in the All Star Game, a strong argument could be made for Howie Kendrick. Howie has been racking at the plate (although not tonight), but his defense is what has improved so dramatically. Tonight he made two great plays to save runs and keep the game in the Angels' favor. This is the Howie we have all been expecting him to be.
-- CJ Wilson continues to baffle me. For three innings he looked unbeatable. But as is always the case, the big inning is always just a few pitches away. Tonight, CJ fell apart in the fourth and fifth and could get out of the sixth before getting pulled. During those innings it seemed he started getting too fine with his stuff and started nibbling on the edges. Bottom line is that the Angels cannot win if the starters don't start going deeper in the game.
-- The bullpen also played with a lot of fire tonight. MIke Scioscia played a lot of angles to get the win tonight using four relievers to get 11 outs. Frankly, the bullpen isn't good enough to do that every night and if it weren't for the pathetic Mariner offense, the outcome would have probably looked a lot like it has most times this year.
For most of his career Hank Conger has been stuck in limbo between high end prospect and Mike Scioscia whipping boy. His defense has always been the thing that has held him out of favor and his pitch selection has been suspect. Tonight we saw what Hank can do. He blasted a two run homer early and was masterful in handling the diva like tendencies of the pitchers. Maybe we are finally going to see #freehankconger come to fruition.