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On a losing streak, Angels embark on a Brave new world

Posted By Bill Mahoney On May 23 2011 @ 10:32 pm In LA Angels Of Anaheim | No Comments

I think we can all agree, the Angels looked bad on their just completed 7 game road trip. They lost their last 5 games, and limped home trailing the Rangers and A’s in the AL West.

In comes the Atlanta Braves, as interleague play starts. The Braves are one of the top teams in the National League, coming to Anaheim 4 games over .500. Looked like a mismatch to me. Nope, the Angels rolled ATL, taking 2 of 3. They led 4-0 in game 2 going in to the 7th inning before blowing it. That’s what makes the game of baseball so great. One team can look bad for days, but still pound a team playing well, the next day.

And the Angels, arguably, got the Braves best pitchers: Tim Hudson, Tommy Hanson and Derek Lowe had no clue how to get the Halo hitters out consistently. Those three pitched 15.2 innings, allowing 15 runs. Hudson and Lowe also received the losses. Maybe the Angels were mad at Hudson, who used to pitch for the A’s, who swept the Angels out of Oakland 3 days prior.

On the other hand the Angels hurlers were twirling gems. Ervin Santana a complete game shutout. Joel Pineiro went 6 innings and allowed 4 runs, although Takahashi did give up the game tying hit (Pineiro got charged with the run). But the most impressive start was turned in by Tyler Chatwood. The rookie from the IE baffled the Braves for 7 innings, only giving up 1 earned run. Chatwood was most impressive because he was coming off his worst start of the year, 5 days earlier in Oakland. Santana is expected to keep the Halos in most games, no one knows what to expect out of Chatwood. Great to see him bounce back.

I guess I wrote the Torii Hunter obit a hair too soon. Hunter picked up 5 hits in the 3 games, by swinging a quick, strong bat. Mark Trumbo had a nice game on Friday, cranking his 7th home run of the year, while picking up 3 hits.

The Angels were running wild on the Bravos, stealing 6 bases in 3 games. The only guy who got caught was Hunter, who wasn’t perfect after all.

The Angels took 2 of 3, and that is great, but their hitting with men in scoring position leaves a lot to be desired. 6-31 were the Angels with RISP. Clutch hitting separates the contenders from the pretenders (Another loved cliche).

Most announcers won’t call out players, not so with Victor Rojas. Here’s what the Angels TV play by play man said after Peter Bourjos layed up on a ball Saturday night, “He didn’t dive for that”!? I know it sounds meaningless, but most baseball announcers will always side with the players. Usually saying things like, “Even if he dove, he wouldn’t have got it. Just a great decision”. A few plays later and Alexei Amarista boots a ball, then quits running after it. Rojas says, “What is he doing, why did he stop running”? It’s nice to see an announcer say the things that fans, like me, think. What Rojas said about Bourjos and Amarista is exactly what I thought–just a few more cuss words on my part. That Amarista play eventually led to the Braves scoring the winning run.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when Rojas replaced Rory Markas, but I have grown to like him, a lot.

Here comes the A’s for a four game series. Since sweeping the Angels one week ago, Oakland has lost 5 straight, and now reside in last place in the AL West. Weird happenings..

Go Angels!

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