No matter what sport your favorite team plays, when they lose like the Angels did this afternoon, it really rips your heart out. With a win, the Halos could have been as close as a game back of the Red Sox for the American League Wild Card. With leads of 3-0, 3-2, and 5-2 the Halos couldn’t stop an Oakland team playing mostly reserves. The A’s got 4 in the 9th to end the Angels playoff hopes, winning 6-5.
I know they aren’t mathematically eliminated, but believe me, it is done. Be honest, do you really see the Angels sweeping the Rangers, who are playing for the 2nd best record in the AL, and home field advantage in the first round of the playoffs? I for on, don’t. Let’s say they do sweep, do you really see the Sox and Rays getting swept? My fantasyland is shut down for the year.
Leading 5-2 in the 9th, Jordan Walden pitching, I wasn’t comfortable, but I wasn’t that nervous. I guess I should have been uncomfortable, and very nervous. Walden blew it, for an AL leading 10th time. He didn’t look great on Saturday. He looked absolutely abysmal on the last Sunday of the regular season. He looked extremely nervous, and pitched like it too. I accepted the leadoff home run to Josh Willingham, but the next set of events set me off, especially the play where Adam Rosales bounced in what should have been a 1-6-3 game ending DP. Walden threw that ball in to center. The Angels website said that he may have been distracted by Erick Aybar and Howard Kendrick arriving at the same time, but that is the lamest excuse I have ever heard. At least Walden was man enough to say he blew it, but it still hurts.
Rosales came in to the game in an 0-30 slump. The last time he reached base was via the walk on September 7th. The last time before that was another walk on August 11th. Rosales, who scored the winning run, last scored a run in early August. Unfreakin believeable.
My one question to Walden: “Before you gave up the game tying double to CSUF’s own Kurt Suzuki, why did you shake off catcher Jeff Mathis? The only reason Mathis plays is because of his prowess handling a pitching staff. You, as a rookie, should never, ever shake him off.
I would like to blame Walden’s implosion on overuse, but he has only pitched 9.1 innings this month, which is 25 days old. Maybe it was that he has already thrown a lot of innings? According to what I read, of the top 10 American League closers, Walden is 8th in innings pitched. Maybe it had to do with Walden’s youth? Well, of guys in the bigs with 29 or more saves, 3 of them, not including Walden, are in their 1st year as closers.
Ok, you can say, “What about Bobby Cassevah and Scott Downs, they blew it too”? My answer is they pitch nearly every day, and they are not gonna be perfect every day. When you have 2 stiffs in the pen like Fernando Rodney and Rich Thompson, those guys are forced to throw much more than they should. At least we know some of the holes the Angels have to fill next year. Are you listening, or watching, Tony Reagins?
Stats are great, but how many of you knew once they put up on screen that Scott Downs was unscored upon at home in 2011, that he would give up a run? I did. Never fails. I wish they would have put up something like, “Scott Downs has never, ever, ever, ever, struck out 3 consecutive Oakland A’s hitters”.
In what most likely was his last start as an Angel, Joel Pineiro pitched great. No walks, pitches moving in and out of the strike zone, attacking batters. The guy didn’t even allow his first base runner until the 6th inning. If it is true that most people only remember the last thing someone says or does, Pineiro should be in line for a 3 year, 25 million dollar deal. Stupid move, but probably will happen. Just think how good the Halos would have been if Pineiro pitched like this the entire 2nd half.
What the hell was Fernando Rodney doing standing by the bullpen phone in the 9th? Did he think the call was for him? At least Thompson was resting comfortably on the bench.
Did you see the look on Torii Hunters face in the dugout after the top of the 9th was completed? If expressions are worth 1000 words, I would say he was as angry as he had ever been.
Angels offense did their job. After the A’s cut the lead to one in the 8th, Peter Bourjos
drove in two in the bottom of the inning. Earlier in the game, Bobby Abreu hit his first home run in 3 weeks. Everything pointed to an Angels victory. Just didn’t happen.
Mark Trumbo played on Sunday. I get the feeling his ankle is in worse shape than is being reported. He’s a gamer, and I’m glad he’s made such an impact this year.
I guess it is just fitting that the Angels bullpen let them down, as it has been underachieving all season long. Thank’s to 3 great starters, the Angels lead the AL in ERA, but they are 2nd in blown saves.
3 meaningless games remaining. I may be upset now, but the fact that the Angels are still in the race until the final days is gratifying to me.
Dan Haren and CJ Wilson tomorrow. Both will be looking for their 17th win of the season.
Boston just beat the Yankees in game 2 of their doubleheader, 7-4. The Angels are now 3 back with 3 to go.
About the Author
Written by Bill Mahoney
O'kay I'll talk about myself a little. I've been working in the television/radio industry for over 21 years. I started at 2 so I am just a tad over 21 (That is a joke). My career has taken me around and and even out of the United States. Right now I call Vegas home, but I just never know where life will take me next. Until 2002 my irrational love for the California/Anaheim/LAA had taken me down some very dark roads, but with Arte Moreno in charge I finally saw the a light at the end of the road. I really love most every sports and having as much fun as possible.