By the Fangraphs Win Expectancy tables, the Angels were about just shy
of 80% to win the game following Howie Kendrick's two-run single in the second
inning. WE, of course, relies on historical events across all teams, not on the
particular situation facing the two teams. With Jered Weaver on the mound for
Anaheim1 and the A's hitting like Ty Cobb2, I might have pegged
the Angels' chances of winning at more like 95%. (In fact, I forgot I wrote
this, but when the Angels scored those two runs, I typed in my notes "OAK 0 ANA
2 and ballgame".)
The A's never even threatened Weaver -- they got a runner to second with one out
in the second, to third with two outs in the seventh, and two runners on with
one out in the ninth. That's it. Weaver had a good fastball with excellent
location and a change that was at worst unhittable and at best filthy. I've been
spending a lot of time this season shrugging my shoulders as the A's fail to hit
really good pitchers (Felix Hernandez x 2, Justin Verlander, Weaver, Clay
Buchholz, arguably Michael Pineda). Good teams, of course, don't require their
fans to do this, but I'm under no misapprehensions about the 2011 A's. They're
not good. They might be good enough to sneak into a division title with 87 wins
if the Rangers ever stop winning, but they're not good.
Box & Notes
Coco Crisp had three line drives and a sharp ground ball, which added up to
three singles. His demerit comes from having a bag stolen in the third with two
outs and Daric Barton at the plate, but sliding right past the base, unable to
hook it with either his hand or foot, and being tagged out. Still, I have to
give him the Offensive Player of the Game3 because there aren't any
other candidates aside from Hideki Matsui, who had a single and a double, but
the double was more about placement (down the left-field line) than quality.
Daric Barton should have been a contender for the OPOTG, but he was
robbed by the umpires twice. Leading off the fourth, he hit a fly down the left
field line that Vernon Wells attempted to slide and catch. Wells missed the
ball, and it was ruled foul, but replay showed that the ball landed slightly
inside the line, with the umpire blocked from the play by the sliding Wells.
Then, in the ninth, with Coco Crisp on first, Barton hit a
medium-strength grounder toward the left-side hole. Erick Aybar grabbed
it and made a Derek Jeter Jump Throw (TM) that just got Barton at first.
Except it didn't. Once again, replay clearly showed that Barton's foot
was on the bag with the ball still at least twelve inches from Mark
Trumbo's glove at first base. It wasn't even one of those "the ball is
really close to the mitt, but is it in the mitt yet?" plays. The ball
was clearly outside. Daric Barton could use all the hits he can get
right now (91 wRC+), so he's owed a couple.
Kevin Kouzmanoff saw eight pitches in his three trips to the plate and whiffed
on four of them.
The first inning was just a mess, none of it Gio Gonzalez's making or
unmaking. Cliff Pennington airmailed a throw over Daric Barton to allow Peter
Bourjos to reach, then Kurt Suzuki threw Bourjos out stealing second despite
double-clutching (Peter Bourjos!), then Bobby Abreu was called out by the home
umpire on a check swing when he very clearly did not go around, and finally
Torii Hunter lined a hard ball to right, but directly at David DeJesus.
Things did not really settle down from there, as the Angels scored runs
in the second, third, and fourth, and nearly got one in the fifth too,
except Coco Crisp grabbed a ball in the right-center alley off the bat
of Vernon Wells that would have scored Torii Hunter from first had it
Michael Wuertz's almost-debut (he pitched on Opening Day before going on the
DL, a fact I'd forgotten) was successful, with two strikeouts looking and a weak
chopper in front of the plate. I'm happy to have Wuertz back.
Jerry Blevins walked Torii Hunter and Vernon Wells to lead off the eighth on
just nine pitches, then gave up a line drive that was caught before getting a
ground ball to third that Kouzmanoff turned as a 5-3 double play. Only to
Kendrick did I think Blevins pitched well, getting the aggressive second baseman
to foul off a fastball at the letters before hitting a slider down for the outs.
If you're new to the blog: I don't call the Angels "Los Angeles." This
isn't just because I live in Los Angeles and have a weird proprietary
interest in the name. I just think it's lame to abandon the city for the
suburbs in the '60s and then try to claim, forty years later, that
you're actually still in the city. If you want to be L.A., you can come
pay L.A. taxes. ↩