Tonight’s game was a complete opposite of last night’s offensive extravaganza that saw the Angels win 8-7. Ervin Santana completely manhandled and shut down a powerful Rays lineup, going the distance while allowing only 3 hits to get the complete game shutout. This also happened to be his first home win of the year, and it couldn’t have come at a better time for the Halos. Santana, to be blunt, has been wildly inconsistent all year long, and in a week that saw the Halos put lefty starter Joe Saunders on the DL, this is something that the club really needed. It remains to be seen though, if Santana can build off of this start and provide some much needed consistency for the club and the starting staff in particular.
Rays starter David Price performed much better than his line shows. The lengthly lefthander carried a no hitter into the fifth inning, an inning in which, the wheels started falling off. Reggie Willits helped lead to the demise of Price after a clutch 2 RBI single with two outs in the fifth and was driven in by the next batter, Chone Figgins, who singled to put the Halos up 3-0. Jeff Mathis put the icing on the cake with a bases loaded double off the left field fence, driving in 3 and putting the Angels up to stay, 6-0, and sending Price off to an early, lonesome shower.
The Rangers were shutout by the Indians today, so now the Halos lead the division by 5 games. In the series finale tommorow, Trevor Bell of the Angels will make his major league debut, and will be opposed by the Rays Jeff Niemann. It will be an early start for the game, at 12:35. The club is also expecting to see the return of centerfielder Torii Hunter, which will be a much welcomed sight for the club. Justin Speier, who had been very inconsistent in the pen all year long, was released today as the club made room on the roster for Bell.
On a separate note, it was great to see the Tigers Rick Porcello throw the charging Kevin Youkillis to the ground during the benches clearing brawl. I hope he gets a nice fat suspension for his actions.
Until next time Angel fans.
For any fan out there that isn’t a fan of good starting pitching, this game was definitely for you. Rays starter Matt Garza didn’t make it out of the 4th inning and Angels starter Sean O’sullivan didn’t fare much better, not making it out of the 5th. Despite the ineffectiveness of each team’s starting pitching though, this was quite an entertaining game.
Vladimir Guerrero reached a milestone on Monday night.
In a great example of baseball irony, Vlad hit his 400th career home run off of the right field foul pole. Earlier in the game he hit #399 off of an umbrella next to the center field cameraman. Kendry Morales kept pace, hitting 2 dingers of his own as well to help the Angels battle back from an early deficit, only to keep watching the Rays battle back to tie things up. Three separate times the Rays fought back to tie when the Angels had taken the lead the previous inning. However though, the Rays didn’t have one last comeback in their system, and the when the dust had finally settled, the Halos came away victorious, winning game 1 of this series 8-7.
Brian Fuentes came in to slam the door shut, retiring the Rays in order to record his 32nd save of the season. The save didn’t come easy, as Juan Rivera robbed Ben Zobrist of a game tying home run, near the short fence on the left field foul line, for the final out. A huge relief outing was turned in by Kevin Jepsen, who threw 2 innings of scoreless relief. Jepsen has been very effective of late, which was a big difference from how he was earlier in the year.
With both the Angels and the Rays having hopes this year of making the playoffs, this game exposed both of each team’s achilles heal. Starting pitching. Plain and simple, both teams need to solve this problem before the playoffs are reached.
Rays shortstop Jason Bartlett came within a single of being the second major leaguer on the day to hit for the cycle, as Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki had done so earlier in the evening.
The Rangers had the day off, so the Angels lead is now at 4 games. Game 2 tomorrow will see young Ray lefty phenom David Price take on the Angels Ervin Santana. Each starter hasn’t been pitching up to their talent, it will be very interesting to see how each will do. Both teams used their bullpens heavily tonight, it would be nice to see Ervin go at least 7 innings.
Until next time Angel fans.