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.
The Texas Rangers were rumored to be involved in trade talks for Blue Jays Ace Roy Halladay. However, the trade never went through as Nolan Ryan of the Rangers was unwilling to part with young left handed starting pitcher Derek Holland. On Sunday afternoon, the Angels and their fans got to see, first hand, why Ryan wasn’t willing to part with Holland. The Rangers lefty carried a no hitter into the 6th inning, ulitmately getting the complete game shutout while only allowing 3 hits. The win, allowed the Rangers to not only cut the Angels lead to 3.5 games in the division, but also continued their dominance over the Halos, taking yet another series.
Angels starter John Lackey definitely didn’t deserve his fate today. He threw a career high 131 pitches, but even more, witnessed one of the poorest defensive outings by the club this year. A mental error in communication by seldom used first base fill in Robb Quinlan on a ground ball to second, (leaving first base uncovered) allowed an inning to continue that was later capped off by a Bobby Abreu error that allowed the first two Ranger runs to score in the game. Lackey ended up going 6 2/3 to earn the loss.
Up next for the Halos will be Joe Maddon and his Rays. The Rays, pretty much all but out in terms of winning the AL East, are still just 1.5 games behind wild card leading Boston and Texas. Although they just completed a frustrating series in Seattle, losing 2 of 3. Typically though, the Rays play the Angels tough, and with the Angels definitely showing signs of coming back to earth after their white-hot start post all star break, you can be sure this is going to be a fiercely competetive series. Matt Garza opposed Sean O’sullivan in game one on Monday night.
Until next time Angel fans