White Sox 6, Angels 4 (10): Three Up, Three Down
May, 11, 2011
By Mark Saxon | ESPNLosAngeles.com
ANAHEIM -- The Angels' bullpen has hit another patch of ice.
Relievers coughed up five runs in the final three innings as the Angels lost 6-4 to the Chicago White Sox in 10 innings Wednesday night. The go-ahead run scored in a most bizarre fashion: Kevin Jepsen, called up a few hours earlier from Triple-A Salt Lake, threw a wild pitch over Hank Conger's head while intentionally walking Paul Konerko.
It was the Angels' ninth extra-inning game this season, most in the majors.
Damage control. Things could have exploded so many times on Tyler Chatwood, but the 21-year old has a knack for staying cool under pressure, it seems. Chatwood managed to get into the seventh inning while giving up only one run though he didn't strike out anyone. The key was the two rally-ending double plays, in the first and fourth innings. Chatwood danced his way around 11 base runners.
Slump over. On the same day the Angels announced they would be without cleanup hitter Kendrys Morales all season because of a second round of surgery on his fractured left ankle, Torii Hunter continued to look as if he could handle the job. Hunter thought he had figured something out in batting practice before Tuesday's game and his results bear show it. In the last two games, he has gone 4-for-9 with three runs scored and three RBIs.
Thievery. Angels manager Mike Scioscia says he thinks this is the fastest team he has ever had and some aggressive base running has been paying off lately. Maicer Izturis and Howie Kendrick had stolen bases off Jake Peavy that helped lead to runs.
Growing pains. Thirteen of the first 14 appearances for rookie closer Jordan Walden were scoreless, but he has hit a snag. Walden has blown two of his last three save chances and given up five earned runs in his last three outings. His first five pitches were balls, an inauspicious start, and things didn't get much better. Walden walked two batters and gave up an RBI single to A.J. Pierzynski and a sacrifice fly to Omar Vizquel.
Regrets. It's amazing to reflect on what one spur-of-the moment decision -- to leap onto home plate celebrating a home run -- could do to Morales' career. He will have missed more than a year-and-a-half of baseball in the prime of his career. He'll also have to battle some serious rust when he finally does return, and that date is anybody's guess at this point.
Setup guy. The way Fernando Rodney and Rich Thompson are going, it wouldn't be surprising to see Rodney slip another notch down the bullpen pecking order. Rodney was a mess for the second time in his last three outings, giving up a walk and two sharp hits before a batter's interference call bailed him out of a mess. Meanwhile, Thompson, whose 22 strikeouts lead AL relievers, needed just one pitch to Carlos Quentin to get out of the seventh inning.