Angels 5, Tigers 1: Three Up, Three Down
July, 30, 2011
By Mark Saxon | ESPNLosAngeles.com
Dave Reginek/Getty ImagesDan Haren stepped up to give the Angels the strong pitching performance they needed Saturday in Detroit.
The Angels have been shut out so far before the trade deadline, but they managed to beat the Detroit Tigers 5-1 and keep the heat on the Texas Rangers in the AL West. They trail by just two games going into Sunday, the final day for teams to make trades in which players don't have to clear waivers.
Pitching. The Angels' pitching might be good enough to keep them in this thing all the way to the end, no matter what the hitters do. The marquee game is Sunday when Cy Young favorites Jered Weaver and Justin Verlander square off. Meanwhile, Dan Haren said, "Hold on a minute," by pitching nine workmanlike innings. He struck out only one batter, but he gave the bullpen a day off and that's usually good news.
Defense. Don't be fooled. Pitching is the most important component of baseball defense, but the other component -- fielding -- was equally sharp Saturday. Haren, Peter Bourjos and Erick Aybar all made highlight-reel plays to keep the big right-hander chugging along. In a way, Saturday epitomized this season for the Angels.
Trumbo's production. Mark Trumbo has driven in runs in every game in this series. He has a chance to hit 30 home runs, 30 doubles and drive in 100 runs, which should give him the Rookie of the Year no matter what his batting average is. The Angels were kicking the tires on acquiring a big bat during trade talks, but maybe they already have one.
Re-scuffling. Vernon Wells seemed to have found his stroke, but he has stumbled into another cold streak to drop his average to .215. Wells has four hits in his last 29 at-bats (.138) and he hasn't driven in a run in six straight games. To get consistent, the Angels need the middle of their order to show more life more frequently than it has this season.
Inaction. Perhaps teams are asking for unreasonable returns -- say, Mike Trout for example -- but it's looking as if the Angels might not make a major move at the trade deadline. That's not necessarily GM Tony Reagins' fault, but it's not a great message to the Angels pitchers as they try to keep the team in the race almost singlehandedly these days. Plenty of useful players moved around on Saturday and none of them are headed to Detroit to join the Angels so far. The deadline is Sunday at 1 p.m. PDT.
Jeff Mathis. It wouldn't be a "3 Up, 3 Down," if we didn't point out that Mathis went 0-for-3 and is batting .187.