3 up, 3 down: Angels 6, Twins 2
May, 9, 2012
By Mark Saxon | ESPNLosAngeles.com
The Angels did something they haven't done for Ervin Santana since the third game of the season. They scored.
For the first time in his past six starts, the Angels didn't get shut out behind Santana and the right-hander made it hold up in a 6-2 win over the Minnesota Twins at Target Field.
Trout's time. Oh, so this is what all the fuss is about. Mike Trout's prodigious talent is finally beginning to poke through. He twice hit doubles off the left-field wall on 0-and-2 counts and went 3-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBIs. Trout is warming up and that's encouraging news for the top of the Angels' lineup. During the telecast, Angels analyst Mark Gubicza called Trout a "special player." Now, we're seeing why.
Production junction. Perhaps the No. 1 reason the Angels have been shut out a major league-leading seven times is that the middle of their lineup has been soft. Wednesday offered some encouraging signs. Albert Pujols had two hits and two RBIs and Howie Kendrick, who seems to have settled into the No. 6 spot, went 3-for-4 to raise his average to .298.
Ervin. Wednesday's wasn't Santana's most dominant, but combined with his previous start, it's obvious he's making strides. Santana did give up a home run -- the bane of his season -- but he also pitched into the eighth inning. When the Angels scored that first run for him, he stood up and raised his arms in the dugout as if they had just won a playoff game. It had been a long time since he had seen that.
Torii's troubles. Torii Hunter was a one-man rally wrecker, grounding into double plays in his first two at-bats. One of the key hitters in the Angels' lineup is in a fairly deep cold spell, with one hit in his last seven games (1-for-23) as his batting average has dipped from .319 to .263.
Willing partner. Why does Josh Willingham go from being a journeyman outfielder to Willie Mays every time the Angels play him? Willingham has a .263 lifetime batting average, but against the Angels he hits .324 and has mashed eight home runs in 25 games. It seems as if the Angels never escape a series against Willingham's team without giving up at least one home run.
Wells' roll. Vernon Wells had been on one of his hottest stretches as an Angel and it raised his batting average to .231. Wells has had four games all year in which he had more than one hit and he has walked four times in 112 plate appearances. If this were a strict meritocracy, would Wells be playing every day and Peter Bourjos sitting on the bench virtually every day, Mark Trumbo periodically benched? Just wondering.