3 up, 3 down: Padres 3, Angels 2
May, 19, 2012
By Mark Saxon | ESPNLosAngeles.com
The Angels, searching for some offensive continuity, hit another cold patch in a 3-2 loss to the last-place San Diego Padres.
Snapping out of it. Erick Aybar had been as cold as cold can be, but his bat has come awake in a big way the past two nights. Aybar had four more hits, driving in and scoring a run, and has six already in this weekend series. Aybar's days as a leadoff hitter may be over, but the Angels, especially without catcher Chris Iannetta, could use another active bat near the bottom of their lineup.
Trout's fire. As a rookie, Mike Trout probably shouldn't get into too many spats with umpires. At the same time, he has to play the game with emotion. He nearly beat out the shortstop's throw on his RBI groundout in the fifth inning, then made no secret of his unhappiness with Doug Eddings' call. Eddings, far from a popular figure with Angels fans following a controversial call in the 2005 ALCS, stared him down all the way to the dugout.
Back to form. It's hard to separate the opponent from the performance, but Dan Haren seemed to have crisper stuff Saturday night and that's a good sign for this rotation. Haren gave up three runs, but generally mowed down the punchless Padres through six innings. He also was working in the 90 mph range with his fastball, which seems to be a key mark.
Numbness. The Angels have a tendency to be lulled to sleep for long stretches of games, often against pedestrian pitchers. Soft-tossing lefty Eric Stults, an ex-Dodger, was able to breeze deep into the seventh inning while allowing only four hits. Only two Angels, Aybar and Trout, managed to pick up even one base hit off Stults.
The price. The Angels couldn't be happier with new reliever Ernesto Frieri, who has fortified the wobbly back end of their bullpen. But you don't get something for nothing in this game, and scrappy middle infielder Alexi Amarista, part of a trade for Frieri, looks like he has the heart -- and ability -- to be a big-league player. Amarista (two hits, winning RBI) has gotten off to a strong start with the Padres, who figure to give him a shot at their starting second base job.
Cooling off. Mark Trumbo was practically trailing smoke behind him, he was swinging such a hot bat. Primarily a designated hitter prior to Torii Hunter's recent absence, Trumbo also had established himself well in right field, which just might end up being his position next year and beyond. But Saturday was a bit of a rough patch. He went 0-for-4 with a strikeout, stranded a couple runners and bobbled a ball that let a runner reach third base.