3 Up, 3 Down: A's 2, Angels 1

May, 21, 2012
5/21/12
10:25
PM PT
The Angels can fail to score with the best of them.

After losing a series against the San Diego Padres, who have scored the second-fewest runs in baseball, the Angels traveled to play the team with the worst batting average in baseball. They lost again, this time to the Oakland A's by a score of 2-1.

The Angels' offense, well-hyped after an active winter, has scored more than two runs just once in the past five games.

The Good:

Mr. Solid. The decision to give Jerome Williams the final spot in the Angels' rotation is looking smarter by the week. Williams has been about as solid as a No. 5 starter can be lately. His ERA this month is under 3.00 and he has pitched at least into the seventh inning in every start this season other than his first in New York.

The 'pen is mighter than... we thought? The most-maligned part of the team -- fortified by the addition of hard-throwing Ernesto Frieri and by improved performances -- has given up just three earned runs in the past 23 innings. So, they've got that going for them, at least for now.

Trojan horse. OK, we've exhausted positive Angels news, so perhaps we should turn our praise to a Southern California native elsewhere. Tommy Milone, a Saugus native and ex-USC Trojan, has pitched brilliantly at the Oakland Coliseum and -- in 14 major-league starts -- has a 3.98 ERA. The A's acquired him from the Washington Nationals in the Gio Gonzalez trade and it looks like he could be a keeper.

The Bad:

Missing piece. With Vernon Wells out for at least the next two months after having surgery on his right thumb, Peter Bourjos is in for more playing time. That's good news when the Angels are in the field, but questionable news when they're hitting. The team needs Bourjos -- along with most of the other hitters -- to shake out of his early funk. Bourjos has been hovering around .200 most of the season.

Atrophy. Before Monday, Kendrys Morales had batted just 16 times against left-handed pitchers (and gotten three hits). It's no wonder he's a bit rusty from the right side. Morales went 0-for-4 Monday in a surprise start against the lefty and you wonder if it will be another month before Mike Scioscia gives him that chance again. If you're going to call this guy a switch-hitter, why not give him a chance to actually switch hit?

End game. It seems like a small thing, but the Angels have gotten virtually no offense from their catchers since Chris Iannetta got knocked out by a wrist injury. Bobby Wilson has one hit in his last 22 at-bats. With holes elsewhere in the lineup, the lack of production near the bottom of the order has become a bigger concern. It sounds a lot like last year, frankly.

Mark Saxon

ESPNLosAngeles.com
Mark Saxon is a staff writer for ESPNLosAngeles.com. He spent six years at the Orange County Register, and began his career at the Oakland Tribune, where he started an 11-year journey covering Major League Baseball. He has also covered colleges, including USC football and UCLA basketball.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Jered Weaver
WINS ERA SO IP
18 3.59 169 213
OTHER LEADERS
BAH. Kendrick .293
HRM. Trout 36
RBIM. Trout 111
RM. Trout 115
OPSM. Trout .939
ERAG. Richards 2.61
SOJ. Weaver 169