3 up, 3 down: Angels 7, Rockies 2
June, 8, 2012
By Mark Saxon | ESPNLosAngeles.com
A couple of newcomers to Coors Field found it to their liking, pulling the Angels to a 7-2 win over the Colorado Rockies that kept their interleague roll going.
Neither Torii Hunter or C.J. Wilson had ever played in Denver before Friday, but they both had dominant performances. The Angels are 64-30 vs. the National League since the start of 2007, best interleague record in the majors.
Veteran leadership. Hunter hasn't exactly been hot, but he pretty much was the offense Friday night. Hunter hit two deep two-run home runs and then added a two-run single in the ninth. Judging by his night, manager Mike Scioscia might want to leave him in the No. 2 spot for a while. It makes the Angels awfully right-handed at the top of the lineup, but if it works, who cares?
Ace-like. How absurd does it look in retrospect that Ervin Santana broke camp as the No. 3 starter ahead of Wilson? Wilson out-performed Santana last year and this season it hasn't even been close. While Santana has struggled with walks and home runs (and losses), Wilson has been the Angels' most consistent healthy starter. At one of the worst places to pitch on earth, he gave the Angels eight strong innings, allowing a run on five hits and striking out nine. He's 7-4 with a 2.39 ERA, giving the Angels that steadying, ace-like performance while Jered Weaver is out.
Kid consistent. Mike Trout does it at every level. He arrives, struggles for a little while as he learns the lay of the land, and then takes off. He has been making the major leagues look a lot like he made Single-A, Double-A and Triple-A after a while: like his own personal playground. He got on base four times, scored three times and is batting .340. It's been a remarkable run for a 20-year-old rookie.
Thumb hunting. Rockies reliever Esmil Rogers is a hard thrower who looks like he has only a vague notion of where his pitches are headed. The Angels can only hope he didn't do much damage when he hit Trout with an upper-90s fastball in the ninth inning. The ball glanced off Trout's left shoulder and then thwacked off his right thumb.It wouldn't be surprising to see Trout miss Saturday's game after inflammation sets in.
Sophomore slump. Jordan Walden isn't going to regain his closer job any time soon, though that has as much to do with the dominant work of Ernesto Frieri and Scott Downs as with his own struggles. Walden just doesn't inspire great confidence. He got two quick strikeouts before allowing a single and a Jordan Pacheco RBI triple. No major damage after that, but also not a smooth inning for the hard thrower.
Lopsided. The Angels still aren't displaying the kind of offensive depth you see from the bigger offenses in the American League. The Nos. 6 through 9 spots in their lineup went 3-for-15. Often, pitchers can cruise once they get past Mark Trumbo. Until Howie Kendrick gets back in a groove and Erick Aybar can stop his tailspin, that isn't going to change.