3 up, 3 down: Dodgers 5, Angels 2
June, 12, 2012
By Mark Saxon | ESPNLosAngeles.com
LOS ANGELES -- The Angels struggled to come up with clutch hits and saw their slim lead blow up during a four-run ninth inning as the Dodgers tied up the Freeway Series with Tuesday night's 5-2 win.
All-around game. Jerome Williams is a good all-around athlete, which allowed Mike Scioscia to leave him in the game despite a couple of pinch-hitting opportunities (he may, in fact, have left him in too long). Williams showed the full range of his skills Tuesday. He got on base twice, including on a well-struck third-inning double. Williams also made several strong plays in the field, including starting an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded in the fourth inning. He also pitched well until his pitch count crept up to around 100 in the eighth inning, when the roof caved in.
Stole patrol. The Angels have three of the best defensive outfielders in the league even when one of them, Peter Bourjos, spends the game on the bench. Mike Trout made a clutch catch on Andre Ethier's line drive over his head to save a run in the sixth and Torii Hunter got a quick jump to take a double away from Kennedy in the seventh.
Still swinging. The Angels have been seeing something more important than home runs from Albert Pujols lately. They've been seeing consistency. Pujols is hitting .352 with 25 RBIs over his last 26 games. He and Hunter were the only hitters in the lineup who seemed to be able to see the ball well off Aaron Harang.
Missed management? Contrary to indications, it was not Scioscia's bobblehead calling the shots from the Angels' dugout. It only looked that way when the Angels elected to let Williams pitch to Ethier in the eighth inning. Left-hander Scott Downs, who has yet to allow a run this season, had pitched one inning the previous five games, so -- unless he is injured -- seemed to be the man for the job. Scioscia also let Williams pitch to Juan Rivera and the ex-Angel hit the knockout blow, a three-run home run.
Opportunity costs. The Angels, once again, had so many chances to do damage and could not come up with that key hit, or even walk. They stranded a runner at third in the first inning, left the bases loaded in the third and sixth and were 2-for-14 with runners in scoring position. The night before, they went 2-for-12. They're making it so much tougher on themselves than it has to be.
Top-loaded. Williams was the only hitter creating action at the end of the lineup. Erick Aybar and Maicer Izturis are having forgettable seasons. Aybar, especially, has been giving the Angels night after night of uneventful at-bats. He tried unsuccessfully to bunt for a hit a couple of times and struck out twice. The Angels are creating tons of action between the Nos. 1 and 5 spots in the lineup, but the noise dies down quickly after that. Izturis also whiffed on Bobby Abreu's liner for an error.