3 up, 3 down: Tigers 7, Angels 2
July, 18, 2012
By Mark Saxon | ESPNLosAngeles.com
The Angels offense cooled off and C.J. Wilson pitched one of his worst games this season in a 7-2 loss to the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on Wednesday. The Angels, embarking on their most grueling stretch of schedule this season, are 2-4 since the All-Star break.
Hot Albert. Albert Pujols might not be in vintage form, but he's pretty close. Though he didn't homer until May 6, he has picked up 17 since and has resumed a pace for 30, meaning he could add to his own record and hit 30-plus in his first 12 seasons. Pujols has three home runs and six RBIs in the six games since the All-Star break. On the worrisome side, he may have tweaked an ankle injury he first picked up in New York trying to take second on a ball in the dirt.
New man. Reliever Kevin Jepsen had a 10.29 ERA when he was optioned to Triple-A at the end of April. Since he came back up early this month, he has yet to allow a run and has given up just one hit in six outings. His stuff looked good when he went down, but he's been far more proficient at locating it lately. With the bullpen struggling, Jepsen could quickly move into a more prominent role. Then the Angels would find out if he can handle it.
Help. The Oakland A's beat the first-place Texas Rangers 4-3 Wednesday afternoon, giving the Rangers just their second loss since the All-Star break. That kept the Angels a manageable 5 1/2 games behind Texas with a three-game series in Anaheim between the teams coming up this weekend. On the other hand, don't look now but Oakland -- with the worst batting average in the majors -- only trails the Angels by 2 1/2 games.
Off his game. Wilson was one of the hottest pitchers in the game in May and June, but he hasn't picked up a win yet this month. Until Wednesday, that really wasn't his doing. He had a truly laborious evening in Detroit, allowing five walks and striking out seven. As a consequence of all those deep counts, he needed 119 pitches to get through six innings. He also had the misfortune of the offense cooling off the night he took the mound.
T and T. One of these days, the Angels are going to have to produce some offense with Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo having quiet nights. That hasn't happened much in recent weeks. Trout tripled and scored a late run, but the two dynamic youngsters combined to go 1-for-7 and the Angels' offense didn't go. Add Torii Hunter's hitless night and you've got the makings of a silent night.
Rumors. There have been persistent reports that the Angels are willing to trade Peter Bourjos to upgrade their pitching staff. It's not that it's such a far-fetched idea. Bourjos has no appreciable role, Vernon Wells will be back soon and the Angels' pitching depth certainly is a concern. But it's hard to imagine general manager Jerry Dipoto would give up Bourjos for a pitcher he might only have for a couple of months (or even through next season). A Trout-Bourjos-Trumbo outfield in coming seasons has a chance to be special.