Friday, April 22, 2011
Red Sox 4, Angels 3: Three Up, Three Down
By Mark Saxon
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The dynamic duo of Jered Weaver and Dan Haren finally hit a snag.
The Boston Red Sox took advantage of some sloppy Angels defense to win their 11th game in the last 12 meetings between the teams, beating Haren (4-1) for a 4-3 win Friday night.
Scrappiness. The Angels aren't hitting, but they are showing some fight. For the second night in a row, they rallied in the late innings. The eighth-inning rally was a weird one, with Bobby Abreu scoring all the way from second on a passed ball when Jarrod Saltalamacchia couldn't figure out where the ball went (not surprisingly, it rolled to the backstop).
(Early) Haren. It was far from a bad pitching performance by Haren, who had to throw lots of extra pitches because of the sloppy defense. He got through six innings, struck out six and only two of the four runs he gave up were earned. As the game moved into the middle innings, Haren had trouble putting away hitters.
Relief. The Angels had the best bullpen ERA (2.75) in the league entering Friday and that only got better after good outings from Francisco Rodriguez and Trevor Bell (called up before the game). The conditions for a rally were there. The rally was there. It just wasn't big enough.
Sleepy outfielders. Maybe the most dramatic improvement this season has been the fielding of the Angels' outfielders, but it was a liability on Friday. The big blow was Carl Crawford's high pop-up in the fourth inning that crossed up Peter Bourjos, Torii Hunter and Howie Kendrick. The ball glanced off Bourjos' body for a two-run error. Wells also bobbled a ball for an error that led to another run. Hunter looked like he could have caught Jarrod Saltalamacchia's third-inning double, too.
Swiss cheese. The Angels' lineup is full of holes in the wrong places. The middle of the order is making rallies disappear, with Abreu(.246, but snapped an 0-for-15 slump), Hunter (.212) and Wells (.183) all only hitting in fits and starts. Nobody is giving dependably good at-bats lately.
(Limited) patience. Even after they fell behind, the Angels seemed to have a chance because they were forcing Jon Lester to work hard in the early innings. Later, they got back to their free-swinging ways and Lester was able to get through six innings unscathed. After throwing 65 pitches to get through three innings, Lester needed only 46 for the next three. In his three at-bats vs. Lester, Wells saw a total of six pitches. That included a three-pitch strikeout.