Sunday, April 24, 2011
Red Sox 7, Angels 0: Three Up, Three Down
By Mark Saxon
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- An old friend administered the latest humiliation to the Angels in their increasingly lopsided "rivalry" with the Boston Red Sox.
John Lackey pitched eight shutout innings Sunday in a 7-0 Red Sox romp. Boston won for the 13th time in the last 14 meetings between the two teams. In this four-game sweep, the Red Sox outscored the Angels 20-5.
Peter rabbit. In honor of the Easter holiday, we bestow that nickname on Peter Bourjos, the Angels' fastest player. He was the only Angel with more than one hit. He bunted his way on in the third -- he's getting better and better at that -- and then lined a single to center. A day off seems to have refreshed the young center fielder.
No congestion. The Angels solved their clutch hitting problem -- a poor batting average with runners in scoring position -- by simply staying off base. They only had 22 at-bats with runners in scoring position over four games, and they got two hits in those situations.
Ace in the hole. No, Jered Weaver didn't pitch. But the best thing the Angels had going for them Sunday was the knowledge that Weaver starts Monday night's game against Oakland. If he wins, he'd be the first pitcher in club history to win six games in the team's first 23 games. He'd be the first to do it in MLB since Randy Johnson for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2002.
Wells' woes. Vernon Wells seemed to be figuring things out in the last road trip, when he batted .360 and hit his first Angels home run. That momentum came crashing to a halt against Boston. Wells, now batting .169, had one hit in 15 at-bats in the series. Even Carl Crawford (.171) surpassed him in the slow-motion race of who can have a less-disappointing start with his new team.
Trumbo's travails. Virtually every hitter in the Angels' lineup is struggling, but none more so than rookie first baseman Mark Trumbo. He looked overmatched against some good Boston pitching, failing to get a hit in this four-game series. Trumbo is 0 for his last 19 at-bats with seven strikeouts.
That's that. The Angels don't have particularly high expectations for Matt Palmer, who is in their rotation only because of two injuries. If they're lucky, they may not have to endure another Palmer start, as Joel Pineiro could make his final rehab outing Monday and rejoin the Angels by next weekend. Palmer (1-1, 5.17 ERA) got things off to a poor start by giving up three runs in the first inning.