Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Angels 8, A's 3: Three Up, Three Down
By Mark Saxon
ANAHEIM -- The Angels snapped out of their hitting funk to beat the Oakland A's 8-3 Tuesday night, fueled largely by the contributions of their youngest players. Tuesday was just the fourth time this season the Angels have scored more than six runs in a game.
Kids these days. It wasn't the first time the Angels' youngsters had led the team to a win, but this was an extreme case. Tyler Chatwood, 21, pitched 5 1/3 decent innings, Alexi Amarista, 22, drove in three runs, including with a double in his first major-league at-bat, Hank Conger, 23, drove in a couple more and Peter Bourjos, 24, had three hits, including two triples.
More Amarista. He's probably the smallest player in the major leagues, but everyone in the Angels' organization talks about what an exciting player he could be. You wonder if the Angels have a factory somewhere that produces short, switch-hitting infielders. Amarista was leading the Pacific Coast League batting .455 and the Angels are hoping he can inject some of that into their lineup.
Big bats. The kids' contributions are well and good, but the Angels aren't going anywhere if Torii Hunter and Vernon Wells slump for long. Hunter finally got some good fortune -- his dribbler up the middle went for an infield hit in the first inning and that ignited him. He blasted an RBI double over the left fielder's head in the third inning and smashed a single to center in the eighth. Wells had an RBI infield hit, but heard some more boos on a 1-for-5 night.
Walks. Control issues are beginning to plague Chatwood. He followed a five-walk performance against Boston with four walks to the A's. In four starts, Chatwood has walked 15 batters and struck out only 10. That's a troubling ratio that has made it harder for him to pitch deep into games.
Wells west. When the Angels acquired Wells, they had to know he was a .201 lifetime hitter at Angel Stadium. That number keeps going down as he has yet to get comfortable hitting in this ballpark. Wells is 3-for-33 on this homestand and 5-for-45 (.091) overall in Anaheim this season. Too bad he couldn't get traded to Texas (.385 lifetime average).
A's bats. It looks as if the AL West will have some of the quietest innings in baseball. Oakland has scored three runs or fewer in four of its last six games and been shut out in three of those. Seattle's offense (3.39 runs per game) is worse and, statistically speaking, the Angels (3.9) are in the conversation.