Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Angels 6, White Sox 2: Three Up, Three Down
By Mark Saxon
ANAHEIM -- The Angels snapped out of an offensive funk at their home ballpark to pound the Chicago White Sox 6-2 Tuesday night.
Home cooking. Angel Stadium has always been friendlier to pitchers than hitters, but this season it has been an offensive mausoleum. Entering Tuesday, the Angels were batting .232 at Angel Stadium and .300 on the road, had slugged six homers at home and 25 on the road and were averaging 2.7 runs at home and 5.4 on the road. Maybe it was the sight of 35,000 people wearing wrestling masks... OK, maybe it was an off night for lefty John Danks. The Angels erupted for 11 hits, five of them with runners on base.
Middle men. The Angels have a thing for up-the-middle defenders. Before Vernon Wells got hurt, they had three guys who started their careers as center fielders playing in the outfield. On Tuesday, after Howie Kendrick slid to left field, they had three former middle infielders starting in their lineup. Three of them, Kendrick, Alberto Callaspo and Maicer Izturis provided a lot of the offense, smacking six hits, including a home run and driving in five runs.
Sinkers. The Angels picked a good night to ease Kendrick into playing the outfield. Joel Pineiro practically never gives up fly balls. He had the sinker working and it produced two inning-ending double plays to help him get out of trouble. Pineiro has now given up a total of three earned runs in his three starts since returning from the disabled list.
Insult unanswered. Everybody seemed to have fun other than the bottom of the Angels' lineup. It was a particularly excruciating evening for catcher Jeff Mathis, who had to watch Ozzie Guillen twice intentionally walk rookie Mark Trumbo to get to him. Mathis responded to those affronts with a weak pop-up and a strikeout. He was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and is now batting .186, right around his career average.
Concentration. It's been a rough start for rookie third baseman Brent Morel of the White Sox. He came into the game batting .218 and Tuesday he did something you don't often see on a major-league field. He dropped a pop-up with no apparent excuses in sight. It was a night game with no wind and nobody else around him. It just glanced off the webbing of his glove.
Sympathy. Chicago catcher A.J. Pierzynski -- always a lightning rod for controversy -- chopped two straight foul balls off his right leg in the ninth inning and the crowd roared its approval while he limped around in pain. As Pierzynski's own manager, Guillen once said, "If he's on the other team, you hate him. If he's on your team, you hate him a little less."