Thursday, May 19, 2011
Mariners 3, Angels 0: Three Up, Three Down
By Mark Saxon
The Angels' offense, sporadic in the best of times, has completely disappeared.
The Angels were shut out for the second night in a row, falling 3-0 to Jason Vargas and the Seattle Mariners Wednesday at Safeco Field to run their scoreless-innings streak to 21.
Battling. Jered Weaver has taken some heat for a big drop-off in production from April (6-0, 0.99 ERA) to May (0-4, 5.25), but a little more run support and he could easily be 8-2 and talking about his plans for the All-Star game. Weaver clearly doesn't have the overwhelming stuff that carried him through April, but he fought hard in a 115-pitch, six-inning outing. It's impossible for a starting pitcher to win when the offense gets shut out.
Chances. In contrast to Tuesday night against Gio Gonzalez and two Oakland relievers, the Angels at least had base runners. They had 10 in fact. They just couldn't come up with hits when men were on base, which has been uttered before. They were 1 for 6 with runners in scoring position. They are RISP-averse.
Prospect. OK, we've run out of good things to say about the big-league club, but a new pitching prospect offered some hope 2,000 miles to the southeast. Orangel Arenas, freshly recalled from Single-A ball, pitched 8 1/3 innings against a good-hitting Springfield Cardinals team at Double-A Arkansas. Arenas fields his position adroitly and kept the Cards off balance. The Angels are thin in starting pitching, so maybe he can emerge to fill a void.
Cleanup. OK, it's time to talk about Torii Hunter, who made an interesting comment to the beat writers in Seattle: "Those are my numbers, but those numbers aren't me," Hunter said. He's got to fix that problem, and preferably soon, or this Angels season could start drifting far out to sea. After going hitless Wednesday in Seattle, Hunter is batting .223. He has grounded into a league-leading 12 double plays, hasn't hit a home run since April 21 and has just one extra base hit since May 3. He's batting .212 with runners in scoring position. Not good.
Young guys. The magic potion that kept them at such a high level for five weeks has worn off with Peter Bourjos and Mark Trumbo. Bourjos hasn't gotten a hit since May 11. Since then he's 0-for-20 with nine strikeouts. Yikes. Trumbo is 3 for his last 23 with one extra-base hit and 10 strikeouts. Yikes.
Glove work. The Angels have to win with pitching and defense, clearly -- and pitching is probably 75 percent of it -- but lately they've gotten a little sloppy in the field. They had two more errors Wednesday. Shortstop Erick Aybar hasn't been as routinely sharp lately.