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Tuesday, May 24, 2011
A's 6, Angels 1: Three Up, Three Down

By Mark Saxon

ANAHEIM -- The Angels' most consistent starting pitcher, Dan Haren, had his worst outing of the year and the offense continued to slumber in a 6-1 loss to the Oakland A's on Tuesday night. The Angels have scored one run or fewer in half of their last eight games.

The Good:

Accuracy. Torii Hunter might have an uphill battle winning his 10th Gold Glove now that he's a corner outfielder, but his defense looks as good as it has been in years. He threw out his second base runner in two nights, though it was the same (slow) guy, Andy LaRoche both times. He got him at the plate Monday and he nailed him at third Tuesday, on a near-perfect one-hop throw in the third inning.

Awakening? The Angels' offense is anemic, no doubt, but there are at least some signs of life stirring in a few of the key hitters. After driving in 18 runs in his first 45 games, Hunter has driven in seven in his last five. And Erick Aybar snapped out of a 3-for-30 slump with a sharp double into the left-field corner. Maicer Izturis hit balls hard all evening.

Solo act. You can knock Bobby Abreu all you want for the fact he has driven in only 21 runs this season, but at times it seems as if he's the only one getting on base. Abreu reached twice more and is batting .391 on this homestand, plus has reached base safely in 41 of his 49 games. If the Angels had nine Abreus, they'd be in much better shape.

The Bad:

Ace is wild. He wasn't wild outside the strike zone, but inside it. Haren cruised through his final three innings, but his first four didn't give the Angels much of a chance. David DeJesus pummeled a couple of home runs off Haren, giving him a grand total of four on the season. It was the first time Haren had given up more than one home run in 24 starts, dating to last July.

Silent swings. Even if Haren had been great, as he generally has been this year, the Angels wouldn't have won. Why? Because they couldn't score any runs off a guy named Guillermo Moscoso and a couple of little-known relievers. The Angels scraped together three hits off Moscoso. Mark Trumbo struck out three times in four at-bats.

Options. It's easy to see why the Angels are so hesitant to place Howie Kendrick on the disabled list. Their options for left field are, shall we say, limited. One of them, Alexi Amarista hasn't gotten a hit in his last 16 at-bats. Another one, Reggie Willits, rarely hits a ball hard enough to carry to the warning track and a third, Abreu can hardly play the outfield any more.