Friday, June 3, 2011
Angels 3, Yankees 2: Three Up, Three Down
By Mark Saxon
ANAHEIM -- Angels ace Jered Weaver emerged from his May haze to win for the first time since April 25 as the New York Yankees continued to struggle in Orange County. The Angels have won 12 of their last 16 home games against the Yankees.
Grinding. Sure, Weaver (7-4) had to throw 52 pitches to get through two innings and his fastball hasn't been nearly as fast and it has led to more balls, but he managed to fight through the early innings and then found his tempo. Weaver labored through four innings, but breezed through his last three and, voila, managed to win for the first time since April. Weaver struck out eight and only gave up three hits.
Breaking out. He takes a lot of heat for his hitting, but Peter Bourjos has the third-best OPS in the American League among players 24 and younger. Only Cleveland's Michael Brantley and Seattle's Justin Smoak have him beat. That's not bad for a guy who plays game-changing defense at a premium position. Bourjos had been in a brutal month-long slump (.171 in May), but he had a nice night with a couple of hits to left field.
Unorthodox managing. Mike Scioscia left himself open to some criticism for letting lefty Scott Downs pitch to Alex Rodriguez with the tying run on base in the eighth inning. Most managers would have had the knee-jerk response to bring in their best right-handed setup man. But Downs has been a far more effective pitcher than Fernando Rodney this season and it worked out. Rodriguez fell behind and then hit a harmless bouncer to third for the inning's final out.
Insult. It had to kill Torii Hunter inside when Joe Girardi opted to walk Bobby Abreu intentionally to get to him with a runner on second in the seventh inning. But the numbers supported the decision. It gave Girardi a righty-on-righty matchup and Abreu was a .275 hitter with runners in scoring position entering the game while Hunter was hitting .242 in those spots. David Robertson struck out Hunter looking and Russell Martin threw out Maicer Izturis at third for a double play.
Booing Mark Teixeira. Enough already. It has been three years. He was only here for two months.
Big bat? Is this Russell Branyan thing just not working out? The big designated hitter did have a base hit -- a broken-bat bloop single to left -- but Scioscia pinch-hit for him (with seldom-used catcher Bobby Wilson) against a lefty in the eighth inning. In 23 at-bats with the Angels, Branyan has three singles. Wilson had a productive out, a bouncer to the second baseman to advance the runner. Scioscia was probably trying to protect against a strikeout.