Friday, July 1, 2011
Dodgers 5, Angels 0: Three Up, Three Down
By Pedro Moura
ANAHEIM -- The Angels couldn't consistently get hits off of Dodgers' right-hander Hiroki Kuroda, and starter Tyler Chatwood didn't miss any bats all night as the visiting Dodgers posted a shutout win, 5-0.
The Angels' loss evens the season series between the two teams at 2-2, with two more games to go this weekend before interleague play ends this year.
Howie Kendrick and his hitting streak. Kendrick moved from second base to left field in the third inning when Torii Hunter exited the game (more on that later) but wasn't fazed, collecting an infield single early and another hit off of Javy Guerra in the ninth to give the Angels a little boost. He's now at 10 straight games with a hit, with four of those games multi-hit affairs. Angels manager Mike Scioscia said before the game he believed Kendrick would be seriously considered for the All-Star Game. Kendrick has the best chance of any Angel aside from right-hander Jered Weaver to go to Phoenix.
Peter Bourjos' bat (his glove is almost always good). The Angels' speedy center fielder is finally getting back into his groove at the plate. After hitting .329 in the month of June to raise his average nearly 25 points, he followed it up with two hard-hit balls on July 1. Only one of them went for a hit, though -- a ground-rule double down the line in left in the fifth inning. He struck out in the third but hit one right back at reliever Mike MacDougal in the eighth, only to see MacDougal pick it up off his foot and throw him out at first.
Tony Gwynn Jr. The jokes have all been heard before -- the Dodgers' version of Tony Gwynn is nowhere near the hitter his father was for the Padres for 20 seasons between 1982 and 2001. But the son played like his dad Friday, leading off the game with a double and adding two more hits to kickstart L.A.'s offense throughout the night. Gwynn Jr. also drew three walks to reach base six times for the first time in his six-year career. He was also partially responsible for the Angels' seventh-inning defensive fiasco, which we'll get to later.
Infield play. Defense isn't at fault for Friday's loss -- not by any stretch -- but the Angels' infielders didn't do much to help the team's cause with a few plays. They were only charged with one error, a drop by Mark Trumbo at first base that allowed a runner to advance to first. But the seventh inning was a perfect example of what ailed the Angels, with the Dodgers using two quick baserunners, Gwynn Jr. and Dee Gordon, to confuse the host infielders into allowing Gordon to steal home. The Angels weren't sharp on the diamond.
Hitters' patience. The Angels didn't just struggle to accumulate hits off of Kuroda -- they also struggled to make him work. The 36-year-old right-hander threw only 103 pitches in his seven innings of work Friday, the third-fewest he has thrown in an outing that long this season. He also hit two Angels hitters, forcing plate umpire Dale Scott to warn both benches in the seventh inning. The saving grace for the Angels regarding their collective performance against Kuroda? It was at least somewhat a simple case of a good pitcher performing, as their bats came alive in the eighth and ninth innings facingMacDougal and Guerra.
Hunter's health. Right fielder Torii Hunter left the game after two innings Friday because of a bruised left hand. He attempted to stay in the game after being hit by a pitch from Kuroda but exited after playing one more inning in the field. He was sent to undergo X-rays. If that was Hunter's final appearance in this weekend's Freeway Series, he will have logged only one at-bat against the Dodgers this season, missing all three games of last week's set because of bruised ribs. Hunter had only 19 hits -- with five doubles his only extra-basers -- in the month of June, so it's not as if the Angels are at risk of losing one of their hot hitters, but they still need his bat in the lineup.