Saturday, July 16, 2011
A's 4, Angels 3 (Game Two): Three Up, Three Down
By Mark Saxon
After the Angels and Oakland A's spent all day playing baseball Saturday, not much was settled.
The Angels lost the second game of their first scheduled doubleheader in 33 years, 4-3 on Scott Sizemore's 10th-inning RBI single.
Power. The Angels have two of the hottest power hitters going right now in Vernon Wells and Mark Trumbo. Wells mashed his 14th home run to tie the score in the sixth inning and Trumbo hit a two-run shot in the second (his 18th) to stake the Angels to a 2-0 lead. Aside from that, there wasn't any offense to speak of.
Bullpen help. We could have put this one in either category, good or bad. Fernando Rodney wasn't particularly effective pitching in a minor-league game (two hits, a walk and two runs in an inning), but the Angels didn't report any physical setbacks. He should be back in fairly short order, which could help stabilize the middle innings, but shouldn't provide much help to the back end.
Santana's stuff. Ervin Santana has made a pretty good career out of dominating the Oakland A's. He entered Saturday with a 13-3 career record against one of the Angels' main rivals. He was pretty good Saturday, too, giving up only a couple of earned runs through 6 1/3 innings. He did, however, blow the early lead, though -- as usual -- Angels pitchers had little margin for error.
Action. Oakland starter Rich Harden, who tends to get hurt about every other month, looked surprisingly effective lowering his ERA to 5.00. The Angels managed only five hits in the game. Two of them were home runs, so they made it competitive, but it was another lackluster offensive performance. That's three straight to open the second half.
Upper third. The first three hitters in the Angels' lineup went a combined 0-for-13. Not only didn't they set the table, they yanked it out from under the rest of the offense.
Pressure. Reliever Rich Thompson seems to put up marvelous numbers when he's pitching with a four-run lead or mopping up when the Angels are getting blown out. He has struggled in higher-leverage situations, including the 10th inning of a tied game Saturday. Walking the leadoff guy rarely turns out well in these types of situations.