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Sunday, July 17, 2011
A's 9, Angels 1: Three Up, Three Down

By Mark Saxon

It took the Angels three weeks to claw back into the thick of the AL West race, but it's taken them only four days to slide most of the way back.

A rough road trip to Oakland has imperiled the Angels' playoff hopes -- especially after a brutal, 9-1 loss Sunday -- but the Angels still have a chance to cool off the hottest team in baseball. First-place Texas, which has won 11 straight games, visits Anaheim for a three-game series starting Tuesday.

The Good:

Janitorial work. The innings were about as meaningless as they get, but a bunch of young relievers came in and held Oakland scoreless in mop-up duty after Joel Pineiro's embarrassingly short outing.

Bobby Wilson. Sunday will probably hurt the Angels' third catcher more than it helps him -- Mike Scioscia will note the fact that Pineiro only got one out with Wilson behind the plate -- but he merits more playing time than he's getting. Despite scant at-bats, he managed to go 2-for-4, including a double. He did more than the regulars.

The Bad:

Well... Pineiro. On the bright side, he got David DeJesus to ground out. On the other hand, the eight other hitters he faced either got a hit or walked. It was the shortest start by an Angels pitcher in nearly four years.

Fielding. Mark Trumbo made a lousy throw to the plate, or -- who knows -- maybe Pineiro somehow gets through five innings or so. It was Trumbo's sixth error. That's a bit high for a first baseman.

The guppy. Pitchers are throwing Mike Trout a steady stream of breaking pitches and he's not showing the ability to either, A, hit them, or B, lay off them. It's kind of classic for a young hitter to struggle like this. It will be interesting to see if he can adjust in the time he has left.