Saturday, August 6, 2011
Mariners 5, Angels 1: Three Up, Three Down
By Mark Saxon
ANAHEIM -- The Angels remain stuck in the mud in striking distance.
After another lackluster night of hitting, the Angels lost 5-1 to the Seattle Mariners Saturday night to remain a game back of first-place Texas. The Angels have been planted one back for five straight games.
Good Times. That seems to be the only 1970s era sitcom that Torii Hunter hasn't used as walk-up music, but it actually applies these days. He's been dyn-0-mite on this homestand. Hunter has 11 hits in 20 at-bats to add a little heft to a batting average that was getting a little droopy.
One swing. It's not as if Bobby Abreu is hot (he's still trying to get out of the worst slump of his 15-year career), but he hit a deep double to the warning track. It felt like the first ball he had hit hard in a month. A scout I talked to before the game said he wrote in his report that one of Abreu's swings looked like he was swinging underwater. The Angels desperately need to get this guy swinging on dry land, because he's going to stay in the middle of their order the rest of this year, and maybe even next.
Other Bobby. You've got to figure Bobby Wilson is about to start getting the most playing time of his short career. The other catcher, Jeff Mathis, looks like he's swinging a rolled-up newspaper these days and the last two times Wilson has worked with Sunday starter Ervin Santana, Santana threw a no-hitter and another complete game. Wilson drove in the only Angels run with a double to right-center.
Rocky rookie. One reason the Angels appear hesitant to use pitching prospect Garrett Richards in their rotation vacancy this week is because of what they've seen from Tyler Chatwood. Generally, he has been solid, but you never know what you're going to get from start to start. That's often what happens with young players. In his last two starts, Chatwood is 0-2 with an 8.49 ERA.
Failing clutch. The Angels had a runner on in each of the first seven innings and a runner in scoring position in five of those innings against Blake Beavan, a fairly run-of-the-mill control pitcher. They squeezed virtually nothing out of all those chances. If the Angels don't make the playoffs, one reason will stand out in giant letters: They couldn't hit, particularly in the clutch.
Still Wells. Vernon Wells did a nice job poking a single over the shortstop's head and winning Thursday's game in the 10th inning, but his value has otherwise been hard to find lately. He's batting .211 and his on-base percentage isn't much higher than that, because he swings at virtually every baseball that approaches home plate. The one thing Wells has done fairly well this year is hit home runs and he hasn't done that since July 23.