Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Rangers 10, Angels 3: Three Up, Three Down
By Mark Saxon
ANAHEIM -- A day after being eliminated from playoff contention, the Angels rolled out a spring training lineup and got pounded by the playoff-bound Texas Rangers, 10-3, Tuesday night.
The Angels flashed their youthful speed at times, but the Rangers made the loud noises, hitting five home runs. Texas can lock up the second-best record in the AL by completing the series sweep Wednesday. That would allow it to open the playoffs at home Friday against the wild-card team instead of venturing to Yankee Stadium.
Dashing lads. Peter Bourjos runs like a deer. Mike Trout churns up ground line a running back. For one night, it was fun to watch the two speedsters hitting together at the top of a lineup. Trout got on base twice and scored a run. Bourjos pushed a triple into the alley in right-center. You could see what one day might be a dynamic pair of table setters.
Streaking. It might be a mistake to bet against the Rangers in the playoffs. They're healthy at last and they seem to be hitting their stride at the perfect time. Adrian Beltre homered in his fourth straight game. Ian Kinsler hit his 32nd home run among three hits and stole his 30th base. Their No. 7 hitter, Nelson Cruz, hit a towering shot for his 29th home run. Mike Napoli has a career-high 28 home runs, 15 of them on the road. These guys have versatility. They can pitch with the good teams and slug with the big boys.
Chance to shine. There are players who toil in your organization that teams like to reward with September call-ups. The Angels weren't able to give those guys action, because they were fighting to stay in the playoff hunt. Tuesday, Mike Scioscia opened the gate to the youngsters. Jeremy Moore, Gil Velazquez and Andrew Romine all had hits. Efren Navarro made a brilliant play at first base. Nice moments.
Chatwood's decline. Back in early June, Tyler Chatwood was a key member of the Angels' rotation and looked like he might be an emerging young pitcher in the American League. Since then, he's gone 3-9 with a 5.58 ERA, lost his spot and now you wonder if he's in the mix next spring. One big problem: Chatwood has allowed a home run in eight of his last nine outings. Ian Kinsler took him deep Tuesday.
Home, bitter home.Vernon Wells' struggles have been a movable famine. He has made frequent outs in most of the venues the Angels have visited, but much of his worst work has been done at Angel Stadium, as usual. Wells is wrapping up his first Angels' season with a 1-for-17 homestand, bringing his Angel Stadium batting average this year to an even .200. He's hit just eight of his 25 homers here. No wonder they boo him so much.
Another injury. Aside from the season-ending injury to Kendrys Morales, the Angels were relatively fortunate in news from the trainer's room. Lately, things have started falling apart. Howie Kendrick jammed his left wrist diving for David Murphy's infield single and might be out for the year, meaning he won't play Wednesday.