Friday, April 13, 2012
3 up, 3 down: Yankees 5, Angels 0
By Mark Saxon
NEW YORK -- The Angels continued to get off to a sluggish start, but this time you can't blame the bullpen.
Starter Ervin Santana, who traditionally struggles against the Yankees, put the Angels in a 3-0 hole after the first inning and the Angels could do nothing against ex-Dodger Hiroki Kuroda in a 5-0 loss at Yankee Stadium. The Angels are 2-5, off to their worst start since 2010.
Crafty.Erick Aybar virtually never walks, but he's been finding other ways to get on base as the leadoff hitter. He bunted to Alex Rodriguez for a hit in the third inning. It was his 50th bunt hit since 2010, most in the majors in that span.
Clean living. The pressure seems to be mounting on Mark Trumbo to prove he can play adequate defense at third base to keep his big bat in the lineup. He played his first error-less game of the season, fielding two straight grounders in the fourth inning. Hey, it's not much, but he's looking for anything to build a little confidence.
New look. The Angels are intrigued by their newest reliever, David Carpenter, largely because of his unorthodox sidearm style. He breezed through two levels of the minors last year, pitched well in Arizona and got the quick call-up despite just one week at Triple-A. If he keeps mowing down hitters like he did Friday -- Robinson Cano, Mark Teixeira and Raul Ibanez -- he just might stick. Not bad for a major-league debut.
Wells not well. Is it worth mentioning at this point that Mike Trout is batting .389 through his first eight games at Triple-A Salt Lake? As the season goes on, if Vernon Wells keeps struggling, you'll read more and more about Trout's performance. Wells looked frustrated again, striking out twice, giving him a team-high seven on the season. Are the Angels making the mistake of blocking one of their best talents with one of their worst? Stay tuned.
Starting slow. For Santana, it was a carbon copy start from the one that began his season, which is to say not good. He allowed five runs on six hits and struck out five. His command was far from sharp. He walked three batters and left several pitches in the heart of the strike zone. For both Santana and Dan Haren, it's been a stark contrast from the way they looked this spring. Angels starters have a 5.02 ERA thus far, not what the team expected.
No production. The Angels have played seven games and their No. 3 and 4 hitters have combined for two RBIs. It's a wonder they're not 0-7. Albert Pujols singled to left field in the fourth inning, but hasn't been driving the ball lately and Kendrys Morales has one hit in the 18 at-bats since his four-hit game last Saturday. Offensive chemistry is a major deficiency at the moment.