Thursday, May 17, 2012
Thursday aside, team may be ascending
By Mark Saxon
C.J. Wilson wasn't pleased with the way he threw the ball in a 6-1 loss to the White Sox.
ANAHEIM -- C.J. Wilson took the mound Thursday with a bit of a stomach virus, but the nausea he started feeling wasn’t just the result of a bug.
“It was more about how I was throwing,” Wilson said.
The Angels left-hander walked six batters (plus hit one) in less than four innings and, after a while, the rest of the team seemed to pick up on that sloppiness. The result was a pretty bad all-around game of baseball, but – possibly – more of an aberration than a pattern.
This team appears to be doing things more as it expected – Albert Pujols is hitting home runs again, for example – but days like Thursday come along once in a while, even for good teams. So far, the Angels haven’t been a good team, but Thursday doesn’t prove they’re not one now.
“I didn’t set a good tone,” Wilson said. “It was pretty much my fault. I put the defense to sleep out there and maybe the bats, too.”
The Angels -- specifically, Howie Kendrick and Mike Trout -- lost three catchable balls in the sun, leading directly to two runs that chased Wilson early, but generally defense has been a strength for this team. They were baffled by lanky left-hander Chris Sale, but that’s understandable. They haven’t seen him much and Sale has good stuff, including a heavy, mid-90s fastball.
Despite Thursday’s clunker, you get the impression this team could – could – be ready to take off. It helps that their next three series are against the San Diego Padres, Oakland A’s and Seattle Mariners. The Angels tend to pound the National League, Seattle is playing horribly and Oakland, while fielding a competitive team, is probably the easiest place to play in baseball with its 8,000 fans per night.
If the Angels are going to make a move that can clean up some of that negative energy they generated from five bad weeks, this trip seems like an appropriate time. So, manager Mike Scioscia decided to go to his favorite bibliographic analogy Thursday: turn the page.
“We’re trying to get momentum. When you lose a game because the other team beats you, you tip your cap and hope to get better from it,” Scioscia said. “We just didn’t give ourselves a chance. Overall, we’re moving forward.”