Friday, May 18, 2012
3 up, 3 down: Angels 7, Padres 2
By Mark Saxon
The Angels got back into their comfort zone, the National League.
They beat the San Diego 7-2 Friday night at Petco Park behind another strong pitching effort by Jered Weaver and a strong hitting performance by... Jered Weaver? The Angels have the best interleague record in the majors since 2007.
Tropical fish. Mike Trout is doing to the major leagues what he did after adjustment periods to both Double-A and Triple-A. He's making it look easy. The Angels' best under-21 player has had multi-hit games in six of his last nine games. He went 3-for-4, including a triple down the left-field line that drove in a run.
Rare sight. In a few years, Jered Weaver probably won't remember another strong performance on the mound (seven good innings). Those have become commonplace for him, especially in the last few years. What he'll remember is the base hit up the middle off Jeff Suppan, the run he scored and the walk he earned. The Angels have some good-hitting pitchers on their staff, but Weaver probably isn't one of them. Now, however, he might end up leading the staff in on-base percentage this year. Oh yeah, he's also 6-1 with a 2.80 ERA.
Thaws. Howie Kendrick snapped an 0-for-19 streak by lining a single to right field in the ninth inning. Vernon Wells is emerging from a year-and-change worth of slump with some of his best hitting as an Angel in the past two weeks. Erick Aybar snapped out of a month-long funk with a couple of hits. The Angels will be a deep lineup if these guys are productive.
Bobby's bat. Now that Chris Iannetta is on the disabled list after wrist surgery, the Angels could fall back into last season's pattern: the catcher's spot in the lineup as a black hole. Bobby Wilson, the No. 1 catcher in Iannetta's stead, hasn't gotten a hit since last weekend. You've got to figure Angels GM Jerry Dipoto has been working the phones to scrounge up an adequate-hitting catcher.
Seriously, San Diego? The Padres average barely three runs per game, making the Angels' lineup look mighty by comparison. Only the Pittsburgh Pirates have scored fewer runs than San Diego, which scrounged up just three hits Friday night. If things continue, manager Bud Black might find things getting uncomfortable.
Held out. The Angels are playing at a National League Park this weekend, which -- of course -- means no designated hitter. It still seems like every effort should be taken to get the best eight hitters on the field. Kendrys Morales certainly falls into that category, but his weekend figures to boil down to two or three pinch-hitting appearances. Angels manager Mike Scioscia told reporters before the game that Albert Pujols is willing to play a little third base and Morales is healthy enought to play first. OK, so why not do it?