Monday, May 28, 2012
3 Up, 3 Down: Angels 9, Yankees 8
By Mark Saxon
ANAHEIM -- The Angels' evening started on an ominous note when Jered Weaver had to exit the game in the first inning with a back injury, but -- nearly four hours later -- it ended in jubilation with Mark Trumbo's walk-off home run that gave the Angels a 9-8 win over the New York Yankees.
The win was the Angels' seventh in a row and got them back to .500 for the first time since they were 2-2 on April 9.
Mr. May. The Angels wouldn't be .500 today without Trumbo's torrid bat carrying them back to this point. He leads the Angels in on-base percentage, slugging percentage and home runs (eight). Trumbo finished a single shy of the cycle while going 3-for-5, driving in two runs and scoring two. When Torii Hunter returns (probably Tuesday), the Angels will be forced to find a position for Trumbo once again, but he's not here for his glove.
Productive again. Before Sunday, Kendrys Morales had driven in one run in his last 12 games. Now, he's driven in five in the last two. Especially if Albert Pujols (2-for-4, walk) is going to continue getting on base, Morales is a key figure in this lineup. He jumped on David Phelps' first pitch and drove it into the left-center gap to drive in two runs in the sixth.
Rookie presence. It's hard to tell that Mike Trout is the youngest player on the field every game the Angels play. He has been the steadiest producer all month. Since those first few shaky days after he was recalled from Triple-A, Trout has been machine-like, batting .333 this month with five home runs, 20 runs scored and 15 RBIs.
Big blow. To pitch well, you've got to stay healthy and, despite some minor ailments over the years, Weaver generally has done that. His one trip to the disabled list came at the start of the 2007 season for biceps tendinitis. If the Angels lose Weaver for more than a couple of weeks, they could lose much of the momentum they've built up over this little stretch.
Alternatives. Losing one of the best pitchers in the game is always a huge blow, but Jered Weaver's back injury is a little harder to absorb because of scant options at hand. The next starter on the Angels' depth chart, Garrett Richards, is in a bit of a slump after a strong start to his season at Triple-A. Richards, who nearly won the Angels' fifth starter job in spring training, has given up four runs or more in four of his last six starts.
Aybar's slump. The lack of offensive production isn't the most worrisome thing about Erick Aybar's early-season funk. The Angels' Gold Glove shortstop hasn't been playing like one. He booted a sharply hit grounder by Alex Rodriguez for his fifth error (he had 13 all of last year) and made a high throw in the fourth that went down as an error on Albert Pujols. The Angels (three errors) played brutally bad defense in general Monday night. The shortstop set the tone.