Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Angels hopes fade into the West
By Mark Saxon
Dee Gordon, left, was ruled safe on this steal in the eighth inning, but Maicer Izturis and the Angels thought otherwise.
LOS ANGELES -- The Angels were left stewing Tuesday night about a call they thought an umpire blew, but most fans will probably be lamenting a call manager Mike Scioscia didn't make until it was too late.
Scioscia let pitcher Jerome Williams face left-handed slugger Andre Ethier with the tying run at second in the eighth inning. Ethier ripped an RBI single to right field to tie it. Scioscia has a viable explanation for that one. His best left-handed reliever, Scott Downs, was unavailable because of a mildly strained muscle in the left side of his rib cage. His other lefty was on the shelf after pitching 1 2/3 innings the night before.
But what about the next batter, righty Juan Rivera? He let Williams stay out there for that one, too, and Rivera ripped a high fastball over the left-field wall on Williams' 102nd pitch for a three-run shot to give the Dodgers a dramatic finish and a 5-2 win at home. Apparently, Scioscia's faith in Jordan Walden isn't equal to his faith in Downs, because Walden was loose.
"We all felt [Williams] had enough stuff to get out of that inning and he did get out of the inning," Scioscia said.
The reference was to a safe call made by umpire Joe West on Dee Gordon's two-out stolen base earlier in that inning. Williams, by the way, agreed. He was standing 40 feet away and didn't hesitate when asked his opinion of the play.
"Out," Williams said.
West, incidentally, isn't the Angels' favorite umpire. They felt he penalized them unfairly for a near-brawl with the Boston Red Sox early in the 2009 season, an altercation sparked when Josh Beckett threw a fastball over Bobby Abreu's head as he was calling timeout.
Replays of Tuesday's play weren't conclusive and, as Scioscia later admitted, the game hinged on more than that play.
"We're not going to hang our hat on one call that was blown," Scioscia said. "We should have been better tonight. We went 2-for-14 with guys in scoring position. We played hard. We just didn't get it done and those guys got some big hits at the end."