Sunday, July 1, 2012
3 Up, 3 Down: Angels 10, Blue Jays 6
By Mark Saxon
The Angels managed to split a four-game series in Toronto with Sunday's 10-6 win at the Rogers Centre.
It has been a resurgent offense leading the way lately -- a far cry from the majority of this season -- with the Angels launching three home runs Sunday to overcome some more shaky pitching.
Baby All-Star. Mike Trout is headed to the All-Star Game before his 21st birthday largely because of the versatility of his game. At this early stage in his career, it's hard to know whether he projects as a leadoff hitter or a No. 3 hitter. Typically, power comes with experience and physical growth. Trout may not need much more of either to dominate. He went 2-for-4 and hit his ninth home run (a tie-breaker in the eighth inning) to raise his league-leading batting average to .339.
Toddler All-Star. Mark Trumbo has fewer aspects to his game than Trout, but it's not quite fair to call him one-dimensional. Power, of course, is his forte, and he launched his 20th home run two batters after Trout, but his overall hitting is improving fast. He is headed to Kansas City in part because he has made strides in cutting down his strikeouts and learning to get on base. He's batting .312, too, which doesn't hurt.
Good C.J.C.J. Wilson probably was the Angels' first-half pitching MVP -- and that's no dig at Jered Weaver, who missed three weeks with lower-back tightness. Wilson (9-4, 2.33 ERA) is headed to his second straight All-Star team. He was picked by his former manager, Texas' Ron Washington, who watched Wilson win a lot of games for him.
Bad C.J. What separates Wilson and Weaver (and Dan Haren when he's going good) is longevity. While the latter two predictably pitch deep into games, Wilson's shakier command make him more of a seven-inning pitcher. Once again, he had issues with his command (five walks) and could only go five innings. Only three times this season has Wilson gone more than seven innings.
Control. This was a series in which three-run home runs absolutely killed the Angels. The ninth inning would have been a lot quieter if Jordan Walden had had a better grasp of the strike zone earlier. He walked two batters and then gave up a three-run shot to Colby Rasmus. Toronto, a very powerful team, hit eight home runs in the four games of the series, producing 17 runs just on long balls.
Snub central. Because Ernesto Frieri hasn't been a closer long and because the Angels got four players on the team, few are going to make much of a fuss about his not being included on the squad. But, seriously, what does a guy have to do? Frieri has now made 24 appearances for the Angels without giving up a run. That seems like a fairly convincing argument.