Monday, July 16, 2012
3 Up, 3 Down: Tigers 8, Angels 6
By Mark Saxon
The Angels continue to get so-so starting pitching and awful relief as they lost for the third time in four games since the All-Star break, dropping an 8-6 game in Detroit Monday.
He's back.Torii Hunter missed most of two games after slightly straining a groin muscle Friday night in New York, but he returned with a splash by picking up four hits and driving in three runs. Hunter had been struggling a bit before the injury. He's largely overshadowed nowadays by the likes of Albert Pujols and Mike Trout, but he's still a big part of what the Angels are trying to accomplish this year.
Making progress. It would be a good time for the Angels to get their best players on the field and until starting catcher Chris Iannetta comes off the disabled list, that's not going to happen. Iannetta finally looks like he's making some progress after a couple of setbacks. He threw to the bases in Detroit Monday and could go on a rehab outing soon. The Angels could use his bat, particularly now that the pitching is experiencing some turbulence.
Power show. Mark Trumbo's swing doesn't appear to have suffered as a result of the Home Run Derby. Or, perhaps his swing is the same one he used at the derby. He has homered in five of his last seven games and, with 25 on the season, is zeroing in on the league leaders. The 29 homers he hit last year apparently were just a taste of the youngster's massive power.
Bullpen blahs. For the third time in four games since the All-Star break, the Angels' bullpen struggled. The names change, but not the results. Hisanori Takahashi and LaTroy Hawkins blew a one-run lead in the seventh inning and David Carpenter coughed another run up -- not as egregious as some recent unravelings, but also not encouraging.
Ervin just all right. Too bad there's not "The OK" section here in 3 Up, 3 Down, because that's where Ervin Santana's night belongs. In some ways, it was a step forward. Against a good lineup, he didn't allow a home run and he gave up just two earned runs in six innings. But he also struck out just two batters and clearly isn't as crisp as he needs to be. He also made things difficult on himself with a bad throw.
Throwing. Erick Aybar hasn't had a bad year at shortstop, but he also hasn't had another Gold Glove caliber season thus far. The Tigers' first two runs scored as a result of throwing errors, one by Aybar and one by Santana. When you're struggling already, doing the little things is even more important and Santana didn't help himself.