Sunday, August 12, 2012
3 Up, 3 Down: Mariners 4, Angels 1
By Arash Markazi
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Before Sunday’s game against the Seattle Mariners, Angels players said their goal this season is to win one series at a time.
They seemed in good position to do just that with Jered Weaver on the mound but not even the front-runner to win the AL Cy Young could snap the Angels out of their funk. The Mariners beat the Angels 4-1 on Sunday, taking the series and handing Weaver his first loss in his past 10 starts.
The Angels are now 12-17 since the All-Star break and eight games behind the Texas Rangers for first place in the American League West.
Wells again. Vernon Wells returned to the Angels' lineup Sunday after posting his first three-hit game in more than a year Saturday night. While Wells didn’t get a hit on Sunday, he did record an RBI when his sacrifice fly to right scored Howie Kendrick and moved Erick Aybar to second. Wells has looked more comfortable over the past two games than at any point in his two seasons with the Angels, combining for four RBIs and a home run. As long as he continues to produce, Angels manager Mike Scioscia will find a place for him in the lineup.
Aybar looks good. Aybar now has a hit in all six games since coming off the disabled list with a fractured right big toe Monday. He had missed 15 games with the injury. Aybar went 2-for-4 on Sunday and is now 12-for-24 since his return. After batting .197 through the season’s first 40 games, he owns the top average by a shortstop in the majors at .312. Since June 10, Aybar is batting .345 with five home runs and 24 runs scored.
Trumbo returns. After being given Saturday off to break out of the 8-for-50 slump he was in, Mark Trumbo recorded a hit on Sunday and finished the game 1-for-4. It’s not great but he had been hitless in his past five at-bats so simply getting a hit can’t be understated. Trumbo’s next home run would give him 30 on the season, making him the first Angel since Kendrys Morales in 2009 to hit that mark.
Not-so dream Weaver. It wasn’t a bad start for Weaver but it wasn’t a great one, either. His streak of nine wins and nine starts ended. He pitched seven innings and gave up three runs on four hits while striking out five. The difference in the game was the two home runs Weaver gave up to Jesus Montero in the second and sixth innings. It was the first time Weaver has given up a home run to the same player twice in one game since giving up two to Mitch Moreland on Oct. 1, 2010. It was also the first time Weaver has given up two home runs at home since Sept. 23, 2011.
Pujols slumping.Albert Pujols’ struggles to start the season were well documented and it’s no coincidence that the team’s current slump is coinciding with his most recent slump. Pujols went hitless (0-for-4) on Sunday and went hitless in the series against Seattle. It was the second time this season Pujols has gone hitless in three straight games (he went hitless through five games in April) and he has only one hit in his past 23 at-bats.
Bad timing. During the Angels’ recent slump, offense has not been an issue. The Angels had scored 80 runs in their past 12 games heading into Sunday, an average of 6.7 per game. The problem is their record over those 12 games was 5-7 as the Angels’ pitching let them down. While Weaver didn’t pitch his best game on Sunday, the Angels gave up only four runs, which seemed like an insurmountable hill to climb for an offense that couldn’t get anything going as it left five runners on base.