Los Angeles Angels: Alex Rodriguez

3 Up, 3 Down: Angels 10, Yankees 8

July, 15, 2012
7/15/12
2:14
PM PT
The Angels did something Sunday that teams like the Yankees often do: They smothered their opponent with an unrelenting lineup.

It may have been the Angels' most complete offensive game of the season. Every starter but Alberto Callaspo had at least one hit and seven of the nine drove in at least one run in the Angels' 10-8 win over the Yankees in New York.

Not that it was easy. The Yankees scored three times in the ninth inning and the game ended with the bases loaded.

The good:

Pace maker. Every time Mark Trumbo has a bad at-bat, he seems to make an adjustment and come back the next at-bat -- or day -- and do something impressive. That's one of the reasons Trumbo isn't giving off any signs of being a three-month wonder. He was in the middle of a busy day of hitting, with three hits that included a laser solo shot to left field, his 24th home run. That was the fourth Angels long ball of the afternoon as they kept pouring it on, something you have to do against the Yankees at their home.

Mighty Maicer. How unlikely was Maicer Izturis' two-run home run? Not only had Izturis not gone deep yet this season, but it was his first long ball since July 29 of last season. That means he had played 5 1/2 months of baseball without doing what he did off Ivan Nova, and it was probably the key shot of the game. Izturis has been largely a wasted asset this season -- and when he has played he has generally struggled -- so Sunday's heroics had to be satisfying to the utility guy.

Third-to-first. It never works, right? But it must, on rare occasions, or pitchers wouldn't bother. In the third inning, Jered Weaver faked a throw to third and then fired over to first, where he picked off Robinson Cano, inexplicably wandering away from the bag. After Erick Aybar dove to tag Cano, Alex Rodriguez -- again, inexplicably -- was caught between third and home. What had been major trouble brewing turned into a double play, without Weaver having to throw a pitch. And they say the Yankees never beat themselves.

The bad:

Streak's over. What a great run Ernesto Frieri had, but it came to an end with a Mark Teixeira home run in the ninth inning. Those two runs were the first Frieri has given up as an Angel. His first 26 appearances were scoreless. It happens all the time. A closer enters in a non-save situation and struggles. He just couldn't throw strikes. A lot of good pitchers gave up home runs Sunday, with the ball absolutely flying out of the yard.

Bronx blues. Weaver has a Yankee problem. Coming into Sunday, he had a career 4.79 ERA against New York and he has now allowed 16 home runs to the Yankees in 11 starts. That's a somewhat troubling thought if the Angels qualify for the playoffs. Weaver battled in tough conditions -- heat, humidity, a tough lineup -- but the three home runs he allowed were the most he had given up since August of last season. Jerome Williams actually pitched slightly better the day before and took the loss. Weaver got his 11th win, but he also had .36 tacked onto his ERA.

Turnabout. Mike Trout got a little taste for what he has done to J.J. Hardy and several other hitters this season: a robbery. Curtis Granderson was playing shallow when Trout rocketed a deep fly to center field. Granderson caught it in full stride, with his back to the infield. If he misses it, Trout, one of the game's fastest players, well could have tried for an inside-the-park home run. Trout was undeterred. He later picked up a couple of doubles and walked and now has a .403 on-base percentage.

Angels 2, Yankees 1: Three Up, Three Down

September, 9, 2011
9/09/11
10:09
PM PT
ANAHEIM -- The Angels found a way to win a game they desperately needed.

Maicer Izturis, pinch-hitting in the ninth inning, produced the game-winning RBI for the second straight game as the Angels beat the New York Yankees 2-1 in front of 41,014 fans at Angel Stadium Friday. The win kept the Angels 2 1/2 games behind the first-place Texas Rangers, who beat the Oakland A's 13-4 earlier.

The Good:

He's back. Jered Weaver's Cy Young-caliber season veered off the road about a month ago, but Friday he steered it back into the correct lane. Weaver was masterful through eight innings, striking out 11 Yankees, and allowing just one run -- on Jesus Montero's long solo home run -- on three hits. Coming into this start, Weaver had a 6.67 ERA since Aug. 5.

He's back II. Howie Kendrick has been the most slump-resistant Angel this season, but his time finally arrived. Kendrick was in an 0-for-18 skid before he lined a Bartolo Colon pitch to right field, driving in Peter Bourjos with the tying run in the fifth inning.

Tiny ball. Does it seem like the Angels bunt their way on base a lot? Well, why shouldn't they? Mike Scioscia thinks this is the fastest team he's ever had and they're showing it. The Angels have 38 bunt hits this season, most in the majors. The leaders are Bourjos with 15 and Erick Aybar with 12. They both bunted their way on Friday night.

The Bad:

Offense. The Angels have been in a funk on this homestand, but up to now it has been obscured by the weak opposition. Their hitting issues got exposed a bit Friday, when ex-Angel Bartolo Colon came in and dominated them for seven innings. It was Colon's best start since at least early July. Note to Angels: This isn't 2005.

Support. When your ace pitches this well, you generally should reward him with a win. The Angels gave Weaver tons of support in his last start, when he won despite giving up six runs in five innings. But in his past 10 outings, the Angels have scored zero or one run while he was in the game six times. That's no way to give Justin Verlander Cy Young competition.

Strike zone? Umpire Dan Bellino caught a lot of flak, both from the Angels dugout and the fans. He called out Mark Trumbo on a pitch that the TV replay seemed to indicate was inside and, perhaps, low, then gave Alex Rodriguez some borderline pitches during a ninth-inning walk.

Yankees 3, Angels 2: Three Up, Three Down

June, 4, 2011
6/04/11
8:54
PM PT
ANAHEIM -- The Angels were baffled by CC Sabathia and Alex Rodriguez hit a majestic home run off Ervin Santana to give the Yankees a 3-2 win at Angel Stadium, just their fifth win there in their last 13 tries. Mariano Rivera threw one pitch to earn his 15th save, getting Erick Aybar to hit a pop-up to shortstop to end the game. It was Rivera's 1,003rd game and, surely, one of his least-stressful.

The Good:

Abreu's at-bats. Entering Saturday, left-handed hitters were batting .178 against Sabathia. That didn't seem to bother Bobby Abreu, who stroked three singles to left field and is now 6-for-12 against the big lefty. Abreu has been in a rather torrid stretch lately, with 10 hits in his last four games. He has played 57 games this year and failed to get on base in only 10 of them.

110 pitches. Santana threw 112 of them and only two of them cost him runs. Robinson Cano's shot carried into the shortest part of the stadium and Rodriguez's into one of the deepest, with plenty of room to spare. Santana has been on a nice roll and Saturday was a perfectly solid effort aside from the two home runs.

Aussie rules. Rich Thompson is probably in line for a bullpen promotion one of these days. He rarely pitches -- just three appearances in the 15 games before Saturday -- but he has been nasty when he gets into games. Thompson struck out three Yankees in two innings and leads the Angels' bullpen with 30 strikeouts.

The Bad:

Inches. Torii Hunter went flying into the right-field stands, flipping over the low wall in the corner, but he couldn't catch Cano's drive in the fourth inning. It seemed to sail a few inches over his glove for a home run to snap a scoreless tie. Hunter was lucky he didn't get hurt.

Latest slump. For two months, Maicer Izturis might have been the Angels' best player. Not lately, at least offensively. Izturis is stuck in one of the deeper slumps of his last few years, seven hits in hist last 51 at-bats (.137) over his last 15 games.

Kendrick's luck. For a guy who hadn't seen live pitching in more than two weeks, Howie Kendrick looked perfectly in-sync in the batter's box. He didn't have any hits, but he hit two balls rather squarely and was robbed of an infield hit by Mark Teixeira's dive to touch first base with two runners on in the eighth.

Angels 3, Yankees 2: Three Up, Three Down

June, 3, 2011
6/03/11
10:23
PM PT
ANAHEIM -- Angels ace Jered Weaver emerged from his May haze to win for the first time since April 25 as the New York Yankees continued to struggle in Orange County. The Angels have won 12 of their last 16 home games against the Yankees.

The Good:

Grinding. Sure, Weaver (7-4) had to throw 52 pitches to get through two innings and his fastball hasn't been nearly as fast and it has led to more balls, but he managed to fight through the early innings and then found his tempo. Weaver labored through four innings, but breezed through his last three and, voila, managed to win for the first time since April. Weaver struck out eight and only gave up three hits.

Breaking out. He takes a lot of heat for his hitting, but Peter Bourjos has the third-best OPS in the American League among players 24 and younger. Only Cleveland's Michael Brantley and Seattle's Justin Smoak have him beat. That's not bad for a guy who plays game-changing defense at a premium position. Bourjos had been in a brutal month-long slump (.171 in May), but he had a nice night with a couple of hits to left field.

Unorthodox managing. Mike Scioscia left himself open to some criticism for letting lefty Scott Downs pitch to Alex Rodriguez with the tying run on base in the eighth inning. Most managers would have had the knee-jerk response to bring in their best right-handed setup man. But Downs has been a far more effective pitcher than Fernando Rodney this season and it worked out. Rodriguez fell behind and then hit a harmless bouncer to third for the inning's final out.

The Bad:

Insult. It had to kill Torii Hunter inside when Joe Girardi opted to walk Bobby Abreu intentionally to get to him with a runner on second in the seventh inning. But the numbers supported the decision. It gave Girardi a righty-on-righty matchup and Abreu was a .275 hitter with runners in scoring position entering the game while Hunter was hitting .242 in those spots. David Robertson struck out Hunter looking and Russell Martin threw out Maicer Izturis at third for a double play.

Booing Mark Teixeira. Enough already. It has been three years. He was only here for two months.

Big bat? Is this Russell Branyan thing just not working out? The big designated hitter did have a base hit -- a broken-bat bloop single to left -- but Scioscia pinch-hit for him (with seldom-used catcher Bobby Wilson) against a lefty in the eighth inning. In 23 at-bats with the Angels, Branyan has three singles. Wilson had a productive out, a bouncer to the second baseman to advance the runner. Scioscia was probably trying to protect against a strikeout.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Jered Weaver
WINS ERA SO IP
18 3.59 169 213
OTHER LEADERS
BAH. Kendrick .293
HRM. Trout 36
RBIM. Trout 111
RM. Trout 115
OPSM. Trout .939
ERAG. Richards 2.61
SOJ. Weaver 169