Los Angeles Angels: Bobby Cassevah

A's 6, Angels 5: Three Up, Three Down

September, 25, 2011
ANAHEIM -- The Angels blew their chance to nudge closer to the playoff picture with a spectacular ninth-inning meltdown.

Rookie closer Jordan Walden, in his second inning of work, made a throwing error on what would have been an inning-ending double play and allowed four Oakland A's runs to score in a 6-5 loss Sunday.

The loss probably cost the Angels their shot at the wild card. They trail the Boston Red Sox by 2 1/2 games pending Boston's night game in New York and they lost ground to second-place Tampa Bay, which trails Boston by just a half-game. The Angels have three games remaining, scant time to make up so much ground on two teams.

The Good:

Stealthy stuff. Joel Pineiro was 0-3 with a 10.26 ERA against Oakland in 2011 entering this game. Six of the nine batters in Oakland's lineup were hitting at least .318 in their careers against Pineiro. So, where did this come from? Pineiro breezed through six innings and had thrown just 77 pitches when Mike Scioscia pulled him after two straight singles in the seventh. Pineiro worked aggressively and fast, getting nine groundball outs and allowing just three hits.

Bobby's blast. Bobby Abreu was batting .214 since the All-Star break and had settled into a part-time role, but he's still a professional hitter. He had an RBI single in the first and a solo home run in the third. If the Angels are going to make some noise in this pennant race, you get the impression Abreu could be involved.

Scrappy offense. The Angels still haven't found a way to get their offense in gear, but they showed a little more patience than in recent games and parlayed a couple of eighth-inning walks by Fautino De Los Santos into two big insurance runs on Peter Bourjos' bloop single. It seemed like they would be important until the ninth-inning implosion.

The Bad:

Relief worries. Scott Downs hadn't allowed a run at Angel Stadium all year before Sunday. That charmed streak came to an end with a shaky eighth inning. Downs allowed two hits and walked Oakland's No. 9 hitter to allow the A's to tighten this one up considerably. Scioscia pulled him in favor of Walden with two outs and two on.

Walden's work. Speaking of which ... these apparently are desperate times, because Scioscia resorted to a desperate measure. He brought his closer into the eighth inning, a move typically reserved for late pennant races and the playoffs. The rookie was about as wobbly as could be -- giving up a home run, three hits, a walk and throwing wildly to second base on what would have been a double play. Walden hadn't blown a save since Aug. 20, nailing down six in a row.

Trumbo's ankle. For the second straight game, the Angels' most productive power hitter had to leave the game with discomfort in his right ankle. Mark Trumbo looked awful striking out three times before that. With the Rangers coming to town, the Angels figure to need some offense in the next three days and losing Trumbo -- or an effective Trumbo -- would be a blow.

Angels 10, Twins 6: Three Up, Three Down

September, 3, 2011
ANAHEIM -- The Angels evened their three-game series with the Minnesota Twins with a 10-6 win Saturday night at Angel Stadium. Right-hander Jered Weaver was shaky in his return to the team, giving up six runs and eight hits in five innings, but earned the victory to improve to 16-7 on the season.

The Angels moved to within 3 1/2 games in the AL West of the Texas Rangers, who lost to the Boston Red Sox, 12-7.

The Good:

Grand slam. Mark Trumbo hammered a Brian Duensing 0-and-2 offering for a monster grand slam -- his 25th home run of the season -- in the first inning. The ball landed on the hitter's eye surface, skimming the trees beyond the center-field fence. Trumbo trails only Tim Salmon (31 home runs in 1993) on the Angels all-time rookie list.

Big flies. The Angels turned to the home-run ball when they needed it most. Vernon Wells's go-ahead blast in the fifth bounced off the top of the center field wall before going out. It was just his third homer since July 23. Peter Bourjos's homer in the sixth padded the lead.

Relief. Right-hander Bobby Cassevah surrendered only one hit in 2 2/3 scoreless innings after coming on for Weaver to start the sixth. He retired the first seven batters he faced and, perhaps most importantly, got seven ground ball outs.

The Bad:

Mental lapse. Maybe Trumbo thought there was a force at the plate -- why else would he throw home without stepping on first base following a slow dribbler off the bat of Ben Revere in the fourth? The mistake loaded the bases and brought up local boy Trevor Plouffe, who made the Angels pay with a base-clearing, game-tying double to left.

High count. Weaver, back with the team after attending his grandfather's funeral in Oregon, left the game after throwing 111 pitches in five innings. It was his second-shortest outing of the season. Weaver gave manager Mike Scioscia a scare in the early when he lost his balance on a follow-through and remained in a crouching position for a few seconds. Scioscia and a trainer went to the mound but Weaver waved them off.

Nine hole. No. 9 hitter Jeff Mathis was the only Angel without a base hit. On the bright side, Mathis did lay down a sacrifice bunt and walked.

Angels 12, Tigers 7: Three Up, Three Down

July, 28, 2011
The Angels did a week's worth of scoring in one day, pounding the Detroit Tigers 12-7 at Comerica Park on Thursday afternoon.

The Good:

Rookie rakes. When Mark Trumbo got back to the dugout in the ninth inning after grounding sharply to shortstop and falling a single shy of the cycle, you could see him laughing on the bench with Ervin Santana. Trumbo had a chance to push Santana, who pitched a no-hitter the day before, out of the headlines. Still, it was another impressive day -- five RBIs -- in a big rookie year for Trumbo, whose 19 home runs and 55 RBIs lead the team.

Two hits! Plenty of other Angels had better days at the plate than Jeff Mathis, but since we've been so hard on the catcher's offense in this blog we figured we'd tip the cap. Mathis had an RBI single and pulled a smart move and bunted for a hit when the third baseman was playing in shallow left field.

Stabilizer. Bobby Cassevah has been a pleasant surprise since he became the latest Triple-A reliever to ride the shuttle from Salt Lake. He pitched 2 1/3 innings when the Angels badly needed to slow down the Tigers offense, allowing their late rally to put things away tidily.

The Bad:

Struggling starter. Something is seriously amiss with Joel Pineiro, who has been awful for about a month. He kept squandering leads until Mike Scioscia had no choice but to pull him in the fourth inning. Pineiro has to get a better handle on his sinker soon or the Angels could be forced to look elsewhere for help in their rotation.

"Big" bats. The veteran trio of Torii Hunter, Bobby Abreu and Vernon Wells collectively went 2-for-14. The Angels won despite their three middle-of-the-order bats, which -- unfortunately -- has been a trend much of this season.

Sitting Trout. It bears repeating: If the Angels aren't going to find playing time for prospect Mike Trout, why is he still around? Trout has played just one of the last four games. Unless the Angels have a trade working involving one of their outfielders, they need to figure out what to do with this special talent. Trout needs to start playing every day, somewhere.

Angels 7, Mets 3: Three Up, Three Down

June, 19, 2011
The Angels are off to another promising start in interleague play, with Sunday's 7-3 win over the New York Mets giving them four wins in their first six games against the National League. The Angels beat a hot team. It was the Mets' first dropped series since late May.

The Good:

.200! Vernon Wells has finally gotten hot, lifting his batting average above the fabled Mendoza line for the first time since Opening Day. Wells went 3-for-4 and blasted his seventh home run to get up to .202. Maybe this will help him relax and let his talents take over.

The big bat. So far, Tyler Chatwood is having a good time in interleague play. He has beaten both the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets and, best of all, he got a hit. The veteran Angels pitchers might never live this one down. Chatwood has an edge: He was in high school just a few years ago and hasn't had time to forget how to hit.

Mathis homers! Jeff Mathis hit a home run on Opening Day (his birthday) and he hit one in the Angels' 73rd game. Expect one more on about Aug. 31.

The Bad:

The mushy middle. The Angels have tried just about every reliever their Triple-A team can offer and none of them has done enough to stick. The latest to get a look, Bobby Cassevah, had a rough go of things trying to mop up for Chatwood and now has an 8.10 ERA to show for it. Relievers have a hard time overcoming one bad outing, both in terms of their ERAs and in the eyes of management.

Timing? Are the Angels running into the Florida Marlins, their next opponent, at the perfect time or the worst? Florida has lost 10 in a row and 18 of its last 19, but just accepted the resignation of manager Edwin Rodriguez. Sometimes, teams respond to manager switches in mid-season.

Senior circuit. The Angels make it look like the Babe Ruth League. Since 2007, they've gone 53-25 vs. the National League, the best interleague record in that span of any team.



Howie Kendrick
.291 7 71 84
HRM. Trout 34
RBIM. Trout 107
RM. Trout 109
OPSM. Trout .940
WJ. Weaver 17
ERAG. Richards 2.61
SOG. Richards 164