Los Angeles Angels: Chris Iannetta

Angels 2014: Could this be the year?

March, 31, 2014
Mar 31

The other day, a reporter asked Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto to assign blame for the acquisition of pitcher Joe Blanton, the occasion being the Angels’ unconditional release of the, ahem, struggling right-hander. Dipoto’s answer was refreshing.

“It’s a mistake on my part. There’s no one else to blame,” Dipoto said.

That little bit of accountability had to be music to Angels fans ears. For four long years, a team with three of the most dangerous hitters in baseball, a strong manager and one of the best starting pitchers in the game has been shut out of the playoffs, and the atmosphere in Anaheim has been a bit more drab with each passing season.

It should be noted, by the way, that owner Arte Moreno didn’t do Dipoto any favors in recent seasons by jumping in on the big-splash signings of Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton, leaving Dipoto scant resources to build a pitching staff.

Jered Weaver
AP Photo/Jim CowsertJered Weaver still has the deception, movement and savvy to serve as a legitimate No. 1 starter.
Perhaps Angels fans didn't realize how spoiled they had become by the team’s run of excellence under Mike Scioscia from 2002 to 2009, a stretch that included a World Series title, three trips to the ALCS and six trips to the postseason.

Did the release of Blanton and Dipoto’s frankness signal a new era for Orange County’s baseball team?

The Angels' offseason makeover wasn't all that different from what the Boston Red Sox underwent going into the 2013 season. It was a bit of a reboot, with an emphasis on quality, low-impact moves rather than the big winter meetings splash that winds up weighing the team down.

Dipoto has certainly been making every effort to improve the team’s pitching, which -- even more than underperformance and injuries from Pujols and Hamilton -- has been this team’s demise. Presuming even a marginal uptick in those two sluggers’ production, the Angels look like a team with vast potential to improve. Who wouldn’t take a lineup that includes Mike Trout, Pujols and Hamilton?

This pitching staff has potential. When Jered Weaver first arrived in the major leagues, he could touch 95 mph and, combined with his off-speed pitches and funky delivery, made for one of the more uncomfortable at-bats in baseball. He’s different now, with the years of heavy workloads reducing his fastball velocity to the sub-90 range most games. But he’s still got the deception, the movement and the savvy to serve as a legitimate No. 1 starter.

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Angels show off something extra

April, 3, 2013
CINCINNATI -- Opening Day is so special, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim apparently didn't want it to end.

So on and on they played Monday in Cincinnati. Past sunset. Past dinner time. Past "How I Met Your Mother." For 13 grueling innings. For 4 hours and 45 nail-gnawing minutes.

They struck out 17 times. And won. They made three errors. And won. They scraped together just six hits -- which comes to one every 47 minutes and 30 seconds. And won. Try pulling that off on your "MLB 13: The Show" sometime. We dare you.

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3 up, 3 down: Rangers 3, Angels 1

September, 20, 2012

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Stop me if you've heard this before: Los Angeles Angels pitcher Zack Greinke is brilliant over eight innings, holding the opposition to one run and doing exactly what the Angels hoped he'd do when they acquired him at the trade deadline. The Angels' offense is woeful, squeaking out just a pittance of run support and leaving the game in the hands of the bullpen, which summarily blows it in heartbreaking fashion in the ninth inning.

This latest edition of that script was played in Thursday night's 3-1 loss against the Texas Rangers as Greinke and Texas' Yu Darvish engaged in a fantastic pitchers' duel, only to have the game decided by the failings of the Angels' bullpen when closer Ernesto Frieri gave up a two-run homer to Adrian Beltre in the top of the ninth.

Yes, the same Beltre who wasn't inserted into the lineup until an hour before the game after suffering from an intestinal issue.

And yes, the same Frieri who blew the save in a 3-2 loss to Kansas City that Greinke stood to win last week.

The Angels fell 4 1/2 games back of the Oakland Athletics for the second wild-card berth in the American League with the loss.

The Good:

Greinke throws a gem: This is exactly the kind of game the Angels went out and got Greinke for at the trade deadline and he delivered. The right-hander went pitch for pitch with Darvish, giving up one run and five hits in eight solid innings.

Iannetta continues to rake: Catcher Chris Iannetta seemed to be the only Angels hitter with any kind of read on Darvish for most of the game. Iannetta singled in his first two at-bats, making him 4-for-10 during this series. He's now hitting .329 over his past 24 games.

Trumbo has a moment: Mark Trumbo came into the game hitless in seven at-bats during the series and 0 for his past 10. But his single off Darvish in the bottom of the sixth is what started the Angels' rally.

The Bad:

Frieri fizzles AGAIN!?!?! Didn't we see this movie in Kansas City last week? Greinke is brilliant for eight innings, should get the win, could make an argument to stay in for the ninth inning ... and then closer Frieri blows it in the ninth. It has been that kind of year for the Angels and it might just be ending soon.

Trout tied: Mike Trout has been so good this season it's kind of stunning when he fails. Twice on Thursday, Trout struck out at pivotal moments. With runners on first and third and the hit-and-run on, Trout struck out on a high fastball, leading to a strike 'em out, throw 'em out double play to end the inning. He struck out again with runners at first and third with no outs in the bottom of the sixth.

Pujols poppin' up: It's never a good sign when you see Albert Pujols shaking his head multiple times in a game after a called strike. But that's how nasty Darvish was Thursday and how badly he was confusing the Angels with his assortment of pitches. Pujols popped out, struck out and popped out in his first three at-bats.

3 up, 3 down: Angels 11, Rangers 3

September, 18, 2012

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Angles used an eight-run explosion in the fourth inning and a solid outing by ace Jered Weaver to keep pace in the wild-card race with an 11-3 victory over the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night at Angel Stadium.

It was the fourth victory in five games for the Angels (81-67), who began the day three games behind the Baltimore Orioles for the final wild-card spot.

The Angels, who have 14 games left in the regular season, are 19-7 since Aug. 21.

The good:

The fourth: The Angels scored eight runs in the fourth inning, capitalizing on three walks, a hit batter, a wild pitch and an error. The runs weren’t all gifts from the Rangers, however, as Chris Iannetta blasted a two-run single off of the right-field wall, Howard Kendrick lined a run-scoring single to left and Alberto Callaspo had a clutch, two-out double to right. In all, the Angels sent 11 men to the plate and Texas used three pitchers in the inning.

Aybar on fire: Shortstop Erick Aybar had another three-hit game, his third in the past four games. He reached base four times, scored twice and drove in a run. Aybar has at least one hit in 16 of his past 17 games and is batting .379 (58-for-153) since the beginning of August. He is batting .348 (64-for-184) since the All-Star break -- the highest batting average ever by an Angels shortstop after the break.

Aces up: Jered Weaver wasn’t at the top of his game early on, but he did what the ace of a staff is supposed to do in a big game: win. He gave up six hits and two walks with two strikeouts in seven innings. Texas blasted two home runs against him in the third inning, but Weaver induced inning-ending double plays in the fourth and fifth innings to end Texas rallies, and he really settled in after the Angels handed him a big lead in the fourth. Weaver (18-4) was perfect in the sixth and seventh innings as he matched his career high for wins.

The bad:

Three bad pitches: Weaver made three noticeable mistakes, and they happened to come on successive pitches in the top of the third inning, when Texas scored three runs. Mike Napoli blasted a slider for a moon-shot home run to center that tied the score at 1-1, then Mitch Moreland lined a first-pitch fastball to left for a single and Ian Kinsler followed by ripping a first-pitch fastball to left for a two-run home run and a 3-1 Texas lead.

Trumb-oh-fer: Mark Trumbo appears to be taking some better swings but went 0-for-4 Tuesday to continue a month-long slump. The home run he hit Sunday in Kansas City remains his only extra-base hit since Aug. 21. Trumbo, batting .174 (27-for-155) over the past 39 games, was the only Angels starter who did not reach base Tuesday and he was the only Angels player who did not score in the eight-run fourth. He had the dreaded distinction of making the first and third outs in that inning and left five men on base for the game.

The thorn: Angels pitchers continue to struggle against Napoli, a one-time Angles catcher. Napoli’s towering home run against Weaver in the third inning was his fourth of the season against the Angels and the 10th of his career. Napoli was 2-for-3 Tuesday, raising his season average to .475 against the Angels. Since the beginning of 2011, when Napoli joined the Rangers, he is batting .431 with nine home runs and 13 RBIs at Angel Stadium.

Bonus item:

The bizarre: In one of baseball’s bizarre moments, reliever Tanner Scheppers uncorked a wild pitch with the bases loaded in the bottom of the fourth and the Angels scored two runs on it. Iannetta scored easily from third and took out Scheppers covering at the plate. Napoli retrieved the ball and threw off-balance toward the plate. The ball appeared to hit the plate umpire and fell to the ground. Scheppers was still on the ground, injured during Iannetta’s slide, and nobody was able to retrieve the loose ball before Mike Trout, who started on second base, also crossed the plate to give the Angels a 5-3 lead.

Help from unlikely sources

September, 7, 2012
The Angels picked a good time to get hot, winning eight of their last nine to get within two and a half games of the AL Wild Card leaders.

In their last three series (sweeps over the Red Sox and Athletics and two of three from the Mariners) the Halos have received offensive production from some unlikely sources.


Torii Hunter has been solid since the All-Star Break, with a slash line of .325/365/.420 through August 26, but in his last nine games he has really set the table by going 17-37 (.459). Pitchers have tried to pound Hunter low and away, but he has simply gone with the pitches and served them into right field.

Hunter isn’t hitting for much power (his .136 ISO is on pace to be his lowest since 2000), but the Angels don’t need him to hit for power out of the two-hole. His batting average is up to .305, which would be a career high and his on-base percentage of .357 would be the second-highest rate of his career.


Chris Iannetta didn’t exactly make a strong impression in his first year in Anaheim. Prior to hitting the disabled list with a broken wrist on May 9, he was hitting .197. To his credit he drew enough walks that his OBP was .312. And since the break he’s hitting .319 and in the last nine games he’s 10-23 with two home runs, two doubles and just two strikeouts.


After a simply brutal start to the second half of the season, the Angels pitching staff is finally living up to its potential. They have held opponents to three runs or fewer in each of the last eight games -- their longest streak of the season. The only team this season that has had a longer streak of three runs or fewer allowed is the Cardinals -- who went nine straight games at the end of April.


The Angels huge seven-game homestand will start off with the top two pitchers in baseball in strikeouts -- Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander. Scherzer is on the hill Friday and he leads all starters with 11.29 strikeouts per nine innings pitched.

Scherzer’s fastball has an average velocity of 94 MPH and has topped out this season at 99 MPH. He throws it over 60 percent of the time while throwing his changeup and slider around 20 percent of the time each.

The righty has dominated the Angels in two previous meetings this season, allowing a total of seven hits in 14 innings while striking out 18.

Mike Trout has had the most success of any Angel against Scherzer this season, with two hits including a home run. Both of those hits came off of sliders.

3 Up, 3 Down: Angels 9, Indians 6

August, 14, 2012
Be vanquished, three-game losing streak! The Los Angeles Angels are back in the win column -- no small thing in what has been a miserable August -- with a 9-6 victory over the visiting Cleveland Indians at the Big A. Like your average Tarantino film, it had some moments you could do without, but overall produced enough high points to get the job done.

Starting the night eight games back in the division and 2.5 out of the second wild-card spot, we're well past deducting for style points. In need of wins, the Angels managed to pick one up Tuesday night.


Fast start: Pitching has undoubtedly been their bugaboo through their August-plus swoon, but over their past three games the Angels haven't exactly punished teams offensively, either. Tuesday, they solved that problem in a hurry off once-good Cleveland starter Ubaldo Jimenez. Breaking it down by pitch:

2: Mike Trout doubles to right center.

4: Torii Hunter singles, scoring Trout. 1-0, LAA.

10: Albert Pujols walks.

11: Kendrys Morales singles, Hunter scores. 2-0.

12: Mark Trumbo singles to right. Pujols scores. 3-0.

21: Chris Iannetta singles -- though it could have been fielded -- past Asdrubal Cabrera at short. Trumbo scores, 4-0 Halos.

That's almost a run every five pitches. That the Angels could easily have added more is beside the point. Facing a struggling pitcher with one of their own on the mound, the Angels received a much-needed boost with a great bottom of the first. It's always easier to play with a lead.

Zack Greinke (for six innings, at least): After a solid outing in his Angels debut (7 IP, 2 ER), Greinke was lit up for 16 hits, 7 walks and 10 earned runs over his next two starts, both losses for the Halos and clearly not the sort of thing for which he was imported from Milwaukee. Tuesday, Greinke gave folks a scare on his first pitch, a Jason Kipnis single, but two pitches later induced Cabrera into a 3-6-3 double play. From there, Greinke settled in. Save a bad sequence in the fourth when with two outs he drilled catcher Carlos Santana before grooving a fastball to center fielder Michael Brantley -- hit on a rope well over the wall in right -- Greinke kept a lid on Cleveland's offense. In part, because he avoided trouble. Through his first six frames, of the five Cleveland baserunners he allowed, four reached with two outs.

Even the seventh, the only inning in which Greinke ran into legitimate trouble, shouldn't have been quite as bad as the scoreboard indicated. Cleveland loaded the bases with only one down, but with a 9-2 lead and his bullpen currently roasting like a Zankou chicken, Mike Scioscia gave Grienke an opportunity to work his way out of the jam. Good call. Had Pujols not misjudged a high chopper back to Greinke by CF Ezequiel Carrera -- he wandered too far from first to tag the base on Greinke's throw -- the Indians would almost certainly have been limited to a lone tally. Greinke ending the inning with a strikeout of Cabrera was a nice touch. A hit there would have brought runs and, potentially, at least, a seriously demoralizing loss.

Overall, Greinke allowed four runs on eight hits over seven innings with one walk and five K's, but the performance was better than the line. It was enough to earn him his first win with the Angels.

Albert Pujols: Following the first-inning walk, Pujols continued doing damage, most notably when he reached out and pulled a 2-2 changeup from Jimenez just over the wall in left, maybe five feet from the foul pole. If that AB demonstrated his strength, what he did in the sixth accentuated his skill. Against Cleveland reliever Chris Seddon, Pujols fell behind 1-2 but stretched the at-bat another eight pitches (including five foul balls) before ripping a changeup into left for a double. He finished 2-4, with four RBIs and two runs scored. He has now driven in 82 on the year.

Honorable mention to Iannetta, entering the game 1 for his last 12 and .194 for the season, who reached base four times with two singles and a pair of walks.


Mike Trout grounding into a double play? C'mon! Technically, when he ended the seventh with a 6-4 DP, it was the third time this year Trout has pulled the two-for-one. But it's the first time I'd seen it live, and it's no fun. Trout is supposed to be too fast for that sort of thing. It's a little like seeing a department store Santa exiting the rest room around Christmastime. You know St. Nick (like everyone else) has to do that sort of thing from time to time, but it does dent the mystique. I prefer to picture Trout sprinting with Usain Bolt or tackling cheetahs on the savannah.

LaTroy Hawkins: He'd actually held opponents scoreless in 11 of 12 appearances before allowing a pair of runs over two innings against the White Sox on Aug. 4, then five in only two-thirds of a frame four days later in Oakland. Tuesday night, he restored a little order with a pair of K's over 1.1 innings, but in relief of Greinke continued the general trend of poor work from Angels relievers, allowing a no-doubt-about-it two-run blast to Casey Kotchman over the wall in right.

Alberto Callaspo: The only starter left out of L.A.'s nine-run, 13-hit fun fest, Callaspo went 0-4 and left three men on.

Injuries progressing as planned

July, 13, 2012
NEW YORK -- Los Angeles Angels right-hander Dan Haren threw a full bullpen Thursday for the first time since being placed on the disabled list with stiffness in his lower back on July 4, manager Mike Scioscia said Friday.

Haren will throw another bullpen Saturday, Scioscia added. The Angels will then make a determination on whether Haren is ready to make a rehab start or throw a simulated game.

“We’re gonna take it one step at a time, but we’re very encouraged by the way he threw his ‘pen,” Scioscia said.

Haren is 6-8 with a 4.86 ERA in 17 starts for the Angels this season.

Catcher Chris Iannetta (right wrist surgery) will tentatively throw to the bases early next week in Detroit, Scoiscia said.

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Hunter, Trout share POW honors

June, 11, 2012
Torii Hunter and Mike Trout shared AL player of the week honors, the first time teammates have split the distinction since Josh Hamilton and Colby Lewis of the Texas Rangers did it in June 2010. Hunter went 11-for-22 with four home runs and 10 RBIs; Trout was 13-for-25 with 10 runs scored and four stolen bases.

Here are lineups for Monday night's game at Dodger Stadium:

Mike Trout CF
Torii Hunter RF
Albert Pujols 1B
Mark Trumbo LF
Howie Kendrick 2B
Alberto Callaspo 3B
Erick Aybar SS
John Hester C
Garrett Richards P

Dee Gordon SS
Elian Herrera 3B
Andre Ethier RF
Bobby Abreu LF
Jerry Hairston Jr. 2B
James Loney 1B
A.J. Ellis C
Tony Gwynn Jr. CF
Chris Capuano P

Catching switch: Conger recalled

June, 5, 2012
ANAHEIM -- After taking a foul tip off the mask Monday night, Angels catcher Bobby Wilson was feeling woozy.

"After the second inning, I felt like I could fall asleep right there behind home plate," Wilson said.

The team decided not to take any chances and put Wilson on the seven-day concussion list Tuesday and recalled switch hitter Hank Conger from Triple-A Salt Lake. Conger was in the starting lineup catching minor-league teammate Garrett Richards.

Wilson's most recent concussion came in April of 2010, after he was barreled over in a violent collision with the New York Yankees' Mark Teixeira while making his first major-league start. Wilson said he's thinking of switching from the lightweight, titanium mask he's now wearing to a heavier mask that will absorb more of the impact of a foul tip. He said the ball hit him squarely between the highs.

Conger, a former first-round draft pick, had just come off the disabled list Thursday after missing six weeks with a sprained right elbow. He was batting .338 with two home runs, 11 RBIs and a .372 on-base percentage at Triple-A. Conger, 24, is a .204 lifetime hitter in 206 major-league at-bats.

Wilson, who assumed primary catching duties when Chris Iannetta went on the DL to undergo wrist surgery, was batting .171. Iannetta is expected back in about two weeks.

The void at catcher

June, 3, 2012
It's not often a team is dying to get a .197 hitter back in the fold, but the absence of catcher Chris Iannetta has left a major hole in the bottom of the Angels' lineup.

Since Iannetta went on the disabled May 9, the Angels are still waiting for an RBI -- one RBI! -- from a catcher. Bobby Wilson is an above-average defender and John Hester has done fine since being recalled, but they have collectively batted .186 in Iannetta's absence. Wilson was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts Saturday night.

The lack of production from the catcher's spot in the order is part of the reason virtually all of the Angels' offense lately has been generated in the top half of the order, often around Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Mark Trumbo.

Iannetta is progressing in his rehab from a broken wrist, having been cleared to long toss and to do plate-blocking drills. Manager Mike Scioscia said he would be surprised if Iannetta doesn't return within the next two weeks.

"Even though his average wasn't that high, he was getting on base and there was definitely a threat in the bottom of the lineup," Scioscia said. "So, any time you can get a guy who has that kind of power and ability to get on base back in your lineup it makes you deeper and we'll welcome that back."

* Also, on Sunday Mike Trout was named the American League rookie of the month for May, when he batted .324 with six doubles, three triples and five home runs.

Here are lineups for Sunday's series finale, the Angels going for a three-game sweep behind Dan Haren:

Ian Kinsler 2B
Elvis Andrus SS
Josh Hamilton CF
Adrian Beltre 3B
Michael Young DH
Nelson Cruz RF
David Murphy LF
Mike Napoli C
Mitch Moreland 1B

Mike Trout LF
Alberto Callaspo 3B
Albert Pujols 1B
Mark Trumbo RF
Torii Hunter DH
Howie Kendrick 2B
Erick Aybar SS
Peter Bourjos CF
John Hester C

Eppard brings some familiarity

May, 16, 2012
ANAHEIM -- Of the nine hitters in the Los Angeles Angels' lineup Wednesday for their game against the Chicago White Sox, new hitting coach Jim Eppard has already coached seven of them during a regular season.

That's the familiarity Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto wanted in his new hire when he decided to fire longtime coach Mickey Hatcher following Tuesday night's 4-0 win over Oakland.

Eppard has tutored Mike Trout, Mark Trumbo, Howie Kendrick -- and everybody else in the Angels' lineup except for big-league veterans Albert Pujols and Vernon Wells.

"A lot of the guys that are here, I've had them come through Salt Lake," Eppard said Wednesday in a pregame meeting with the media. "So I have a mental tape of those guys. And I also had everybody else in spring training, so I'm pretty familiar with the group."

Of course, Pujols and Wells have been two of the club's worst hitters so far this year, as the Angels have stumbled to a 16-21 start. But Dipoto and the Angels are hoping Eppard will bring a different, more patient approach to the entire club, from leadoff hitter Trout to temporary nine-hole man Bobby Wilson.

And Eppard, 52, said his conversations with Pujols are different than they are with other players he's coached. He said he asks Pujols a lot of the questions instead of the other way around.

He also said he's been "very much" surprised by Pujols and the Angels' early-season struggles. The slugger is hitting just .212 with one home run this season and the Angels have posted the fourth-worst team on-base percentage in the majors.

"It's hard to imagine, but it's baseball, and a lot of crazy things happen in baseball," Eppard said.

Speaking before Wednesday's game, Angels manager Mike Scioscia was complimentary of Eppard and the comfort he could bring to the club, but he also made it clear he wasn't happy that Hatcher was axed.

"I think Jim's a terrific hitting instructor," Scioscia said. "He's got a great understanding of hitting. He's a great teacher with a lot of the same attributes that Mickey had and hopefully he'll keep getting these guys in their comfort zone."

Said Dipoto: "Jim Eppard's been here a long time and he's trusted. The players know him."

* Angels catcher Chris Iannetta, expected to be out until the end of June following surgery on his right wrist last week, had the splint removed from the wrist Wednesday, Scioscia said. "The timetable still hasn't changed from the original forecast," the manager said.

* Trout went 3-for-4 with his third homer of the 2012 season on Tuesday. Scioscia said he's not surprised by the 20-year-old's play but is impressed. "Where he is right now, you're just seeing a young talent reaching a comfort level," he said.

Here are the lineups for Wednesday's 7:05 p.m. game against the Chicago White Sox:


Alejandro De Aza CF
Gordon Beckham 2B
Adam Dunn DH
Paul Konerko 1B
A.J. Pierzynski C
Alex Rios RF
Alexei Ramires SS
Dayan Viciedo LF
Brent Morel 3B
(Gavin Floyd P)

Mike Trout CF
Alberto Callaspo 3B
Albert Pujols 1B
Kendrys Morales DH
Mark Trumbo RF
Howie Kendrick 2B
Vernon Wells LF
Erick Aybar SS
Bobby Wilson C
(Jerome Williams P)

Scioscia: Iannetta's injury 'a big loss'

May, 11, 2012
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Angels catcher Chris Iannetta is expected to miss six to eight weeks after undergoing a 40-minute surgical procedure Friday in Los Angeles to repair a broken bone in his right wrist. Iannetta’s wrist problem dates to the second inning of Jered Weaver’s no-hitter on May 2 when he was struck by a pitch thrown by Minnesota’s Liam Hendriks.

Iannetta finished that game and played in four more subsequent games, going hitless.

“It’s a big loss,’’ said Angels manager Mike Scioscia, “but it could have been worse. At least, we should get him back for the lion’s share of the season.

“We need to get him back behind the plate for our pitching.’’

Bobby Wilson will catch Friday’s opener of a three-game series with the Rangers.

“Wilson caught three straight games last week and it didn’t seem to be a problem,’’ Scioscia said.

Catcher John Hester, signed by the organization less than a month ago, has been promoted from Triple-A Salt Lake City to fill Iannetta’s roster spot.

Before the injury, Iannetta showed some pop with three home runs, just one off the team lead.

Jered Weaver is AL player of the week

May, 7, 2012
Jered Weaver only made one start last week, but it was a good one. Weaver was named AL player of the week after he pitched the second no-hitter in the majors this season, shutting down the Minnesota Twins 9-0 on Wednesday.

Weaver, it so happens, will pitch against the Twins again tonight in Minnesota.

Weaver's no-hitter was the 10th in Angels history and the second in the last 10 months. Ervin Santana pitched one in Cleveland last July 27.

Weaver, 29, has allowed just three runs combined in his last three starts. In his no-hitter, Weaver threw 16 first-pitch strikes and struck out a season-high nine batters. Aside from a Chris Iannetta passed ball, the only runner to reach base against Weaver was Josh Willingham, who walked in the seventh inning.

3 up, 3 down: Angels 6, Blue Jays 2

May, 5, 2012

ANAHEIM -- No Albert Pujols, no problem for the Angels.

Manager Mike Scioscia gave the struggling first baseman his first off-day of the season Saturday and the Angels looked just fine without him, beating the Toronto Blue Jays, 6-2. Mark Trumbo, who filled in at first base, cranked his fourth home run.

Starting pitcher C.J. Wilson, the team's other big offseason signing, struck out nine in eight innings to earn his fourth win.

The Good:

Upstream. The Angels had not received a home run out of the No. 1 spot in their order this year until Mike Trout launched a moonshot to left-center field for the go-ahead run in the fifth. It was his first homer in eight games since being recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake City, where he hit a scorching .403 through 20 games.

Thievery. The 20-year-old Trout showed exactly why he's considered one of the fastest players in baseball. Yes, the rookie is hitting a mere .231 but his struggles at the plate haven't carried over to the defensive side, where his speed alone is worth the price of admission. Trout robbed J.P. Arencibia of a base hit in the third inning, racing in from deep center to make a diving snag.

The other Wilson. Backup catcher Bobby Wilson, in the starting lineup for the third straight night while Chris Iannetta nursed a sore wrist, drove in the game's first run with a sharp single to left in the second inning. It snapped the team's 23-inning scoreless streak.

The Bad:

Rally killer. Kyle Drabek had just walked a pair of batters, thrown two to the screen and bounced seemingly every pitch that left his hand in the fourth. But in stepped Erick Aybar, who proceeded to bounce into an inning-ending, rally-killing double play on the second pitch he saw.

Excluded. Howie Kendrick and Torii Hunter were the only Angels not to record base hits. Kendrick struck out swinging with the bases loaded in the sixth inning.

Stranded. The Angels left 12 runners on base Saturday, and Scioscia will be the first to tell you they won't win many games by doing that.

Frieri should be a good bullpen fit

May, 4, 2012
ANAHEIM -- Ernesto Frieri was enjoying an off-day Thursday with his wife and baby girl in San Diego when he received a call from Padres general manager Josh Byrnes, who informed him that he had just been traded to the Angels in exchange for minor leaguers Alexi Amarista and Donn Roach.

"I was like, 'Wow,' " Frieri said Friday before the Angels hosted the Toronto Blue Jays. "But then, two hours later, I was like, 'Wow, that's a really good team. I'll take it.' I'm very glad to be here."

Frieri, a 26-year-old right-hander from Colombia, received even more assurance from Padres manager Bud Black, a former pitching coach with the Angels under Mike Scioscia.

"He said, 'Ernie, you're going to a great organization,' " Frieri said. "He told me that Scioscia is a really nice guy and that there's a great coaching staff here. I believe him."

Scioscia says he hopes Frieri can help strengthen the back-end of the bullpen. Angels relievers ranked 26th in the majors with a 4.89 ERA heading into Friday's game.

"All reports point to a guy that will really fit in our bullpen and be part of a component that will hold leads for us," Scioscia said.

To make room for Frieri the Angels optioned right-hander Kevin Jepsen (0-1, 10.29 ERA) to Triple-A Salt Lake City.

"He needs to get on the mound and get hitters out," Scioscia said of Jepsen. "Hopefully he's going to get his game together to where he can be a part of our bullpen in the near future. We need an arm like that, no doubt."

Chris Iannetta, meanwhile, is out of the starting lineup for the second consecutive night as he nurses a sore right wrist. Iannetta was hit by a pitch Wednesday against the Minnesota Twins and X-rays were negative. Scioscia said Iannetta would be available Friday if needed.

In other catching news, Jeff Mathis will make his first appearance in Anaheim since being shipped off to Toronto in a December trade. Mathis spent seven years with the Angels.

Lineups for Friday's game:

(Read full post)



Jered Weaver
15 3.57 137 181
BAM. Trout .290
HRM. Trout 30
RBIM. Trout 94
RM. Trout 91
OPSM. Trout .934
ERAG. Richards 2.61
SOG. Richards 164