Los Angeles Angels: Jesse Crain
May, 16, 2012
By Pedro Moura | ESPNLosAngeles.com
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- On the day new hitting coach Jim Eppard officially took over, the Los Angeles Angels put together a complete offensive performance and comfortably topped the Chicago White Sox 7-2. Jerome Williams pitched eight innings to earn the win, his fourth of the season.
It was the first time in over a month the Angels scored at least seven runs against an opponent not named the Minnesota Twins.
Power from the power-less. Hey, it definitely looks good on paper. The Angels' two struggling veterans, Albert Pujols and Vernon Wells, each hit big home runs the day after the Angels canned longtime hitting coach Mickey Hatcher. And Wells even took a rare walk in his first at-bat. Those are the kind of immediate results fans were looking for. Now let's see if they will translate further going forward.
Williams' home streak. Williams hasn't lost a home start in Anaheim since, well, ever. The 30-year-old has now won each of the seven starts he has made at Angel Stadium since joining the team last August, with quality starts in every one of them. He went eight strong innings Wednesday, giving up only two runs, by scattering 10 hits, stranding five runners and forcing two double plays. Williams has still only had one bad start as an Angel out of the 12 he has made.
A double for Aybar. Anything is something from Erick Aybar this season. The Angels' shortstop, hitting a ridiculously low .187 entering Wednesday's game, hit a double to deep center in the second inning to drive in Wells. It was his first RBI in more than two weeks and his second double in nearly four weeks. Sure, he struck out and popped out in his other two trips to the plate, but this is a guy who had four extra-base hits in 119 at-bats so far this season.
Still progress needed from Pujols. Pujols hit the flashy home run and looked confident in doing so, but his other three at-bats were far from pretty. He swung at the first pitch he saw in the first inning and popped out to the second baseman, then struck out swinging on three pitches in the fifth inning and popped out to short in the seventh. For a team preaching patience to its hitters, nine pitches seen in four at-bats is not exactly ideal.
Fish out of water. Phenom outfielder Mike Trout continued his torrid streak at the plate with a 2-for-3 night at the plate and a walk, but he struggled on the basepaths in Wednesday's game. First he tried to stretch a leadoff single into a double in the fifth inning and was called out at second base. Then he was picked off in the seventh after walking to lead off the inning against Chicago reliever Jesse Crain. It's not anything to worry about, but Trout's struggles did show he's still capable of committing the same sort of mistakes many 20-year-olds commit in the minor leagues.
No spotlight for Bourjos. It was Peter Bourjos bobblehead night Wednesday at Angel Stadium, but Angels manager Mike Scioscia kept the struggling outfielder out of the lineup on his special night. The 25-year-old did receive a mini-ovation from the crowd when he entered the game in the eighth inning as a pinch-runner for Mark Trumbo, and he stayed in the game in center in the ninth.