4/11-Angels Late Rally Falls Short, Red Sox Take Game 2

lowell and bayOn the Angels’ first day game this year, the balls were flying out of the Big A by players on both sides. The Red Sox, however, would get the better of the Halos today, coming out on top by a score of 5-4, evening the series to 1 win apiece.

Brad Penny, in his first start as a member of the Red Sox, would be credited with the win after going 6 innings, giving up 3 runs, 2 walks, 2 punchouts, while scattering 7 hits.

Joe Saunders would get his first loss of the year, giving him a 1-1 record in the early goings of this year. Saunders went 7 innings, giving up 4 runs, walking 3, striking out 2, and allowing 7 hits.

The Halos would start the top of the 9th down 2 runs, but Torii Hunter would cut the lead in half to start the inning off with a solo jack to center. Kendry Morales would follow that up with a double of his own, and then be replaced on the basepaths by speedster Reggie Willits. Willits was just called up to “fill” the spot of the recently-passed Nick Adenhart. “I don’t feel like I’m replacing him. I don’t think anybody’s ever going to replace him,” Willits said. The Halos would threaten with the bases loaded with 2 outs and Howie Kendrick at the dish. After fouling off 7 straight Jonathan Papelbon offerings, Howie would fly out to right to end the game, with the Halos on the wrong end. The Angels drop to 2-3 on the season.

Scoring Recap

1st inning- After Chone Figgins would walk and steal 2nd, Howie Kendrick would knock a grounder to 2nd base, enabling Figgy to advance to 3rd with 1 out. Bobby Abreu would come up and bring in Figgins with an RBI groundout to 2nd baseman Dustin Pedroia to put the Angels on the board first, 1-0. The Angels have scored first in each of the 5 games they’ve played this season.

3rd inning- Mike Napoli would step up for his first at-bat of the game, and do what he did last year, jack deep bombs out of the Big A. Nap would nail a solo homer to straightaway center to put the Angels up 2-0.

5th inning- Following a walk to Jason Bay, Red Sox 3rd baseman Mike Lowell would hit a game-tying 2-run home run off of Joe Saunders up and over the left field wall. The 2-run blast marks Lowell’s first home run on the year. It’s a tie ballgame now, 2-2.

5th inning- Napoli felt like undoing what Lowell had done with another deep blast of his own. Nap would jack his 2nd homer of the day, another solo shot, giving the Angels a 1-run advantage by the score of 3-2.

7th inning- Immediately following up a Rocco Baldelli infield single, Jason Bay would hit a 2-run home run to left, putting the Red Sox back on top 4-3.

9th inning- To give the BoSox a little 9th inning cushion, Jason Bay would hit his 2nd home run of the day, a solo blast this time, pushing the Boston advantage to 2 runs, the score being 5-3.

Torii Hunter would step up for the Halos in their final at-bat of the day, and cut the lead in half with one swing of the bat. Hunter would homer to center field to make the game 5-4 in Boston’s favor. The Angels would load the bases with 2 outs, but Jonathan Papelbon would be able to close the door on the Halos and secure the Red Sox of the victory.

Player-by-Player Recap

1- 3B Chone Figgins – 1-3, 0 RBI, 1 2B, 1 R, 1 K, 2 BB, 1 SB, 1 LOB

Figgins would draw a walk to load the bases for Howie Kendrick with 2 outs, but HK47 couldn’t quite cash in. Figgy got another stolen base today, his 4th on the year in 4 attempts and has done a decent job of setting the table for the Halos this year. It’s good to see Mike Scioscia giving him the green light on the basepaths, because the way that the hitters have been hitting in the early going, they’re gonna need any extra base they can get.

2- 2B Howie Kendrick – 1-5, 0 RBI, 0 R, 0 K, 0 BB, 5 LOB

It seems that Howie Kendrick and 1-5 go hand-in-hand night after night. Howie has gone 1-5 for the past 3 games now, with 2 runs batted in. He came up in the 9th with swans on a lake and 2 out, but couldn’t come up with the big hit for the Halos. That’s been Howie’s bugaboo, hitting on the big stage. He hasn’t produced in his playoff appearances, and just seems to freeze up when the pressure’s on. Will he ever get rid of the big moment jitters?

3- RF Bobby Abreu – 0-3, 1 RBI, 0 R, 0 K, 1 BB, 1 LOB

Abreu would again find a way to manufacture another run, giving him 4 RBI in his first 5 games as a Halo. He has played solid defense in the field as well, and is batting an even .300 to start the season, good enough for 2nd best among Halos who have started all 5 games (Kendry Morales is #1 batting .368).

4- DH Vladimir Guerrero – 0-4, 0 RBI, 0 R, 0 K, 0 BB, 2 LOB

The Halos got a big ol’ bagel out of Vladdy G today. The Angels’ 3 and 4 men would go a combined 0-7 today, and in any game, that’s not exactly what you want out of your better hitters. Vladdy is nearing a return to the outfield after straining a pectoral muscle which hasn’t allowed him to throw comfortably this season. Maybe a little outfield action will let Vlad get some game-to-game consistency at the dish.

5- CF Torii Hunter – 1-4, 1 RBI, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 K, 0 BB, 0 LOB

Torii got the Halos off and running in the 9th with his first home run of the year, but it’s too bad they couldn’t follow his lead. He came through when he needed them to, but didn’t do much in his previous 3 at-bats. Hunter is at a .222 average to start the season.

6- 1B Kendry Morales – 2-4, 0 RBI, 0 R, 1 2B, 1 K, 0 BB, 0 LOB

One of two Halos with multiple hits today, Kendry followed up Torii’s homer with a nice double, giving Angel fans hope of a comeback victory, only to have their hopes dashed at the end of it all. This is Kendry’s 3rd multi-hit game in 5 contests this year, and has the highest batting average of Angel starters with a .368 average.

7- LF Juan Rivera – 0-4, 0 RBI, 0 R, 0 K, 0 BB, 2 LOB

Not much popping off for Juanito today, after he got the day off by Mike Scioscia yesterday. However, Juan was 1 of 4 Angels to put up 0-fers in the hit column tonight.

8- C Mike Napoli – 3-3, 2 RBI, 2 R, 2 HR, 1 2B, 0 K, 1 BB, 0 LOB

Mike Scioscia got a huge game offensively out of Nap, as well as the first multi-homer game for a Halo this year. All 3 of his hits went for extra bases, but the Halos have come on the losing end of both games where Napoli starts. I have to give credit where credit is due, and Napoli was the reason that the Angels stayed in this game.

9- SS Erick Aybar – 0-4, 0 RBI, 0 R, 1 K, 0 BB, 3 LOB

Erick’s been struggling with the bat in the early goings, hitting .083 (1 for his first 12). If he continues to struggle for the next game or two, I’d think it’s about time for Mike Scioscia to give Mighty Maicer a shot. Hopefully the Halos will be able to get some production out of their shortstop spot, and the way that production starts is with Maicer Izturis, in my opinion.

Tonight’s MVP

Mike Napoli

Pretty obvious choice here. Nap reached base in all 4 of his plate appearances, hitting 2 towering home runs, lacing a double, and also drawing a walk. Unfortunately for Nap, he was the MVP in a losing effort. Nap has impressed with the bat in his two starts, but have also been unable to win either of his two starts. Nonetheless, it was Nap Time at the Big A on Saturday.

Halo of the Game Review and Pick

4/11 Halo of the Game Pick: Kendry Morales

Stat Line: 2-4, 0 RBI, 0 R, 1 2B, 1 K, 0 BB, 0 LOB

KMo put forth a solid effort today, going 2-for-4, and did his best to even the score in the bottom of the 9th with a clutch effort, only to have the team come up short. Kendry had his 3rd multi-hit game in 5 starts and I’ve been impressed with the way he’s been swinging the bat early on.

Current Halo of the Game Hit Streak: 5

Halo of the Game Season Hitting Statistics:

.350 avg. (7-20), 1 HR, 3 RBI, 3 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 4 K, 2 BB, 1 SB

Tomorrow’s Halo of the Game Pick: Bobby Abreu

Tomorrow’s Probables

Red Sox: Josh Beckett. Beckett struck out 10 batters in his first start of the season, going 7 innings and giving up only 2 hits and 1 run, earning the win. Beckett had gone 48-28 in his first 3 years as a member of the Boston Red Sox, and was the 2003 World Series MVP for the Florida Marlins when they topped the New York Yankees.

Angels: Dustin Moseley. Moseley went 6 innings in his first outing against the A’s, allowing 3 runs on 9 hits, while striking out 4 batters. Moseley stepped into the season as the Halos’ #2 starter thanks to injuries to John Lackey, Ervin Santana and Kelvim Escobar. Moseley is going to have to bring his A-game to go pitch-for-pitch with an ace like Beckett.

Tomorrow’s game against the Red Sox is scheduled for 12:35 Pacific time.

Go Halos!

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