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4/14-Angels Bats Go Stagnant, Lose in 10th on Shields Error

griffeyIt was Ken Griffey Jr.’s first game as a Seattle Mariner after being away from the Emerald City for over a decade, but the guy I was looking out for was Mariners starter Carlos Silva. Silva had won 4 of his last 20 decisions, with an ERA of well over 6 dating back to last season. Today, Silva threw 7 innings, giving up 2 runs on only 4 hits. Silva was punished last year after going 4-15 with a 6.46 ERA, giving up over 7 1/2 hits in under 6 innings of works in a typical ’08 Silva start. The Halos couldn’t seem to get anything going whatsoever. Silva had 1-2-3 innings in the first 3 frames. The Angels did have their fair share of opportunities, that’s for sure.

The Angels ended 3 innings with at least 2 men on base, two of those opportunities were with the bases loaded. It seems like the Angels are picking up where they left off for all of last year, not being able to cash in with runners in scoring position. We all know how far that got the Angels.

Shane Loux went 5 1/3 innings in his first start with a major league ballclub since ’03 when he made a start for the Detroit Tigers. He gave up 2 runs on 5 hits, striking out 2.

Reliever Roy Corcoran got the win to move to 1-0 on the year for the M’s, and Scot Shields’ error on a throw down to first base would earn him the loss to drop him to 0-1.

The Mariners currently lead the AL West with a record of 6-2, while the Halos are a game under .500 at 3-4.

Scoring Recap

1st inning- Ronny Cedeno would lead off the inning with a walk, and would move to 3rd base on a base knock by Ken Griffey Jr. in his first plate appearance in a Mariners uniform since the 1999 season (he had 48 homers and 134 RBI that year… hasn’t put up numbers close to that ever since). Adrian Beltre would ground into a fielder’s choice, scoring Cedeno from 3rd, and resulting in Griffey being thrown out at 2nd. 1-0 Mariners.

4th inning- Following a Bobby Abreu double, and with Howie Kendrick on 3rd base, Vladimir Guerrero would ground out to 3rd base, scoring Kendrick, but not allowing Abreu to advance. All tied up at 1 apiece.

5th inning- Endy Chavez would knock a single into right center, scoring Franklin Gutierrez from 2nd base, and ending with Gary Matthews throwing an absolute dart to 3rd base to gun down Yuniesky Betancourt, who was trying to go from 1st to 3rd on the play. 2-1, los Marineros.

6th inning- With 2 outs, Torii Hunter would jack his 2nd homer of the year into the left field bullpen to pull the score even once again at 2 runs each. The score would not change, and require extra innings.

10th inning- With Franklin Gutierrez on 2nd base, Yuniesky Betancourt would drop down a sacrifice bunt to pitcher Scot Shields, who would airmail one over the head of Kendry Morales at 1st, plating Gutierrez and giving Seattle the 3-2 win.

Player-by-Player Recap

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

Figgins again would do a good job of getting on base, only to have the Angels squander the opportunities of having the speedster on the basepaths. No stolen bags today, but he has done a good job of setting the tone for the offense by getting on base in 3 of his 5 plate appearances. As I have mentioned before with Figgy, not much more you can ask of him than getting on base in more than 50% of his plate appearances. No run scored for Chone today though, snapping a 6-game streak of at least 1 run scored.

2- 2B Howie Kendrick – 0-3, 0 RBI, 1 R, 1 K, 0 BB, 1 HBP, 5 LOB

The 5 LOB sticks out to me. Howie would strike out with the bases juiced in the 5th, and would leave Figgy and Aybar on 1st and 2nd respectively in the 9th. Howie just has not been able to come through in the clutch in the duration of his young career with the Angels. Don’t get me wrong, HK has the potential to be an American League batting champion, but when all eyes are on him, he freezes up. If he doesn’t get rid of these jitters, how are the Angels ever going to get back to the World Series… let alone past the first round of the playoffs?

3- LF Bobby Abreu – 2-5, 0 RBI, 0 R, 1 2B, 0 K, 0 BB, 1 LOB

Abreu now is the only Angel starter with an average above the .300 mark, and has a hit in 6 of the 7 games he’s played in. However, like most Angels, he’s not hitting for extra bases. It took Abreu 7 games to get his first extra-base hit, but he’s been the only Angel that has been somewhat consistent at the dish.

4- DH Vladimir Guerrero – 0-4, 1 RBI,  0 R, 0 K, 1 BB, 2 LOB

In Vlad’s last 6 games, his hits have gone: 1, 0, 2, 0, 2, 0. The anti-consistency here from a historically consistent hitter. He’s not the only inconsistent Angel unfortunately, as many Halos have started off cold with the bat. Vladdy’s batting .250 to start the season, and in my opinion, isn’t quite used to having all that downtime between at-bats as a DH as compared to a positional player who goes out to the field every frame as well. Just a matter of a learning curve for the Big Daddy.

5- CF Torii Hunter – 1-3, 1 RBI, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 K, 2 BB, 1 LOB

Torii hit the game-tying round-tripper back in the 6th inning off of Carlos Silva, and like Chone Figgins, would get on base in 3 of his 5 plate appearances. Too bad the two batters following him would go a combined 0-9.

6- 1B Kendry Morales – 0-4, 0 RBI, 0 R, 1 K, 1 BB, 3 LOB

This makes it back-to-back 0-fers for KMo. Two games ago, he was leading the Angels in batting average, now he’s just about middle of the pack. It’s early in the season, yes, but the Angels will need him to produce and be able to drive in runs on a constant basis in order to be successful this year. He’s still the catalyst to the team’s success in my opinion.

7- C Mike Napoli – 0-5, 0 RBI, 0 R, 1 K, 0 BB, 2 LOB

I’m really trying to find something good to say about Napoli’s game here, but I just can’t. 0-for-5, no walks, he was the catcher in a losing effort. Sorry, Mike, I really can’t say much here. If he’s not hitting home runs, he’s not doing much… that’s what I’ve come to see of Nap. I never thought I’d say this, but I WANT JEFF!

8- RF Gary Matthews Jr. – 1-4, 0 RBI, 0 R, 1 K, 1 BB, 0 LOB

Matthews is batting .200 in his 3 games with more than 1 AB this season. He got the start in right today to give Juan Rivera the day off, who had been struggling of late, going 2 for his last 15. Matthews made a nice play in right when he gunned out Yuniesky Betancourt at 3rd base, but that’s about it. Only in Anaheim can $10,000,000 buy you a .200 batting average. Sigh…. But at least he didn’t leave any runners on base! … Then again, the 4 guys hitting in front of him hit a combined 1-for-16. Yikes.

9- SS Erick Aybar – 2-4, 0 RBI, 0 R, 1 2B, 0 K, 0 BB, 0 LOB

Aybar was 1 of 2 Angels with multiple hits today, upping his average to .188! Now you’re almost as good as Gary Matthews (sarcasm on)! The Halos only had 7 knocks on the game and Aybar pitched in 2 of those knocks himself, but it’s a shame that the 4-8 hitters in front of him had as many hits as Aybar (2) in 16 more at-bats. Figures, the one game he produces, no one else does.

Today’s MVP

Darren Oliver

The Olive Garden comes through! D.O. pitched 3 scoreless innings of relief for the Halos, striking out 4 batters while only giving up 1 hit. He only needed 40 pitches to get through his 3 innings of work, and really was the main reason the Angels even stayed in contention considering how silent the Angels’ bats were tonight. Props to the Olive Garden (as I’ve affectionately gotten to call the veteran lefty), he pitched 3 great innings tonight in a relief effort.

Halo of the Game Review and Pick

4/14 Halo of the Game Pick: Erick Aybar

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

Aybar was 1 of 2 Angels with more than 1 hit on the game, and was one of the only half-way competent hitters in the Angels lineup, along with Bobby Abreu (2 hits) and Torii Hunter (solo homer). Aybar extends the HotG hitting streak to a 7-gamer.

Current Halo of the Game Hit Streak: 7

Halo of the Game Season Hitting Statistics

.357 avg. (10-28), 1 HR, 5 RBI, 3 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 5 K, 2 BB, 1 SB

Tomorrow’s Halo of the Game Pick: Vladimir Guerrero

Tomorrow’s Probables

Mariners: Jarrod Washburn (1-0). Wash threw 8 innings of 5-hit, scoreless ball in his first outing of the year against the Minnesota Twins in a 2-0 Seattle win. Washburn would lose all 3 of his starts against the Halos last year, going 18 1/3 innings, giving up 26 hits. Wash would allow exactly 4 runs in each of his starts. Washburn was a key ingredient to the Halos’ postseason success and ultimate World Series win back in 2002. In his career, Washburn has had 4 seasons with 14 or more losses, 3 of those 4 have come in the last 3 seasons, all with Seattle.

Angels: Jered Weaver (1-0). Jarrod vs. Jered, cute little side note there. Weaver would go 6 2/3 innings in his first start of the season vs. the Red Sox, surrendering 1 unearned run on 4 hits, while striking out 8 Boston batters. Weaver would go 2-1 in 4 starts against the M’s last year, with an ERA of  5.79. The Angels would go 2-2 in his starts against the Mariners in ’08.

A quick note here: today’s game against Seattle was initially scheduled to be Nick Adenhart’s 2nd start of the season. The Adenhart family plans to hold his funeral this Friday in his home state of Maryland, with a memorial service planned at his high school, Williamsport High.

Tomorrow’s game against the Mariners is scheduled for 7:10 Pacific time.

Go Halos!

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