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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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4/8-Oakland Rallies for Six Runs in Final Two Innings, Angel Bullpen Falters Again

nomarIf only this one could’ve ended after 7 innings. The A’s were held scoreless through the first 7 frames, but found a way to manufacture 6 runs in the final two innings to come out with a 6-4 win, moving to 2-1 on the season.

The Halos, meanwhile, would take a 4-run lead into the 8th inning, only to have Oakland put up 3 in the inning to move it to 4-3.

Brian Fuentes would come in to try to close it out in the 9th and would get two outs relatively quickly. Kurt Suzuki would tap a little dribbler down the first base line, but Napoli did not call off a charging Brian Fuentes, leading to no out on the play. Nomar Garciaparra would pinch hit and single in the game-tying run. Mark Ellis and Matt Holliday would follow Garciaparra’s lead and hit back-to-back run-scoring singles, to give Oakland a 6-4 lead heading into the Halos’ final AB’s.

The Angels would be unable to muster up a noteworthy rally and drop the game by a score of 6-4.

It’s unfortunate because Angels starter Nick Adenhart rebounded from a shaky 1st inning, and would throw 6 innings of scoreless baseball, scattering 7 hits, walking 3 batters and striking out 5. I was impressed with the way of how he performed under pressure situations, especially when he dug himself into some pretty deep holes. But, he got out of them and remained composed, and overall I was really impressed with the way he performed, and I’m looking forward for what the future has in store for this kid.

Scoring Recap

4th inning- With no outs, Juan Rivera knocked a base hit into right center, scoring Torii Hunter who led the inning off with a base knock, and also advancing Kendry Morales to 2nd base. Angels up 1-0.

Following up Rivera’s knock, Mike Napoli would club one into right center for a double after center fielder Rajai Davis couldn’t quite glove the deep knock. Kendry Morales would score on the play, and Juan Rivera would end up on 3rd. Angels now make it 2-0.

Erick Aybar would bat next and hit a sacrifice fly to center field to bring in Rivera. The Halos would be done scoring for the inning, but lead the game 3-0.

7th inning- After Chone Figgins walked to start the inning, he then stole 2nd and advanced to 3rd on a throwing error by catcher Kurt Suzuki, Bobby Abreu would lift a sacrifice fly into right field to score Figgy, making it a 4-0 Halo advantage.

8th inning- From here on out, it would be all Oakland. Following two singles against Jose Arredondo to start the inning, Scot Shields would come in to the game, strike out the first batter he faced, and then allow Mark Ellis to ground into a run-scoring fielder’s choice to 3rd base. Chone Figgins chose to throw home when he could’ve gone across the diamond to get an out but elected not to. This would bite the Angels in the behind later on.

With two outs, leadoff man Ryan Sweeney, who would go 3-5 for the game, would lace a single to center field, scoring both Kurt Suzuki and Mark Ellis, cutting the Angel lead to 1, by a score of 4-3 after 8 innings.

9th inning- Brian Fuentes would come in to try to get the save, and would end up recording two outs until Kurt Suzuki would tap one down the first base line for an infield single. This was a ball where Mike Napoli should have called off Fuentes and thrown to first, but instead neither player would be able to get a clean grip and Suzuki would be safe. Nomar Garciaparra would pinch hit for Travis Buck and promptly knock a clean single into left field to knot the game up at 4.

The next batter was Mark Ellis who would hit an infield single to a diving Erick Aybar, who would have no chance of throwing out Ellis. Kurt Suzuki would score on the play, and Garciaparra would move to 2nd, giving the A’s their first lead of the game, 5-4.

Following up Ellis was big offseason splash Matt Holliday, who knocked a long single to center field, scoring Kurt Suzuki, and giving the A’s their second straight 6-4 victory over the Halos.

Player-by-Player Recap

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

Figgy would reach base in 3 of his 5 plate appearances, but still does not look like his normal self with the bat. He’s 2 for 10 to start the season, has 2 stolen bags in his first 3 games, so he’s still making the most of his limited on-base opportunities. Defensive decision-making in the 8th inning on the throw home was a horrible decision. With a 4 run lead, you get the sure out and let the run score, the Halos got neither, and that would just prolong the inning and ultimately, end up in a loss.

2- 2B Howie Kendrick – 1-5, 0 RBI, 0 R, 1 K, 0 BB, 4 LOB

Kendrick still couldn’t get anything going today, making him 1 for 9 in his past 2 games. Had that big Opening Day game where he was the offensive spark, but in the past 2 he hasn’t been able to spark up anything offensively.

3- RF Bobby Abreu – 1-4, 1 RBI, 0 R, 1 K, 0 BB, 1 LOB

Abreu has a hit in each of his first 3 games as a Halo, but is batting just 3 for 13 overall. He’s doing a good job of sacrificing runs in for the Angels who have not looked all that impressive through their first 3 games, but give Abreu more time, and if Figgy and Howie can start to get on base and give Abreu RBI opportunities, he will come through as he has year after year throughout his career.

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

The Big Daddy posted a nice, fat bagel across the board today, and actually swung at a pitch that bounced maybe 7 feet in front of the plate. Hey, that’s Vladdy though, he’s been known to golf balls off the dirt into the bleachers 400 feet away. Not a good game for him, but he doesn’t stay in offensive funks for too long.

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

Hunter continues to make good contact with the ball, but just can’t seem to find any holes in the defense. He’s putting good wood on the pitches he sees, and it’s only a matter of time for when a 1-4 showing turns into a 3-4 outing. Keep the faith, Torii.

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

Kendry has been the most productive hitter for the Halos through the first 3 (.364 batting average), but he must really want his 1-5 guys to start getting on base. Tonight, the 1-5 hitters went a combined 4-20. I think Kendry is still going to be the catalyst to this team’s success for the season, but you can only do so much when you have limited RBI opportunities. He’s done very well in his first 3 games in my opinion and has played adequate defense as well, and has had back-to-back multi-hit games.

7- LF Juan Rivera – 2-4, 1 RBI, 1 R, 0 K, 0 BB, 0 LOB

Juan and Kendry had as many hits (4) as the 1-5 hitters had, and nearly half the total of hits for the entire team in this one. He made up for his 0-4 showing yesterday and looked comfortable with the bat tonight. He benefited from Kendry’s ability to get on base, and looked like the Juan that Halo fans got accustomed to seeing back in 2006.

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

Nap got his first start of the year tonight at catcher, and would hit a deep double into right center today for his first hit of the year. However, Napoli also showed me why I’d rather have Jeff Mathis in the game at catcher than him. Mathis just has better control of his pitchers and has better control of the game. Nap also allowed a stolen base tonight, Mathis didn’t allow any stolen bags in his 2 starts this season. Plus, Napoli’s decision-making ability is sub-par at best. Memo to Mike Scioscia: start Mathis tomorrow. Please.

9- SS Erick Aybar – 0-3, 1 RBI, 0 R, 2 K, 0 BB, 1 RBI

He currently has the honor of having the lowest batting average of any of the Halo starters thus far with a .125 average. Got his first RBI of the year, but hasn’t done much with the stick so far. His defense has been impressive so far, and has played flawlessly in the field.

Tonight’s MVP

Nick Adenhart

The 22-year-old righty had a shaky first inning, but would rebound to throw 6 solid innings of scoreless ball. His composure impressed me, and he has come along way from how he threw in the big leagues last year. Adenhart earned a win tonight with his ability to get out of jams, but unfortunately, the bullpen thought otherwise and tanked it in the final two frames. Starting pitching has been solid so far, but the bullpen is costing the Angels some early victories. Better early than late I suppose. But kudos to Nick for a solid first outing of the year, and I now can see how much promise there is in this youngster. His fastball was about 92-93 mph all game, and his curve at times was an absolute knee buckler… his future looks very bright.

Dub’s Halo of the Game Review and Pick

4/8 Halo of the Game Pick: Torii Hunter

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

Nothing special by any means out of Torii tonight and starts the season with 3 hits in his first 13 at-bats. Torii’s offense will pick up sooner than later, but he improved the HotG streak.

Current Halo of the Game Hit Streak: 3

Halo of the Game Season Hitting Statistics:

.333 avg. (4-12), 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, 0 2B, 0 3B, 2 K, 1 BB, 0 SB

Tomorrow’s Halo of the Game Pick: Chone Figgins

Tomorrow’s Probables

A’s: Brett Anderson. The 21-year-old lefty will be making his MLB debut tomorrow, the second A’s pitcher to do so in this series. Anderson was a part of the bronze medal-winning team USA team at the Beijing Olympics. Threw one inning in the 2008 Futures Game in Yankee Stadium, a game which recognizes the top up-and-coming players in all of baseball. Anderson is arguably the top pitcher coming out of their farm system and some say that he has the ability, and the stuff, to become great in time.

Angels: Jered Weaver. Last year’s Opening Day starter for the Halos due to injuries to John Lackey and Kelvim Escobar, Weaver would end up going 11-10 with a 4.33 ERA, striking out 152 batters in 176 2/3 innings of work. The lanky 26-year-old right hander aims to get the Angels back on track, in hopes to salvage a series split with the A’s, who currently hold a 2-1 win advantage over the Halos.

Tomorrow’s game against the A’s is scheduled for 7:25 p.m. Pacific time.

Go Halos!

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