Saturday, May 21, 2005

Los Angelos Angels Of Anaheim @ Los Angelos Dodgers

With Vladdi out after an ill-advised head first slide to home plate (with the Angels holding a big lead) the Angels lineup does not contain a hitter with an average of .270 or better. Adam Kennedy leads the group with .265 (Guess what his SLG is! Right, it's .265). Finley is the only hitter slugging over .400 (and barely: .403 - the three best Guerrero .520, Molina (!) .479 and Anderson .434 are all on the bench or DL). The highest OBP is owned by Jeff DaVanon with .309. That's probably why he's the number three hitter today. How is this lineup supposed to score a run?

The Game
- Well, the game is on the way and the above question is already answered as Jose Molina hits a homerun in the top of the 3rd to put the Angels in front 1-0.
- Lackey's not looking too sharp out there early, but he's helped himself with two double plays so far. Now, he allows a single and then a walk with no outs, but Brad Penny strikes out on a bunt attempt and Lackey wiggles out of the Jam.
- Nothing happens in the 4th except that the reporter says that Steve Finley had a Hall-Of-Fame career. Hm. He has (or will have) 100+ triples, 400+ doubles, 300+ HR, 2500+ hits, and five gold gloves, but will this be enough? Hardly. In times in which even 500 HR might not be enough to enter the hall, Steve Finley will most surely fall short.
- Looks like I couldn't have been more wrong about Lackey. After five innings, he has only allowed two infield singles, a walk, hit a batter, had a baserunner on an error and struck out nine (!) batters. Still, I think the Angels will have to put a couple more runs on the board to win this one.
- In the bottom of the 6th, Lackey strikes out his 10th batter and ties his career record. Then, he allows a single and two long flyballs to center field (one of them was caught nicely on the run by Finley) which gives me the impression that Lackey is tiring a bit. If K-Rod were available, I would go with Donnelly in the 7th, but I expect Lackey to be back for another inning at least.
- He is and quickly falls behind to Bradley, who hits a double to left field. Lackey gets Ledee to ground out to the mound, keeping Bradley at second, but a wild pitch advances him to third anyway with only one out.
- Lackey tries to strike Perez out, but he fouls off some pitches and finally singles to right field to tie the game.
- Donnelly comes in and allows another single on a hit-and-run to put runners at the corners.
- He strikes out pinch-hitter Saenz, two outs.
- He gets ahead 1-2, 2-2 and finally pops the batter up. Puh, what a nailbiter.
- I predict a walk-steal-bunt-sac fly inning for the Angels now.
- Carrara pitches for the Dodgers and he has been very hitable with a .324 BAA and an 4.24 ERA this year. With Eric Gagne waiting in the bullpen, it's now or never.
- Jose Molina singles, but is out when McPherson tries to bunt him over. McPherson reaches 2nd on a wild pitch. Then Figgins comes through with a double just inside the bag and the Angels reclaim the lead. 2-1
- Darin Erstad is walked intentionally (probably raising his OBP dramatically), still only one out.
- Even Jeff DaVanon works a walk on a ball four wild pitch. Figgins is thinking about going home, but stops at 3rd.
- Kelly Wunsch comes in to face Finley. Wunsch is German for "wish" by the way - so I wish for a grand slam, but all I get is a single to right. I (and especially the Angels) take it gladly. 3-1 Angels
- Duaner Sanchez relieves Wunsch. He gets Rivera to ground out into a fielder's choice at home and then Cabrera to ground out softly to the mound. So they leave them loaded and it's still only 3-1 Angels
- Scot Shields relieves Donnelly to set himself up. He get pops up Choi, Drew and Kent for a quick bottom 8th.
- Eric Gagne comes in and faces ... ah, who? Scot Shields? How about a double switch Mr. Scioscia? Shields strikes out (of course) on a breaking ball in the zone that had him jumping away from the plate, laughing afterwards.
- Molina strikes out but seems as good mooded as Shields after his at bat.
- McPherson works a walk after a 1-2 count. Nice work, young boy!
- Chone Figgins grounds out and Shields comes back for the 9th.
- Bradley leads off with a double and Ledee works a full count and then takes a two-seamer for strike three that he thinks was up and in (he might have been right). One out.
- Perez grounds out to short, leaving the runner at 2nd.
- Shields has Bako 2-2, then runs the count full. But instead of finishing him off, Shields unloads a wild pitch that nearly hits the batter. Runners at the corners, winning run at the plate.
- Shields hangs one, but Philips fouls it back. Then Philips makes better contact, but hits a fly ball to Finley. Game Over.
Angels win 3-1

Conclusion & Notes:
Nice game, not much offense from both teams, but good pitching by Lackey. It's a shame he didn't get the W. Brad Penny also did a good job, but nobody expected the Angels to go on an offensive tear today. They managed to get three runs and that was enough today.
Kennedy went 0-3 and his average dropped to .250. Team leader is now Figgins with .261 after going 2-5 with RBI and R. Finley and Molina both went 2-4.

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