ANAHEIM – August 5th, 2013 will forever be a monumental day in baseball history. In the midst of all the commotion, there were baseball games to be played, one in Southern California. Yes, there was the drama of the Texas Rangers and the suspension of Nelson Cruz, but Manager Ron Washington kept a calm manner during his press conference and had his focus on the game at hand, as well as Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Manager, Mike Scoscia. It was a vital game for both teams, as one is trying to stay in the chase for October, and the other is looking to stay in the chase of winning their division. Tonight, the victor was the division seekers, as the Rangers defeated the Angels 5-2.
The Angels started off the scoring, as per usual, in an unorthodox way, as also per usual. Mike Trout singled, giving him 36 consecutive games of reaching base. Mark Trumbo sent a lazy hit to the corner in right field where David Murphy was fielding. Murphy took over the position Nelson Cruz had usually covered, and it showed early as Murphy over ran the lazy fly, which allowed Trumbo a double, and Trout to score.
After a few dull innings, the Rangers made the fifth inning very interesting in a bad way for the Angels. After a leadoff walk, a double, and a hit by pitch, Angels starter Jerome Williams was able to find a real bolstering strikeout on an incredible 94 MPH two-seam fastball. I mention the pitch because of how truly good it was, as all the media looked in awe at the perfection of the pitch. However, the game took a turn for the worse on the very next at bat.
Elvis Andrus sent a pop fly to shallow right field. Colin Cowgill made a good jump on it from the outfield, but Howie Kendrick made a good jump on it from the infield as well. As the ball fell, Cowgill slid to avoid Kendrick, but his arm was still up high enough to clip Kendrick, and oh did it clip Kendrick. Howie made the catch as he made contact with Cowgill, and his left leg hyperextended at the knee causing him to front flip summersault, drop the ball, and fall to the ground in a world of pain. Andrus, who could have been out, instead safely trotted into third with a two-run RBI triple. Kendrick rolled around on the ground for a good 90 seconds until he was helped off the field (while putting pressure on his leg). Currently, Kendrick is listed as day-to-day.
The sixth inning was brutal for the Angels as well, as Adrian Beltre started it off with a pitch of his liking, and sent it to the Angels bullpen in left field, for a solo shot. After a walk two batters later, and a following single, Williams was lifted from the game for Michael Kohn. Kohn allowed a single, bringing home a run, but got out of the jam with no damage after that point.
The Angels managed to cause drama to affair in the seventh and eighth. Erick Aybar lead the inning off with a double, was followed by Chris Nelson who walked, and then two batters later was by J.B. Shuck with a walk, leaving the bases loaded for Colin Cowgill. Cowgill grounded into a fielder’s choice (6-4) letting Aybar score easily from third. Mike Trout then came to the plate, and obviously with first base open… was intentionally walked. Tommy Field was supposed to be the representative for the Angels at the plate after coming into the game for Kendrick, but instead, was replaced by sensational rookie prospect, Kole Calhoun. Calhoun battled his way into a full count, and then delivered a ball to deep right… that was caught just prior to the warning track.
But wait, there’s more… eighth inning style. Mark Trumbo lined a ball to third that was missplayed for a leadoff base runner. The bottom of the order proceeded to find their way to the base paths as well as Nelson singled, and Chris Ianetta walked. Bases loaded once again in a big situation for the Angels, and potential Rookie of the Year candidate J.B. Shuck stepped in the batter’s box. Shuck took two quick strikes and fouled another one off until he found a good pitch. Shuck gave the ball a ride, deep, deep into right field, but just not deep enough as Murphy settled under it at the warning track for the final out of the eighth.
Joe Nathan pitched the ninth for the Rangers and despite a four pitch walk to Trout, was flawless, ending the game with a three-pitch strikeout of Josh Hamilton. Nathan now has 331 career saves, putting him ten saves away from putting him in a tie with Rollie Fingers, for tenth all time.
On a plus side, Joe Blanton pitched three innings of relief tonight. I know that doesn’t automatically sound like good news, but Blanton continued his successive relief adding three more scoreless innings to his previous four, since moving to the bullpen. Not only were the innings scoreless, but they were perfect, as he faced the minimum nine batters, forcing five to groundout, and four to lineout or fly out.
Also, Mike Trout is still very, very good at baseball. He made another spectacular catch to add to his 1-for-2 day, with three walks, one intentional. This “kid” is really something special, and if you haven’t seen him play yet, make plans to change that.
Final from Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California:
W – Martin Perez (4-3, 3.81)
L – Jerome Williams (5-8, 4.77)
S – Joe Nathan (33, 1.58)
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