Boom Goes the Dynamite
The Angels traveled back in time Monday morning to finish up a four-game series in Cleveland they started back in June. If given the opportunity to travel in time, I’m not sure Ohio would be my first (or last) stop, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do, I guess. When this series was first played out in C-Town, things did not end well, resulting in an 8 on the Pain Scale. You may remember it as “the time Nick Swisher hit a walk-off grand slam,” or what years from now baseball historians will fondly refer to as Frieri’s Final Fiasco.
Luckily for the Halos, this time they were allowed to bring their blazing hot offense with them in the DeLorean. The club followed a 14-run, 19-hit shellacking in the rubber game of the Twins series on Sunday morning with a 12-run, 16-hit effort on Monday, giving them 26 runs and 35 hits across two Midwest states in a little under 24 hours. That’s probably a first.
Kole Calhoun, Howie Kendrick, and Albert Pujols again led the offensive attack, each tallying three hits (including a homer) in the game. The trio is now a combined 18-for-40 with five home runs over the last three games, driving in 18 of the club’s 34 runs. Josh who?
Mike Trout also had himself a multi-hit game Monday, churning out two hits (for the third time in the last four days) and scoring twice. Trout now has six runs in his past three games, pushing him up to 99 on the year and into a tie for the AL lead with Brian Dozier. With one more run, Trout will become just the sixth player ever to tally 100+ runs thrice before his age-23 season. The other five? Alex Rodriguez, Ted Williams, Mel Ott, Vada Pinson (?), and Buddy Lewis (??).
Jered Weaver pitched well even to earn his 16th win, but that doesn’t really say much when the team’s put a 12-spot on board. The Weavemeister got himself a quality start by going six frames and allowing “only” three runs, but he again struggled with his control as the game went on. He used just 49 pitches to get through the first four innings but needed 47 for the fifth and sixth, forcing Mike Scioscia to go to the bullpen for the final three frames.
The somewhat early call to the ‘pen combined with the rout did reap a reward, however, as big right-hander Jairo Diaz got the opportunity to make his MLB debut in the ninth. The 23-year-old was understandably nervous on the hill, resulting to several erratic pitches, but the stuff was still electric. His radar gun readings:
Two two breaking pitches thrown in the inning — 89 and 88(K), above — were beautiful to watch. Indistinguishable from his fastball until about 10 feet in front of the plate, gravity finally kicked in and dropped them into the dirt. Both resulted in a flailing swing-and-miss, earning Diaz one of his two Ks in the inning. The dramatic lean to the glove side he employs during his motion is sure to give him continued control issues to some degree, but if he can put up at least a league-average walk rate, his killer two-pitch combo could make him a huge asset for years to come.
Final Score: Angels 12, Cleveland 3
Adjusted Pain Scale: 5
Up Next: Tuesday @ TEX