Halos Daily

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Game 74: Offseason Signings Shine in Halos’ Win

June 27th, 2012

The Angels beat the Baltimore Orioles by a score of 7-3 last night, bringing their record to 41-33 for the season. The Halos saw strong performances from both C.J. Wilson and Albert Pujols, who collectively received over $300M when they agreed to join the Angels back in December.

Wilson had a fine night (7 IP, 6 H, 2 BB, 2 SO, HR) and lowered his ERA to 2.36 for the season. He could benefit from missing more bats and his recent batted ball data suggests that his success is mostly attributable to pitching at Angel Stadium with a relatively strong defense.

The Angels struck first last night in the top of the 3rd inning. Mike Trout lead off with a double then scored when the next batter, Torii Hunter, picked up a base hit.

Albert Pujols brought the lead to 3-0 in the 5th inning when he crushed a two-run Schwinger to left center. Pujols’s struggles have been well documented in the comments in this section of this site, but he’s turned things this month, posting a .309/.388/.556 slash line in 98 June plate appearances. Small sample size, but nonetheless very solid production.

Steve Pearce hit a schwinger of his own in the bottom half of the 5th inning, smacking a solo shot over 400 feet.  This was really Wilson’s only obvious mistake of the night.

Orioles’ starter Brian Matusz has struggled with consistency ever since his strong finish to the 2010 season. His struggles continued last night and in the 6th inning he gave up a two-run blast to Peter Bourjos, who’s only left the park twice this season (he also had one inside-the-parker). Matusz was done and the Halos had a 5-1 lead.

From there the Angels would coast to another victory, using Jason Isringhausen (who struggled a bit) and Jordan Walden to finish off the game.

Tonight, the O’s will send Jason Hammel to the bump against Halos’ ace Jered Weaver.

Hudson Belinsky can be followed on Twitter at @hudsonbelinsky.

 

Aybar Turning Things Around

June 25th, 2012

Coming off a career year in 2011, which included a Gold Glove at shortstop, Erick Aybar was rewarded with a four-year, $35 million contract extension. Seeing as Aybar had a .280/.324/.390 line over the past four years worth an average of 2.4 WAR, it seemed that Jerry Dipoto and the Halos front office were making a safe bet.

Prior to last Aybar’s ninth inning heroics against the Dodgers a couple weeks ago, however, he had been going through a bit of a rough patch (to put it nicely).  Starting 56 of the team’s first 63 games this year, Aybar had managed to accumulate a lovely -0.8 WAR by hitting just .221/.256/.290 with zero home runs and committing eight errors at shortstop.

Aybar’s woeful numbers put him neck and neck with Alexei Ramirez (-1.1 WAR) for least productive shortstop in baseball and—if you believe WAR to be the be-all and end-all stat—made him the fifth worst position player in the MLB this year.

Dipoto and company had every reason to be worried.

Games 72 & 73: Angels Win Fifth Consecutive Series

June 24th, 2012

The Halos split their final two games with the Los Angeles Dodgers to wrap up their fifth consecutive series victory. In the second game, the Dodgers won 3-1 while in the third game, the Angels won 5-3.

In the middle game of the series Ervin Santana put together his second straight solid performance, going eight strong innings and allowing just two earned runs. Santana struck out 10 Dodgers and surrendered just four hits. Unfortunately for the 29-year-old, the Halos only scored one run and Santana picked up the loss.

The final game saw the opposite result, as the Angels scored five runs for Garrett Richards, who completed his third quality start in his fourth start of the season. It’s a bit unclear how Richards’ performance will affect the team’s rotation going forward, but a move may be coming soon.

In the bottom of the 7th, the Halos put together a two-out rally to plate a pair of go-ahead runs and give them the 5-3 lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.

Scott Downs and Ernesto Frieri finished off the game and held on to bring the Angels to 40-33 on the season. Entering Monday, the team sits just a half game behind the Tampa Bay Rays for the final Wild Card spot.

Hudson Belinsky can be followed on Twitter at @hudsonbelinsky.

Game 71: Halos Come From Behind to Beat Dodgers

June 23rd, 2012

The Angels took the opening game of a three-game set against the Los Angeles Dodgers by a score of 8-5. Starter Dan Haren struggled early and allowed the Dodgers to jump out to a 5-0 lead, but the Halos were able to pull off the comeback. Prior to last night’s victory, the Angels were 4-22 in games where their opponents scored five or more runs.

Former Angel Bobby Abreu got the scoring started in the top of the 1st inning. After consecutive singles from Jerry Hairston Jr. and Andre Ethier, Abreu belted a three-run schwinger over the wall in right field.

In the top of the 2nd inning, the Dodgers strung together a few more hits and managed to bring their lead to 5-0.

The Angels responded with a strong bottom half of the 3rd inning. A pair of singles from Kendrys Morales and Mark Trumbo were followed by an Alberto Callaspo double and pair of productive outs. The score was 5-3.

Callaspo lead off the 4th inning with a single and Erick Aybar’s one-out triple brought him in. Bobby Wilson followed Aybar with a sacrifice fly and all of the sudden it was a tie game.

Immediately after Wilson’s sacrifice, Mike Trout came to the plate a smacked a ball over the wall in center for a solo schwinger, putting the Halos ahead 6-5.

The Angels tacked on two more runs in the 6th inning. With Wilson on second and Trout on first, Torii Hunter lined one over the second baseman’s head and into right field for a single. Trout was able to use his tremendous speed to score from first and the score was 8-5.

Since this round of interleague play started up the Angels’ bullpen has been fantastic, compiling an 0.81 ERA in 33.1 innings. After Haren’s shaky start, the bullpen tossed four scoreless innings and held on for the victory.

Tonight on the bump for the Dodgers is Chris Capuano, who takes on Ervin Santana who’s coming off a one-hit shutout. We’ll see if the Halos can keep things rolling.

Hudson Belinsky can be followed on Twitter at @hudsonbelinsky.

Game 70: Jered Weaver, Ladies and Gentlemen

June 22nd, 2012

Wednesday night saw the Angels clinch their fourth consecutive series on the heels of Jered Weaver’s return. Weaver tossed six scoreless innings in his 78-pitch return to the Halos, which was easily enough for the Angels to overcome the Giants and take a 6-0 win.

The top of the order has been special as of late, but both Torii Hunter and Albert Pujols were hitless in the victory. Instead, the latter bottom two-thirds of the lineup (plus Mike Trout) picked up the slack, going 11-for-27 and plating six runs.

In three innings, the Angels’ bullpen was fantastic, striking out four and allowing only one batter to reach base.

Tonight, the Halos’ homestand continues as the Dodgers head to the Big A. On the bump we have Chris Capuano taking on Dan Haren. Enjoy the baseball!

Hudson Belinsky can be followed on Twitter at @hudsonbelinsky.

Halos Daily

Dedicated to bringing you top-notch Angels analysis!