A night after being mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, the Angels played like a team with nothing to lose; that is to say, they looked uninspired in just about every facet of the game. The result was a 6-1 loss in Seattle in the second to last game of the season, the first of two “meaningless” contests for the 2012 Angels. Kyle Seager put the M’s on the board first with a 2-out solo homer in the first inning, his team leading 20th of the year. The home run allowed was Haren’s 28th on the season, the third highest total he’s allowed in his great career (last year, arguably his best season, he allowed only 20).
The Mariners tacked on two more runs in the 4th inning. John Jaso started the rally by reaching first base on a Howie Kendrick error. Justin Smoak, the one time top prospect acquired from Texas for Cliff Lee, continued his torrid September/October (.338/.424/.588) with a double, advancing Jaso to third. After Jesus Montero struck out swinging, Michael Saunders doubled in Jaso and Smoak to give the Mariners a 3-0 lead.
The Mariners added a couple more runs in the 6th, with some aid from sloppy Angels defense — on the night, the Angels committed three errors, maybe due to some post-elimination hangover.
Iwakuma, making his fourth start against the Angels this season, thoroughly shut down a lineup missing Torii Hunter. Iwakuma struck out seven Angels in six innings and held the Angels scoreless despite allowing six hits. In 26.1 innings this season against the Angels, Iwakuma has only allowed four earned runs while striking out 21 and walking only 2.
Of note, Mike Trout’s chase for the batting title probably ended last night with a 1-for-5 game, meaning barring some crazy Game 162 stat line for Josh Hamilton, Cabrera will win the Triple Crown and likely win the AL MVP. However, Trout did steal his 49th bag; if he can steal a base tomorrow (and really, if he is on base at all, just send him) he will join Eric Davis and Barry Bonds as the only players ever to post a 30 HR, 50 SB season.
Jered Weaver takes the mound today looking to end the season on a positive note for the Angels and give them their 90th win. He will also try to earn his 21st win and bolster his Cy Young resume. He likely won’t win the award (I have him behind Justin Verlander and David Price on my imaginary ballot), but he had another great season nonetheless. It will be a bummer game for Angels fan undeniably expecting greater things for this team, but it will also be worth watching just to see Weaver and Trout do their thing one last time before 2013.
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