The Dodgers “won” 5-2, using a clutch Juan Rivera 3-run homer in the 8th inning to slam the door on the Angels. I use obnoxious sarcastic quotes because it felt like both teams were trying to lose, possibly because they were doing their best Miami Heat impression.
The Angels scored their first two runs thanks to some sloppy Dodger defense. In the top of the 3rd, pitcher Jerome Williams helped his own cause with a 1-out double. Later in the inning, Kendrys Morales hit a 2-out grounder with the bases loaded to second basemen (and former Angels hero) Adam Kennedy, who booted the would be final out, allowing Williams to score. In the 6th inning and with Williams up with 2 outs and the bases loaded, he did his job and simply put the ball in play, hoping for something good to happen. Something good did happen; Williams hit a routine ground ball to Kennedy who, instead of simply throwing Williams out at first base, decided to try to force Hank Conger out second base, only Dee Gordon was late to cover and dropped the throw, making the score 2-1 Angels.*
* It was officially Gordon’s error, and should have covered second base earlier. But still, Kennedy should have taken the easy out at first base, especially with the slow-footed Williams running up the line.
The Dodgers scuffled all night against Jerome Williams, who shut them down for 7 2/3 innings before running into a world of trouble. With 2 outs in the 7th and Dee Gordon on first base, Williams walked catcher AJ Ellis, who has walked 5 times in the first two games of the series.
Before the walk, though, Gordon appeared to be thrown out on a steal attempt at second base, but was ruled safe by Joe West. By “appeared,” I mean it was a horrendous call and if called correctly I wouldn’t have needed to rewrite much of this recap:
The blown call proved fatal for Williams and the Angels. With Scott Downs unavailable** Scioscia elected to leave Williams in to face Andre Ethier, the Dodgers’ only run producing threat with Matt Kemp shelved. Ethier lined a single to right field to tie the game.
** He’s day to day with a rib injury sustained in Colorado.
The score now 2-2, Scioscia decided to leave Williams in to face Juan Rivera. It should be noted Walden had been warming in the bullpen for the last few batters; if you’re not going to use him in that situation, after Williams walked 2 of the last 4 batters and allowed a base hit to another, then what’s the point in having Walden up in the first place? I don’t even like Walden that much (it’s possible he would have done worse than Williams), I just don’t see the logic in not utilizing him in that spot. Naturally, Scioscia’s indecision came back to bite him, as Juan Rivera turned on a waist-high meatball and deposited over the left field wall, giving the Dodgers a 5-2 lead and, essentially, the game. When asked after the game if Scioscia should have relieved Williams earlier than he did, the Mike Scioscia Bobblehead nodded approval.
It was a very frustrating, very winnable game, but they weren’t going to go undefeated on the road the rest of the year. The offense scuffled tonight even though Aaron Harang was anything but dominant, and their only 2 runs came on Dodgers’ gifts. The Angels had ample opportunities with guys in scoring position and didn’t cash in. It happens.
The final line won’t reflect it, but Williams pitched a great game for the Angels. He was simply done in by a bad call and Scioscia’s overconfidence in him. The bullpen has been taxed from poor starting pitching in the last week, so getting 23/24 outs was a huge boon for the Angels.
The Angels look to take the series against MLB’s best record as they send CJ Wilson to the mound tonight in the rubber match.
MIKE TROUT ALERT!!!
Trout had a pedestrian 0-for-4 game with a walk, his OBP now a paltry .406 this season. Hopefully Trout picks up his game tomorrow, or else he and his 3 wins above replacement might be replacing someone on the Salt Lake Bees.
Despite Trout’s continued inability to produce at the plate, he made an admittedly great defensive play in the 6th inning, robbing Andre Ethier of an RBI-double. Ethier rocketed the ball to the wall and Trout used his decent speed to catch up to it. Vernon Wells would have had AND doubled Dee Gordon off first base. Get better soon, Vern.
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