Angels End With Split, Hey Yankee...Stay Off My Mound.  Halolinks.

Make your Pregame Pick before the First Pitch

Saunders KO'd early as Angels drop finale - angelsbaseball.com
On another frigid night at Angel Stadium, the Tigers knocked out Joe Saunders after only 2 2/3 innings and went on to dispatch the Angels, 5-4, to earn a split of a four-game series. "If we keep swinging like we are," Abreu said, "we're going to put it together. We hit some balls hard that didn't fall, and we made some mistakes that cost us. I made one when I got doubled off first [in the second inning] when Torii [Hunter] hit a line drive to right field that I thought was going to drop down. "We'll get it going. Manana."

Manana?  The sun will come out manana!  Whatever.  What's frustrating as an Angles fan is watching the club during its 5-game win streak doing everything right - great pitching, timely hitting, and solid defense - and then watch two nights in a row where they play like crap.  Actually, the defense and relief pitching were pretty stellar last night, it's the inability to get that timely hit that causes me to pull out the few remaining strands of hair.

Yankees-Angels Preview - FOX Sports on MSN
Off to their best 15-game start since 2003, the Yankees have a 2.29 ERA over their last seven games. A.J. Burnett (2-0, 2.37 ERA) will try to continue that trend after pitching seven scoreless innings against Texas on Saturday, giving up six hits while striking out seven in a 7-3 victory. Burnett did not earn a decision in two playoff starts against the Angels last year, posting a 5.84 ERA. New York split those games. Ervin Santana (1-2, 4.35) will take the mound for the Angels looking to build on a complete-game effort. The right-hander gave up four hits and struck out six in a 3-1 win over Toronto on Sunday. Santana struggled against the Yankees on April 13, giving up five runs while allowing two homers in 5 2-3 innings of a 7-5 loss. Jeter is 12 for 27 with three homers against Santana.

The Yankees are coming to town?  At least it'll be easy to find the Angels news on ESPN this weekend.

DET@LAA: Willits makes two great plays in the game -  MLB.com
4/22/10: Reggie Willits makes two great defensive plays in the game.

Irony?  On the night Torii Hunter receives his Gold Glove trophy, Willits makes two plays I doubt Hunter would make if he had been on the field...at least not this season.


MORE LINKS AFTER THE BREAK...

Abreu trying to find his stride -  ESPN Los Angeles
But it’s been a rough start for Abreu, 36, and at this stage of his career, it’s hard to tell when the decline phase is beginning. Abreu was batting .222 entering Thursday night’s game. Against left-handed pitchers, he has had three hits in 25 at-bats. Abreu said he sees no reason to worry at this point. He has traditionally been a somewhat slow starter, hitting .284 in the first month with a .440 slugging percentage.  "I’m struggling. There’s no doubt about it," Abreu said. "I’m a little bit off in my mechanics, but physically I’m fine. I don’t make excuses."

Abreu went 3 for 4 last night (with 2 doubles), so maybe he's starting to heat up.

Angels starter Saunders gets chased by Tigers in loss - LA Daily News
The inning could have been bigger, but with two outs and the bases loaded, Brandon Wood struck out to let Verlander off the hook. It continued a long, agonizing slide by Wood, who entered the game with just four hits in 43 at bats for a dismal .093 batting average. Wood struck out again in the third inning - his 15th strikeout of the season - and his hold on the third base job is looking more and more tenuous by the day.  "I'm sure some frustration is setting in, but he's confident in his abilities and confident in what he's capable of doing," Scioscia said of Wood. "It's just a matter of getting that bloop hit in a key situation, or that two-hit game to get him untracked."

"Untracked"?  I'm sure that's supposed to be "on track".  How much longer will Scioscia continue to give Wood at-bats if he doesn't get "on track"?

Tigers' Guillen to go on DL after injuring hamstring -  CBSSports.com
The Tigers were leading 5-3 when Guillen tried to score from second on Scott Sizemore's fifth-inning single. Guillen pulled up midway between third and home and was gently tagged out by catcher Mike Napoli to end the inning.

That was a weird play.  Kinda felt bad for the guy.  Kinda.

A's pitcher rips A-Rod's 'etiquette' - FOX Sports on MSN
The problems began in the top of the sixth inning after a single by Rodriguez. Robinson Cano fouled off a pitch and Rodriguez, who was in between second base and third, cut across the pitcher's mound to return to first. "The long and short of it is it's pretty much baseball etiquette. He should probably take a note from his captain over there,'' Braden said, referring to Yankees leader Derek Jeter, "because you don't run across the pitcher's mound in between an inning or during the game. I was just dumbfounded that he would let that slip his mind. "He just told me to get off his mound,'' Rodriguez said. "I was a little surprised. I've never quite heard that, especially from a guy that has a handful of wins in his career. I've never even heard of that in my career and I still don't know. I thought it was pretty funny, actually.''

Three things I took away from this story; 1) I've never heard of not stepping on the mound, although I've never seen a hitter do it, 2) Dallas Braden is a bad-ass and moved up in my favorite player list, 3) A-Rod is a dick.

Milwaukee Brewers vs. Pittsburgh Pirates - April 22, 2010
Ryan Braun , Jim Edmonds and the Milwaukee Brewers went totally batty. The Brew Crew piled up 25 hits Thursday and trounced Pittsburgh 20-0, handing the Pirates the most-lopsided loss in their 124-year history. ``Games like these are awkward,'' Edmonds said. ``You don't want to keep piling on the runs but you also have to respect the game and keep playing. It was just a day where everything went right for us and everything went wrong for them.''

Bryce Harper’s makeup - The Hardball Times
One scout called him among the worst amateur players he’s ever seen from a makeup standpoint, with top-of-the-scale arrogance, a disturbingly large sense of entitlement, and on-field behavior that includes taunting opponents. "He’s just a bad, bad guy," said one front-office official. (thanks to OCR's Sam Miller for the tip).

This might just be one person's opinion on Harper.  The Hardball Time article has some rebuttal views within their post that's linked above.

MLB's barber blends charisma, clips, charm, with benefits - USATODAY.com
You won't find Pena's name in a program or media guide. He has no background in baseball and is not a trainer, team executive or agent, but he is trusted by virtually every star in the game. Pena, nicknamed "Monster99," is the barber of baseball. "Everybody around the league knows who he is, and everybody loves him," says Ortiz, who has a barber chair in his garage courtesy of Pena. "Everybody is cool with him because he's so cool. I'm telling you, he's got a relationship with everyone."

Baseball's barber to the stars talks fades, waves, edges and eyebrows -  USATODAY.com
Pena was on a plane to go back home after the All-Star Game in St. Louis last year when he got a frantic call. It was from Lopez. "Dude, I just got traded to Milwaukee,'' Lopez said. "I need a haircut.'' Pena: "I'm on a plane. I can't just get off. I may not get my money back.'' Lopez: "I don't care. I'll take care of it. Just get off the plane. I need that haircut.'' Pena got off the plane, and Lopez got his haircut.

USAToday is making a pretty big deal about this guy with two articles.  It's a somewhat interesting story, but to have two postings?  Anyway, how much do you think it cost Lopez for the haircut after having to pay for the guy's flight and all?

April 23 - BR Bullpen
1989 - Nolan Ryan of the Texas Rangers comes within two outs of his sixth career no-hitter, losing it when Nelson Liriano hits a triple in the ninth inning. Texas beats the Toronto Blue Jays, 4 - 1, as Ryan finishes with his 10th lifetime one-hitter.
1992 - Former major league slugger and current California Angels hitting coach Deron Johnson dies from lung cancer at the age of 53. Johnson hit 245 home runs during a 16-year career. In 1965, he led the National League with 130 RBI as a member of the Cincinnati Reds.

Seven Tiger Doubles!:

Detroit Tigers
Austin Jackson, CF 4 0 1 0 1 1 0 .308
Johnny Damon, DH 4 2 3 0 1 0 0 .327
Magglio Ordonez, RF 4 2 1 1 1 1 3 .292
Miguel Cabrera, 1B 4 0 1 1 1 0 1 .365
Carlos Guillen, LF 3 0 2 2 0 0 0 .311
    Don Kelly, LF 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 .231
Brandon Inge, 3B 5 0 1 0 0 1 6 .268
Gerald Laird, C 3 1 1 0 2 2 4 .143
Scott Sizemore, 2B 3 0 1 0 0 0 4 .279
Adam Everett, SS 3 0 0 1 0 0 0 .194
Totals 34 5 11 5 7 5    
Batting
2B - Johnny Damon 2 (4, Saunders, Stokes), Magglio Ordonez (3, Saunders), Miguel Cabrera (7, Saunders), Carlos Guillen (5, Palmer), Brandon Inge (8, Palmer), Gerald Laird (3, Saunders)
SF - Adam Everett (1)
SH - Scott Sizemore (3)
RBI - Magglio Ordonez (10), Miguel Cabrera (19), Carlos Guillen 2 (8), Adam Everett (1)
2-OUT RBI - Carlos Guillen (3)
CS - Austin Jackson (1, 3rd base by Palmer/Napoli)
Team LOB - 11
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Magglio Ordonez 1
DP - Ordonez-Cabrera, Inge-Sizemore-Cabrera
PB - Gerald Laird (1)
Los Angeles Angels
Erick Aybar, SS 4 0 0 0 1 2 3 .258
Bobby Abreu, RF 4 1 3 0 1 0 0 .254
Torii Hunter, DH 4 1 0 0 1 0 4 .283
Hideki Matsui, LF 5 1 2 1 0 1 1 .302
Kendry Morales, 1B 4 0 2 2 0 0 0 .270
Maicer Izturis, 2B-3B 3 1 0 0 1 1 3 .208
Mike Napoli, C 3 0 1 1 1 2 1 .160
Brandon Wood, 3B 3 0 0 0 0 2 4 .087
   a- Howard Kendrick, PH-2B 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 .327
Reggie Willits, CF 3 0 0 0 0 1 0 .182
   b- Juan Rivera, PH-CF 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .241
Totals 34 4 9 4 5 9    
a-singled for Wood in the 8th
b-hit by pitch for Willits in the 8th
Batting
2B - Bobby Abreu 2 (5, Verlander, Zumaya)
HR - Hideki Matsui (4, Verlander)
RBI - Hideki Matsui (11), Kendry Morales 2 (10), Mike Napoli (2)
2-OUT RBI - Mike Napoli (2)
SB - Maicer Izturis (2, 2nd base off Verlander/Laird)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Reggie Willits 1
E - Mike Napoli (1, Throwing)
 
Detroit Tigers
Justin Verlander (W,1-1) 5 6 4 4 4 4 1 6.95
Joel Zumaya (H,2) 1.2 1 0 0 0 2 0 0.00
Phil Coke (H,3) 0.1 1 0 0 0 0 0 2.16
Ryan Perry (H,5) 1 1 0 0 0 3 0 3.38
Jose Valverde (S,5) 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 1.29
HBP - J. Rivera (by Ryan Perry)
Pitches-Strikes - Justin Verlander 125-85, Joel Zumaya 24-17, Phil Coke 9-6, Ryan Perry 27-17, Jose Valverde 10-3
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Justin Verlander 3-7, Joel Zumaya 3-0, Phil Coke 1-0, Jose Valverde 2-0
Batters Faced - Justin Verlander 24, Joel Zumaya 6, Phil Coke 2, Ryan Perry 5, Jose Valverde 3
Los Angeles Angels
Joe Saunders (L,1-3) 2.2 6 5 5 2 0 0 5.82
Matt Palmer 4.1 4 0 0 3 1 0 3.29
Brian Stokes 1.1 1 0 0 1 2 0 3.86
Jason Bulger 0.2 0 0 0 1 2 0 8.10
IBB - Cabrera by Brian Stokes
Pitches-Strikes - Joe Saunders 59-29, Matt Palmer 70-38, Brian Stokes 22-12, Jason Bulger 18-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Joe Saunders 3-5, Matt Palmer 6-4, Brian Stokes 1-1
Batters Faced - Joe Saunders 16, Matt Palmer 18, Brian Stokes 6, Jason Bulger 3
 
Game Information
Attendance - 37338
Game Time - 3:31
Temperature - 56
Umpires - Home - Jerry Meals, First Base - Mark Wegner, Second Base - Dan Iassogna, Third Base - Dale Scott
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