Halos Step On ChiSox, Saunders Back On Track.  Halolinks

Hunter, Saunders lead Angels past White Sox, 3-2 -  Sporting News
Hunter homered for the third time in three games Wednesday night and the Los Angeles Angels, despite getting only three hits, beat the Chicago White Sox 3-2. Hunter hit a two-run homer to back Joe Saunders, who allowed one run and four hits in 7 2-3 strong innings. Saunders struck out four and walked two. Last Friday, he pitched his second career shutout and beat Oakland. "It was good to see a follow-up," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He was terrific tonight. He's pitching much like he did at the end of last year."

Saunders looked fantastic last night and I'm almost ready to believe he's back to the level that he showed at the end of last season (5-0 in Sept.Oct with an ERA of 2.89 in 6 starts).  Only thing that concerned me about his outing was his strike-to-ball ratio.  After 100 pitches he had thrown 56 strikes and 44 balls, not the greatest ratio when you're trying to get ahead of hitters.  Whatever, it worked, and Saunders is now the Angels second best pitcher.   Here are the highlights...Joe Saunders limits the White Six to one run in 7 2/3 innings with four strikeouts en route to the win - Saunders hurls 7 2/3 frames of one-run ballTorii Hunter hits a two-run homer to left to give the Angels their first lead of the game in the top of the fourth inning - Hunter hits a two-run homer in the fourthBrian Fuentes strikes out Alexei Ramirez to end the game, giving the Angels a 3-2 win (okay, sure...he struck out Ramirez to end the game, but wow, did he look crappy before that) - Fuentes fans Ramirez to end the game.

Angels-White Sox Preview - 5/20/10 - FOX Sports on MSN
Peavy (3-2, 5.37 ERA) was originally scheduled to pitch Friday against Florida, but manager Ozzie Guillen decided to move him up to avoid left-handers John Danks and Mark Buehrle pitching consecutive games against the same team. Since going 0-2 with a 7.85 ERA in his first five starts, Peavy is 3-0 with a 2.31 ERA in May. After Joe Saunders allowed a run in 7 2-3 innings to help the Angels avoid a third straight loss Wednesday, Santana looks to build on his first victory since April 18. The right-hander gave up three runs and struck out six in six innings of a 12-3 win over Oakland on Saturday. "It's very comfortable when you get run support," Santana told the Angels' official website. "You get more confident, more comfortable." Santana is 3-2 with a 5.18 ERA in eight starts versus the White Sox.

I'm going to make a bold prediction...Jake Peavy will be traded this July and the Angels will be in the thick of trade talks.  Okay, that's probably not so bold, but I don't have much faith in Kazmir turning his season around and Peavy would be an excellent replacement.  Moving Kazmir to the pen and reducing Fuentes' role to a situational lefty would deepen the reliever corps.  A Fuentes-Jepsen-Kazmir-Rodney final four would be sick...in a good way.

MORE LINKS AFTER THE BREAK...

Shaky Brian Fuentes saves it for Angels, Joe Saunders - latimes.com
Saunders is certainly finding a groove. The left-hander who stumbled through his first six starts gave up four hits and one run in 7 2/3 innings and has compiled an earned-run average of 0.81 over his last three starts. The Angels backed Saunders (3-5) with only three hits, but one was Torii Hunter's two-run homer in the fourth inning that provided a 2-1 lead. They added a run in the eighth when Juan Rivera singled and eventually scored when third baseman Jayson Nix made a fielding error and a throwing error on the same play. Hunter has hit a home run in three consecutive games for the first time since he homered in four consecutive games from Aug. 23-26, 2006. He gave partial credit for his power surge to his recent switch from No. 3 in the batting order to the cleanup spot. "I think that's more me, the four hole," he said. "I'm able to swing the bat a little harder and go out there and have some fun."

I don't get Hunter's comment about swinging the bat harder in the four-hole.  Why could he swing the bat hard when he bats third?  Is batting third that much different than fourth, especially later in the game?  Hunter's role has always been that of a run producer rather than the guy who hits behind a runner to move him over, etc.  Whatever, if Hunter's more confident batting cleanup, cool.

Scioscia: no change at third -  ESPN Los Angeles
For now, Scioscia said, Izturis will remain the backup to Wood, shortstop Erick Aybar and second baseman Howie Kendrick. Izturis has begun a throwing program and the team envisions activating him from the 15-day disabled list early next week. "It’s not really a utility role because he's going to be playing somewhere every day," Scioscia said. "It's a versatility role. He'll be playing four to five games a week. If he can hold up and do that, that gives our team a huge offensive boost."

I can't imagine what it'd be like to be Scioscia's kid if he used the same loyalty/blindness as he does with the club.  "Hey dad, I got in a wreck with the car again, oops." 
"Don't worry son, you'll do better tomorrow."

May 20 - BR Bullpen
1968 - California Angels shortstop Jim Fregosi hits for the cycle during a 5 - 4 loss to the Boston Red Sox. The cycle is the second of Fregosi's career, tying him with several other players for the major league record.
Happy b-day:
1900 - Ollie Klee, outfielder (d. 1977)   Little known fact, Ollie's middle name was Ollioxen
1930 - Tom Morgan, pitcher (d. 1987)  Former Angels pitching coach and scout

There's the Joe we know:

Los Angeles Angels
Erick Aybar, SS 4 0 0 0 0 1 0 .230
Howard Kendrick, 2B 4 0 0 0 0 0 2 .273
Bobby Abreu, RF 2 1 0 0 2 1 0 .271
Torii Hunter, CF 3 1 1 2 1 1 0 .283
Kendry Morales, 1B 4 0 0 0 0 0 2 .270
Hideki Matsui, DH 3 0 0 0 0 1 0 .224
Juan Rivera, LF 3 1 1 0 0 1 0 .252
Mike Napoli, C 3 0 1 0 0 2 0 .229
Brandon Wood, 3B 3 0 0 0 0 1 2 .162
Totals 29 3 3 2 3 8    
Batting
HR - Torii Hunter (7, Danks)
RBI - Torii Hunter 2 (26)
2-OUT RBI - Torii Hunter 2 (7)
CS - Bobby Abreu (4, 2nd base by Danks/Pierzynski), Torii Hunter (4, 3rd base by Danks/Pierzynski)
Team LOB - 2
Fielding
PB - Mike Napoli (2)
Chicago White Sox
Juan Pierre, LF 4 0 2 0 0 1 0 .253
Jayson Nix, 3B 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 .174
Andruw Jones, RF 4 0 0 0 0 2 3 .248
Paul Konerko, 1B 3 2 2 1 1 1 0 .272
Alex Rios, CF 4 0 0 0 0 0 4 .299
A.J. Pierzynski, C 4 0 2 0 0 1 0 .212
    Omar Vizquel, PR 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .175
Carlos Quentin, DH 3 0 0 1 0 0 1 .195
Alexei Ramirez, SS 4 0 0 0 0 1 2 .227
Gordon Beckham, 2B 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 .185
Totals 31 2 6 2 2 6    
Batting
2B - Juan Pierre (3, Saunders), A.J. Pierzynski (6, Saunders)
HR - Paul Konerko (14, Fuentes)
SF - Carlos Quentin (2)
SH - Jayson Nix (1)
RBI - Paul Konerko (30), Carlos Quentin (23)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Konerko-A. Ramirez
E - Jayson Nix 2 (3, Throwing), Alex Rios (1, Dropped fly)
 
Los Angeles Angels
Joe Saunders (W,3-5) 7.2 4 1 1 2 4 0 4.42
Fernando Rodney (H,3) 0.1 0 0 0 0 1 0 2.65
Brian Fuentes (S,5) 1 2 1 1 0 1 1 6.52
Pitches-Strikes - Joe Saunders 106-60, Fernando Rodney 5-3, Brian Fuentes 19-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Joe Saunders 7-12
Batters Faced - Joe Saunders 29, Fernando Rodney 1, Brian Fuentes 5
Chicago White Sox
John Danks (L,3-3) 7.2 3 3 2 2 8 1 2.26
Tony Pena 0.1 0 0 0 0 0 0 5.60
Scott Linebrink 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 3.95
Pitches-Strikes - John Danks 104-61, Tony Pena 4-2, Scott Linebrink 12-4
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - John Danks 6-9, Tony Pena 1-0, Scott Linebrink 1-1
Batters Faced - John Danks 28, Tony Pena 1, Scott Linebrink 3
 
Game Information
Attendance - 23271
Game Time - 2:26
Temperature - 68
Umpires - Home - Marvin Hudson, First Base - Derryl Cousins, Second Base - Jim Wolf, Third Base - Todd Tichenor
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