A deep, collective sigh of relief from Angels fans was almost audible throughout southern California and the globe today, as Endy Chavez hit a 5-3 ground out in the 9th, giving the Angels not only the win, but also the crucial series victory against the AL West leading Texas Rangers. Fitting that Endy Chavez ended the game for the team, because it was his error off of a Mike Trout liner in the 2nd that would lead to the only run scored today, in a classic nail-biting pitching duel between all-stars Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson.
The starting pitching today, from both teams, was firing on all cylinders, and it was evident from early on that this was going to be one of those games in which the first team to fall behind would most likely be unable to catch up, no matter how little the run difference. In the second inning, Howie Kendrick was hit by a pitch, putting a man on base...something that would be quite rare for the Halos today. Rookie upstart Mike Trout summarily roped a ball to center field, where, for some reason or another, Endy Chavez miffed it. This allowed Howie Kendrick to score the lone run of today's must-win contest. It also rendered Rangers starter C.J. Wilson's 8 inning, 2 hit performance moot. Coincidentally, the error that ended up being their undoing was not too different than the liner that Mike Trout had just made a beautiful diving catch for in the top of the 2nd, showing us just how fast, yet graceful, this kid is.
While Wilson was top notch, Jered Weaver was right there with him. He went 7 innings, allowed 7 hits and 6 strikeouts, no runs scored. If you do the Angels Anemic Offense math, that means if Jered Weaver were pitching against us today, he would've thrown a perfect game with 19 strikeouts( I may have to work on this formula a bit more, but you get my drift).
Maicer Izturis and Mark Trumbo managed to be the only Angels who got on base via the old fashioned way i.e. hitting the ball, although it was much to the chagrin of some fans, who were hoping for C.J. Wilson to pitch a no-hitter loss.
What will most likely be lost in all the talk of this HUGE, exciting win, was that when Jered Weaver got into the most trouble(6th inning, bases loaded, 2 outs, Mitch Moreland at the dish), it was Jeff Mathis, who all by himself got Weaver out of the inning. We should all thank our lucky stars we have this guy on our team. Weaver was eventually pulled, and in a repeat of last nights win, Scott Downs and Jordan Walden pitched near-perfect sides to close the door on the Arlington yokels.
So, Angels fans can breathe deep, relax. The first nerve racking, post-All Star break series against Texas is over. They are 3 games back and now they head out on a 10 game, east coast road trip. Hopefully they can ride this wave of good play and string together some victories. There are things to still be concerned about, sure, but this series was much needed, and could possibly be the point we look back to in October. Only time, and Jeff Mathis, will tell.