As things on the field get better, other things may be getting worse:
- Something happened in last night's game that happened only one time last season: Minnesota Twins at Los Angeles Angels - April 30, 2012 - MLB.com. "Thank goodness for Downs, the recently appointed closer who got the last four outs of the game, preserving a one-run cushion after LaTroy Hawkins gave up a run on two hits against three batters in the eighth." What was that rare event? An Angels relief pitcher recorded a save by throwing more than one inning. The last time an Angels' pitcher went more than one inning was Hisanori Takahashi on July 22nd. The only reason Takahashi went an inning and a third to get the save back in July of last year was because both Walden and Downs had pitched the previous two games. Angel skipper Mike Scioscia likes to leep his players in certain roles, but he's been forced to break out of his managing mold. Last night Downs came in in with two outs in the 8th to bail out LaTroy Hawkins. Since Down appears to be the only reliable pitcher in the Halo pen, he came back out to finish the game and record his second save of the season.
- Well, at least someone has figured out how to put a charge in a ball: Hunter HRs, Wilson solid in Angels' win over Twins - Yahoo! Sports. "C.J. Wilson pitched five-hit ball into the eighth inning, Hunter homered and drove in three runs, and the Angels returned from a rough road trip with a 4-3 victory over the miserable Minnesota Twins on Monday night." Hunter has hit three home runs in his last 4 games.
- What could be the cure for a home run hitting slump? How about facing the worst starting pitcher in baseball: Twins-Angels Preview - Yahoo! Sports. "Although he's opening May against perhaps one of the worst pitchers in baseball, it still might not be enough to get him out of his funk. Pujols and the Angels look to put a disappointing April behind them Tuesday night when they face Minnesota's Francisco Liriano." Liriano is so bad, Mickey Hatcher might be able to get a hit off of him.
- And speaking of Hatcher...Pujols unhappy Angels coach Hatcher reveals hitters' meeting details - CBSSports. ""What we talked about at the meeting, not disrespecting Mickey, but that stuff should stay behind closed doors." Pujols said he intends to speak with Hatcher about the matter." Two things here; 1) Right, Hatcher was wrong to talk to the press--what happens in the clubhouse, stays in the clubhouse. 2) But if Pujols is irritated that Hatcher spoke to the press, why is he saying anything. If he has a problem with Hatcher, he should address it privately.
- But still, Hatcher seems less than brilliant: Angels hitters hold meeting to pick each other up - latimes.com. "[Angels owner] Arte Moreno brought me here to make a difference," Hatcher said." Hey Mick, you've been the Angels' hitting coach for since 1999. Arte Moreno bought the team in 2003.
- There are rumblings about Pujols and Hatcher not getting along: Pujols finishes April with no homers for Angels - FOX Sports. ''I know what I need to do, and I'm making my adjustment,'' Pujols said. ''I've been doing it for 12 years, so I know my hitting. Only God knows my swing better than me. When you're going through things like this, you've got to be careful who you listen to, because you have so many hitting coaches.'' And this: Los Angeles Angels slugger Albert Pujols insists he's not pressing - FOX Sports. "The reality: Pujols’ at-bats are getting worse, not better. One scout said his timing looks off. Another evaluator saw him exhibit visual signs of frustration Sunday. Pujols’ performance is raising doubt about whether he has developed an effective rapport with longtime Angels hitting coach Mickey Hatcher."
- Mark Saxon reminds us of the team's strength: Where would they be without this rotation? - ESPN Los Angeles. "Angels starters entered Monday with the fifth-best ERA in the American League and they're climbing the charts. Factor out struggling Ervin Santana and the Angels rotation is 8-4 with a 3.06 ERA. Santana has allowed 10 of the 19 home runs given up by starting pitchers."