The game started with an early Howie Kendrick HR to center that was eerily reminiscent of Torii Hunter's shot last night. But that was it for the bats for the night. Dan Haren worked his way out a jam in the 4th--giving up his only run, made possible by a Premium gaffe behind the plate.
Haren ran into some more trouble again in the 6th, but with his nasty factor* (*mlb.com gameday patent pending) and a great catch by Vernon Wells, he worked his way out of another jam.
The game was handed off to the bullpen in the 8th. Jordan Walden held the Royals scoreless; however, Michael Kohn gave up a walk-off HR to Kila Ka'aihue in the 9th.
Dan Haren overall had a solid night, giving up no walks and only 1 run. Nevertheless, the Angels struggled against a soft-throwing left-handed pitcher...again. Mark Trumbo had 2 GIDPs. Bobby Abreu went 0 for 4. And Jeff Mathis decided to play catch with the center fielder while also going 0 for 3 with Ks. The Angels are not going to get many wins if they get shut out by teams like the Royals for 8 innings.
Is tonight a microcosm of the Angels struggles to come for the year? One can only assume so. Angels games will be low-scoring affairs, bullpen struggles, and nonexistent run support. It's hard to look at our lineup, as it is, and find 4-5 runs every night. 1-3 runs per game is just not going to get it done most nights in the AL. Our SPs need run support, or we're looking at a long season again.
Or maybe the Angels are just playing an April Fool's joke on us, and they are not going to repeat their same struggles from last year? The fan in me hopes (and is most likely deluded into believing) so.
Or has the front office's penchant for slap-hitters, spendy veteran free agents, and an organizational philosophy of small ball finally caught up with us?
The Angels are 1-1. 160 games to go, for better or worse. Hopefully the former.