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Angels' Clutch Hitting Is M.I.A. In Home Opener Loss

The Angels home opener started off with all of the pageantry and call-backs to days of yore that a fan could ever ask for. It was a celebration of not only the past 50 years of Halo baseball, but also a coming out party for this 2011 Angels team in front of their Anaheim faithful. Unfortunately, the night would not see the Angels come out the victor, but I guess the best thing I can say at this point was that it was NOT due to the bullpen. But that doesn't mean the people in the stands and watching at home were not feeling the sting of losing a close one to the Toronto Blue Jays.

One of the two runs scored by the Angels came in the first, off an RBI single by Torii Hunter(with added help by a botched Bautista outfield play) that scored Bobby Abreu. The second run of the game for the Halos again came via a Torii Hunter hit, in the 3rd inning, this time with Maicer Izturis getting the run scored. And that would be that for our beloved Angels. The team left 16 men on base for the game, but a little more on that later.


Starting pitcher Ervin Santana was absolutely beautiful for the first 4 innings, having a couple brisk 1-2-3 sides, sprinkled with some middling hits here and there from the visiting Blue Jays. Voodoo even had a no-hitter going into the 5th, at which point the no-hitter ended and somewhat became a harbinger of things to come. Those "things to come" came in the next side, after a ball got by Peter Bourjos in the outfield resulting in both Blue Jays runners scoring. Peter had a couple pretty good plays in CF already, and I guess we can't expect him to get them all(and this one was just out of his reach), but it still hurt. So in the 6th, we have a tie ball game. At this point, I have to give credit where credit is due. Toronto's Kyle Drabek was pretty darn good in this game, and as soon as his team tied it up, he showed just how good he looked by totally smoking the Angels in the bottom of the 6th, 1-2-3.

It was still tied up until the 8th, when one badly located Santana pitch was taken for a ride by Jayson Nix. Quite unfortunate, because Santana really did look good, I think. Sometimes, you just lose.

Of course, the Angels might not "just lose sometimes" if they could hit with men on. They had a chance in the 8th, but Torii hit into a double play(he can't do it all, I guess) and then Wells subsequently flied out, as Wells is oft to do, it seems. The 9th is barely worth mentioning, as the odds were stacked against the young, bottom of the order. Mark Trumbo and Hang Conger aren't ready to be heroes, and nobody should expect them to be. Nope, that should be the job of people like Vernon Wells, who choked opportunities once again, including an embarrassing called 3rd strike in the 5th.

I wish it could've been a better home opener, but at least it wasn't a total bullpen implosion again; a game in which we just hand the lead away so easily, like the KC games. And hey! Fernando Rodney came in and got three guys out! That's something, right?