In one of those odd confluences unusual for April, the Los Angeles Angels closed out the month with a blessed combination of 9 innings worth of strong offense, 8 innings worth of strong pitching, plus a combination of Vinnie Pestano and Huston Street. Somehow the first two overwhelmed the latter two and the Halos won the getaway game against the Oakland A's 6-5. This takes the series with the A's 2 out of 3, making them 4 and 3 against the tarp-ons so far this season.
Garrett Richards did the hard thing, plowing through an Oakland lineup that adores the 3-2 count. Burning pitches in an erratic strike zone (which did favor the Halos on occasion), Richards went 6 full innings, and completed his work by blowing a 99mph fastball right past Oakland's chubster-DH-offensive-replacement-hopeful-for-Josh-Donaldson: Billy Butler. It was Richard's 103rd pitch of the day. Still throwing 99mph. Yeah, I think we can officially stamp this phenomenon as our staff Ace, and support the legendary Jered Weaver as he and his crafty arm turn their sights toward the sunset of his career. And Alden Gonzalez tweeted an excellent observation: "Garrett Richards' batting average against since the start of 2014: .200. Only Johnny Cueto (.191) and Felix Hernandez (.197) are better." We got ourselves a stud.
Mike Morin allowed a couple of runs in the 7th on a Mark Canha home run, ending the Oakland drought. But in the 8th, Joe Smith needed all of 5 minutes and 7 pitches to flush all 3 A's batters down the clogged sewers of the Coliseum.
Thus, with a 4-run lead and Smith brilliantly having played his role, Mike Scioscia decides that we have had enough with the efficiencies and rolls out Vinnie Pestano to get some work in. Didn't last long. C.J. Cron dropped a pop foul while playing 1B, allowing Billy Butler to subsequently walk. Josh Reddick then singled, and Pestano was done with runners at first and third and nobody out. Enter Huston Street. Single by Brett Lawrie = run scored. Single by Canha = run scored. Wild pitch puts runners on 2nd and 3rd. Stephen Vogt walk to load the bases. For those counting at home, it is now 6-4 with the winning run on base. So, why not? Let's have some fun and squeeze the strike zone again.Street throws 5 consecutive strikes to Sam Fuld, but only 1 of those is called. Another 1 is hit back up the middle for a single and the score is 6-5. Fortunately, the A's fear the arm of Mike Trout and Mark Canha is held at third base. The bases are still loaded and there remains but a single out. It is at this point that the REAL Huston Street shows up and gets the next two batters to fly out and end the game. And this is how you end that sort of game, folks. You use The Best Player In Baseball.
Oooooooh! Oakland fans!! Ouch!!! That must really hurt. Bases loaded and down by 1 run and only 1 out in the bottom of the 9th. The strike zone finally turns favorable and the LAA pitching is in la-la land! AND YOU FAIL! Let me shed a tear or two for all of you. NOT. Hahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!
On the truly positive side, Taylor Featherstone had himself a fun day. A successful sac bunt in his 1st at-bat in the 3rd inning (that alone, on this team, is worth some kind of reward), then a single to lead off the 5th, where he scores a run on a Kole Calhoun base hit. he comes back up in the 6th and draws a walk and immediately scores his second run on an Erick Aybar double. Still not finished, Featherston reaches first base on an infield error in the 8th, and promptly steals second. And he held down third base without an error all game.
Taylor is probably hoping that a little more of that and maybe some day he might grow up to be just like Mike Trout. ...Nah...Trout was his usual self. 2 for 3 with 2 walks and a stolen base (his 6th on the season) and scored a pair of runs. That made him 4 for 10 with 4 runs scored, 3 RBI's, 4 walks, 1 home run, and 1 stolen base against the A's this trip. Surely the fans up there are sad to see the departure of a real baseball player. And something totally mysterious happened to David Freese, who managed to go 3 for 5. Eerie. Let's go play the Giants.