Speaking in terms of baseball relativity, if you blinked during this game, then you might have missed it. Both teams got great outings from their starters, Jered Weaver and Wei-Yin Chen, so we were treated to another tight, low scoring affair like the previous week and a half, only this time at a pace of play that seemed right out of the trailers for Mad Max: Fury Road.
Albert Pujols started things off with a bang by taking Chen deep in the first inning. Then, in the second, Erick Aybar doubled and was then sent home via sacrifice fly by the Angels' should-be-everyday-starting catcher Carlos Perez. The offense went mostly quiet after that, save for a couple baserunners here and there, so once it again it was going to be set solely upon the shoulders of their pitching staff to hold the run. There have been flourishes of offensive onslaught from this squad so far in 2015, but they’ve been few and far between, and most nights we’re left wishing they could maybe shore up a big lead early as opposed to putting us through another nail biter. Of course, this time they WERE able to add on some insurance in the ninth this time, as a couple quick hits led to another big at-bat for Johnny Giavotella, and second baseman scored Taylor Featherston with a crucial sac fly. It wasn’t much, only one run, but with the amount of close ballgames they’ve gone through so far in May, it seemed like it might has well have been a grand slam.
Jered Weaver had his first start since having a complete game shutout of the Astros last Friday, and while his velocity was dipping back into the 84-85mph territory, his stuff was still rock solid. Weaver pitched 7 ⅓ innings of one run baseball, and that was from a J.J. Hardy homerun in the eighth, after which he was pulled by Scioscia with only 83 pitches under his belt. That's how quick and effecient this game was. Weaver also had some help from Mike Trout and Kole Calhoun in the outfield, with the former robbing Alejandro De Aza of a big hit and the latter himself made another nifty diving catch at one point. That’s two starts in a row where Jered Weaver has looked like the pitcher we’ve come to know and love, albeit with a diminished fastball. But when you can strike out Chris Davis with a 64mph curve, then you’re going to get the job done one way or another.
I harp on the offense not giving their pitchers more run support here, but I'll take a Friday evening win any time. But they're going to have to heat things up eventually or they are going to be getting more and more of the Jered Weaver Death Stare. On to game two tomorrow, where the Halos luck out a bit and will miss facing Bud Norris, who has the flu. I'll take it!