The Halos took the field of Rogers Centre today wanting to escape Canada with a series win and a three game winning streak. They attempted to do so with Matt Shoemaker on the mound, and a lineup that featured Mike Trout at DH, Colin Cowgill in center, and Marc Krauss, playing for he-of-the-recently-bruised-hand Albert Pujols, at first. It’s fun to poke fun at some of Scioscia’s insane lineup constructions, but lately the team has shown that no matter what the lineup is, it’s anybody’s guess as to whether or not they’ll be able to get the job done at the dish. Tonight was no different.
Last night’s hero, Marc Krauss, got things going early with a first inning solo shot to right field off of Toronto starting pitcher R.A. Dickey. It was a beautiful swing, and from the crack of the bat alone you could tell this one was going to be someone’s souvenir for the evening. The 1-0 lead was short-lived, however, as Danny Valencia took Matt Shoemaker deep to start off the third inning, followed by a Ryan Goins double that seemed to land right on the seam of Toronto’s controversial turf before taking an odd bounce. With Goins on second, Ol’ Shoey dug himself further into a hole by fielding a bunt by Steve Tolleson and in his attempt to throw him out at first, sailed it over Marc Krauss’ head, allowing Goins to score from second.
The Angels were having a tough time with knuckler Dickey today, and through six innings, the only hits they had were the aforementioned Krauss bomb, and a single from Mike Trout. Shoemaker was still determined to keep things close, but his effectiveness at attacking the plate against a formidable Blue Jays lineup seemed to come and go. It amounted to a good first and second inning, a long, 2-run third inning, a very quick fourth, and a 4-run meltdown in the fifth. Inconsistency is not a starting pitcher’s friend, to put it mildly. But let’s go back to the fifth, shall we? The Angels really got burned by the shift when the Blue Jays had men on the corners and Jose Bautista hit what would have normally been a routine play to the second baseman...except with the shift on, there was no second baseman there and it was an easy RBI for the slugger. "No biggie, they’ll get it back", you might think. But no, the bad luck didn’t end there. After what would could have been the final out of the inning, Edwin Encarnacion smacked a three run homerun, putting the score at 6-1 and Shoemaker continued this week’s theme of Angels getting buried by 2-out rallies.
As bad as that inning was for Shoemaker, he actually stayed in the game until the seventh, when he was pulled after getting men on second and third with no outs. Vinnie Pestano was called in to mitigate the damage, and to put it bluntly, he failed. Not sure what Scioscia expects from Pestano at this point, especially when he’s only had a couple appearances over the past two weeks. The Blue Jays tacked on a couple more runs and these days a team putting up eight runs on the Angels is practically insurmountable. Tonight was no different.
So Mike Scioscia’s lineup experimentation didn’t pan out today, but I’d be lying if I put the blame entirely on the Angels. R.A. Dickey had one of his better starts, and looked invincible until the late innings when David Freese provided three runs via a double in the eighth and a homer in the ninth. Too little, too late, but we appreciate the effort, David. The problem is it’s becoming a trend to have opposing pitching look amazing against the Halos, whether they’re R.A. Dickey, or they’re a resident advisor for a local college dormitory whose first name happens to be Dicky(his parents were big Mighty Mighty Bosstones fans). The thing i’ll takeaway from this series was the propensity for Angels starting pitchers to allow so many runs while they have two outs. It never feels great to have that one bad inning, but to have two outs on the board while it’s happening is just an extra heaping of salt in the wound. If I’m looking for positive takeaways, i’ll say that at least Mike Trout had a decent series and got yet another multi-hit game today(single, double), so perhaps he’s coming out of his mini-slump just in time to put the hurt on the Red Sox. I doubt any of us were worried about that happening, though. This team has bigger fish to fry, and none of them are Trout.