The Angels returned home from the east coast and set out to start their 10 game homestand, and just in time to also coincide a Ducks conference finals game. Memorial day, baseball, playoff hockey...there was some crazy mojo in the air and win or lose, we were probably about to see some exciting stuff.
The Angels managed to knock the ball around on starting pitcher Tyson Ross tonight, getting 10 hits off of the righty and scoring three runs; one on a Carlos Perez RBI single, one on a Matt Joyce RBI hit and the third came when Erick Aybar got wily on a wild pitch and scored from third in a play so close it had to be reviewed. They didn’t put a ton of runs on the board, but they were hitting the ball well and even the bottom of the order guys got their hits in. The 3-0 lead SHOULD have been enough, too.
Jered Weaver looked glorious today, his off speed stuff in vintage form and Padres batters were lucky to make good contact. Weaver struck out a season high seven batters, walked one and had one earned run in 6 ⅔ innings. And it was then, in the seventh inning with two outs...that’s when everything changed; that’s when Mike Scioscia pulled Jered Weaver for Jose Alvarez. Jered Weaver had just hit the 104 pitch mark, and many fans were probably raising an eyebrow or two. Eventually, raised eyebrows would turned to furled brows, as Jose Alvarez would give up two hits, one walk and 2 earned runs, along with allowing Weaver’s run to cross the dish. The 3-0 Weaver shutout masterpiece was ruined by a questionable bullpen call, and it’s subsequent implosion.
Mike Scioscia has had some lineups this year that could double as ipecac; he’s made some quesitonable bullepen decisions here and there, as well as offensive strategy missteps. He’s been far from perfect, but he hasn’t had much to work with, too. But with tonight’s self-sabotage, the reluctance to trust an ace to get one more out, when the alternative is a coin-flip middle relief bullpen, he showed his true Scioscialistic masterpiece. A fine, original work of art in the medium of Overthinking. It’s an offense against the team, but perhaps even more prickly is how the move and the collapse would affect Jered Weaver. It would sting even the most chill of players, and Jered Weaver is not chill pertaining to game matters. Of course, the Scioscia pitchforks might forget to get to pitchforkin’ if the Angels could pull out a win. Was anybody willing to post bail for Mike Scioscia, and get him out of the doghouse?
In the ninth, Marc Krauss got things started with a walk, and then Colin Cowgill was called in to pinch run. Folk hero Johnny Giavotella had another clutch hit on the season when he hit a single up the middle and moved Cowgill to third. Mike Trout was then intentionally walked to get to Albert Pujols. With two outs, Pujols was facing San Diego pitcher Craig Kimbrel, when he knocked a single between short and third, into left field and the game was one. It was a much needed victory on a night that had been going so well, until Scioscialism reared it’s ugly head. This one could have gotten ugly. Of course, maybe it was just the mojo in the air of Anaheim tonight. This one could have been depressing, and could have lead to some really angry tirades screamed across local airwaves. But it all ended up okay, as it did for the Ducks, who had their own close shave tonight. A confluence of joy, sorrow, anger, excitement and endings exploding in triumphant cheers, all in our Anaheim. Yep, had to have been mojo in the air.