Today is Garrett Richards’ 27th birthday, and perhaps he was already focusing on his free meal at Denny’s and not baseball, because the righty obviously had his mind in other places tonight . Even from the get-go, the game was not going the birthday boy’s way, as he gave up a single to Yangervis Solarte on the very first pitch of the game. That would set the tone for the evening, especially the first few innings where Garrett continued to trot out his fastball on the first pitch, and the Padres were repeatedly taking advantage, most notably Will Middlebrooks who got an RBI double off a first pitch fastball in the second inning. In fact, the first four innings was the Will Middlebrooks vs. Carlos Perez Show, basically. Middlebrooks connected again for a big, two-run homer in the fourth, while Carlos Perez kept the Angels in the game singlehandedly by driving in a couple runs; one on an infield single in the second and an RBI double in the fourth, as well. Regarding Perez, between those hits and some great stops behind the plate tonight, he sure looked like a legit MLB catcher. The Angels had some rough spots against Padres starter Andrew Cashner, but for the most part they hit the curly haired viking rather okay enough.
So the game heads into the sixth inning, and off all people to tie the game at three apiece, it was Matt Joyce(!!), and with a towering moonshot to right field, to boot. However, the tie game was short lived, as Garrett Richards continued his birthday self sabotaging by blowing up in the seventh. Richards was relying on his backup slider heavily to get him out of jams, but his command got shaky, which led to his second error of the evening and allowing back-to-back two-out hits to give the Padres a 5-3 lead. It was at that time that Scioscia saw all that he needed to see, and made the call to put Cam Bedrosian in. Today was Garrett’s birthday and he’ll make errors and get a loss if he wants to(make errors and get a loss if he wants to). You would lose, too, if it happened to you. Really, though, I am somewhat concerned, seeing as how this is his second bad start in a row. The guy’s got the goods, however, and he’s pitched so well at other times this season that it makes sense to chalk this up to a couple hiccup games. I hope.
As mentioned earlier, Cam Bedrosian was brought in for Garrett Richards, and he had a markedly improved outing than he did in Boston, as he ended up pitching 1.2 innings and allowed no hits, striking out three. It was then Cesar Ramos and Vinnie Pestano out of the pen, and they too held the Padres at five runs, giving the Angels ample opportunity to try and comeback from the 2-run hole.
The Angels would not have been put in such a precarious situation, on the precipice of ruining Garrett Richards’ birthday like they were Torii Hunter, if they had done better with runners in scoring position. They were 0--5 in that category tonight, which really should surprise nobody, and in an even further faux shocker, the only person who seemed game to make a comeback was Mike Trout. He was able to get a double, advance to third on a flyball and then score on a Kole Calhoun sac fly. The score was 5-4, closer than before, but still oh so very, very far.
That takes us to the bottom of the ninth...familiar territory as we saw Iannetta, Perez and pinch hitting Johnny Giavotella come up to the plate and go down in order, like fish in a barrel. Giavotella was actually able to make contact, but in true rube fashion, got the last out of the game by trying to stretch his single into a double. Pathetic night that could have been a win. We’re getting used to these by now, yeah? Angels get the Detroit Tigers in town next; things aren’t getting any easier.