The Angels faced off against the Mariners tonight in Anaheim for a game on Fox, soundtracked by the alien and eldritch drone of Matt Vasgersian, and the always grating Eric Karros. Garrett Richards, coming in with a 7-5 record and 3.36 ERA, was looking to continue his run of good starts as he faced off against Seattle’s J.A. Happ.
Kole Calhoun had one HR in four previous at-bats against Happ, and he hit a two-run home run in his first AB today. A 408 ft shot to center, it scored tonight’s surprise lead-off hitter Daniel Robertson, who was on base from a lead-off single. If last night is our guide, then we’ll know that this early display of power will be the ONLY display of power, and Richards had better be dealing if he wants a W. Of course, if the season-to-date is our guide, we know that we have no clue what is going to happen day to day.
To his credit, Garrett Richards WAS dealing from the get-go. He allowed a double in the first inning, but then went unconscious and got locked in for two straight 1-2-3 innings. Through four innings, he had 42 pitches, no runs and that lone hit in the first on his scorecard, and the Angels clung on to their 2-0 lead.
After Calhoun’s HR in the first, the Angels began to have difficulties with Happ. Meanwhile, Richards got into some self-inflicted trouble in the sixth, as he gave up a single to Mike Zunino, then a single to Logan Morrison. With runners at first and third, Richards threw his second wild pitch of the day, which allowed Zunino to put a run on the board; Angels now only up 2-1. Robinson Cano would bat into an inning-ending double play, with men on first and third again, and Garrett got out of what could have been a MUCH worse inning. In between the sixth and the seventh, Cano would be standing up on the railing of the dugout, and a ball got thrown well over Pujols’ head in warm-ups and tagged Cano right in the forehead. He was checked out for a bit and left with his team trainers, while the knot on his head grew to unsightly proportions. Who threw the ball? Replay didn’t show who it came from, but my money is on Little Italy, but could have easily been Taylor FeatherSwift. Hard luck day for Cano on all fronts.
In the seventh, the Angels finally forced Happ into having a bad inning. Mike Trout kicked things off with a double to left field, then Pujols got an IBB, and David Freese followed with a walk of his own, bases now juiced and Johnny Giavotella coming up to the dish. Our sparkplug second baseman came through in the clutch once again, hitting a single through to right field, and scoring Trout. Later in the inning, with Pujols moved over to third, Carlos Perez hit a fielder’s choice that would score The Machine and give the Angels breathing room in the form of a 4-1 lead.
Those runs in the seventh would quickly prove valuable as Richards gave up a solo dinger to Mike Zunino in the eighth, setting the score at 4-2 Angels. Garrett’s day would be done when Willie Bloomquist reached second base on a throwing error by Taylor Featherston(more evidence of his involvement in CanoGate?), and he was lifted for Joe Smith. Richards looked pretty good today, his only runs coming from a wild pitch and a solo shot, coming with seven total hits and six strikeouts. A solid day for the powerful righty. Smith quickly blew through Nelson Cruz and ended the side.
Huston Street would make things a little ulcer-inducing in the ninth but would eventually close things out, and the Angels finished another well pitched, low-scoring game, but this time they won, and it was relatively fun to watch. I’ll count my blessings...could always be worse. The Astros lost once again in New York, so they Halos were also able to gain a game on the division leaders. Add in a trip to Home Depot, maybe Bed Bath and Beyond(if you have time), and that’s a nice little Saturday.