The Angels were all geared up to face Seattle ace Felix Hernandez tonight, but in the early afternoon news broke that the Mariners were going to start Hisashi Iwakuma in his place, due to an illness. That gives them a better chance, right? No, not really. Not at all.
The way tonight's game started, you couldn't be blamed for thinking we were about to see a boring re-run of baseball action. In the first, Halos starter Nick Tropeano got himself off on the wrong foot entirely, but considering how well he rebounded, he is worthy of our forgiveness. Tropeano decided to load up the bases early, ultimately giving up a run on a Nelson Cruz sac fly. Adam Lind, ever the poser, thought it'd be cool if he did the same thing, and just like that the Mariners had a 2-0 lead.
Considering the scenario, however, we were lucky that it was just those two runs. Perhaps that flirtation with disaster put Tropeano back on the straight and narrow, because for the rest of his night, he put a damper Jerry Dipoto's homecoming revenge. Tropeano would end up going 5.1 IP, giving up 4 hits, those two sac fly earned runs, and five strikeouts. An overall good outing, but the bats would have to do the heavy lifting. Yep...another one of THOSE games
While Tropeano only got to the 6th, and the Angels would lean on their shaky bullpen for the rest of the evening, Seattle's Hisashi Iwakuma would end up doing the bulk of the work against the Halos. He went 8.0 IP, with six hits, and the only runs for the home team came off of solo bombs; Kole Calhoun in the 4th and a C.J. Cron long ball in the 5th....whoa, stop the clock!
Yep, it's true. C.J. Cron, who has been seeing an uptick in production after being moved down in the lineup, actually made a meaningful contribution to tonight's inter-division tussle. Can you believe it? What if I told you it ultimately wouldn't make a difference? Yeah...that's a little more easy to swallow. I am running out of ways to say "the starting pitching was good, but the lineup and the bullpen were nothing to write home about" and it's driving me insane.
So the game was a 2-2 ordeal going into the ninth inning, and with nobody able to get a game winner put up on the scoreboard, the two AL West rivals headed into extras. In the tenth, Jose Alvarez became the sixth pitcher to take the mound for the Angels, and it just wasn't his night, to put it kindly. With a Franklin Gutierrez RBI single followed by a Nelson Cruz solo home run, the Mariners jumped in front with a 4-2 lead and Alvarez became the latest bullpen member to crap the bed.
The Angels are consistent, I'll give them that. They know how to lose in the same exact way, over and over again, only this time they were doing so in front of the poor, unfortunate souls . Not even some Prince songs played between innings could liven up the 40,755 fans in attendance. It was just a bummer all around. The offense is in quicksand, and the bullpen is a house that's engulfed in the flames of failure. And it's only April, yay.
The Angels will take on King Felix tomorrow, and the ugliness will most likely continue. Enjoy your weekend, despite the miserable baseball on deck.