I'm not doing the usual Halo weekly recap since there were only 3 games this past week. Instead, I'll breakdown the fabulous weekend series against the poor White Sox. Chicago had no idea what was coming for them when they rolled into Anaheim to start back up their season after the break and they ran straight into a wall that was Angels' pitching.
Pitching ruled the weekend series, but Offense was potent as well in the bookend games.
Hector Santiago got things started by holding the White Sox to zero runs on zero walks and 5 hits while striking out 7 over 7 innings on Friday. Santiago was at 94 pitches when he was pulled, then JC Ramirez and Fernando Salas closed things down nicely to shutout the White Sox.
The scoring that mattered, happened in the 3rd when the Angels plated 6 batters and the odds of winning jumped up to 65.8% after Yunel Escobar drove in Ji-Man Choi, and 77.5% when Kole Calhoun scored Yunel Escobar. Jefry Marte's Cunningham-scoring double in the 7th was pretty much the final nail in the coffin.
Saturday night's game was all about Matt Shoemaker. Any time you are facing a pitcher who allows only 2 hits - AND you still win, that is one hell of a performance. Shoey put up an 88 game score. The MLB boxscore had him listed at 95, but later results posted an 88 which is still pretty amazing. The only AL pitchers with higher game scores in 2016 are Chris Sale, Ervin Santana, and Drew Smyly. Shields pitched one of the best games of his life, and his first complete game since August of 2014 but he was on the raw end of a deal that included Matt freaking Shoemaker.
The Angels struck first, when a Mike Trout groundout plated Yunel Escobar who led off with a triple. Those winning odds of 67.7% continued to climb as the game progressed but dropped to the low 60's when Shoemaker got into a bit of trouble in the 9th. Shoemaker's shutdown performance was the reason this game lasted a mere 2 hours and 20 minutes.
In the end, it would be Matt Shoemaker's first complete game shutout, and the best game of his career that would derail one of the best games of James Shields' career. Tough break for the recent Padre.
The offense came back from their slumber that they often partake in when Shoemaker pitches. Jered Weaver pitched a gem himself, going a strong 7 innings and allowing only 1 run, but the Angels offense pounded the White Sox early and often, scoring 2 or more runs in 3 different innings.
Albert Pujols alone would provide all the offense the Angels really needed with his two bombs that spiked the chance of winning to 72.6% in the first and 87.9% in the 4th. This was the best game offensively for the Angels who hit .322 as a team and it was great to see Pujols being so productive.
You know it's a good series when your starting pitchers go 7, 9, and 7 innings while only allowing 1 run over 3 games. In total, Angels pitchers had a 0.33 ERA, 0.778 WHIP, 24Ks, 1 run, and 3 walks over 27 innings.
Angels offense batted .409 with runners in scoring position and hit .281 in Friday's game, .080 on Saturday, and .322 on Sunday. Also, 11 of their 21 hits went for extra bases, so they were hitting the ball well.
It's always a good thing to come out of the break strong, and who knows how long those kind of performances can continue. In the mean time, enjoy them - because they sure are fun to watch!