Angels 7, Phillies 1
The Phillies and their MLB-worst record came trotting into Anaheim today. Naturally, the Angels were favored, considering their record is not MLB-worst, but with Ricky Nolasco on the bump, anything can happen.
Albert Pujols continued to put his 0-25 in the past, homering again for the second straight game in a three-hit performance, raising his BA to .238. For comparison, it was .285 five years ago, when something may or may not have happened.
The game started as most Ricky Nolasco starts do, with a run for the opponent. Today, it did not come in the obligatory HR fashion but rather featured the soft, dinky stuff. Nolasco didn’t help his cause by booting a ball, and Tommy Joseph cashed in the run with an RBI single.
Aaron Nola was on the hill for the Phillies, and he looked spectacular. He could paint the corners for strikes, tossing ‘em up, down, left, and right. Of his 106 pitches, 74 went for strikes, a rate which is 70% if you squint hard and round (69.8%). The Angels nearly broke through in the 3rd, but Yunel Escobar was thrown out at home trying to score on a Pujols single to end the inning. Escobar would later leave the game with pain in his side.
Speaking of injuries, Ramon Flores (taking over for Kole Calhoun) did not show much of anything, with three weakly hit balls and bad defense in right.
In the 5th, Albert Pujols came up in the same situation (1st and 2nd, two outs) and said, “I’m tired of this guy Yunel being thrown out on the bases!” He took an outside pitch and went with it, going to right field for a two run double.
Ricky Nolasco surprisingly turned it around after the first (it IS the Phillies, after all) and was decidedly masterful for 6 innings. He really wanted to win, I guess. Keynan Middleton took over in relief. Today, he found his command and lost his defense. When Andrew Knapp lined a ball right at Ben Revere, the “left-fielder” decided to break forward and let the ball sail over his head. After that, Middleton induced a grounder to Simmons, who tried to back-pick Knapp at second, but Kaleb Cowart wasn’t there. Middleton worked his way out of trouble, getting five outs in the process. Mind you, it was still a one-run game back then.
But times changed. In the bottom of that inning, with two runners on, Pujols took a hanger from Phillies reliever Mark Leiter and hooked it just inside the left field foul pole. 5-1, Angels.
Blake Parker pitched the 8th, giving us our token Parker, and in the bottom of the inning, a double-steal from Cliff Pennington and Cowart induced two more runs, and the door was pretty shut. A 6 run lead with one inning to go? We’re good, right? The leadoff man walked, but Troy Scribner induced a double play, and we were in the clear!
The perfect start to the all-important homestand!
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