Jered Weaver struck out 10 batters in a dominating performance on Friday night at Angel Stadium
By Brian Waller - AngelsWin.com Columnist
Words cant describe the amount of excitement Angels fans felt going into the season opener against the Kansas City Royals on Friday night. Never before has their been this much buzz and hype surrounding Angels baseball with fans setting their sights on the franchises second World Series championship.
A season opener of this magnitude deserved to be celebrated not just on the field but off the field as well. Starting at around noon yesterday fans began to congregate at the O.C. Sports Grill in Anaheim, CA, only a stones throw from the "Big A". Approximately 50 members of AngelsWin.com attended the fest which was billed as "Occupy Opening Day". Big burgers, cold beers and good times were had by all in attendance. On more then one occasion I think a few of us had to stop and pinch ourselves because the idea of seeing the best player on the planet, Albert Pujols in a Halos uniform on opening day just seemed surreal. The day we had been looking forward to all winter was finally here.
It was truly a special moment when Pujols' name was announced in front of a sellout 44,106 crowd. A moment which Pujols acknowledged with a tip of his cap, a gesture which showed his mutual appreciation for the fans. Although the ovations were not as thundering as Pujols', hometown guy C.J. Wilson and a returning Kendrys Morales both received a lot of love from the fans in attendance as well.
With a giant American flag covering the field, a fly over at the conclusion of the national anthem and all of our beloved Angels lining the diamond it was time to get the 2012 season underway.
Jered Weaver was flat out masterful. Any questions fans had about him going into the season were undoubtedly answered. Weaver pitched 8 dominating innings allowing only 4 hits while striking out 10 and walking none. Weaver's stuff looked plain nasty last night, his breaking pitches were sharp and he had great command of his fastball. He was matched pitch for pitch early on by Royals pitcher Bruce Chen who kept Angels' hitters off balance through 6 innings. Chen would be pulled though and replaced by Aaron Crow who would end up taking the loss.
The Angels offense was stagnant through 7 innings until it finally broke through in the bottom of the 8th. Erick Aybar got the key hit when the speedster hit a triple with the bases loaded. Although the 3 runs were more then enough for Weaver, the Halos would go on to add two additional runs for 5 total in the inning.
Mark Trumbo's 2012 season did not get off to the best start defensively, he committed 2 errors in yesterday's game. I said it before and I'm sure I will say it again, Mark Trumbo will have growing pains this year as he learns the "hot corner". It will be a roller coaster ride this season that's for sure. His bat in the line-up changes it dramatically so I personally hope the leash isn't too short in regards to him playing third base.
It was Scott Downs not Jordan Walden who closed out the game for the Halos, perhaps a sign of things to come? Downs pitched a shutout and uneventful 9th inning. It was a relief for once not to watch the bullpen implode.
The next game is today at 1:05 p.m. and can be seen on FOX. Dan Haren will take the mound for the Angels opposite Luke Hochevar.
Player of the Game:
IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
8.0 4 0 0 0 10 0 0.00