Thursday, April 12, 2012

By Brian Waller, Columnist

Just when it looked like the Halos' offense was gaining momentum, the rug got pulled out from under their feet. As a fan watching the game today, it kinda was the equivalent of getting punched in the gut. The Angels jumped out to an early  6 run lead Thursday at Target Field against the Minnesota Twins in front of 31,782 but that 6 run lead would evaporate thanks in large part to the shaky Angels' bullpen. As the Angels 'pen imploded, the Twins offense exploded as they scored 10 runs in the final 4 innings eventually beating the Angels 10-9.

Although he showed glimpses today, Dan Haren still does not look like the dominating pitcher he was last season. He did strikeout 7 while walking only 1 but he gave up 3 runs off of 9 hits and lasted only 5.0 innings. We talk all the time about the bullpen woes, I'm shifting blame but I am saying our starting pitching needs to go deeper into games. Haren's outing today was far to short and if the 'pen is the team's weakness right now than it is being over exposed by the starting rotations inability to last deep into games.

I'll get the ugly part out of the way now, Kevin Jepsen lasted only 2/3 of an inning giving up 3 earned runs off of 3 hits. Rich Thompson gave up 4 earned runs off of 5 hits in 1.1 innings. The one effective reliever the Angels have had this season, Scott Downs, injured his ankle and was forced out of the game after pitching only 1/3 of an inning. Downs turned his ankle while stepping on first base today, he went down immediately and a DL stint appears imminent. Between the poor performances and the injury, it truly was one of the worst bullpen outings I can recall in a while.

Offensively, Peter Bourjos continued his hot hitting as he went 2-for-3 with 1 run and 2 RBI's/. He also collected his first stolen base of the season. He continues to improve on the base paths and its apparent that he is getting better reads off of pitchers when attempting to steal, his swiped bag today came on a first pitch strike.

I think everyone can agree that Vernon Wells appeared more patient today at the plate. He seemed to revert to his spring training approach at the plate and the box score shows it. He went 2-for-5 with 1 run and 1 RBI's. Amazingly for all his struggles this season, his batting average stands at .217...exactly the same as Albert Pujols.

Speaking of Pujols, he went 1-for-5 today and left 3 runners on base. Pujols is making contact with the ball, it's not as if he is striking out. Pitchers have been pounding him inside on what appear to be 2-seam fastballs which keeps him from extending his arms. I'm still not concerned, Pujols had a monster spring and I believe he is simply learning the new pitching he is facing in the AL.

Mark Trumbo was the designated hitter today and had a very good game. He hit his first home run of the season but more importantly he drew a walk. Trumbo seemed a bit more patient at the plate today which was good to see. He also had two RBI's.

Player of the Game: Mark Trumbo
AB     R       H     RBI's     BB     SO     LOB     AVG.
4        2        2        2            1          1           0      .455

Next Up:

Ervin Santana takes the mound on Friday at Yankee stadium opposite Hiroki Kuroda. Santana is 0-1 this season with a 7.94 ERA while Kuroda is 0-1 and has a 6.35 ERA.

New York Yankees series preview coming up tomorrow morning.
Love to hear what you think!

Listen to "A Fish Like This" Tribute song to Mike Trout's Greatness

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