Monday, April 11, 2005

Washburn Takes Beating -- Angels Win Anyway

UPDATE: A nice come-from-behind extra-inning win for the Halos despite Washburn digging a six-run hole for them to climb out of.

Heros: Many. (1) Bullpen contingent of Chris Bootcheck, Scot Shields and Francisco Rodriguez hold the Rangers scoreless from the fifth inning on. (2) Steve Finley's clutch 2-out double to plate two runs in the eighth. (3) Darin Erstad's clutch lead-off homerun in the ninth off Texas' closer Francisco Cordero to tie the game; or (4) Orlando Cabrera's dinger off of Texas reliever (and Angel savior) R.A. Dickey whose initials must stand for 'Runs Allowed'.

Goats: Washburn, who at this point could be replaced by Bootcheck, Woods or any of the Angel ball-boys with little difference in results. Washburn's line: 5.1 IP 12 H 6 R 3 BB 1 K. The rest of the pitcher's line: 4.2 IP 2 H 0 R 1 BB 5 K. Same hitters in the same ballpark on the same day. Washburn IS the problem. Now the same could be said for the Rangers bullpen who saw Kenny Rogers throw six innings and give up just 2 runs. The Texas relievers then gave up runs in four consecutive innings to not only bring the Angels back from a 6-2 deficit but give them the win in 10 innings. But that's their problem, Washburn is ours.

Here is my running commentary from during the game...

Angels 'pitcher' Jarrod Washburn is in mid-season form, giving up homeruns to Alfonso Soriano, Rod Barajas, and Hank Blalock as the Rangers have opened things up in the fifth inning, 6-2. In addition to the dingers Washrag-arm has given up a triple to Michael Young, a double to Richard Hidalgo and three walks. Good for Scioscia running his raggedy arse back out there for the sixth inning. The least JW can do is give us six runs over six innings but with a walk to lead-off the sixth he may not make it that long.

Kelvim Escobar can not get healthy fast enough and dspite the victory yesterday, Kevin Gregg is not a long-term solution as a starter. Hell, he is not a long-term solution in the bullpen. Either the top farm system in baseball needs to.....Hold the phone...

Scioscia just went to the bullpen to give young Chris Bootcheck an opportunity after Hank Blalock singled off Washburn....

Anyway, Stoneman needs to find himself a starter in the minors or part with some of his beloved prospects to get another starter in Anaheim. This rotation is looking weaker by the day. Yes its only April and Lackey will likely improve but wouldn't it be nice to have at least one pitcher in the rotation who is relatively solid April - September? I am willing to give these guys a couple more starts but Bud Black's job should be on the line for not getting more out of these guys.

Bootcheck had a nice battle going with Michael Young before inducing the third to first groundout. Scoscia had the kid intentionally walk Teixeira with first open and Hidalgo flies out to Guererro. I already like Bootcheck better than Washburn.

Steve Finley has finally done somthing, leading off the seventh with a double. He scores on a Merloni sac fly but that is all the Halos get. 6-3 going to the bottom of the seventh. Kenny Rogers is scrappy. He has given up 8 hits and three runs, avoiding the big inning so far. Next inning should be the key one for the Angels. A tiring Rogers is susceptible but look for Showalter to have the quick hook but then again, the Rangers bullpen does not exactly strike fear into the hearts of men.

As if this game were not irritating enough, the feed coming through on my laptop via is choppy and annoying. Dammit, can't someone perfect this technology already.

Bootcheck has just retired the Rangers in order in the bottom of the seventh. Ok, it was Chad Allen, Kevin Mench & Gary Mathews (not exactly Soriano, Blalock & Young) but it was more than Washed-Up could do.

Steve Finley might be finally heating-up. With two-out and two on in the eighth the center fielder doubles to deep center bringing in Anderson & Cabrera to score. The Texas lead is cut to 6-5. As soon as the Rangers go to their bullpen the Angel hitters pounce. An Anderson single, a Cabrera walk and a Finley double. So the Rangers go to their third pitcher of the inning to face Bengie Molina with the tying run 90 feet away in the form of Steve Finley. Molina engages Doug Brocail (who might have the bushiest goatee in the big leagues) in a 9 pitch at-bat before finally drawing a walk. So it will be up to Lou Merloni here. Scratch that, Scioscia goes to the bench and pinch-hits Jeff DeVanon.

Whoa, Brocail covered first on a grounder to Soriano and DeVanon (locks flowing behind him) just steam-rolled the big pitcher. Somehow Brocail hangs on and the inning is over though. Dammit. Gotta love DeVanon there though, sacraficing his body for the good of the team. So if the Angels are going to spoil Texas' home opener they will have to do it against Francisco Cordero in the 9th. Though the way closers are giving it up so far this season that seems highly possible. The Angels will give the ball to Shields to finish-up the eighth.

On a replay of the DeVanon out it looks like Brocail missed the bag. That sucks.

Figgins boots a ball at second but Barajas gets a home-town hit. Shields blows through the eighth.

Top of the 9th and UNBELIEVABLY Darin Erstad comes through huge with a homerun to deep center off of Coco the Closer. Well, not such a closer today. Figgins promptly strikes out to restore Coco's confidence but that brings up the big man...But Vlad flies out with a sky-high pop-up to shallow left-center that is handled by shortstop Michael Young. So with two-out it is up to Garrett Anderson to get the Angels a lead for K-Rod to protect. Anderson pops up in identical fashion to second but Soriano drops it! Juan Rivera steps up and strikes out on three pitches.

So does Scioscia elect to bring-in a well-rested K-Rod in a tie-game? Likely not. Shields was very effective and can likely go one more (and he does come out for the ninth). Hopefully this one is headed for extras. See the game summary at the top for how this one ended.


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