After dropping their opening series of the season to the Reds in Cincinnati with back-to-back 5-4 losses, the Halos travel to Arlington to take on arguably their most important rival in the Texas Rangers for a three-game weekend set.
I’ll be live-blogging today’s game, which starts in just a few minutes at 11 am PST. Morning games!
For the Angels, left-hander Jason Vargas will make his Halos’ regular season debut against Rangers’ lefty Derek Holland. This is also the first Angels game with a designated hitter, which means for the first time this year, the full lineup will be playing. Yay, Peter Bourjos! Here are the lineups:
- Mike Trout, LF
- Erick Aybar, SS
- Albert Pujols, 1B
- Josh Hamilton, RF
- Mark Trumbo, DH
- Howie Kendrick, 2B
- Alberto Callaspo, 3B
- Chris Iannetta, C
- Peter Bourjos, CF
P Jason Vargas, LH
- Ian Kinsler, 2B
- Elvis Andrus, SS
- Lance Berkman, DH
- Adrian Beltre, 3B
- Nelson Cruz, RF
- David Murphy, LF
- A.J. Pierzynski, C
- Craig Gentry, CF
- Mitch Moreland, 1B
P Derek Holland, LH
The game also marks the return of Josh Hamilton to Arlington. Given his offseason comments about Rangers’ fans, expect the appropriate amount of booing. In fact, he was booed heavily during the introductions.
Updates to come throughout the game.
- The ball seems to be carrying well even for Arlington today. Aybar chopped at a pitch from Holland and it carried almost to the warning track in left field for the second out.
- Pujols lines a shot right at Andrus to end the inning. Three up, three down. Hamilton will lead off in the second.
- Vargas walks the $120-million man, Elvis Andrus
- Is it just me or did Lance Berkman get skinnier in the offseason? #Want
- Vargas gets out of the inning smoothly after the Andrus walk
- Hamilton predictably gets booed heavily. Probably deserved.
- And Hamilton strikes out and the crowd goes nuts.
- A question for Angels fans: How much do you actually like Josh Hamilton? Obviously he makes the team better, but does his often questionable demeanor get on your nerves?
- Howie Kendrick singles in to center and then promptly steals second–first baserunner for the Angels on Holland. Pierzynski’s arm is god-awful.
- Callaspo pops out to short and the inning is over. Holland looks good so far.
- First #SCIOSCIAFACE of the day. Looking pensive in the shades.
- Nelson Cruz drills the first pitch he sees to centerfield for a double. Must of been the stare-oids.
- Cruz advances to third on the groundout by David Murphy.
- Rangers strike first on an RBI double by Pierzynski. Pierzynski goes to third on an error by Hamilton in rightfield who bobbled the ball. Probably would have been out at third as well if Callaspo held on to the relay throw. Shaky defense in that one.
- Welp, apparently Pierzynski was awarded a triple with no errors on the play. Interesting. Hometown scorers y’all.
- Mitch Moreland is a sexy man–struggles against lefties notwithstanding.
- Moreland draws the walk and then Vargas retires Kinsler to end the inning.
- Angels 0, Rangers 1
- Is anyone else as concernicus about the Angels’ pitching as I am? Is anyone even reading this? Hello?
- IANNETTA!!!!!! He crushes one to deep left on the first pitch from Holland. Second home run of the year for the catcher. Love watching that guy hit. Tie game!
- Mike Trout strikes out swinging. This is becoming a theme. Should we be concerned? I’m going with ‘no.’
- Aybar flies out to shallow left, inning over.
- Angels 1, Rangers 1
- SO MUCH COFFEE YOU GUYS.
- Beltre and Cruz each deliver two-out hits, but Vargas gets out of it.
- Seriously. Already two pee breaks. BASEBARR!
- Pujols draws the walk.
- The Rangers fans are in full-form today. Booed Hamilton the whole time he was hitting, cheered loudly again when he struck out. Get used to that though Angels’ fans: Hamilton cannot lay off those pitches.
- Howie Kendrick hits a weak chopper in the infield to end the inning.
- Pierzynski singles to center. So easy to hate that guy.
- Mitch Moreland’s pitch recognition is not as impressive as his jaw line. He was looking breaking ball and got a fastball on the outer half, striking out looking.
- Internet connectivity problems, everyone. Just lost like 200 words. Anger increasing.
- It appears as though Vargas got out of that jam after the Kinsler single. Although I have no idea how. Thanks a lot ISP.
- Internet problems continue. Not sure how it got to this point, but I just saw Trout absolutely CRUSH a ball off the top of the leftfield wall. The two-out double brings in a run and the Angels have their first in-game lead since Iannetta’s Opening Day home run.
- Apparently Callaspo got picked off? Nothing interesting happens for several innings and then ALL OF THE INTERESTING BASEBALL happens when my internet dies. Figures.
- Angels 2, Rangers 1
- Lance Berkman leads off the inning with a hustle double to right field on a pop-up. Hamilton misjudged the ball and Berkman alertly ended up at second. #Want
- This seasons represents my first extended exposure to Halos’ broadcast crew Victor Rojas and Mark Gubicza. I have to say, they’re pretty good. They don’t seem to rely on the same BS platitudes that many announcers do. Having spent the majority of the last three seasons listening to Blue Jays’ crew Buck Martinez and Pat Tabler, it’s a welcome difference.
- Vargas battles back after the leadoff double and strikes out David Murphy to end the inning.
- Angels 2, Rangers 1
- Internet problems are making this increasingly difficult. Just missed an entire half inning. Nothing terribly important seems to have happened except the Angels going down 1-2-3.
- Pierzynski BABIPs a ball into shallow right-center for his third hit of the day. Damn him.
- Angels have Kevin Jepsen up and warming in the bullpen as Vargas’ pitch-count hits 90.
- Ron Washington calls the bunt with Craig Gentry. Thanks for the out Wash!
- Another weakly hit groundball for the second out of the inning. Mike Scioscia will call on Jepsen to face Ian Kinsler. Final line on Vargas: 5.2 IP, 1R, 8H, 2BB, 4K. Pierzynski at third also belongs to him. Not great, but he didn’t give up a ton of hard contact. The BABIP dragon was very much present today.
- Jepsen gets Kinsler to pop out to shallow center to end the inning.
- Holland has been the far superior pitcher today–he’s back out for the seventh, but young fireballing righty Tanner Scheppers is up in the bullpen.
- Kendrick pokes his second single of the day into center.
- Garrett Richards is up in the bullpen for the Angels and will probably come in in the bottom of the inning. Trés excite.
- Callaspo ground into a 5-4-3 double play. Womp-womp.
- Iannetta flies out idly to left-center.
- Propaganda Time. GERD BLERSS ER-MURICA
- Garrett Richards on in relief of Jepsen. I love how much his stuff plays up in the bullpen. Could be a great way to get value out of him.
- Plus, he’s got some serious golden locks. Flowin’ in the wind, y’all. Him and Weaver are the most So-Cal.
- Adrian Beltre takes a hanging breaking ball deep and over the wall in left field. Game’s tied again.
- Cruz follows that up with his third hit of the game–also hard-hit. Richards is leaving it over the plate.
- Scott Downs is up in the bullpen.
- Richards looks gassed. That last fastball was significantly down in velocity. Not commanding at all.
- Damn fine-lookin’ breaking ball gets Murphy swinging and ends the inning.
- Angels 2, Rangers 2
- Tanner Scheppers into the game for the Rangers. Final line on Holland: 7IP, 6H, 2R, BB, 5K. He was excellent today–very underrated pitcher.
- Trout chops one back to Scheppers for the second out. Scheppers has some mean stuff.
- Aybar flies out to right. Scheppers retires the side in order.
- Scott Downs on the hill for the Angels. A few years ago, while he was still on the Jays, Downs–who was the closer at the time–was criticized for not being an intimidating presence on the mound by a local writer. The writer suggested he was too baby-faced. In response, Downs said he would get a snake tattooed on his face. He was dubbed Snake Face and that’s who he’ll always be to me.
- Craig Gentry hits a single and then steals second off of Downs and Iannetta. Go ahead run in scoring position.
- Downs strikes out pinch-hitter Jeff Baker looking. Two outs.
- Ian Kinsler hits a single to right and Gentry beats the throw home by Hamilton. Rangers take the lead back. Kinsler to second.
- Angels 2, Rangers 3
- Rangers closer Joe Nathan on to secure the victory for the Rangers. Pujols, Hamilton and Trumbo to hit.
- Pujols crushes the ball to deep left-center, but Gentry was playing deep. One out.
- The boos continue for Hamilton as he flies out to center. Two out.
- Trumbo goes down 0-2 to Nathan, but shows some great patience–not normally a virtue of his–and comes back to draw the walk. Andrew Romine pinch runs.
- Kendrick flies out to centerfield for the final out of the game. Angels fall to 1-3 with their third consecutive one-run loss.