After throwing his first “quality” start of the season last week against the Mariners, Joe Blanton went eight innings tonight, giving up three runs on eight hits while striking out three and walking two. He also, for the first time as an Angel, threw a clean, 1-2-3 inning, well done Joe, well done. At least, for one night, Blanton lived up to his billing as an innings-eater. The bullpen should probably buy him lunch for giving them a much needed day of rest after being used like a rented mule over the past four days.
A new month begins, and it starts out just like the last month. After closing the book on April, the Angels got off the ground the right way in May with a win on the first. Tonight, would not be as fruitful.
The Angels bats made some noise in only two innings today; the first, and the ninth. With Mike Trout on second, and Mark Trumbo on first, Josh Hamilton came up in a situation that didn’t fill any Angels fans with hope. Two out and a man in scoring position. Hamilton then proceeded to hit a one hop bullet at Nick Markakis. Trout, who normally is running at full tilt at all times, seemed to pull up as he got to the plate thanks to both a clever deke by Matt Weiters, and Howie Kendrick not being behind the plate to play base coach as Trout headed home. The threat was thwarted, the inning was over. The Angels would get another runner to second base in the second inning when Hank Conger singled and moved up on a Brendan Harris ground out, but it would be the last time until Albert Pujols finally killed the shut out with a meaningless, Juan Rivera-esque, solo home run in the ninth inning.
The Angels simply couldn’t figure out Chris Tillman, who held them to three hits and two walks (both in the first inning) over eight innings. But the final nail in the coffin came in the form of a Nate McLouth two-run home run……a Nate McLouth two-run home run……yeah, I still can’t believe that happened, off of Ryan Brasier who was making his Major League debut. Welcome to The Show, kid.
With Jason Vargas on the mound tomorrow, the Angels will dust themselves and try to get back into the win column. Miguel Gonzalez toes the slab for the Orioles with game time scheduled for 7:05 PM PST. Vargas struck out seven Mariners over eight innings in his last start, allowing only two runs, but he’s still looking for his first win in an Angels uniform. Here’s to that happening tomorrow.