It’s hard to be optimistic about a team that just got brushed aside in a four game series by a team that has reserved parking in the cellar of the AL West. And I openly admit, that i have been beating the “pessimist’s drum” with repeatedly over the last few days. But tonight, the Angels gave us all something to cheer about. It came against the Cubs, who are only one rung above the Astros, but I’ll take it.
With Jered Weaver on the mound, everyone felt at least a little bit confident about tonight’s game. I mean, it’s “The Weave.” He’s got this. But fans’ confidence deflated a little in the first inning when Weaver gave up an RBI single to Nate Schierholtz, giving the Cubs an early 1-0 lead. The lead didn’t last long, however. After an Erick Aybar double and a Mike Trout single, Albert Pjuols stepped up and lofted a sacrifice fly to left field. Plenty deep to score Aybar, and tie the game up at one.
Two innings later, it looked the wheels were preparing to fall off of the truck. Alberto Callaspo misplayed a groundball to lead off hitter David Dejesus. Three batters later, Alfonso Soriano singled him home. Two batters after that, Ryan Sweeney brought home Anthony Rizzo. The score? 3-1 Cubs. The mood? Bad. Very bad. Fans did not trust this offense. And even though a two run deficit doesn’t look like much, when a team isn’t hitting, it might as well be 10 runs. And inning after inning, the offense kept failing to do anything productive.
But then, in the seventh inning, a spark. A little showing of life. Josh Hamilton led off with a double. Howie Kendrick followed him up with an RBI single up the middle. Maybe. Just maybe, this team was going to pull it off. Then, the next three hitters went down in order. But the Angels had the top of their lineup coming up in the eighth, they were at least set up to succeed.
And succeed they did. Aybar led the inning off with a basehit. Mike Trout drove one to the warning track in right center field, deep enough for Aybar to tag up and advance to second (even if he did have to employ some trickery while sliding into second base). The stage was set for Albert Pujols, and Pujols proceeded to deliver with an angry swing that drove a first pitch fastball deep into the left field seats. The Angels had the lead, and they had done it by coming back late. All that was needed now was for Ernesto Frieri to come in and slam the door shut Which he did, emphatically.
Jered Weaver didn’t get the win, Robert Coello did. But the team got a win, and that is far more important than one player’s counting stats.
The Angels close out the series tomorrow before getting a day off on Thursday. Jason Vargas takes the mound for the Angels as Matt Garza toes the rubber for the Cubs. Game time is at 4:05 PM PST. Light that baby up, the Angels are in the win column tonight.