It’s official. The Angels own the Detroit Tigers this season. How do I know this? Because Tommy Hanson was supposed to start today’s game but was a late scratch because of forearm tightness. In related news; I’m surprised it took this long for him to have some kind of an injury flare up. This effectively turned tonight’s game into a staff day for the Angels. One problem, well, two, actually. The Angels only had one “long man” available in Billy Buckner. Garrett Richards was out of the rotation after pitching last night, and Jerome Williams is now in the rotation with Jason Vargas on the DL. Six pitchers is all that the Angels had available before they would have to turn to a position player to pump in 80 MPH fastballs. Consider the confidence level of this blogger, shot.
Of course, the game didn’t start well for the Halos. Torii Hunter and Miguel Cabrera went back-to-back in the first inning giving Detroit an early 2-0 lead. This wasn’t going to be pretty, and the hat started being passed around as to which back up was going to pitch the first Major League inning of his career. Then, Buckner pitched a clean second inning. Progress. Then Mike Trout did a Mike Trout thing and tied the game up at two with his 13th home run of the season. Hope. Then Prince Fielder hit an RBI single in the bottom of the third to put the Tigers back on top 3-2. Despair.
Billy’s day was done after three innings. A valiant effort, but, to be honest, who really expected much out of him in this situation? And with him giving way to a bullpen that has not been fully reliable this season, the worst had to be coming. But Mike Scioscia proceeded to empty his cupboard of any and all available relief pitchers, and got scoreless inning after scoreless inning. Dane De La Rosa, Scott Downs, Michael Kohn, Kevin Jepsen and Ernesto Frieri combined to throw six innings with only one run being given up by Jepsen. That’ll do, boys. That’ll do.
With the bullpen keeping it close, and Jerry Dipoto frantically trying to sign any available relief pitcher with a pulse (so says my source, the Ouija Board), little Erick Aybar came through in the sixth with his third big fly of the season. Giving the Angels their first lead of the game. An inning later, the Angels put their foot on the Tigers throat, and went for the kill. Mike Trout plated another run with an RBI double down the right field line. Josh Hamilton brought home Trout with an RBI groundout (sidenote: Mike Trout is still stupid fast). That was followed by Alberto Callaspo plating Mark Trumbo with an RBI single to cap the scoring.
This team has had quite a few games during the season where fans have pointed to that game and said: “This has to be the game where they turn it around. Right?” This could be one of those games, but I’m not going to go blue in the face hoping that it is. What it is though, is a reason to get fired up over a team that has under-performed all year. Because they had no business winning this ball game.
The Angels go for their second series sweep, and a season sweep of the Tigers tomorrow with Jered Weaver on the mound facing Doug Fister. Game time is at 10:08 AM PST. Yes, you read that right, 10 o’clock in the morning. Bring your coffee and doughnuts to the couch. Light up the halo, I still don’t know how the hell they pulled this one off.