How much do I not want to write about another Angels loss going into the All Star break? I so don’t want to write about it that I procrastinated even starting to write in hopes that the offense would eventually pull ahead so I didn’t have to write about them getting swept. Again. In the last series they’re playing before the break. But, alas, no such luck. Instead, they continue their streak of playing badly at Safeco, maintain their precedence of being outscored there by a team they had just swept last month at home in Anaheim, and lost to the Mariners 4-3.
Going into the game, I had little hopes for a win simply because Joe Blanton was on the mound for our Halos. Add to that the fact that they were to face Hisashi Iwakuma for the Mariners, and my confidence level sank even more since Iwakuma is one of the pitchers the Angels have been able to do precisely diddly squat against.
And my lack of confidence is justified when Blanton gives up a 2 run home run to Michael Saunders in the bottom of the 2nd to put the Angels down 2-0 already; lovely start, Blanton, way to substantiate my skepticism in 2 innings. A couple of innings later, the M’s add another run on a sac fly from Mike Zunino, putting them up 3-0 in the bottom of the 4th. Things are chugging along as I fear but expect when Blanton pitches.
Although, wow, in the top of the 5th some actual emotion in the dugout from Joe “I don’t have anything to prove” Blanton! Did he punch a Gatorade cooler? That’s almost interesting. Mike Butcher gets in on the action, what looks like heated words are exchanged between him and Blanton and Howie Kendrick and Erick Aybar come in to hold Butcher back. Now that is interesting! I wonder what Blanton could have said to upset Butcher so much? Oh to be a fly on the wall of the dugout to hear that altercation… While that drama unfolds, Mark Trumbo hits his 21st Trumbomb of year to put the Angels on the board (so at least they weren’t going to be shut out like they were yesterday).
But in the bottom of the 5th, Blanton gives the run right back to the Mariners. He comes out again, faces 3 batters, gives up a single to Brad Miller, walks Nick Franklin, allows Raul Ibanez to double and that’s it for the righty. It’s his shortest outing of the year, 4 innings plus 3 batters, even shorter than his last start in Chicago when he gave up 8 hits, 4 home runs, and 6 earned runs in 5 innings. His ERA now sits at 5.53 on the year and his WHIP is 1.55 (way to go, bud!). Mercifully, Michael Kohn is brought out, and with 2 on and none out he’s able to strike out 3 batters to get out of the inning with no further damage (thank you!).
Mike Trout got on with a single to leadoff the 6th, and after Albert Pujols flied out to center, Josh Hamilton struck out. Howie Kendrick came up with Trout at fist and doubled, so with 2 out and 2 on, the Mariners decide to intentionally walk Mark Trumbo, since she had just hit a big home run off Iwakuma in his last at bat, to pitch to Alberto Callaspo instead. He came through with a clutch single, scoring Trout and Kendrick and moving Trumbo to 3rd, putting runners at the corners with 2 outs, but Chris Iannetta (who I maintain has been hanging around with free-swinging Aybar too much and as a result his performance has suffered) struck out looking to end the inning.
Dane De La Rosa and Scott Downs came on to pitch a clean 6th and 7th, the Angels remained unable to score any more in the 7th or 8th and Scioscia made the decision to give Ernesto Frieri some work, since he hasn’t pitched on this road trip, so he’s brought out and pitches a scoreless bottom of the 8th. With one more chance to score in the bottom of the 9th, Alberto Callaspo grounds out, Scioscia decides to pinch-hit Hank Conger for Iannetta, who flies out to left, and Erick Aybar works a 3-0 count before lining out to the second baseman Nick Franklin to end the game.
Next up is the All Star break. Mike Trout, the lone All Star for the Angels this year, heads to New York to start for the American League as they battle the National League for home field advantage in the World Series. The American League looks to turn the tide back to their way after losing to the National League in 2010, 2011, and 2012. After the break, the Angels head back home to take on the A’s and Twins, looking to shift momentum their way following a lackluster pre-break performance.