Somehow I always seem to get (and by “get” I mean “have to”) write about the Angels when they lose, even if they’ve been on winning streaks. Why is that? Maybe today they got the memo that the Oakland A’s clinched the division earlier. They’ve been playing their best baseball of the year this month, and looked like they had a chance for a sweep of the Mariners, but it wasn’t to be, so I get to write about another Angels loss. Yay me. Here goes nothing…
The final game of the year against our division rivals from Seattle saw C.J. Wilson take the mound for the Angels. For some reason, Mike Scioscia decided to keep Mark Trumbo, who leads the Angels in home runs, out of the lineup of a day game, when the ball has more of a chance to carry out of the stadium. Makes TOTAL sense. Not.
So the starting lineup for the Angels was: J.B. Shuck leading off and playing left field, Erick Aybar batting second and playing shortstop, Mike Trout hitting third and playing center field, Josh Hamilton as the designated hitter going fourth, Howie Kendrick playing second and batting fifth, Kole Calhoun in right field hitting sixth, Hank Conger catching and batting seventh, Efren Navarro at first hitting eighth, and Andrew Romine going last at third.
Meanwhile the Mariners sent Felix Hernandez out to pitch, Abraham Almonte to play center and hit leadoff, Franklin Gutierrez in right bat second, Kyle Seager at both third base and hitting third, Kendrys Morales the designated hitter in the fourth spot, Justin Smoak to hit fifth and playing first, Mike Zunino catching and in the sixth hole, Nick Franklin at second base bat seventh, Michael Saunders in left field hit eighth, and Carlos Triunfel bat last and played shortstop.
The scoring began in the second for the M’s when Kendrys Morales doubled then Mike Zunino doubled to bring him home to make it 1-0 Mariners. But luckily, in the bottom of the inning, Howie Kendrick doubled, Kole Calhoun walked, Hank Conger got hit by a pitch and Efren Navarro grounded out to drive in Howie Kendrick from third to tie it up at 1-1.
J.B. Shuck walked to start out the bottom of the third and stole second with Erick Aybar at bat, after Erick Struck out, Mike Trout worked himself a walk, bees on the field delayed the game for a bit and set the Twitter jokers to work while that situation got worked out.
When play started again, Howie Kendrick reached on a fielding error by Mariner’s shortstop Carlos Triunfel, loading the bases with 2 outs, but Kole Calhoun lined out to end the scoring threat and left the game tied 1-1 heading to the fourth inning. Carlos Triunfel also got on base when he singled in the fifth with two out, but Abraham Almonte struck out to end the inning for Seattle and the Angels went down in order, so the score remained 1-1 going into the sixth.
Franklin Gutierrez singled to begin the sixth inning, but Kyle Seager grounded into a fielder’s choice, and the Angels threw to second to get the lead runner, putting Seager on first with one out, he stole second, advanced to third on a balk, then Justin Smoak hit a 2-run home run putting the Mariners up 3-1 with 2 outs, and Mike Zunino grounded into the third out to end Seattle’s half of the inning, while Hank Conger walked with 2 out for the Angels in the bottom of the sixth, but Efren Navarro grounded into the third out.
The Mariners went down in order in the seventh, and there was a threat for the Angels to score some more in their part of the seventh when Andrew Romine singled, after J.B. Shuck popped out and Erick Aybar struck out, Mike Trout walked, and Josh Hamilton walked to load the bases, but Howie Kendrick flied out to end the inning.
The eighth brought hope for the Angels when it was a 1-2-3 top of the inning, and Kole Calhoun hit a leadoff home run, bringing the score to 3-2, and after Hank Conger flied out, the Angels got 2 more on when Efren Navarro singled and Andrew Romine walked with only the one out, but J.B. Shuck flied out and Erick Aybar grounded out to end another scoring threat. That was it for the scoring, though Kendrys Morales and Josh Hamilton both got on for their teams in the ninth, the game ended with the Mariners defeating the Angels 3-2.
Next, the AL West champs Oakland Athletics head back to the Big A for the last time this year. Garrett Richards will face off against A.J. Griffin in the first game, the second game will see Jason Vargas against Dan Straily, and for the final game we’ll see Jered Weaver finish it off opposite Bartolo Colon. Then the Angels head to Arlington to finish off the season on the road for a four game series against the Rangers.