Angels’ Celebration on Hold, AL West Title in Sight
Sep 15, 2014; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels designated hitterBrennan Boesch
(28) celebrates with center fielderMike Trout
(27) after hitting a home run during the fifth inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
There was no exuberance. No excess celebration for reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2009; the year Torii Hunter, Vladimir Guerrero, and John Lackey led the Halos to their last AL West title. Least of all, there was no acknowledgement that the Los Angeles Angels had done anything more than win another ballgame.
An 8-1 victory over Seattle last night meant little to the Majors’ first official postseason invitee, other than pulling them within three games of the division crown. With any luck, the Angels will have it secured by Thursday morning. With even more luck, injuries to Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton and Matt Shoemaker will have come and gone.
Call to the Pen
Shoemaker tossed 7 2/3 dominant innings against the Mariners before leaving with discomfort on the left side of his rib cage. The right-hander will get an MRI today despite saying he isn’t really concerned. Shoemaker notched his 16th victory last night, furthering his franchise record for wins as a rookie.
Losing Shoemaker for an extended period of time would be a crushing blow to an already bereft starting rotation. Garrett Richards and Tyler Skaggs suffered season-ending injuries, and long-reliever Cory Rasmus backed into No. 5 slot as a result.
Pujols exited last night’s game after straining a hamstring crossing first base. The firstbaseman cited Southern California’s heatwave and his own lack of hydration. Hamilton, meanwhile, has been sidelined 10 straight games with a sore left shoulder, though he could be back as a designated hitter Wednesday.
Given numerous injuries, and fact that they haven’t won anything yet, it’s no wonder the Angels didn’t break out the champagne bottles.
Twelve games remain in the 2014 season. A lot can happen in a small amount of time.
Pitching Matchup – Cory Rasmus (3-1, 2.80 ERA) vs. Roenis Elias (10-12, 3.81 ERA)
Rasmus has done exactly what manager Mike Scioscia expected him to do. Nothing more, nothing less.
After winning three of four decisions as reliever (23 games) Rasmus is looking for his first as a starter. The Angels are 3-0 when he takes the mound and the righty hasn’t pitched badly, yielding three earned runs over eight frames. Rasmus just hasn’t been given a chance beyond the fourth inning.
Last Thursday’s 3 1/3 inning stint in Texas marked Rasmus’ 22nd straight outing allowing fewer than three runs. He gave up a leadoff home run but gave up just one hit from that point on. Rasmus hold similar success against Seattle, holding a 1.69 ERA in four appearances.
Roenis Elias has been vital to the Mariners’ postseason run, going 3-4 with a 2.08 ERA over his last nine starts. The left-handed rookie hasn’t given up more than two runs in an outing since July 21 with an ERA that’s dropped .60 in that span.
Elias has lost both meetings with the Angels, compiling a 5.56 ERA and 1.235 WHIP at Angel Stadium.
- Pujols is two go-ahead RBIs short of tying a club record 34 set by Guerrero in 2006.
- The Angels haven’t lost a season series with Seattle since 2003.
- Howie Kendrick is batting .421 in September (24-for-57) with two home runs, 15 RBIs, and nine extra-base hits.
TV: 7:05 p.m. PT, Fox Sports West, ROOT Sports, MLB Network
Radio: KLAA 830, 710 ESPN (Seattle)