By Jason Wojciechowski on April 27, 2011 at 12:15 PM
By the Fangraphs Win Expectancy tables, the Angels were about just shy of 80% to win the game following Howie Kendrick's two-run single in the second inning. WE, of course, relies on historical events across all teams, not on the particular situation facing the two teams. With Jered Weaver on the mound for Anaheim1 and the A's hitting like Ty Cobb2, I might have pegged the Angels' chances of winning at more like 95%. (In fact, I forgot I wrote this, but when the Angels scored those two runs, I typed in my notes "OAK 0 ANA 2 and ballgame".)
The A's never even threatened Weaver -- they got a runner to second with one out in the second, to third with two outs in the seventh, and two runners on with one out in the ninth. That's it. Weaver had a good fastball with excellent location and a change that was at worst unhittable and at best filthy. I've been spending a lot of time this season shrugging my shoulders as the A's fail to hit really good pitchers (Felix Hernandez x 2, Justin Verlander, Weaver, Clay Buchholz, arguably Michael Pineda). Good teams, of course, don't require their fans to do this, but I'm under no misapprehensions about the 2011 A's. They're not good. They might be good enough to sneak into a division title with 87 wins if the Rangers ever stop winning, but they're not good.
Box & Notes
Coco Crisp had three line drives and a sharp ground ball, which added up to three singles. His demerit comes from having a bag stolen in the third with two outs and Daric Barton at the plate, but sliding right past the base, unable to hook it with either his hand or foot, and being tagged out. Still, I have to give him the Offensive Player of the Game3 because there aren't any other candidates aside from Hideki Matsui, who had a single and a double, but the double was more about placement (down the left-field line) than quality.
Daric Barton should have been a contender for the OPOTG, but he was robbed by the umpires twice. Leading off the fourth, he hit a fly down the left field line that Vernon Wells attempted to slide and catch. Wells missed the ball, and it was ruled foul, but replay showed that the ball landed slightly inside the line, with the umpire blocked from the play by the sliding Wells.
Then, in the ninth, with Coco Crisp on first, Barton hit a medium-strength grounder toward the left-side hole. Erick Aybar grabbed it and made a Derek Jeter Jump Throw (TM) that just got Barton at first. Except it didn't. Once again, replay clearly showed that Barton's foot was on the bag with the ball still at least twelve inches from Mark Trumbo's glove at first base. It wasn't even one of those "the ball is really close to the mitt, but is it in the mitt yet?" plays. The ball was clearly outside. Daric Barton could use all the hits he can get right now (91 wRC+), so he's owed a couple.
Kevin Kouzmanoff saw eight pitches in his three trips to the plate and whiffed on four of them.
The first inning was just a mess, none of it Gio Gonzalez's making or unmaking. Cliff Pennington airmailed a throw over Daric Barton to allow Peter Bourjos to reach, then Kurt Suzuki threw Bourjos out stealing second despite double-clutching (Peter Bourjos!), then Bobby Abreu was called out by the home umpire on a check swing when he very clearly did not go around, and finally Torii Hunter lined a hard ball to right, but directly at David DeJesus.
Things did not really settle down from there, as the Angels scored runs in the second, third, and fourth, and nearly got one in the fifth too, except Coco Crisp grabbed a ball in the right-center alley off the bat of Vernon Wells that would have scored Torii Hunter from first had it dropped.
Michael Wuertz's almost-debut (he pitched on Opening Day before going on the DL, a fact I'd forgotten) was successful, with two strikeouts looking and a weak chopper in front of the plate. I'm happy to have Wuertz back.
Jerry Blevins walked Torii Hunter and Vernon Wells to lead off the eighth on just nine pitches, then gave up a line drive that was caught before getting a ground ball to third that Kouzmanoff turned as a 5-3 double play. Only to Kendrick did I think Blevins pitched well, getting the aggressive second baseman to foul off a fastball at the letters before hitting a slider down for the outs.
If you're new to the blog: I don't call the Angels "Los Angeles." This isn't just because I live in Los Angeles and have a weird proprietary interest in the name. I just think it's lame to abandon the city for the suburbs in the '60s and then try to claim, forty years later, that you're actually still in the city. If you want to be L.A., you can come pay L.A. taxes. ↩
Not 1917 Ty Cobb. Now Ty Cobb. The dead one. ↩
Standings: (5) Crisp; (4) Ellis; (3) Barton, Suzuki, Willingham; (2) Pennington; (1) DeJesus, Jackson, Matsui. ↩