Friday, April 08, 2005

This refers to the print edition, not to the online edition. The print edition has a completely different article about the game, and one that says the Angels had to overcome Vlad's "baserunning mistake" to win the game.

The baserunning mistake, of course, came on the contact play, which is a play the Angels ran for all of 2004 to their ruin. You'd think the beat reporter would realize that and not assign blame to the individual player; it's not like when Vin Scully expressed surprise at Maicer Izturis running home on a contact play during the Freeway Series -- DiGiovanna sees every Angel game, and should know this.

Anyway, it's not online, so you'll have to just believe me.

Last night's game was one of those games where I couldn't really be happy when we won because it was so obvious we should have won, and Father Time's game-winning hit seemed more a relief than anything else.

John Jekyl and Lackey Hyde spent four innings making me look smart, and then the world came a-tumbling down on him. Lackey often has those starts that are good but for one inning, and last night was the prototype. And it can mostly be pegged on Adrian Gonzalez's 15-pitch walk, which clearly left Lackey rattled and upset (he shook his head at himself immediately following the walk). He began to lose focus, it seemed to me, and ... well, you know the "and." By the time he was mercifully lifted from the game, he had doubled his pitch count and was throwing pitches that would have been in the dirt had he been standing on the mound in Williamsport. He insisted on throwing his curve over and over and over, despite the fact that he was bouncing it off the catcher's face. And when he revved up to throw a fastball on his last pitch, it looked like a tennis serve.

Lackey really needs to work on his focus to realize his potential; it also seems like he tries to do too much in tough situations, constantly resorting to his out pitch when it's not yet necessary.

The ninth revealed that Scot Shields doesn't really have a rubber arm, no matter how many pitches he threw one game in college. I'm a big supporter of Shields, but I groaned when he took the mound last night; it seemed pretty obvious that he wouldn't be in tip-top shape after two straight outings, and when Shields is off his pitches and their wicked movement are all over the place.

This is as much a consequence of Kelvim Escobar (and Matt Hensley) being on the DL as Troy Percival being on the D.E.T. Removing Kevin Gregg from the equation really leaves a hole, as neither Bret Prinz nor Jake Woods have the trust of Mike Scioscia in crucial situations. Hell, going to the still-surprisingly-unsucky Esteban Yan is risky enough -- actually, given his tateriffic ways of late, going to dependable old Brendan Donnelly is risky enough.

On the whole, I'm still optimistic about the bullpen being effective, though not as good as over the last few years. But getting Escobar back and healthy is key to the bullpen, so we can get Gregg back into the pen and relieve Scotcisco Donriguez of having to pitch in every game.

But look at me, all pessimistic and Cassandraish in the wake of winning a series against a primary division rival, and on the eve of a series against a team that should be a relative weak sister in the Kansas City Royals. The Wyrd goes tonight, and a deep outing to relieve the relievers is his prescription.

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