Thursday, April 08, 2004

Game Three - Running Commentary 

Interesting game, to say the least. Here's my running commentary on the game.

Angels TV over MLB.tv which means I have to listen to Rex "Wonder Dog" Hudler. Yuck - pure homerism and stories from his playing days. Considered hearing M's radio feed but the 2-second time differential bothers me. Hudler was suspended midseason last year after getting arrested for marijuana possession, which surprised me as he always seemed like more of a coke-head to me.

Ben Davis gets the start, continuing the latest tradition of keeping Wilson away from Garcia.

Bottom of 1st- M's hit 2 doubles around a single and score zero runs. Winn is thrown out at home on Boone's single by an absolute bullet from Jose Guillen. Ibanez next shot would have easily scored Boone, except it was a ground rule double. Why wasn't Boonie at second on the play to the plate? Maybe throw was too strong. Another blown opportunity for the M's.

Top of 2nd - 2nd and 3rd no outs, and Freddy bears down. Strikeout (Guillen). Popout (Salmon). Intentional Walk. Strikeout (Paul). Very sweet. Wind blowing in pretty well gives Freddy the freedom to challenge hitters as its unlikely any drives are heading out.

Top of 4th- Flyouts and K's that's all Freddy's giving up the last two innings. This is the Freddy we want to see all year. And the quality of Seattle pitching we want to see for that matter.

Bottom of 4th - bases loaded, 1 out, Aurilia hits shot up the middle off Escobar's arm (maybe glove?) Probably would have been a single, but instead is an RBI groundout. Davis follows with his second strikeout, and won't be getting too many starts if he keeps this up.

Top of 5th- Freddy's cruise control ends with leadoff walk to Tim Salmon. Hud Dog reminisces about time he made a fantastic catch and said to Salmon, "Bitch, did you see me?" I'd love to hear Dave Henderson tell a story where he calls Jay Buhner, "Bitch." A 2-out single is no problem for Garcia.
Bottom of 5th- Ichiro with an ugly check swing strikeout. Suzuki off to a slow start this year.

Bottom of 6th- Freddy looks awesome! Now lets build him a cushion! Leadoff single from Boone is a nice start. Ack! First and second, one out, and Olerud grounds into a 4-6-3 DP. Sigh. Big news for today - Detroit is 4-0! With this start and if Davis continues to struggle look for second-guessing of the Pudge no-signing, and more calls for getting Kendall.

Top of 7th- 87 pitches so far, and a quick inning probably gets Freddy to the 8th, especially with Guardado out. Guillen gets on from a Texas Leaguer that bounces 40 feet in the air. Myers warming up in the pen. Grounder to Willie 5-4-ouch - Boone's throw pulls Oly off the bag. Boone got a low throw from Willie, and the infield continues to be less-than-crisp. Freddy doesn't let it faze him and 2 more flyouts to Winn get Freddy to the 8th at 96 pitches. I'm assuming the 8th is still Freddy's as he looks smooth.

Bottom of 7th- Scot Shields in for the Angels. Aurilia, Davis, Bloomquist for the M's. I sure would feel better with another run on the board. Davis 2-for-35 in Spring and 2 K's in 2 ABs today. Everyone is pitching him away, and then at 2-2, Shields comes inside and Ben could only look at strike 3. Look for Davis to see more time on the pine. It doesn't look like Ben will start the season as Gil and Ryan's personal catcher as he was last year. By the way, the Angels ads are VERY bad, but at least they don't try to introduce a tagline for their team. Okay maybe they do - "You should really follow the Angels" - yuck.

Top of 8th- Freddy sits down after giving up 4 hits, 2 walks and 7 Ks in 7 innings. Julio Mateo gets the call with Myers available and Shiggy waiting for the ninth (and studying the Angels scouting report as I write this). Eckstein sees 0-2 and flies out. Nice aggressive start for Mateo that goes 1-2-3!

Top of 9th-M's can't muster any offense unless they are down by 8, so we head into the ninth with a 1-0 lead. Mike Myers comes out to face Garrett Anderson to open the ninth. A decision Melvin promptly regrets as Anderson lines a pitch up in the zone to left field. Melvin should get slapped around for not just opening with Hasegawa, but Shiggy is coming in now. Personally, I would rather have seen Mateo return to open the ninth than Myers. I don't like seeing how many cold pitchers you can throw into a close game, but that's just me. Troy freakin Glaus coming to the plate. First pitch rips a single to left and we have two on and nobody out. Well, the M's are turning this into a Guardado-style save situation... Guillen up with Salmon on deck, and on second pitch he sneaks a single through the hole on right side of infield. Bases loaded, nobody out, this sucks. Come on Shiggy!

First pitch - swinging foul. Infield at double play depth. 2-1 that Davis scoops out of the dirt nicely. 3-1! Oh c'mon already! Outside corner, strike two as Salmon tried to walk up the line. Phew! He struck him out! Swinging! And Hasegawa pumps both arms in the air with a big out.

Adam Kennedy to the plate and a double play will end it. First pitch foul. Base hit inches over outstretched Boone to right and the G-D Angels are up 2-1. Freddy gets nothing for a great outing, and the M's are on the verge of being swept. We gotta contain the damage... And Shiggy tries an awkward fake to 3rd throw to first pickoff AND GETS CALLED FOR A BALK! Oh, I'm dying here, 3-1 Angels. Instant replay confirms it was definitely a balk. U-G-L-Y. Percival warming up in the pen. Shiggy is falling apart out there now and walks the next batter as Melvin comes out to the mound. First and second, one out.

This game is becoming reminiscent of the 2002 season (which coincidentally is the last time the Angels swept the M's). Great start and a pathetic fade in the end. Ron Villone is now warming up in the bullpen. Grounder to short from Eckstein too slow to do anything but get him at first. Hopefully Bob Melvin has now learned lesson about using Mike Myers to open the ninth, and maybe the door has cracked open a little bit for Rafael Soriano. Two singles that are inches from Bret Boone... sigh. A hit here will break the M's spirit, but maybe if Shiggy can sneak out of it we can get something going off... nevermind - Erstad sneaks a shot down the third base line for a double (off what would have been ball four) and the Angels are up 5-1.

And with that, I'm outta here and heading home. Hopefully the M's will pull off a miracle while I'm driving home. I'm quite disgusted with this loss.

Freddy deserved better. No clutch hits and a bullpen blowup, and the M's are three games out of first after three games.

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