Baseball’s a funny game. You hear that said all the time and sometimes it’s true. What people really mean when they say this is that sometimes you win or lose a game based on something you have no control over. This is precisely what happened last night at Safeco Field, what seems to be a common occurrence in that park, in the Angel’s 3-1 loss.
Erik Bedard and Ervin Santana were locked up in a pitchers’ duel. Santana, who had been pitching in and out of trouble all game, gave up a leadoff double to former Angel Chone Figgins to start the bottom of the seventh inning. Figgins would reach third on Jack Wilson’s sacrifice bunt. Ichiro Suzuki and Justin Smoak were intentionally walked with Brendan Ryan striking out in between.
This would be Santana’s moment of truth. Bases loaded, two outs and the score still tied at zero. Carlos Peguera, the Mariners DH was at the plate, and after barely checking his swing on a 1-2 pitch, he grounded a ball weakly up the middle. Erick Aybar, who was shading towards the middle, had it played perfectly and was just waiting behind the second base bag to scoop it up and throw Peguero out and end the inning. However baseball’s a funny game and the ball never made it to Aybar, instead bouncing off the second base bag and blooping well over Aybar’s head. Aybar put his hand on his hips and watched, so did Santana. What looked to be the end of the inning now led to a 2-0 Mariners lead.
Earlier this season the Angels lost another flukey game here at Safeco field when Torii Hunter lost a fly ball in the sun in the bottom of the ninth inning of a tie game. Ironically enough, the fly ball was also hit by Peguero. Baseball is a funny game indeed.
“You’ve got to have some luck in this game,” Hunter told the media. “This dude has had a lot of luck. We were here last time and he hits that sun-ball, now the second base bag.”
“I need to take him to the casino.”
The Angels battled back in the 8thinning when Peter Bourjos, who went two for two on the day, walked to lead off the inning against Mariners reliever David Pauley. Pinch hitter Russell Branyan also walked and Erick Aybar’s RBI single made it 2-1. But Torii Hunter flied out and Bobby Abreu struck out to end the inning.
The Mariners would get that run back when Greg Halman hit a homer off of Rich Thompson in the bottom of the eighth and the Angels were shut down in the ninth.
The Angel offense, a hot topic of late, went back to their struggling ways as Erik Bedard blanked the team over seven innings giving up only three hits and walking none while striking out five.
“It’s obviously a bad break,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “But when you’re not playing the game at a high enough level to give yourself a margin of error, that’s what happens…That’s part of the game.”
Scioscia announced he will flip flop the rotation this weekend in New York, moving Dan Haren to Saturday and Tyler Chatwood to Sunday so Chatwood can work with pitching coach Mike Butcher and to give Chatwood some extra rest. Scioscia said he would like Chatwood’s innings to stay at around 170 on the season and will use oppurtunities to push him back or occasionally skip him in the rotation in order to do it.
The Angels have signed 30 of their 49 draftees. The highlights include fifth round pick, outfielder Andrew Ray, seventh rounder Abel Baker, a catcher with ties to Jordan Walden and eighth rounder Logan Odom, a pitcher out of USC.