ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Angels came back from a 4-1 deficit to tie it, but the bullpen continued to wobble in a 5-4 loss at the Ballpark in Arlington on Sunday afternoon. The game ended on a blown hit-and-run when Alberto Callaspo struck out and Mike Napoli threw out Howie Kendrick at second base.
Streaking. Erick Aybar is as hot as any hitter in baseball. He's riding a 13-game hitting streak and Sunday was his most impressive game this year. Aybar hit a home run to center field, had a two-run single and doubled. During the streak, Aybar is batting .373.
Highlight play. Reliever Hisanori Takahashi hasn't had a great start to his Angels career, but he made a brilliant play to get out of a jam in the eighth inning. With the bases loaded, the Rangers tried a squeeze. Craig Gentry bunted it right at Takahashi, who shoveled the ball to Jeff Mathis using his glove.
Patience. The Angels are far from the most patient team in the league, but they worked the Rangers for seven walks Sunday. The most shocking part of that: Bobby Abreu didn't have any of them. Of course, he only had one plate appearance.
Second looks. Ervin Santana has had a problem with overexposure this year. Hitters seem to tee off on him the second time through the lineup. The first time they see him, they're batting .123 with five runs. The second time through, they're hitting .357 with 13 runs, including four in the third and fourth innings -- on home runs -- Sunday.
The Problem. Every offensive problem the Angels have had this year -- few RBIs, sporadic production -- is encapsulated by their inability to hit with runners in scoring position. Sunday they went 1-for-11 in that category. For the series, they were 3 for 31. For the season, they're hitting .236 in that category.
Leadoff walk. The last thing you want to do as a reliever is to allow a leadoff walk, but it's been a problem for this bullpen. Rich Thompson, until Sunday, had not been guilty of that offense. In fact, until Sunday he hadn't allowed a first batter he faced to reach base. He was one of only two major-league relievers to have that distinction. Now, Mike Adams of the San Diego Padres is all alone after Thompson walked Adrian Beltre and David Murphy to start the eighth.