ANAHEIM, Calif. -- You’ll have to excuse the Angels if they weren’t quite sure what to do with a little bit of momentum.
After losing six of eight games on the road and failing to win back-to-back games since July, Friday’s five-run comeback win over the Seattle Mariners seemed to be a potential turning point. It may end up being nothing more than a short respite after the Angels’ 7-4 loss to Seattle on Saturday.
Looking about as inept as they have all season, the Angels fell to 12-16 since the All-Star break and seven games behind the Texas Rangers for first place in the American League West.
What a catch. There wasn’t much for Angels fans to cheer about on Saturday but once again Mike Trout made the play of the night and perhaps one of the better ones he has had this season, which is obviously saying a lot. In the eighth inning Trout stole a home run from Miguel Olivo when he leaped at the 400 sign in center field and reached over to snatch the ball. Trout then turned his leaping catch into a double play when Eric Thames, who had singled, was doubled off first. It was Trout’s third stolen home run of the season and easily the highlight of an otherwise forgettable game for the Angels.
Wells hello there. Vernon Wells was 0-for-16 with three strikeouts in his first six games back from the disabled list. That was a distant memory on Saturday as Wells went 3-for-3 with 3 RBIs and a home run. With Mark Trumbo getting the night off, Wells, who missed 55 games because of a right thumb injury before being instated on July 27, started in left field and batted eighth. He singled to left to score Erick Aybar in the fifth inning and then hit a two-run homer, his first home run since May 16, in the eighth inning to bring the Angels to within 7-3. It was Wells’ first three-hit game since July 22 of last season.
Bullpen recovers. The Angels' bullpen was absolutely horrid during the recent 10-game trip. The relievers posted a 10.54 ERA with five losses and five blown saves. During that time they also gave up 32 runs in 27.1 innings and 41 hits, including 11 home runs. The bullpen fared much better Saturday night after taking over for Dan Haren (although the damage had already been done by then). Jerome Williams finished the game, pitching 5.2 innings and giving up no runs and five hits and striking out two. The bullpen could also be getting some much needed help over the next few days as Jordan Walden and Scott Downs, who have been out since July, are expected to return.
Haren’s outing. It was a nightmarish outing for Haren, who had his shortest start since Sept. 9, 2003 (his rookie season). Haren’s line was as bad as it looked in real time: 3.1 innings pitched, 5 hits, 7 runs (5 earned), 3 walks, 0 strike outs, 1 home run and a 4.68 ERA. Haren came undone during a brutal second inning when Trayvon Robinson singled to right to score Mike Carp and Dustin Ackley singled to right to score Olivo and Robinson. Before Saturday’s forgettable start, Haren had won two straight and four of his last five decisions despite posting a 5.67 ERA over that span.
Fourth inning. As bad as the second inning was for the Angels, the fourth inning was straight out of blooper reel. The Angels gave up three singles and one walk, threw one wild pitch, allowed one steal and had three fielding errors. The inning mercifully ended with Haren being pulled for Williams, and the Mariners scoring three more runs to push their lead to 7-0. While the Angels were able to come back from a five-run deficit for the second time this season on Friday, they have yet to come back from a seven-run deficit this year and that streak stayed intact on Saturday.
Trumbo benched. Trumbo was given the day off Saturday as he tried to work his way out of the 8-for-50 skid he is currently in. Trumbo looked as if he would turn things around last Wednesday when he had two hits to snap out of a 6-for-41 stretch. It was his first multi-hit game since July 25 but he hasn’t had much success since then. He was 0-for-4 Friday night against Seattle before he was given the night off by Angels manager Mike Scioscia. “Right now he’s just in a little bit of a slump,” Scioscia said. “We’re just gonna give him today to catch his breath, get him back out there tomorrow. We need Trumb, and he’ll be back. He’ll be there.”