ANAHEIM -- With Sunday afternoon’s 5-3 Angels rubber match victory over the Dodgers, the bragging rights for the series go to those donning the red. The Angels won the season series four games to two, and the Dodgers now sit just two games ahead of the San Francisco Giants, whose house they’ll be visiting tomorrow.
Help for Harang: Six innings and three earned runs is an acceptable outing for a back-of-the-rotation hurler, so it’s easy to conclude starter Aaron Harang spent the afternoon in relative control. However, the righty also struck out precisely as many Angels (0) as I did. Harang was hardly overpowering, and his success was aided in large part to the seven guys behind him on the field.
In the first inning, after an error from Adam Kennedy and a walk put him in a tough spot with no outs and the meat of the Halos’ order coming, Harang coaxed three straight outs to Tony Gwynn Jr., the third requiring the center fielder to scoot to the right-center field wall for the catch. A double play was turned to close a scoreless fourth inning. Dee Gordon sprinted from shortstop to foul territory near the Angels dugout to snag a pop foul. One inning later, Juan Rivera threw out Albert Pujols at third, which not only prevented a runner in scoring position, but prompted an early shower for Mike Scioscia, who got the boot after arguing the call. And finally, the sixth inning ended on a fine defensive play by James Loney, who stretched way out to snare a long throw from Elian Herrara to get Bobby Wilson out.
Dodger legs: Speed is what we’ve come to expect from Gordon, and he didn’t disappoint. He legged out infield singles in the fifth and seventh innings, the former a grounder into the gap between second and short and the latter a bunt. (Gordon also swiped second in the fifth, although that feat was less about his wheels than the throw slipping out of Wilson’s hand, which left the ball traveling as if it were delivered via a 7-iron.) But you don’t expect such feats of running from Andre Ethier, he of the career 20 stolen bases. But the right fielder set an aggressive tone when he decided to go for two on a first-inning hit to shallow left-center. My eyebrows certainly raised as Ethier rounded first, but he nonetheless beat the throw from Mike Trout, which put him in position to eventually score on a Bobby Abreu single.
3) No more “Call Me Maybe”: As is my understanding, an unidentified member of the Dodgers decided as a goof to play “Call Me Maybe” on a loop on the weight room stereo before Saturday’s game. The Dodgers then proceed to win 3-1, and given the superstitious nature of the game, the song greeted everyone this morning in the clubhouse. Had the Dodgers won again, the song might have accompanied the team to the Bay Area for the Giants series. And there’s only so much of it anyone over the age of 14 of take.
Those calls: Adam Kennedy reached in the second inning after first base ump Bill Miller missed the ball on Howie Kendrick’s throw. The replay clearly showed Kennedy out, and this turn of events set the table for Kennedy eventually scoring the Dodgers’ second run. In the bottom of the inning, Peter Bourjos looped a pop fly along the right field line past an outstretched Ethier, and the ball landed on the chalk fair. Except Miller sent Bourjos back to the dish, saying the ball was foul. Two pitches later, Bourjos smacked a 2-2 slider over the left field wall for a two-run homer and the game was tied at 2 runs apiece.
Josh Lindblom: The reliever entered the game after the seventh-inning stretch, and his showing was as painful as “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” sung at its worst. After inducing two early outs from Trout and Alberto Callaspo, Lindblom walked Pujols, then proceeded to fall apart. He hit Morales, then Trumbo knocked a fastball down the pipe into left-center, scoring Pujols. Kendrick followed suit with another hit into the same spot, which brought in Trumbo. Enter Todd Coffey.
James Loney: It’s one thing to endure an 0-fer game. It doesn’t matter if you’re Babe Ruth or Juan Uribe. Some days, you simply can’t put the ball where they ain’t. However, Loney’s outs had a painful tendency not just to close innings, but those with a little bit of precious mo in the Dodgers' favor. A two-out first inning burst, which featured one run and Abreu and Rivera on the bases, was concluded when Loney flew out to center. In the third inning, with two on and one out, Loney ended the inning on a double play ball to third. Of the seven runners stranded by the Blue, Loney was responsible for a quartet.