Ervin Santana was on point, delivering a complete game shutout for a 9-0 Angel victory.
Who would have guessed all the team needed was to get back home? After an absolutely atrocious road trip in which they went 1-6, the Angels came back to the Big A tonight and absolutely dominated the visiting National League Atlanta Braves 9-0, all while wearing those cool 1960′s throwbacks with the halo on the hat! With tonight’s win, the Halos are back at .500 with a 23-23 record. Lots of things went right in this game, with two huge performances of note, so let me get right to it.
- Ervin Santana‘s black magic kept Atlanta in check all night long, resulting in Ervin notching his sixth career complete game shutout. El Mago was at his best tonight, scattering 4 hits over the 9 innings, not walking a soul, and striking out seven Braves. Even more impressive, Santana got the Braves to swing at some really ugly pitches, sign that his breaking pitches were on point throughout the contest. Ervin has struggled with consistency so far this season, like in most odd numbered years, but performances like this give some hope that he can put it all together for long stretches of the season and avoid having another odd numbered down year. If he can continue to do what he did tonight, I don’t see why he can’t.
- Mark Trumbo continues to show that his monster 2010 season in Triple-A was no fluke. He went 3-for-4 tonight, including a 413 foot 3-run blast to left field that broke open the game in third inning. He fell a triple short of the cycle. While Mark has struggled at times in this early part of the season, he has erased any doubts about his ability to play in the major leagues by coming up with hits like tonight, tying for the team lead in home runs with seven, and being one of the top RBI men so far. He has struck out quite a bit (39 Ks) which is a concern, however, with the patience he has shown at times, you get the feeling that Mark will settle down a bit with more experience. As of right now, Mark is the Angels’ most important rookie, due to the absence of Kendrys Morales, and he’s coming through in a big way.
- The 3-4-5 spots in the line-up went a combined 5-for-9, with four walks and five RBI. Alberto Callaspo, in particular, came up big, chipping in three of those RBI along with his two hits and a walk. Torii Hunter and Bobby Abreu were very active during the team’s six-run 3rd inning, it was good to see both veterans come through in big moments, mainly Torii who has scuffled hard this season and has not been able to pick it up for more than a few games at a time. His single in the 3rd was a thing of beauty though, and that coupled with his hard line drive out in the 2nd show that he’s once again getting his swing together.
- Atlanta’s Tim Hudson, usually the anchor to Atlanta’s pitching staff, was battered around tonight. The ex-Athletic gave up seven earned runs in just 3 2/3 innings, a rarity for him in general, but something that seems to common with Tim in interleague play. Color commentator Mark Gubicza mentioned Hudson’s struggles in interleague play since joining Atlanta, citing an appaling 2-13 record with a 6.25 ERA in 17 starts, which no doubt went up after tonight’s performance. It was the perfect time for the Halos to face him, they normally play strong ball against NL squads. According to a few reports, Tim was suffering from lower back stiffness, but to his credit he tried his best to gut it out. Even though he didn’t have a good outing, I think all fans respect that kind of tough attitude.
- Hunter played a trick on his skipper after the rout was on, pretending a flyball going directly at him had actually gone out of the park. He made the catch at the last possible moment, grinning like a Cheshire cat the whole time. It’s good to see that he forgot about yesterday’s gaffe, he wasn’t the only one that had trouble with the sun during the game.
4th starterJoel Piñeiro (2-0, 1.98 ERA) will take the mound tomorrow night in search of his 100th career victory. He faces young Atlanta starter Tommy Hanson (5-3, 2.35 ERA), who has excellent stuff but has struggled during interleague play. The Angels hope their track record and his line up and help deliver them another win to keep close with Oakland and Texas in the standings. The game will start at 7:05 PM Pacific, and will be broadcast on Fox Sports West.