The Angels strategy this season is to basically to try and outscore everyone. That better be their strategy because they’re pitching and defense has looked lackluster this series. Especially their fielding, which seems to be the Angel’s undoing. Then again, Josh Beckett looked really bad tonight. But you know who was worse? Angel’s starting pitcher Jason Vargas. I mean he’s no Bumton but wow was he atrocious.
The game began with a slug-fest. The Angels scored in the first four frames, and the Dodgers scored in the first two. Then afterwards? Nothing but outs. We saw 15 runs scored in the first four frames, and then only two afterwards. And one was an unearned run. Strange. Very strange. But that’s exhibition baseball for you.
Josh Beckett pitched four frames allowing seven runs on nine hits, while walking none, and whiffing five. If you can believe it Vargas was even worse. The newly signed Halo only lasted 1.2 innings, and allowed eight runs on seven hits, and whiffed three. Beckett actually picked up the win. Exhibition Baseball! Catch the fever!
Alberto Callaspo, and Mike Trout were the main problem children for the Dodger pitching staff. Callaspo went 2 for 3 with with three RBI, including a two-run shot in the second inning. Mike Trout went two for three as well with three runs driven in.
Top of the first- Mike Trout opens up the game with a bloop single to shallow right just over the head of Gonzo, and M.Ellis. Erik Aybar pops out. Trout proceeds to steal second base, just ahead of AJ’s throw. The always aggravating Albert Pujols lines a RBI single down the left field line to easily score Trout and make it 1-0 Halos. Josh Hamilton ends the threat by grounding into a 6-3 double play. Justin Sellers makes a nice play, once again proving why he should make the club for his superior defense.
Bottom of the first- The Dodgers respond by tying up the game on three consecutive hits to start the frame. Carl Crawford, and Mark Ellis both collect singles off of left handed opposing starter Jason Vargas. Matt Kemp doubles down the right field line to score Crawford, and the Dodgers tie up the game at 1-1. After Adrian Gonzalez, and Luis Cruz both whiff, Andre Ethier walks to laod the bases. Then AJ lowers the boom! He slugs a huge towering grand slam to straightaway center field. The Dodgers lead 5-1!
In the top of the second, the Angels inch a bit closer, by putting up two more runs onto the scoreboard. After Howie Kendrick singles, Alberto Callaspo slams a two-run shot just over the short fence in the right field corner. The Blue lead is now 5-3.
In the bottom of the second, Beckett and Crawford both lead off singles. Yes you read that correctly, Beckett got a hit. After M.Ellis whiffs, Kemp walks to load the bases. Gonzo hits a shallow pop fly to left field. Trumbo probably should have caught it, but he doesn’t and neither can Trout, as the ball drops in. The play is ruled as a fielder’s choice, and the run scores to make it 6-3 Dodgers. Mike Scioscia comes out to argue that it should be an infield fly rule, but the play stands as is. The umpires never called for an infield fly, and they must signal for that right away. The inning continues and Cochito doubles into the gap to score two more runs, and the Dodgers go up by a score of 8-3. This game is turning into a slug-fest.
The Angels come back for more in the top of the third. Doubles from Erick Aybar and Josh Hamilton plates another run for the Halos to make it an 8-4 game. The Dodgers actually didn’t score in the bottom of the third, for the first time tonight.
Josh Beckett continued to struggle in the top of the fourth. Callaspo and Conger both single, and then both come around to score when Mike Trout bombs one over the short fence in the left field corner. Now it’s 8-7 Dodgers.
Vargas allowed a grand slam home run to A.J. Ellis in the bottom of the first inning. And that’s how the game would go. The Dodgers banged out nine runs on ten hits. A.J. Ellis had a 2 for 3 game with a grand slam and four RBI. Carl Crawford and Luis Cruz both had two hits each, and the Dodgers were able to hold on and win a very wild game by the score of 9-8. Aren’t they all against the Angels?
The Dodger bullpen was nearly perfect tonight, even Matt Guerrier! The Boys in Blue relief corp, tossed five one-run frames. Ronald Belisario, Matt Guerrier, J.P. Howell, Kevin Gregg, Kenley Jansen, and Brandon League were almost un-hittable as they held the Angels to just two hits and walk, and whiffed six. I may joke about the bullpen but it looked very strong. except for that little meltdown from League in the top of the ninth. The game also featured a Puig Alert in the bottom of the eighth. Yasiel Puig flied out to right field in his only at-bat.
The Dodgers had to survive a late inning scare from the Angels in the top of the ninth when League allowed a lead-off walk to Chris Snyder, then a single from J.P. Shuck to put runners at the corners. Brendan Harris lined out to Scott Van Slyke for the first out. Andrew Romine singled up the middle to plate the Halo’s eighth run. Kole calhoun whiffed for the second out. Don Mattingly then decided to pull the struggling League with two outs. Enter Paco Rodriguez. Paco whiffs Jimenez to secure the win for the Dodgers.
I can’t believe I am writing this, but the Dodgers have actually won a Freeway Series over the Angels. It’s almost unthinkable, but it seems the tables may have turned in this cross town rivalry.
The Freeway Series concludes tomorrow evening in Anaheim. The Dodgers will have Birdman Zack Greinke on the mound in his last exhibition outing. The Angels will counter with Tommy Hansen. We’re almost there guys! One more game! Go Blue