Monday, March 23, 2015

John bracket: Angels (09) defeat Angels (69) in six games

Game One: 69 Angels 5, 09 Angels 1
WP: Messersmith (1-0)
LP: Weaver (0-1)
HR: Morales (1)

Game Two: 09 Angels 10, 69 Angels 9 (12 innings)
WP: Oliver (1-0)
LP: Wright (0-1)
HR: Hunter (1), Napoli (1), Guererro (1)

Game Three: 69 Angels 3, 09 Angels 2
WP: Fisher (1-0)
LP: Fuentes (0-1)
HR: Reichardt (1), Egan (1)

Game Four: 09 Angels 5, 69 Angels 2
WP: Kazmir (1-0)
LP: Murphy (0-1)
Save: Bulger (1)
HR: Johnstone (1)

Game Five: 09 Angels 4, 69 Angels 1 (12 innings)
WP: Oliver (2-0)
LP: Tatum (0-1)
Save: Fuentes (1)

Game Six: 09 Angels 2, 69 Angels 1
WP: Saunders (1-0)
LP: McGlothlin (0-1)
Save: Fuentes (2)
HR: Johnstone (2)

The heavily favored 2009 Angels prevailed in a series marked by tight pitching and closer failures.

Andy Messersmith set the tone for the series by going the distance in the opener, spinning a four-hitter with one walk and  six strikeouts. Vic Davalillo drove in three runs with a triple and a sac fly.

Game Two's slugfest was the series aberration. Starters Jim McGlothlin (6.6 innings, five runs) and Joe Saunders (five innings, six runs) struggled. The 69 Angels took a 7-4 lead into the bottom of the seventh, but after McGlothlin got the first two outs, Vladimir Guerrero homered. McGlothlin was relieved by Hoyt Wilhelm, who promptly gave up a single to Kendrys Morales and a game-tying homer to Torii Hunter.

The 69 Angels scored in the top of the ninth off Brian Fuentes (a two-out single by Billy Cowan followed by a double by Aurilio Rodriguez), but Ken Tatum gave the lead back in the bottom of the inning (Bobby Abreu walk, Morales double). Fuentes gave up another run in the top of the 10th (Jim Fregosi sac fly after Sandy Alomar doubled and moved to third on a groundout), and Tatum again couldn't hold it (singles by Erick Aybar, Chone Figgins and Abreu).

Finally Darren Oliver threw two shutout innings and the 09 Angels scored in the bottom of the 12th off Clyde Wright (Abreu singles home Macir Izturis).

The series moved to the original iteration of "The Big A" for Game Three, and Rudy May dueled with John Lackey. The 09 Angels scored two in the second, with Aybar singling home Mike Napoli and Gary Matthews Jr. Tom Egan got one back in the third with a homer off Lackey. Lackey left for a pinch hitter in the seventh, and Oliver threw a shutout eighth, then gave way to Fuentes for the ninth. The relief ace walked Jim Spencer to start the inning, then gave up the walk-off blast to Rick Reichardt.

The 09 Angels staked Scott Kazmir to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first against Tom Murphy in Game Four. Jay Johnstone hit a two-run homer in the third to narrow the margin to one, but Kasmir singled home a run in a two-run fourth to make it 5-2. There the scoring ended as Kevin Jepsen and Jason Bulger combined for three hitless innings of relief.

With the series tied, Messersmith was again brilliant in Game Five. He went 10 innings, allowing just two hits (but with eight walks) and didn't allow a hit until the seventh. (The 09 Angels scored in the sixth when Figgins led off with a walk, stole second, took third on a wild pitch and scored on an Aybar squeeze bunt.)

Jared Weaver was just as good on the scoreboard, allowing one run in nine innings on nine hits and no walks. Oliver followed Weaver with two scoreless innings. Tatum threw a perfect 11th in relief of Messersmith, but the 09 Angels broth through in the 12th for three runs on five hits, the key blow being a two-run double by Aybar. Fuentes allowed a leadoff hit in the bottom of the inning but then got the next three hitters to wrap up the win.

Game Six, back in the refurbished Angels Stadium, was another pitchers duel. McGlothlin and Saunders were much sharper than in Game Two. Johnstone homered off the lefty Saunders in the third to put the 69 Angels in the lead, and McGlothlin made it stand up into the seventh, allowing just one hit in the first six frames. But Guerrero led off the seventh with a base hit, Hunter added another, and with two outs, Aybar tripled for a 2-1 lead. Saunders went eight innings, and Fuentes nearly blew another lead, as Fregosi greeted him with a double off the wall. But Fuentes, with memories of the Game Three confrontation still fresh, struck out Reichardt and then popped up Bubba Morton and Spencer to end the threat, the game and the series.

Player of the series: A good case can be made for Messersmith, 19 innings of two-run ball in his two starts. But we'll go with Aybar, who had three game-winning RBIs.

Pitcher availability: Weaver can start the opener on full rest. Saunders must wait until Game Three to start without penalty.

Projected rotation: Weaver-Lackey-Saunders-Ervin Santana or Kazmir-(Weaver)-(Lackey)-(Saunders).

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