August 24, 2013 |
It is not even Labor Day, but the champagne is on ice in Pittsburgh. Not in the Pirates' clubhouse, mind you. But a wave of merriment is about to wash over town, where a beaten-down fan base can rise up to toast the end of one of baseball's most painful streaks. The Pirates could clinch their first winning season since 1992 this week. It gets better. The Pirates could not win 82 games over six months for the last 21 years. They could win 82 games over five months this year.
August 21, 2013 |
For most of this season, the Angels underachieved. Now, they are simply undermanned. With first baseman Albert Pujols (left heel tear), second baseman Howie Kendrick (left knee strain) and star outfielder Mike Trout (tight right hamstring) sidelined by injuries, the Angels were no match for a contending Cleveland club this week. The Indians completed a three-game sweep with a 3-1 victory in Angel Stadium on Wednesday, limiting lineups that featured minor league callups Kole Calhoun, Chris Nelson, Grant Green and Andrew Romine to four runs in 32 innings.
August 20, 2013 |
MIAMI - Maybe the Dodgers should bench Yasiel Puig more often. Held out of the starting lineup to improve his focus and fined by Manager Don Mattingly to improve his punctuality, Puig came off the bench Tuesday and hit the first pitch he saw for a tiebreaking eighth-inning home run, leading the Dodgers to 6-4 victory over the Miami Marlins. "He definitely has a flair for the dramatic," teammate Jerry Hairston Jr. said. "There aren't too many guys like that. " BOX SCORE: Dodgers 6, Marlins 4 Said infielder Nick Punto: "I wasn't surprised.
August 13, 2013 |
NEW YORK - By the third inning in Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night, the Angels had Chris Nelson at third base, Tommy Field at shortstop, Grant Green at second base, Collin Cowgill in right field and J.B. Shuck in left field. Not exactly the "template," to borrow one of Manager Mike Scioscia's favorite words, the Angels had in mind in April, but it's emblematic of a season that has gone from bad to worse to unrecognizable. The Angels, their depleted ranks thinned further by a left-calf cramp that knocked shortstop Erick Aybar out in the third inning, hung with the New York Yankees for three innings, but they were pummeled in the next five rounds.
August 11, 2013 |
CLEVELAND - It happened so fast, like one of those summer thunderstorms that can plunge a brilliant Midwest afternoon into darkness. Five runs ahead and 10 outs away from a three-game sweep in Progressive Field, Angels starter Jerome Williams collapsed within a span of 10 pitches in the sixth inning Sunday, and the Angels lost to the Cleveland Indians, 6-5. "It was kind of a shock, really," catcher Hank Conger said. "You give up one hit and you're pretty much cruising through five innings.
August 4, 2013 |
If you had to choose a two-inning sample that is emblematic of the way things have gone for the Angels this season, the last two innings of Sunday's 6-5 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays would be a good choice. Leading by three runs with five outs to go, the Angels saw two infielders throw away potential double-play balls, lost another out on a blown call by an umpire and used six pitchers to try to protect a lead at Angel Stadium. They didn't quite make it, with two-out singles by Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion in the top of the ninth sending the Angels to their 10th loss in 15 games, dropping them to fourth place in the American League West and 101/2 games back in a wild-card race they've never really joined.
August 3, 2013 |
CHICAGO - The Dodgers celebrated the evolution of both their cash-infused franchise and cutter-throwing closer Saturday. Their 3-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field was their 13th consecutive road win, establishing a new franchise record . Another flawless ninth inning by Kenley Jansen prompted Manager Don Mattingly to compare him to Mariano Rivera. But a black brace that covered Yasiel Puig's left wrist and hand offered an uncomfortable reminder how easily a dominant team could be turned into something far less formidable.
August 2, 2013 |
CHICAGO - The Dodgers have said for weeks what utility man Nick Punto said Friday. "This is a special team," Punto said. This has become more than a belief. The Dodgers are now making history. BOX SCORE: Dodgers 6, Cubs 2 With a 6-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field, the Dodgers won their 12th consecutive road game, equaling the franchise record. Sandy Koufax's teams never did that. Neither did Jackie Robinson's or Fernando Valenzuela's.
July 23, 2013 |
As the Angels slipped into fourth place in a season slipping toward oblivion, it just got away from them. The inning, and maybe the year. Ernesto Frieri, the Angels' closer, started the 10th inning. He did not finish it. He gave up five runs. “When I do bad, it's like ugly bad,” Frieri said. “It's like ugly super bad.” BOX SCORE: Twins 10, Angels 3 The inning, and maybe the year. The Minnesota Twins pounded the Angels for seven runs in the 10th inning of a 10-3 victory on Tuesday, four of those runs coming on the first career grand slam by Chris Herrmann, off Frieri.
July 21, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - When the Dodgers scored seven runs in the second inning against the Washington Nationals on Sunday, the game was essentially over. Clayton Kershaw was on the mound. "It would have been hard to score seven runs against Kershaw," center fielder Matt Kemp said. Kershaw welcomed the early run support and went on to pitch seven innings in the Dodgers' sweep-sealing, 9-2 victory at Nationals Park. This was a rare treat for Kershaw, whose won-loss record was frequently victimized by the Dodgers' lineup earlier this season.