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LAst Night's Action: Angels Win a Sad Indictment on Team

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LA Angels defeat Seattle Mariners 3-1. You know what’s sad? As anemic as the 2011 Angels have been, they might still make the playoffs. The only tough teams left on their schedule is this weekend’s three-game stand against the Yankees and the final three games of the season against the Rangers both at Angel Stadium.

Meanwhile with the playoff appearance in the notch of General Manager Tony Reagins’ belt, swept away under the carpet will be the fact that this Angels’ offense has been the second-worst to last year’s offense since Mike Scioscia took over the reins in 2000.

And so went this game. Of course according to the Angels’ radio team this was a pitchers’ duel for the first seven innings. Mariners’ starter Charlie Furbush was pitching a three-hit shutout to that point looking like a world beater. Then reality dawns when you realize this is the same guy who didn’t become a regular starter until being traded to Seattle from Detroit the day before the non-waiver trade deadline on July 30. And you don’t have to look that far back to see him getting torched by the Angels for four runs on two homers in six innings. That was his last start last week.

To that point Furbush got all he needed from another trade deadline acquisition: outfielder Trayvon Robinson. You know Trayvon. According to a general manager, “Trayvon Robinson has a chance of having a good career. I wouldn’t call him our top guy.”

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Considering that team’s left field options at the time, it seemed very dismissive. Naturally Robinson on this steamy night hit a solo shot off of Angels’ starter Jerome Williams in the sixth inning. Okay, a .277 batting average isn’t great. And both home runs he has hit have been in Angel Stadium. But considering the team he is on he may as well be named “Babe Ruth.”

Nonetheless despite that one blemish, Williams was great pitching a no-hitter through eight innings walking only one batter and striking out five. And it seemed like the Angels were going to let his excellent start go for naught.

But somehow the Angels got to Furbush in the eighth inning. After Mike Trout flew out to center, Erick Aybar singled and pinch-hitter Alberto Callaspo walked. Mariners’ manager Eric Wedge opted to stick with Furbush, and on his 100th pitch Furbush gave up a line-drive double to Maicer Izturis that cleared the bases giving the Angels the lead. Furbush got the hook, and Tom Wilhelmsen gave up an additional single to Peter Bourjos that completely stuck the fork in Furbush.

Jordan Walden pitched a drama-free ninth for his 29th save of the season. And combining the Rangers’ 5-4 loss to Tampa Bay in 10 innings, the Angels cut the Rangers division lead to 2 ½ games.

It’s possible for the Angels to catch up to the Rangers, but the difficult part of the Rangers’ schedule is over. The only tricky series they might have besides the Angels’ series is a three-gamer at home against the Cleveland Indians next week. Since the Angels are doing the chasing, not only do they have to be close to perfect they need to hope the Rangers take a stumble here and there.

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So on Sept. 28 if the Angels’ players rush out to the pitching mound after the final Jordan Walden save of the season, jumping up and down like little children realizing they will have a date with the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox, then it will be pretty sad. Because in the end it can justify that Vernon Wells deal and their inactivity during the trade deadlines while the Rangers went crazy bolstering their bullpen.

Because sports is a bottom line business and all that gets remembered is who wins.

LA Dodgers at Washington Nationals rained out. So it may get up to 100 degrees in the purported happiest place on earth, but at least they can play baseball here in Southern California. Unlike in Washington D.C. where the game is cancelled, then back on, then cancelled again as if taking their cues from the U.S. Tennis Association.

The teams will attempt a traditional double-header on Thursday, but the weather reports don’t look optimistic. And who loses if the games don’t get played? The entire world loses, that’s who, because we will all be deprived of the Dana Eveland/Chien-Ming Wang pitching matchup that is so highly anticipated.

TONIGHT’S ACTION

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LA Dodgers at Washington Nationals Game 1. 10:05 am FS Prime Ticket, AM 790 KABC.

LA Dodgers at Washington Nationals Game 2. 30 minutes after conclusion of Game 1, KCAL9, AM 790 KABC.

New Orleans Saints at Green Bay Packers. 5:00 p.m. NBC, AM 570 KLAC.