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Saturday Night Live From Angel Stadium

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Last night I made my way down to Anaheim for my first game at the Big A this season. The first thing I noticed was that it only cost me $8 to park, and I was able to easily get in and out of the stadium. In contrast, it'll cost you $15 to park at Dodger Stadium, and getting a spot and leaving the stadium will give you more headaches than that Paris Hilton song that was on the radio last summer.

Two things stood out to me about this game. The first was that the A's handed the game to the Angels with their bad base running. Late in the game with the Angels leading 2-1, with Nick Swisher on first and Eric Chavez on second, the Angels got Chavez into a run-down between second and third. At the major league level, more often than not, the runner is out in a run-down, so the trail runner, in this case Swisher, is always supposed advance because he'll be able to easily get to second since the defense is pre-occupied with getting the lead runner, Chavez, out. In this case, Swisher had his head in the clouds, and while the Angels were getting Chavez out in what turned out to be a lengthy game of pickle, Swisher was standing on first base. Chavez gets out, and the next batter gets a base hit, but Swisher is only able to advance to third because he hadn't advanced on the run-down. The Angels get out of the inning, and end up winning 2-1, because Swisher failed to make the proper decision on the base paths.

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The other thing that stood out to me (which I've mentioned before) was the strength of the Angels' bullpen. They'd been relying heavily on Justin Speier, Scot Shields and Francisco Rodriguez this week, and it was imperative to get some of them some rest. So after Lackey threw his 7 innings, Hector Carrasco came out and looked good in eighth, and Shields came on to pick up a save. Although K-Rod is the Angels' closer, Shields has closer stuff, and would close for most teams in baseball. Because of that, the Angels have the luxury of letting Shields close occasionally, while giving Rodriguez a much needed night off. And because Speier and Rodriguez got last night off, the Angels will be able to rest Shields in today's match-up. The Halos are at 5-1 so far this season, and only look to improve once Bartolo Colon and Jered Weaver return.

AP Photo/Michael A. Mariant