Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Late night: Angels 5, Twins 1

Torii Hunter hit his 14th homer
Tuesday night. He's hit more than 20
in every season but one since 2001.
Game story here.

Box score here.

One run won't win many games. This wasn't one of the exceptions.

The Twins are now eight games behind Detroit and fading. Their June/July surge was based on starting pitching; now the rotation isn't providing the strong starts, and the offense hasn't picked up the slack.

Torii Hunter hit a solo homer off Brian Duensing in the fifth inning, the final scoring of the game. Hunter is not having a good season — his slugging percentage is .384; for comparison, Denard Span's is .380, and Span has no power — and this might be the year that the Angels' decision to meet his demand for a five-year contract begins to haunt them.

The Angels did get three seasons of Hunter hitting the way he had for the Twins. This is season four, and season five awaits in 2012. And, of course, he's no longer a center fielder, so he needs to hit to justify his lineup spot.

Still, he remains a fixture in the middle of the Anaheim order, as does Vernon Wells, another aging outfielder shifted from center to a corner and struggling even more than Hunter is at the plate. (A cleanup hitter with a .251 on-base percentage? Really? Even Delmon Young's OPB is above .290.)

Somehow, the Angels are just a game behind the Texas Rangers in the AL West. It's a tribute to their pitching and defense.  They're doing what the Twins theoretically do, but they are more than a theory.

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