Saturday, June 26, 2010

Cook Returning To Form

Angels 4, Rockies 2

Aaron Cook pitched like a total stud tonight. My goodness was he sharp. The numbers won't completely bare that out, but to those watching intently you know Cook was in command and using all of his pitches effectively. Especially after the shaky/bad luck filled first inning.

About that first inning.

When you have a pitcher on the mound as frazzled as Aaron Cook was in road starts coming in, you can't afford boneheaded plays like the one made by Ian Stewart. Just get Cook outs. He made his pitch, get him an out. Don't congest the bases even more trying to make a fancy play or force a double play that isn't there.

It wasn't smart. There's a lot to like about Ian Stewart, but it baffles me sometimes how poor his instincts are.

All this doesn't take Cook off the hook for making the lazy 3-0 pitch to Matsui, but the circumstances surrounding the whole first inning were largely out of his control. That includes the jam job bloop single by Torii Hunter. Hard to make a better pitch than that.

Also, the Angels four run first shows us once again how important simply putting the ball in play is. Nothing good ever happens when an offense doesn't get the ball in play, and that was a problem yet again for Colorado. Another bleh pitcher, Joe Saunders, fell one short of his career high strikeout total with eight.

Hated the approach by Carlos Gonzalez and Jason Giambi against Saunders. The game plan apparently called for patience, and rightfully so when you study his recent starts, but neither of them seemed to get that message. Bad swings at bad pitches early in the count. Never really allowed themselves a chance to be productive against a lefty they should handle.

That was frustrating.

We didn't see the same urgent plate appearances we've seen the last four games. We saw a few good ones, but not the up and down the order tough ABs. Tonight I'll chalk that up to fatigue, lack of confidence hitting on the road, and maybe a little bit to Saunders for being better than usual.

Still a chance to win a big road series tomorrow before heading off to San Diego. Needless to say this stretch of baseball isn't letting up in quality of opponent or importance. Need a good game from Chacin tomorrow so the bullpen can get another solid day of rest. Let's get it done.