Albert Pujols/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Angels
Albert Pujols was back at designated hitter for the sixth consecutive game Friday as he is trying to stay off his sore right foot. Pujols also expressed concern about how the foot is affecting his right knee, which was surgically repaired in 2012.
“If this was the National League, I would do it,” he said of playing in the field at first base. “But I’m more worried about my knee. I don’t want it to irritate my knee. I don’t know how long it’s going to be. Hopefully, the next couple of days here it gets settled. But who knows?”
Pujols won Gold Glove awards for his play at first base in 2006 and 2010.
Kole Calhoun/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Angels
– This was the third game in a row Kole Calhoun did something significant. He hit home runs off Zack Greinke on Monday and Clayton Kershaw on Tuesday. Then in this one he doubled to open the bottom of the eighth inning with the game tied 2-2. Calhoun went to third on the play on an error by Dodgers right-fielder Andre Ethier, then scored what proved to be the winning run on a single by Albert Pujols. Calhoun had seven home runs and 11 RBIs in August, but batted just .205. Calhoun is batting .400 with three home runs and six RBIs so far in September.
– Pujols’ big hit was significant because he is playing hurt right now – sore foot and sore knee – and because he is hitting just .235 with runners in scoring position this season, and that average includes a recent resurgence in that regard.
– Huge, huge performance by starter Garrett Richards. His team needed a victory about as badly as they have all season, and he came through with 7 2/3 innings of four-hit ball. He allowed just two runs and struck out 11.
– Huston Street’s 33rd save kept him one behind American League leader Brad Boxberger of Tampa Bay. The Major League Baseball leader is Mark Melancon of the Pittsburgh Pirates. He has 44.
– The third-place Angels (70-69) remained 5 1/2 games behind first-place Houston in the AL West. But they did pick up a game on Texas, which is holding down the second wild-card spot. The Angels are now within 3 1/2 games of the Rangers. However, the Angels also must contend with Minnesota, which is 1 1/2 games behind Texas and two games up on the Angels. The Angels have 23 games remaining, the Rangers 24 and the Twins 23.
Dean Chance/Photo courtesy of BaseballReference.com
Pitchers Dean Chance and Mike Witt and outfielder Tim Salmon were inducted into the Angels Hall of Fame before Saturday’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Chance won the Cy Young Award in 1964 when only one award was given for both leagues, Witt threw a perfect game against the Texas Rangers in 1984 and Salmon helped the Angels to their only World Series title in 2002.
In 1964, the Angels were still playing at Dodger Stadium. Chance noted Saturday that his Cy Young Award was part of a string of five pitchers winning the award whose home park was Dodger Stadium. The others were Don Drysdale (1962) and Sandy Koufax (’63, ’65, ’66).
Chance went 20-9 with an ERA of 1.65 in ’64. He talked about win No. 20.
“It was at Dodger Stadium, which is a pitcher’s park,” he said. “And the 20th win – (second baseman) Bobby Knopp – they (Minnesota Twins) had runners on first and third with one out and he (Knopp) made the greatest defensive play I’ve ever seen an infielder make.
“Jimmie Hall hit a shot back through the middle and he went clear to his right, turned his glove and slapped the ball back to (Jim) Fregosi and we got a double play. That play there, I mean, it’s a game of inches. And that was a big play because in those days your goal as a pitcher was you win 20 games. And you’ve gotta really be lucky to get the breaks to do it.”
Chance is 74.
Albert Pujols/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Angels
– David DeJesus got off to a rough start in his first game, striking out three times while going 0-for-4. Normally, DeJesus will platoon with Shane Victorino in left field, but DeJesus was in center for this one because Mike Trout missed his second consecutive game with a sore wrist. David Murphy, one of the other new Angels, went 1-for-4 while playing left field. At least he didn’t strike out.
– The Astros re-took sole possession of first place in the AL West with this victory. The Angels, who recently led by two games, have gone 1-5 after a 20-game span in which they went 17-3.
– Albert Pujols hit his 30th home run, becoming the sixth player to hit at least 30 home runs in 13 seasons, the first to do it in his first 15 campaigns.
– Trout missed his second consecutive game with a sore left wrist. Manager Mike Scioscia told the Associated Press before the game that Trout is getting better, but that he wanted to “err on the side of caution.”
– Not a terrific performance by starting pitcher Garrett Richards. Not horrible, though. He allowed four runs on seven hits in 6 1/3 innings. What’s interesting is that he struck out just three even though he is throwing hard. It’s been a season-long curiosity. Richards struck out 164 in 168 2/3 innings before his season ended with a serious knee injury in August. He averaged 8.8 strikeouts per nine innings. He has just 91 strikeouts in 122 2/3 innings this season, a 6.7 average.