Huston Street/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Angels
– First and foremost, the news on Huston Street was not great, but it could have been worse. He has a Grade 1 strain of his left groin sustained in Saturday’s game. He told reporters after Sunday’s game his return during the regular season is doubtful, but that he was going to try hard to be ready for the postseason should the Angels make it. The Angels enter play Monday still just a half-game out of the second wild-card spot.
– Before this game, set-up man Joe Smith told this newspaper his ankle is feeling better. “It’s better, I’m walking,” he said. But Smith is not yet ready to return. If he can get back in the next couple of days, it’s likely he’ll be put into Street’s closer’s role.
– David Freese hit another big home run, smacking No. 13 in the bottom of the fifth inning for a 2-1 Angels lead. Freese is hitting .329 with two home runs and 10 RBIs this month after missing 5 1/2 weeks with a fractured finger.
– Jered Weaver was able to manage just five innings and 71 pitches because of tightness in his pitching shoulder. He said he doesn’t expect to miss his next start, however. Asked if he’s had this in the past, he said, “Yeah, for about nine years.”
– You have to love the tenacity of Johnny Giavotella. He singled to open the bottom of the eighth, but turned it into a double when centerfielder Brad Miller took his time getting the ball into the infield. Taylor Featherston ran for Giavotella and, after being sacrificed to second by Erick Aybar, he scored on an RBI single by Kole Calhoun. It was RBI No. 80 for Calhoun, who has established himself as one of the better overall right-fielders this season.
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.
Huston Street/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Angels
Manager Mike Scioscia was impressed. Closer Huston Street had just become a father for the third time when his third son, Rafe William Street, was born at 11 a.m. Wednesday. So what does Street do? He shows up to Angel Stadium for the Angels’ day game, ready to pitch.
According to Scioscia, Street showed up in either the fourth of fifth inning of the Angels’ dramatic 4-3 victory over the Cleveland Indians, a game in which Street was warming up in the bullpen at the time it ended when the Angels scored three runs in the ninth inning to win.
Had it gone into extra innings, Street would have been on the hill in the 10th.
“He was up for the lion’s share of the night, welcomed his son into the world late morning, came and took a shower and said, ‘I’m ready to go,’ ” Scioscia said. “He was ready to pitch that 10th inning if we needed him.”
Scioscia applauded Street for his professionalism.
Vinnie Pestano/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Angels
When closer Huston Street sustained a groin injury on Wednesday, that left the Angels short in the bullpen. After sending outfielder/first baseman Efren Navarro down to Triple-A Salt Lake City on Thursday, the Angels on Friday recalled right-handed reliever Vinnie Pestano from Salt Lake.
Navarro, out of Lynwood High, was hitting .260 with no home runs and five RBIs in 77 at-bats.
Pestano was 1-0 with an ERA of 4.22 in 17 appearances with the Angels before being sent down in late May. He was 0-3 with an ERA of 4.41 in 15 games at Salt Lake. He struck out 19 and walked four in 16 1/3 innings and had a WHIP of 0.98.
Street was not placed on the disabled list, but figures to be out until after the All-Star break.