PHOTO: Tom Wilhelmsen strikes out Albert Pujols to end today’s game.
This game got a little closer in the end, with a two-run double to left by Howie Kendrick off Josh Kinney in the eighth cutting Seattle’s lead down to three.
But the Angels gave the Mariners two runs right back in the top of the ninth by booting the ball around and looking nothing like a team clinging to its playoff life. Seattle goes on to win it 9-4 and salvages one of the three games here in what could very well be the final home game the Angels play this year.
The Angels had their chances to complete the sweep today going into the final few innings. But in this case, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. And a big, fat, grenade may have just blown up in the Angels’ laps as they failed to take advantage of a chance to gain ground on the Oakland Athletics.
Not only that, but they could be caught from behind as early as tonight by the Tampa Bay Rays.
Remember a couple of weeks ago when we talked about how the Rays had a very soft portion of their schedule at the right time, with nine games in a row against the Red Sox and Blue Jays? Well, the Rays have won seven in a row going into tonight and are clinging to wild-card life despite the fact they should have been realistically eliminated days ago had they been playing a more moderately tough stretch of games.
But they won the schedule lottery amongst contenders. The A’s, meanwhile, playing arguably the toughest schedule of the contending teams, will gladly savor this Angels defeat, knowing they survived a trip to Texas without giving up much ground at all.
This Mariners visit to Oakland will mark a golden opportunity for the A’s to increase their margin and perhaps clinch a playoff spot before they have to end their season facing the Rangers. It’ll make for an interesting weekend for the M’s, to be sure.
We talked last night about how the Mariners not doing anything with a leadoff double by Brendan Ryan probably sank their chances more than anything. Well, today, you can make the same argument about a Kendrys Morales leadoff double in the sixth inning with Seattle clinging to a 3-2 lead.
The Angels did nothing with it. The roof then collpased on them the following inning. But if Morales scores, it’s maybe a different game.
Like I said, good playoff teams capitalize on situations like those. The Angels didn’t do it today. And they might miss the playoffs because of it.