I saw the headline “Vernon Wells trying to hit his way into the Angels’ outfield,” and my first thought was that this was some sort of Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan situation. WATCH OUT, MIKE TROUT!
But really: Wells is totally raking this spring: .389/.455/.889 with three homers. granted (a) he’s playing later in games and is thus facing crappier pitching; and (b) spring training stats aren’t worth a diddly-durn, but after the two years he’s lodged in Anaheim any success on Wells part is worthy of note.
Still, as Anthony Witrado reports in the linked story, Wells just doesn’t have a position. Mike Scioscia is doing the right thing in giving Peter Bourjos every opportunity to play center, making Mark Trumbo his DH, is keeping Trout on a corner, and is relegating Wells to spot-DH duties and a backup outfield role to start the season.
Granted, having Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols at first and right will likely lead to some DL time and that will give Wells and opportunity here and there. But really, this is how it should be. Sizzling spring or not, if Wells is getting, like, 400 plate appearances in 2013, something has gone dreadfully wrong in Anaheim.
Facing an elimination number of one, the Astros staved off elimination in the AL West by beating the Diamondbacks on Friday night by a 6-1 margin. The Rangers suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Angels on Saturday afternoon, which temporarily put the Astros’ fate in their own hands.
Colby Rasmus hit a pair of solo homers and Jose Altuve added a solo shot of his own. Starter Collin McHugh tossed seven innings of one-run ball, limiting the Diamondbacks to six hits and a walk with six strikeouts. Reliever Will Harris allowed a solo home run to Paul Goldschmidt in the eighth, but Luke Gregerson closed out the game with a scoreless ninth.
The Astros trail the Rangers by one game in the AL West and lead the Angels by one game for the second AL Wild Card slot. The Rangers can clinch the AL West on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Astros loss. The Astros can clinch the second AL Wild Card on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Angels loss.
The Yankees lost both ends of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Orioles and lead the Astros by only one game for the first AL Wild Card slot.
If the Astros win and the Rangers lose on Sunday, they will play an AL West tiebreaker in Texas. The winner will win the second AL Wild Card if the Yankees win on Sunday, or the first AL Wild Card if the Yankees lose on Sunday.
If the Astros lose and the Angels win on Sunday, the two teams will be tied for the second AL Wild Card. They would play a tiebreaker in Houston, and the winner would play the Yankees in New York in the Wild Card game.
Giants second baseman Kelby Tomlinson looked more like Ladainian Tomlinson the way he was running during Saturday afternoon’s game against the Rockies. In the first inning with one out against starter Chris Rusin, Tomlinson hit a fly ball into the right-center field gap at AT&T Park, a great place to go if you’re in the mood for an inside-the-park home run.
Neither Carlos Gonzalez nor Chris Dickerson could corral the ball before it rolled all the way to the 421-foot marker at the fence. Tomlinson motored around the bases, but Gonzalez made a strong throw into cut-off man D.J. LeMahieu, and LeMahieu made a great throw in to catcher Tom Murphy, but Tomlinson slid in safely just ahead of the tag.
It was an exciting play and the hit proved important as the Giants eked out a 3-2 win against the Rockies.