In the Los Angeles Angels’ 6-2 win over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday, the Angels flexed their offensive muscle primarily by playing what pundits and fans have dubbed “Angels baseball” – a mixture of slap hits and aggressive baserunning. This style of play has come to define the Angels with Mike Scioscia at the helm, and it has certainly proved successful throughout Scioscia’s long tenure.
But while this brash style has given opposing teams fits over the years, it has proved to be a sometimes frustrating method of scoring runs early in the 2011 season.
For evidence, look no further than Tuesday’s win, during which Alberto Callaspo’s overly aggressive attitude on the basepaths may have cost the Angels a shot at scoring a few more runs for security against a potentially explosive White Sox offense.
Callaspo, who had three RBIs in the game, ended a two-out scoring spree in the bottom of the first inning by trying to stretch a two-RBI single into two bases. When Maicer Izturis reached home to score, Callaspo sprinted for second, thinking that the defense would be caught off-guard. He was tagged out in a rundown.
Only a day before, Callaspo was gunned down in the second inning while trying to tag up and reach third base, turning what could have been only a mildly disappointing Hank Conger flyout into a momentum-killing double play. The game ended in an embarrassing 8-0 shutout for the Angels.
Callaspo, however, is not the only Angel baserunner to frustrate fans with his poor decision-making. Erick Aybar, Torii Hunter, and Izturis have all committed gaffes on the basepaths in this young season, grinding several developing rallies to a halt.
For now, though, the good outweighs the bad for Los Angeles. The Angels currently have the sixth-ranked offense in the American League. The 21-16 Angels also sit alone atop the AL West, 2 games ahead of Oakland and Texas for the division lead. And while Callaspo may have halted the first-inning offensive output in the first, he redeemed himself by successfully taking second after a single in the third inning.