The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim lost the final game of their opening series of the season 12-9 in a thirteen-inning thriller to the Kansas City Royals. The Angels lost three out of four games in the series to the young Royals and move on to face winless Tampa Bay on Tuesday. Here are five thoughts from the opening series in Kansas City:
The Angels bullpen is a mess
The bullpen gave up 12 runs in four games against the Royals, including two walk-off home runs in their three losses. The Angels’ General Manager addressed the bullpen by signing Hisanori Takahashi and Scott Downs in the offseason, but Downs is on the disabled list and Takahashi was awful in the Royals series. The Rangers and Athletics both have strong pitching staffs, and if the first four games of the season are any indication, the Angels are going to have to depend on their starting pitching to win this season.
Howie Kendrick is finally becoming the player that Angels fans hoped for
When second baseman Howie Kendrick first came up to the majors, he was touted as another Rod Carew-type hitter. However, over the course of his career he has hit for an average of .295, and his season-high for home runs was only 10. Kendrick slammed two home runs in the series finale and three others in the first four games while hitting .368. He’s a solid hitter in the number two slot for the Angels if he can stay healthy.
Scott Kazmir needs to go
The Angels thought they were bringing over a potential ace when they picked him up from Tampa a couple of years ago, but he has been horrendous since the beginning of the 2010 season. He gave up five runs in less than two innings in his first start of the year, which is about what fans have grown to expect out of him after last year. It’s time for the Angels to let him go.
Offense is not the problem fans feared it would be
The Angels scored 19 runs in the opening series, which includes one game where they lost 2-1. The only hitter that really struggled in Kansas City was Vernon Wells. Hopefully Wells’ bat comes around as he grows more accustomed to his spot in the lineup.
Kansas City is going to surprise some people this season
No, they aren’t going to win the division, but they are closer to winning than many would think. They are young and have hitters that challenge opposing pitchers late into games. The Royals may only win around 70 games in 2011, but their fans should finally be able to see a light at the end of the tunnel.
“Howie Kendrick”, Yahoo Sports