Sunday, June 14, 2009

Torii "Franchise" Hunter

Angels 9, San Diego 1

Hunter will always be remembered as a Twin...unless, of course, he keeps this up. Torii went 3 for 4 with three homers, all solo shots, the first three-homer game of his career.

The Angels roughed up Padres starter Josh Geer, who gave up 4 dingers himself...two to Hunter, one to Morales, and one to Jeff Mathis, of all people. Speaking of pleasant surprises, look at Morales' line this season:

.265/.316/.474 with a .790 OPS and a .330 wOBA

...not bad at all, all things considered. He seems to be picking it up with the bat as well, already with 9 homers. Sure, he's not Teixeira with the bat (nor glove), but still better than expected. Speaking of his fielding, his alleged skillet for a glove has been above-average at first when ranked by several defensive metrics.

Joe Saunders pitched into trouble but mostly avoided it, courtesy of some fine defensive plays, a bad call at home, and an impotent Padres lineup. He went 8.1 but threw 113 pitches and only stuck out five. Only a single run crossed the plate, that run coming on a deep center home run from Kevin Kouzmanoff. For those of you who don't believe in pitch counts...well, watch Saunders' next two starts and see how he does. I'm predicting 6 innings, 4 runs, maybe a little worse.

But Torii Hunter is the story of this game, and from an offensive perspective, really the whole Angels season. If you want to see a man who's earned his contract, look at Hunter. He's established himself as the face of the franchise in front of a fading and reticent Vlad Guerrero, while still producing well above his projections. Gotta love him.

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