The Los Angeles Angels‘ Wednesday night victory over the Detroit Tigers was remarkable considering the Halos had to start reliever Billy Buckner and support him with five other relievers throughout the contest.
It was also a notable victory for another reason: rather than having their rallies snuffed out by inning-ending double plays, the Halos turned three double plays of their own to hold onto the lead en route to a 7-4 victory.
It was a welcome change for the Halos, who currently lead the major leagues with 81 double plays, a fact that has thrown a wrench into the lineup’s search for consistency and momentum throughout the season. The struggles of Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols have already been well documented, but the double plays are an underrated reason for the Halos’ inability to take and hang on to leads.
In addition, double plays make it impossible to put together big offensive innings the way Los Angeles did on Tuesday and Wednesday against Detroit.
By flipping the script on the Tigers, the Halos gave their bullpen some desperately-needed relief. With Gold Glove shortstop Erick Aybar and second baseman Howie Kendrick covering the middle of the infield, it’s a wonder that the double play has been a weakness for Los Angeles rather than a strength.
Nevertheless, as a thin starting rotation attempts to keep the Halos in contention going forward, they will need to turn many more double plays. The team will be hard-pressed to continue this double play success when Jered Weaver takes the mound tonight, as his career groundout/airout ratio is 0.63, compared to a 1.08 league average.
Tony Baker is a Los Angeles Angels blogger for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter at @tonloc_baker.