June 4: Toronto 6, Anaheim 2
Nolan Ryan’s Anaheim card is based on his 1972-76 seasons, and Ryan led the AL in walks in six out of those seven seasons. So it is perhaps fitting that Anaheim’s Ryan is leading the Rhubarb in walks and walks per nine. In real life, Ryan often got away with his wildness by adding a slew of strikeouts and giving up few hits. But in the Rhubarb, where many batters know how to work a walk even against pitchers with good command, Ryan’s bases on balls are piling up beyond what he can get away with. Ryan has walked 80 in 80.2 innings. The second most walks allowed by a pitcher is 54 (by J.R. Richard of Houston). Ryan does still get his Ks and is tough to hit, but only to the point that he’s keeping his ERA just a hair better than league average.
In this game the free passes again did Ryan and the Angels in. Four of Toronto’s runs were scored by batters who had reached by way of a Ryan walk. Ryan faced off against Roy Halladay, the pitcher with the best walk rate in the league at 1.5 per nine innings. Halladay was excellent, striking out a season-high nine and keeping the bases free of Angels for most of his day.
R H BB TOR 000 032 100 - 6 7 11 ANA 100 001 000 - 2 6 3 HR: T. Salmon (7) starters IP R ER HR BB SO R. Halladay 7.0 2 2 1 1 9 N. Ryan 5.1 5 2 0 8 8 TOR 28-28, ANA 16-40
June 5: Anaheim 6, Toronto 5
Three of Toronto’s big bats bashed homers, but it wasn’t quite enough to catch the six runs the Angels piled up on Dave Stieb in the first five innings. Wally Joyner did the most damage for Anaheim with a three-run homer.
Angels relief ace Troy Percival started the top of the ninth with a homer to Jose Bautista that made it a one run Anaheim lead. Percival then got the first out of the inning, but proceeded to walk the next two batters. The way things have gone for the Angels this season, it almost felt like this one was in the bag for Toronto at that point. But Percival persevered and struck out Shawn Green and rolled out Tony Fernandez to finish a rare win for the Angels.
R H BB TOR 000 030 011 - 5 9 7 ANA 101 040 00x - 6 10 4 HR: J. Bautista (10), C. Delgado (15), S. Green (12), W. Joyner (5) starters IP R ER HR BB SO D. Stieb 7.0 6 6 1 3 7 A. Messersmith 6.2 3 3 1 5 7 TOR 28-29, ANA 17-40