Sean O’Sullivan(notes) couldn’t have been much more impressive in his major league debut a week ago, but the Los Angeles Angels’ right-hander had the advantage of facing one of baseball’s weakest lineups.
He won’t have that same edge in his second start.
O’Sullivan’s home debut should present a far tougher challenge Tuesday night, when the Angels hope he can prevent the Colorado Rockies from winning for the 18th time in 19 games as the teams continue their three-game set.
The 21-year-old O’Sullivan (1-0, 1.29 ERA) was called up from Triple-A Salt Lake last Tuesday to start for the injured Ervin Santana(notes). He made sure his first start in the majors was memorable by giving up a run and five hits over seven innings as the Angels (36-32) beat the light-hitting Giants 8-1.
“He pitched a great ballgame,” manager Mike Scioscia told the team’s official Web site. “Early on maybe he was a little behind in the count, but he used his breaking ball well, pitched inside well and later on brought his changeup into the game.”
All that performance earned O’Sullivan was a ticket back to Salt Lake City, as Santana was expected to start this game. Instead, Santana was placed on the 15-day disabled list Monday with pain in his right triceps, leaving the Angels to call on O’Sullivan once again.
“I didn’t see it happening this quick,” O’Sullivan said.
The Rockies (37-33) took advantage of another Angels’ rookie starter in the series debut. Matt Palmer(notes) had won his first six decisions but was hit hard Monday, giving up six runs over 4 2-3 innings. Brad Hawpe’s(notes) three-run homer - extending his team RBI lead to 53 - was the key blow in Colorado’s 11-1 win, its franchise-record ninth straight away from Coors Field.
“It’s not like there is a secret magic rabbit that we pull out,” outfielder Ryan Spilborghs(notes) said. “We have a group of good people and when you get them playing like they are capable of and not doing more than what they should, you tend to go on streaks like this.”
The Rockies have outscored their opponents 118-61 in winning 17 of its last 18 games and are 19-5 since manager Jim Tracy took over for the fired Clint Hurdle on May 29.
“We know that when we show up, in his mind and our minds, today is the most important day and we’re going to do everything we can to win that game that day, and worry about the next game tomorrow,” first baseman Todd Helton(notes) said of Tracy.
Jimenez has won his last three starts while limiting opponents to a .207 batting average. He gave up a run and six hits in 6 2-3 innings, striking out seven, on Thursday in a 4-3 win over Tampa Bay.
“He has the mound presence, and he has the poise, and he has composure on the mound,” Tracy told the Rockies’ official Web site. “He’ll bend every once in a while, but I don’t think you can break him.”
The Angels will be getting their first look at Jimenez, and they can’t fare much worse at the plate than they did Monday. Los Angeles, which entered this series hitting a major league-best .280, tied a season-low with three hits.
The Angels are trying to avoid their first four-game losing streak in Anaheim since May 31-June 11, 2006.