Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sloppy Win and Deadline Silence.

So, after looking like the season was over in the second inning last night, down 5-0 to the division leading Rangers, who would have taken a 10 game lead with a win last night, The Angels stormed back with power hitting and aggressive baserunning.

While Ervin Santana had a shaky start (3 unearned runs in the first, 4 more runs scattered through the next 3 innings), he had a dominant 5th and 6th innings, then the Bullpen came in and actually shut the door on one of the best offenses in baseball.

It wasn't a pretty win, in fact, it was downright sloppy, but a win is a win. The Division lead is down to 8, with another "must-win" game tonight.


Since trading for Dan Haren a week ago, the Angels have been all but silent on the Trade front. With the non-waiver deadline having come and gone, it looks like the Angels are just going to be making do with what they have, unless they can get a waiver deal done.

For those unfamiliar with Waiver trades, they can be much trickier, because any other team can snatch a player from waivers. However, many big names have been able to clear waivers in the past in order to get traded after July 31st. Last year, for example, the Angels were able to trade for Scott Kazmir on August 28th.

What's more likely for this year's Angels, however, is if the club once again finds themselves 9 or more games out of first place, its likely that they will trade away some aging players or expiring contracts.


Dan Haren gets his second start as an Angel tonight against his former Oakland teammate, Rich Harden. Harden is making his first start since June, coming off the DL with a less than spectacular 5.68 ERA. I'll be lucky enough to be there, and honestly, I cannot wait. Haren's chance to be a division winner comes to fruition tonight.

Friday, July 30, 2010

New Home, New Saunders?

Joe Saunders, the newest member of the Arizona Diamondbacks, wasn't perfect yesterday, but he was really good. While the Phillies offense has been pretty pedestrian this season, they had become one of the hottest hitting teams in baseball over the last couple of weeks. For Joe to keep them to just 2 runs over seven well pitched innings showed a promising start in Saunders' new uniform.

A few more things that will help Joe, not only is he playing in the National League, where he gets to face the opposing pitcher twice a game (at least), he is playing in the NL West, one of the worst hitting divisions in baseball. Not to mention that he is going to play in a pitchers park in Arizona, and three of the four other NL West parks are pitchers parks as well.

Not to mention a sweet swimming pool in right field.

Joe Saunders will only get better. Not only is the move to the National League going to help his stats, but the trade will probably light a fire under his ass. The last thing he wants is to be considered "trade-able" again.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Looking to the Future.

I know other Angels Bloggers are out there right now writing on how the season isn't over. If this were the Angels I thought they'd be on Opening Day, but somehow found themselves 8.5 games out on July 29th, I'd reconsider. But they are without Kendry Morales, their offensive catalyst. They only have three healthy big-league starters. Not to mention Texas is actually still working to improve their team to not only clinch the division, but go on a lengthy post-season run.

I'm very excited about the pickup of Dan Haren. He is quickly rocketing up my list of favorite Angels players, even if he has only pitched 4.1 innings.

However, the rest of the season looks bleak. With Pineiro being the newest casualty, and Kazmir already on the DL (If I had known 2 weeks ago that I couldn't wait for Kazmir to get of the DL, I would have just packed it in then). The Offense hasn't just been bad the last week or so, its been downright awful.

However, the rest of the schedule see a lot of Baltimore, Cleveland, Toronto, Seattle and Oakland, a much easier couple of months than the Angels are accustomed to.

So it looks like the Angels could probably go out and win 37 more games this season (note: this is a completely realistic number, considering the Angels every home series, and don't get swept on the road again, oh, and sweep the rest of their games against Seattle). That would put them at 89 wins. A pretty respectable number, and probably going to be enough to win just about any division in the NL. However, in order to win the West with 89 wins, that means Texas would have to finish the season 29-32. (The Wild-Card is even less likely)

So the Angels will not only have to exceed all expectations, they will also need Texas to choke. It could happen, but this casual observer does not find it very likely.

So, what should the Angels do, you ask? I'll tell you. Trade away contracts that aren't helping you anymore, and do it soon, while these players still have some value. Trade Rivera, Abreu and Matsui. Trade one of our damn Catchers, trade Fuentes and designate Scot Shields for assignment.

You don't even need to get back major league ready talent, just freeing up the salary space is important at this point.

Then, call up Mark Trumbo and Peter Bourjos, and a few arms from Salt Lake. Hopefully, this influx of new faces and talent will re-energize the team, and help them win down the stretch. If nothing else, it will help the Angels assess how well these potential stars will do in the big leagues, and give the fans something new to look at.

Now, with Fuentes gone, we will need a new closer. I like the bullpen by committee approach, that will usually help you find your best man for the job. A rotation of Rodney, Rodriguez and Kohn will be a good place to start.

For the problem of having just three starters, lets do a fourth starter by committee too. Cycle guys in and out, give some guys a spot start here and there. It worked kinda well last season, when just about everyone in our rotation was hurt. So, lets take a look at my new, perfect scenario starting lineup for our August 3rd game in Baltimore.

1. Erick Aybar - SS
2. Howie Kendrick - 2B
3. Torii Hunter - CF
4. Mike Napoli - C
5. Macier Izturis - DH
6. Mark Trumbo - 1B
7. Kevin Frandsen - 3B
8. Reggie Willits - LF
9. Peter Bourjos - RF

Starting Rotation
1. Jared Weaver
2. Dan Haren
3. Ervin Santana
4. Trevor Bell/Matt Palmer/etc

And whenever Scott Kazmir decides to be healthy, he can come in as the 5th starter in the rotation.

I'd go into what I'd like the Angels to do over the off season, but I've already gone on for far too long.

My point is, what the Angels are doing right now is obviously not working. Lets mix things up and make this team watchable again, because having the same tired looking team trot on to the field every day is not my idea of a good time.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Are You Ready For Some Football?!!

Or Basketball? Or Hockey? Or anything but Baseball?

Angels lost again, resulting in their first time getting swept at home in 2 years. Things aren't going to get much better with Texas visiting this weekend.

In a worst case scenario, the Angels would find themselves 13 games back on August 2nd, and Texas' magic number to clinch the division (or at least eliminate the Angels) would be down to 44.

It looks like now is a better time than ever to trade away Abreu, Matsui, and Pineiro (if he is ok) for some prospects or good young major league talent to a contender. Build towards next year, where we will have a whole season of Dan Haren, Kendry Morales and Carl Crawford.

Anyway, Go Jets!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Same Shit, Different Day.

What is there to say that I didn't go over yesterday? Starter pitched good enough to win, just didn't get the run support. Offense looked Anemic, at best. Blunders in the field and on the base-paths seem the norm.

I know I've been saying the Angels need to trade for a "Big Bat". Throw that plan out. We need to trade for an entire new lineup.

If the Angels cant win tomorrow, it might be time to pack it in, and build for next year. Let guys like Abreu and Matsui go play for a contender while we build to take back our Division Crown in 2011.

Oh, by the way, the Magic Number for the Rangers is now 53.

I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues...

Except for Bobby Abreu's solo shot in the first inning, and a few jams that Dan Haren pitched himself out of, nothing went the Angels way last night against Boston.

Between fielding mistakes, poor managing and a bullet off the bat of Kevin Youkilis, the Angels had no chance last night. The first Red Sox run would not have scored if not for Hunter flubbing on a play he normally makes, and Hunters 0-4 night at the plate didn't help, either. The Angels loaded the bases with none out in the 2nd, only to have weak at bats by Rivera, Mathis and Aybar end the threat. Then when Haren got pegged on the forearm by a line drive off the bat of Youkilis, it ended pretty much all hope the Angels had last night.

The Angels bullpen pitched the Halos out of the game for good, not once, but twice.

I understand Mike's decision to put Rodney in for the 8th... he is his 8th inning guy, and when he struggles, he struggles. It happens. But when Matsui made up for Fernando's mistake in the Bottom of the 8th with a home run of his own, I will never know what possessed Mike to put in Michael Kohn, to make his first major league appearance.

Not only was it Kohn's first appearance, but in a game where he NEEDED to keep the one-run lead, against the Boston Red Sox... poor coaching decision.

Its hard to find one guy to blame for last nights loss, But Aybar going 0-for-5 at the top of the lineup is simply unacceptable. It would be one thing if he had a walk, or a sacrifice bunt, or even a productive out, but no. For a guy who is so hot to look so cold, it has me worried.

If there were any indication that we still need a power bat in the lineup, it was on display in the 2nd inning. The Angels loaded them up with none out, only to pop out twice and have Aybar (shocker!) ground out to end the inning. Pathetic.

There were a few things I did like about the game last night. Haren looked marvelous, outside of the solo-shot to Ortiz. Also, Michael Kohn has a great name, which is ripe for parody. I mean... its only good for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan jokes, but man... oh the jokes I'll make.


Jared Weaver gets the ball tonight against the Sox, facing off against Child-Molester Jones... er... John Lackey. This will be Lackey's first start in Anaheim against his old club. With the comments he has made about the Angels management and their fans when signing with the club (and in consequent months), if he gets anything but an enormous boo from the Angels faithful, I will be disappointed. I'd also like for him to pitch really well for the first few innings, but then fall apart in the 5th, for old-times sake. Maybe a 6-run inning? At this point, I want Lackey to fail less so the Angels win, and more so he looks like a fool (with his pants on the ground).

Monday, July 26, 2010

Its A Race Again.

Dan Haren. 'Nuff Said.

While Dan Haren and Alberto Callaspo aren't exactly the same as Cliff Lee and Bengie Molina, they might be just enough to make this a race again. Even though the Halo's lost three of four over the weekend in Texas, they still only find themselves 7 back with 10 left to play against Texas, including three this weekend in Anaheim.

Dan Haren is not having the best year of his career, but when you consider the fact that he was pretty much stuck on a go-nowhere team that had just about no chance of going anywhere, he obviously knew he couldn't do it all by himself. I don't want to say he gave up, because he didn't. He is still top 10 in the league in terms of strikeouts, and was having an above average year, but you could tell he wanted out of the desert.

Alberto Callaspo is not going to be an all-star, on or off the field, but he is a better option at third base than Brandon Wood or Robb Quinlan, and with Macier Izturis back from injury, our infield depth is at a season high.

The best thing about Dan Haren, while not only does it make the 1-2-3 punch of Weaver-Haren-Santana sound fantastic for a postseason series (should they make it that far), is that he is signed on through at least the 2012 season, with a club option for 2013.

The Angels have exactly two playesr who will be free agents at seasons end, Brian Fuentes and Scot Shields. If we can manage to trade for or sign another quality closer, pick up Carl Crawford and maybe another arm for the rotation/bullpen (Rich Harden, Chris Young and Matt Thornton look to all be available). The 2011 Angels will be a frightening force to be reckoned with.

Important series starts tonight as the Angels welcome Boston to town for a three game set. I expect everyone to make it out to the game tomorrow to boo the living hell out of a modern day Benedict Arnold, John Lackey.


Joe Saunders. You will be missed. My favorite memory of you is when you matched the eventual Cy Young Winner Zach Grienke pitch-for-pitch in an amazing 1-0 win over the Royals last season. Grienke was pitching out of his mind, and you beat him. Good luck in Phoenix, Joe.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sean O'Savior?

After a few first inning jitters, which are totally excusable, considering not every 22-year-old is asked to make his first start of the season in Yankee Stadium in the middle of a pennant race, Sean ended up making the New York Yankees look more like Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees.

In the Angels commanding 10-2 win last night, there were two clear heroes: Mike Napoli and Sean O'Sullivan. Its pretty clear that the rest of the Angels lineup was pretty pleased to have Macier Izturis back in the lineup as well. This finally looks like a team that could make a serious playoff push.

In O'Sullivan's past major league appearances, including a few starts, he has always looked pretty average. But if you take into account that those were a 21-year-old O'Sullivan, getting his first taste of big league ball, you start to wonder if last night's start was a fluke, or the next wave of young Angel Pitching?

I can only hope that a dominant performance against the best team in baseball (with one of the best, if not the best offenses) is a sign of things to come.

On the bright side, its not going to take a whole lot to impress me more than the man he is replacing, the "Injured" Scott Kazmir.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Most Important Week of the Season (Seriously).

I wish the above sentence was not hyperbole, but it is. With the Rangers 14-Inning win last night, they took a 5 game lead in the division. They have two more games in Detroit before the important weekend series in Texas against the Angels. The Angels are in New York for the next two days before the flight to Texas. While these are both big series' against two rivals, thats really only half the story.

If the Angels find themselves even further out by the end of the week, god forbid by 8 or 9 games, all signs point to the Angels finding themselves as sellers at the trade deadline. Say goodbye to any of your favorite players, because there is no one on the team that would be safe from a fire sale at this point.

However, if the Angels can manage to creep closer to the Rangers, they would certainly become buyers, and you can say goodbye to any of your favorite prospects, because its likely they will be traded for someone like Lance Berkman, Adam Dunn or (god willing) Carl Crawford.

I think a worst case scenario is that the Angels and Rangers both play .500 baseball for the next six games, and the Angels don't lose or gain any ground. Because then Tony Reagins will likely pull a Bill Stoneman and not do anything at the deadline, to play it "safe". Then we still have a team not good enough to catch Texas, but wont have any extra pieces for the future.

This season reeks of 2006, where a incredibly awful month and a half has the Angels playing catchup all season long, but they will ultimately fall short. The Angels really didn't do anything at the deadline that year either, and were unable to catch the A's.

Also, a note to Reagins, unless you are going to go out and get a quality bat AND a quality arm, don't bother. Trade some of the aging fielders (Abreu, Rivera, Matsui) for a few prospects, and lets focus on getting Crawford and some bullpen help in the off-season. Unless we are going to make an actual effort to catch and pass Texas, whats the point?

Tonight in New York, Sean O'Sullivan makes his first start of the year, as a replacement for the injured Scott Kazmir, against Phil Hughes, the Yankees young All-Star. Its going to be a tough game to win, but like I said, its a must win game in the most important week of the season.

Friday, July 16, 2010

I Wish We Could Play Seattle All Year Long: Part II

"What A Game" indeed.

Pineiro looks like a Cy Young Canidate (obvious hyperbole, he wont be, he just is pitching like one), Aybar is finally playing like a good lead-off man, and it looks like the 6-9 hitters will finally start to turn it around.

Granted, I've always believed in Kevin Frandsen, but Jeff Mathis finally turning it around, and Paul McElroy getting twice the amount of hits he had all season, those surprised me.

Sadly, Texas also won yesterday, beating Boston 7-2. It was all the fault of Tim Wakefield, who for some reason still thinks he can actually get outs by throwing that damn knuckleball. Its cute and almost endearing. Almost.

So while old man river was throwing batting practice to the division leaders, I get to yell at my computer, wondering why Boston continues to trot that fool out. I understand they are riddled with injuries right now, but there has got to be someone in their farm system that could pitch better than this.

Tonight, it probably wont get much better. Boston is sending someone I've never heard of to the mound, while the Angels get to face the only decent pitcher left in the M's rotation. While we blasted King Felix in his last start against the Angels, he is traditionally a better second half pitcher.

So, we still sit 4.5 games out, and with trips to New York and Texas next week, we really need Boston to turn things around for the rest of the weekend.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010 2010 Mid-Season Awards and Anti-All-Stars.

Ok, so its the slowest sports day of the year. No Baseball, and Basketball, Hockey and Football are all out of season. Lets give out some mid-season awards, in recognition of baseball's first-half greatness. Also, I'm not here to give out the regular awards (MVP, Cy Young, ROY), because those are boring, and I agree with most experts. So, lets have some fun, and then we will get to the Anti-All-Stars.

AL LVP (Least Valuable Player): John Lackey, BOS - P. This one is pretty easy. He got a huge paycheck this offseason, and he is making 18.7 Million Dollars to have an incredibly average year. He is by far the highest paid player on the team, and the only one in the top 25 in terms of salary. So far, he is 9-5. Not bad, sure... but I'm sure Boston didn't think they would be paying him at the clip of 2 million dollars a win. He also has an ERA nearing 5.00. Good Job, Lackey, hope you still enjoy playing in a ballpark where you have traditionally struggled.

NL LVP: Carlos Zambrano, CHC - P. Also pretty easy, even though he makes less than Carlos Beltran, who is out all season with an injury, he has been far more detrimental to his team. He also makes 18.7 Million Dollars, and he has been so remarkable bad this year, that it almost seems like his dugout tantrums are the least of the Cubs worries. Why this man still has a job in that city is beyond me. Any other manager would have stopped putting up with that crap weeks ago. Hell, Mike Scioscia probably would have cut him off the team two years ago when he beat up that Gatorade machine.

The Jeff Weaver Award for Why the **** are you still pitching?!?: Scott Kazmir, LAA. Sure, he has 7 wins, but his 9 losses is among league leaders. His near 7.00 ERA is unfathomable, and his 17 home runs allowed are staggering. Also, his 71 Earned Runs are tops in the majors. His 7 wins and past success are the only things that keep him going to the mound every 5 games. The Angels need to replace him to have ANY chance at keeping up with the Rangers.

The Brandon Wood Award for Why the **** are you still playing?!?: Brandon Wood, LAA. I'm sure this comes to no shock to anyone.

The Steve Finley Award for Worst Free-Agent Pickup: Chone Figgins, SEA. I don't need to throw the stats at you, but he is hitting poorly, not getting on base, and getting caught stealing. I know everyone in town misses him dearly, and think we would be better with him, but I disagree. Its clear that he has been in a regression for the better part of 2 seasons, and this season was the full nose-dive to obscurity.

Well, as we are coming to a close for the Mid-Season Awards, let us take this time to honor the Anti-All-Stars, the worst every-day players at every position. There will be a few surprises, I promise you.

National League:
C - Yadier Molina, STL
1B - Todd Helton, COL
2B - Akinori Iwamura, PIT
3B - Pedro Feliz, HOU
SS - Brenden Ryan, STL
OF - Tony Gwynn Jr, SD
OF - Nate McClouth, ATL (DL)
OF - Ryan Church, PIT
SP - Kenshin Kawakami, ATL
CP - Chad Qualls, ARI

American League:
C - Gerald Laird, DET
1B - Garrett Atkins, BAL
2B - Gordon Beckham, CHW
3B - Brandon Wood, LAA
SS - Jason Bartlett, TB
OF - Trevor Crowe, CLE
OF - Nolan Reimold, BAL
OF - Ryan Raburn, DET
DH - Justin Smoak, SEA
SP - Scott Kazmir, LAA
CP - David Aardsma, SEA

You might notice that Yadier Molina was on both the actual All-Star Team and this fictional Anti-All-Star Team. Well, he is having a downright awful season statistically, and should have never made the All-Star Team. Way to go, America. Also, Aardsma barely edged out Fuentes for closing duties on the Anti-All-Star Team.

Also, Congratulations on two-time honorees this evening, Brandon Wood and Scott Kazmir. You are both truly special, and I can't wait for an entire second-half of watching you two struggle to play baseball.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

2010 All-Star Game: A Live Blog

5:02 PM - All-Star Game starts NOW on FOX, but that means it will actually start in about 45 minutes. Get comfortable.

5:03 PM - I'm not a fan of Chris Rose at all, but he sadly going to be the best sportscaster we will see for the next 5 hours.

5:10 PM - Next time, don't make it so obvious you have had TONS of work done, Joe Buck.

5:14 PM - At least A-Rod knew he was going to booed really hard.

5:22 PM - Hey look, the one person who might have actually had more work done than Joe Buck, Julia Roberts.

5:24 PM - Fun fact: The last time Sheryl Crow was relevant was the last time the NL won the All-Star Game.

5:29 PM - We get it FOX... you love that Glee is doing so well. We don't need their stars EVERYWHERE. Its not like its even Jane Lynch or that chick with the horse nose.

5:33 PM - I thought it couldn't get worse than The Cleveland Show, but no, Fox decided to blend Raising Arizona and My Name is Earl into some awful looking sitcom.

5:35 PM - I was pretty sure Glee was a singing show.... why cant she?

5:39 PM - Oooo... and a crappy looking show about some guy who is "the best at what he does" in Texas... the least appealing of all 50 states.

5:40 PM - Hey look, its Rod Carew, whom we always claim as our own, even though he prefers to be known as a Twin. Screw Him.

5:44 PM - Forever = 14 years. Good to know.

5:46 PM - Is it sad that the Cooking Reality show from the really angry british guy and the producers of The Biggest Loser is the best looking new show coming to Fox?

5:48 PM - Ok... so 46 minutes till the game started... so close

5:49 PM - AL: Use your Lineup. BEST. SCOUTING. REPORT. EVER.

5:51 PM - Cano, don't be 2010's Dan Uggla. Thanks.

5:54 PM - See, how can you hate Ichiro? He is awesome.

5:55 PM - Verdict on first new band = not awful.

6:01 PM - Yeah... that shut-down pitching for the NL looks like its not going to do much for them. The AL lineup is just better. Sorry, Senior Circuit.

6:02 PM - Way to go, Hamiltoe.

6:05 PM - I'm getting kinda sick of Mr. Sulu making fun of my crappy TV.

6:07 PM - Cano is trying really hard to be the Dan Uggla of the 2010 All-Star Game.

6:09 PM - Gorgeous double play by guys who have never played together.

6:16 PM - I want a Joe Buck clock. We already know Forever = 14 Years, and now, a year and a half = 6 Minutes.

6:21 PM - This is going to be the fastest All-Star Game in history.

6:24 PM - Don't anyone try to get a rally going or anything. Because when we turn on the All-Star Game, we are looking for a pitching duel.

6:27 PM - Get a good look Angels Fans. Carl Crawford is going to be an Angel soon.

6:28 PM - He will get better, I promise.

6:44 PM - I went to go make a couple chili-dogs, and missed an entire inning...

6:58 PM - Boy, Justin Verlander and Robinson Cano sure like to make it look hard.

7:06 PM - If the AL cant score here, they dont deserve to win. Kuo is easily the most hittable pitcher on the NL staff, regardless of his repertoire against lefties.

7:07 PM - Nice Sac-Fly, Cano. Way to make up for your 6 errors so far. American League leads, 1-0.

7:09 PM - Thats Busch league, Mauer... Busch League.

7:13 PM - With how red Heath Bell's face is, you'd think he played in on the sun.

7:23 PM - Another quiet inning for the NL, but not without Joe Buck letting us all know his dream of having Adrian Gonzalez in a Red Sox uniform. What a giant tool.

7:31 PM - Lets hope this is a sign of things to come for the Rangers in the second half.

7:39 PM - Great sub, Joe.... At least Vlad would have swung at something...

7:43 PM - In addition to finding a cure for cancer, that woman standing next to Bud Selig should also try to find a toothbrush.

7:56 PM - Not fair. Brian McCann is cheating with his bionic eye.

8:04 PM - Middle of the 7th, NL leads 3-1. The way the AL has been hitting, this might be enough for the NL to end their winless streak.

8:24 PM - Another quick inning for the NL... Middle of the 8th, still 3-1 NL. A-Rod only player left on AL bench. How cliche, Girardi.

8:32 PM - One Inning to go, AL still looks comatose.

8:40 PM - I understand it has California in the title, but "California Gurls" still seems like an odd song choice, Fox.

8:50 PM - Congrats NL, on your first win in FOREVER (14 years).

Monday, July 12, 2010

Home Run Derby: The Live Blog

3:55 PM - We are t-minus 65 minutes to the start of the 2010 State Farm Home Run Derby. I will be attempting to do my first ever Live Blog tonight, with thoughts and insight from the game, while it happens.

This is will be the post, and if you are going to keep up, just refresh your browser. If you will be out, the whole thing will be here for you to enjoy later. For those of you who happen to read me on MLBlogs... I wont be updating it live there, I'm just going to post this whole thing after the Derby.

Oh, and a mini-announcement for the rest of the break. If I like how things go tonight, I'll also be doing a live blog for the All-Star Game, and on Wednesday, I'll go over my exciting All-Star Sunday, as well as how the Angels can compete for the West in the second half. Oh, and maybe some mid-season awards. Wednesday is going to be a big post.

5:00 PM - Really? Train is the best we could do? I know they have that awful "Calling All Angels" song, but No Doubt is actually from Anaheim, The Offspring are from nearby Huntington Beach. Also, I wasn't aware this song was 9 minutes long.

5:04 PM - "Its time to show the rest of the country, that when it comes to hitting home runs, you are far from laid back!" Chris Berman. Stupid Southern California/Orange County Comment Count: 1.

5:07PM - Love the huge Boo's for Swisher and Ortiz.

5:09 PM - Bobby Valentine just called David Ortiz "Jose Ortiz". I'll never understand why the Mets fired him.

5:14 PM - "Though its Summer, and they are all out there, having fun in the warm California Sun" - Chris Berman. Stupid SoCal/OC Comment Count: 2.

5:16 PM - It only took 16 minutes for this thing to actually start. Must be a record.

5:21 PM - One whole Homer for Chris Young, good show... good show...

5:25 PM - Vernon Wells got two homers, and one of them he owes a big assist to some guy in the first row with a decent glove. At least he got fly ball outs. Chris Young must have though he was in the Seeing-Eye Single Derby.

5:33 PM - "Just Missed It" - Bobby Valentine on a 410 Foot Home Run.

5:37 PM - Corey Hart just hit 13 homers. I wish there was a "Sunglasses at Night" joke I could make here, but there just isn't.

5:42 PM - Where is the SportsScience report on why Nick Swisher wears his hat like a retard?

5:46 PM - 4 Homers for Nick Swisher. That will sadly probably be enough to get him in the next round...

5:54 PM - Bobby Valentine can't count either. Holliday hits 5 to move into second place, Hart clinches second round.

6:02 PM - Its pretty amazing that Chris Berman has made a career sounding like the Cadbury Bunny.

6:09 PM - Ortiz hits 8 of the most boring home runs in Derby history, as Joe Morgan spent the entire 10 minutes going crazy for his shoes, which are not special at all. Also, Bobby Valentine talked about the kids catching the balls in the outfield as though they were attractive. So he is a pedophile too.

6:17 PM - Hanley Ramirez just hit 9 homers to put himself into the second round, and more importantly, eliminate Nick Swisher from the competition.

6:31 PM - Miguel Cabrera hit 7 to get him into the second round. Cool, this thing is half over.

6:52 PM - Half-way through the second round, Ortiz is probably in, Cabrera is out. Cant wait for the Hart/Ortiz final.

7:03 PM - Air Pipes? Shoes? Do Joe Morgan and Bobby Valentine really hate baseball that much that they have to talk about nonsense. I mean, I'm bored too, but this isn't my job.

7:07 PM - Fantastic, Ortiz and Ramirez are tied at 21. If Hart hits 22 or more, we will have a swing-off, which will extend this snooze-fest even further.

7:30 PM - Ortiz just tied the final round record of 11... but still made it boring somehow.

8:15 PM - oh, I thought I congratulated Ortiz on winning the Home Run Derby already... oops.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

We Will NOT Go Gently Into That Good Night!

So what Texas? So what that you picked up the biggest name this trade season in Cliff Lee? He can only play every five days, and we aren't going anywhere.

I'll admit, when I heard the news that Cliff Lee had been traded to Texas, I felt incredibly defeated. I thought "Well, there is always next year...". I had lost my ways.

I chose to watch the Angel game last night anyway, and the way they responded was incredible.

Home Runs by Bobby Abreu and Torii Hunter kept muscling the Angels away from the A's, but the A's kept on coming back and tying the game. It seems like last week, this offense would have just folded, let Oakland take the lead, and lose the game. But the Angels have a new fire under them.

I found myself cheering for Eric Aybar for the first time in months when he absolutely CRUSHED a ball to center field off of Andrew Bailey last night. That was the first time I have ever seen Aybar ever muscle a ball like that. You could see the fire in his eyes. You could see it in the eyes of starter Joel Pinero, all-star Torii Hunter, and the rest of the team.

Thanks to a rain delay, the Texas game actually went later into the night. Texas was up by four into the ninth inning, then the Orioles tied it, and Corey Patterson (my new favorite Oriole) came up and hit a game-tying grand slam, and the O's won it in extras.

The lead is now back down to 4.5 games, and even though Cliff Lee is likely to make his first start in Texas tonight, I have a good feeling about this.


I was thinking about going into whom I think the Angels should/could trade for to make this a race, but the Angels are traditionally very quiet this time of year. Even if the last two seasons have brought us former all-stars (Teixeira and Kazmir) at the deadline, I don't think the Angels have the movable pieces to bring in a division changer. I hope I'm wrong, and I hope we can bring in more talent for a run at the division, but I just don't see it being very likely.


Don't forget locals, you can still sign up for the All-Star 5k and Fun-Run tomorrow morning at the Stadium. Also, the All-Star Game Fan-Fest is still going to be open Today, Tomorrow and Monday. Possibly also Tuesday, but I'm not sure.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Moving on....

In what is far to depressing to even speak about, the Angels were swept by the White Sox in a four game series in Chicago. They looked awful, and there is no excuse for their play. Santana and Weaver both had good game, and the Offense decided to not show up. While Kazmir and Saunders looked as awful as ever.

Instead of getting really mad about the last 7 games... lets move on and look towards the trade deadline.

It seems like the only thing I ever hear on the radio is how we need a bat. I wish it were that simple. Where we could just go get a bat and win the division.

No, in addition to a third basemen, and maybe another hitting outfielder, there isnt much we can do to clean up the offense. No one is playing anywhere near their potential right, except for maybe Howie Kendrick.

I'd love to go out and get a guy like Mark Reynolds or someone to just have this big pop in our lineup, but realistically, if we want a chance to win the division, we need pitching. Right now, we have maybe 2 pitchers I trust to go out and get a win. Jared Weaver and Ervin Santana (sometimes). We could use one of the many Starters that seem to be coming available (Dan Haren, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, etc). There is also only a couple of guys that can come out of the bullpen and I feel assured that they wont blow the game, and even then... they already have, and it will happen again.

I'm not saying we could go out and get a shut-down closer, but a couple of steady, veteran arms in the bullpen would go a long way to stabilize the entire pitching staff.

If the Angels want to win the division this year, they will have to make some major sacrifices to pick up a bat and a few solid pitchers. Is it worth it, or should we just let Texas have their one season in the sun, and focus on making a significant impact on the free agent market in the winter?

I'd honestly be ok with either option, but if they plan on giving away half the farm system to build a contender this season, they had better have a long-term plan along with it, or we will find ourselves in a similar situation in 2011 and 2012.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The All-Star Game: This Time, it Counts!

At this point, they should just have the Yankees take the field against the NL All-Stars. Whats the point of fan voting when every retaad in the country either votes Yankees or Red Sox, because those are the only damn teams that ever get covered on ESPN.

Granted, I'm really happy for Joe Mauer, that he lead all vote-getters with 5.something million votes... and I'm also REALLY happy that Teixeira and A-Rod arent starting the game (even though A-Rod still made the team, because Joe Girardi plays favorites).

Wait... No... I'm not letting Joe Girardi get by on just a footnote... what terrible decisions. I know the remaining pitchers and bench players arent entirely up to him. But there has got to be a reason the Phil Hughes makes the damn All-Star team, but Jared Weaver, the league leader in strikeouts (and a top 5 guy in most other categories) doesn't make the team. Oh yeah, because Joe Girardi is going to do what ever he can to get half his damn roster on the team.

I'm done being mad about this. For reference later, Votto and Youkilis are who you should vote for for the final vote (even though neither should have not made the team in the first place). Weaver and Barry Zito should have at least been candidates for the final vote.

Oh, and I'm ok with Strasburg not making the team... I also would have been ok with him making the team. There are terrific arguments for both sides.


I regret calling Scott Kazmir our second-most consistent pitcher about a week ago, because its not true. One week, he looks like the Cy Young candidate he was with Tampa... then other games, like yesterday, he looks like someone who would struggle for a rotation spot with Pittsburgh. If anything, he has shown he is the least consistent pitcher in our rotation. This in a rotation with Saunders and Santana. Go figure.

Oh, and is it too late to write in Paul McAnulty (who will hereby be known as Paul McFatty, because thats far cooler than his actual name) for the All-Star Game? I'm really hoping this strange roster decision works out for the team.

Another strange roster choice was bringing up Cory Aldridge, who had 1 run on no hits with 4 k's in five major league at bats... 9 years ago in Atlanta. I can't possible see where this goes wrong. 0-4 with a strikeout in yesterdays game wasnt a good start.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Snatching Defeat From the Jaws of Victory.

Kansas City Royals' Willie Bloomquist, left, and Soria Joakim celebrate after beating the Los Angeles Angels duringa baseball game on Friday, July 2, 2010, in Anaheim, Calif. Bloomquist hit in the game's winning run, while Joakim saved the game in the 10th inning for the Royals. (AP Photo/Adam Lau)


That is really the only word that can be used to describe the Angels Bullpen right now.

After Brian Fuentes blew yet another save in the 9th inning last night (why Scioscia keeps running that blown save waiting to happen out there, I'll never know), Scot Shields was in rare form last night. He looked incredible, against every other batter... but the ones in between scraped across the winning run.

I could get on the Offense for not playing better against one of the worst pitchers in the league, but keep in mind that Joe Saunders, when playing in Anaheim, has been one of the worst pitchers in the league. He went out and threw his best game of the season. True, he was helped by some great defense behind him, but when isnt a pitcher who throws a great game helped by his defense?

The blame for last nights loss is squarely on the shoulders of three men. First and foremost, Mike Scioscia. Why on earth, when your pitcher has a complete game shutout going, do you bring in the most inconsistent closing pitcher of the last 3 years? Then, when you need to bring in a pitcher to shut them down for an inning in the tenth, do you bring in a past-his-prime pitcher who is only still on the team because of what he has done for us in the past?

The other two who are to blame are obviously Fuentes and Shields, but Shields least of all. I think he is still as shocked as we are that he still has a job with the Angels, let alone is being called into the most important inning of the game.

Fuentes shouldn't be closing anymore, and thats not Fuentes' fault. True, he sucks, but bringing him in wasnt his call, it was Mike's.

Mike Scioscia... for the love of god, when your pitcher is throwing a shutout, regardless of the inning, pitch-count, or runners on base... leave him in the damn game. Don't go to the shakiest bullpen in the American League. We could have drawn a game closer to Texas last night, who lost to Chicago, due to Bullpen problems of their own, but instead, we still sit 3.5 games back, wondering what could have been.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Angels = Swag-Monsta's?

Ok, the Angels lost last night to division rivals Texas. I could go into the details of how poorly Kazmir pitched (sadly only in the later innings), or how awesome Vlad was (and how he cemented his spot on the All-Star Team and in the Home Run Derby), but I'd rather go over a much more entertaining subject.


EA Sports recently announced that Old Spice (who has a line of soaps and antiperspirant called "Swagger") is sponsoring a rating in the upcoming Madden NFL 11 video game called a "Swagger" Rating. Its a pretty dumb rating, because it has nothing to do with actual swagger... its just how likely he is to celebrate a touchdown before he gets in the endzone, as opposed to after he scores.

Inspired by this ridiculous inclusion, I've decided to hand out the official swagger ratings for the Angels players, except a REAL swagger rating, not how likely they are to break their leg celebrating a walk-off home run (Kendry Morales - 99).

Its a pretty simple rating system, 0-100. A 0 rating would be, like, Louie Anderson, and a 100 would be Prabhu Deva, from this awesome Indian Music video (please, take the 4 minutes out of your life to watch the greatest music video of all-time).

Mike Napoli - If this were done a few months ago, when he was hitting .120, killing every rally ever, and in danger of losing his job to Ryan Budde, he would be in trouble. But now, he is leading the team in homers, and learned a new position, which he is dominating. Oh, and his walk-up music the second half of last season was "I'm On a Boat"... Rating: 82

Jeff Mathis - If it were possible for a player from the losing team to win ALCS MVP, Mathis was more than deserving. He even continued that awesome play into 2010, however, since returning from his wrist injury, he has been less than stellar. Rating: 56

Bobby Wilson - If you watched "Angels Weekly", like I do, you'd know that this fool's favorite movie is Step Brothers. Not very swag. Rating: 17

First Base:
Napoli - See Above

Kendry Morales - A year ago, he'd probably be in the high 80's, but breaking your leg and missing an entire season on a home run celebration? Its going to take a miracle for his swag to recover. Rating: 63

Second Base:
Howie Kendrick - Having the best season of his career. Is on pace for 100 RBI's, and has hit consistently wherever Mike has needed him to hit. Not to mention his swaggish play at second base is to be reckoned with. However, those Howard's Superstore commercials hurt the Swag. Rating: 74

Eric Aybar - Any swag he has, he stole from Vladimir Guerrero. Rating: 21

Third Base:
Brandon Wood - Grand Slam over the weekend notwithstanding, he has been getting better. But just because hitting .200 is better than hitting .100, doesn't mean he has any swag. Rating: 3

Macier Izturis - He may look like a furry woodland creature, and be roughly 5 feet 2 inches tall, but when you hit something staggering, like .400, with RISP, he clearly has swag. However, when you get hurt once or twice every season, that's not helping with the swag. Rating: 73

Kevin Frandsen - Oh man. Like Reggie-mania in 2007, I've got Frandsen-fever something fierce. He seems to start every rally, and he plays incredibly solid third base. Not to mention he is the only white guy on the team to look like he is a Swag-Monster off the field too. Rating: 89

Torii Hunter - 3-time All-Star, 40 home runs robbed, and like, a billion gold gloves. This guy reeks of Swagger. Even when he played in one of the most swagless state, Minnesota, he still was a force of swag. Also, to have such a silly name like Torii, and still be so awesome? C'mon, its not even fair. Rating: 95

Bobby Abreu - He really has nothing going for him on the swag-meter, other than being a totally solid hitter. He does look like he could make DAMN good Fajitas. Rating: 42

Juan Rivera - He broke his leg playing baseball before it was cool. Hits 20-something homers every year, plays really good defense. However, for the first three months of the season, he is an easy out. April-June Rating: 32, July-September Rating: 67

Reggie Willits - I love Reggie Willits, but I've never seen a pinch runner get thrown out trying to steal, or get picked-off so much. Also, I have as many major league home runs as Reggie does (so do you!). Rating: 23

Hideki Matsui - He can't run, he isn't very good at defense, he looks like a nerd, he listens to far too much Linkin Park, but his nickname is Godzilla, and he lives up to it. For that alone, he has Swag. Rating: 55

Jared Weaver - Started out 9-1 for his career, and still lost his starting job (and major league spot) TWICE to his far inferior older brother, Jeff. Changed his number, changed his hair. He seems like he is trying too hard to have swag. Rating: 48

Joe Saunders - Its hard to say. Sometimes, he goes out there with a cool demeanor, and throws a shutout like its nothing, other times, he gets plastered for 19 runs in 3 innings. However, even when he is winning, he doesn't exactly wear the swag on his shoulder. Rating: 29

Scott Kazmir - When your best days are in Tampa, before Tampa was good, you have a problem. Rating: 23

Ervin Santana - Say what you will about his pitching ability. Dude has the sickest chin-strap in the majors, and reeks of Swag on a daily basis. Rating: 74

Joel Pinero - Joel seems like he had swag in his younger years, but when your whole pitching plan is throwing the ball so guys just ground out, that's not very swag. Rating: 35

Fernando Rodney - Seems like the kind of guy who would have "Thug Life 4 Life" tattooed on his ass. Rating: 81

Scot Shields - Even when he was good, he is just about the least swag guy in baseball. Sucking doesn't help. Rating: 11

Brian Fuentes - Throws about as hard as my sister, and likes to blow saves like he is playing against himself in fantasy. Completely swag-less before, however, his new porno-stache/goatee really helps. Rating: 28

Quick Ratings: Ryan Budde - 7, Robb Quinlan - 12, Kevin Jepsen - 31, Sean O'Sullivan - 23, Matt Palmer - 35, Francisco Rodriguez - 38, Brian Stokes - 5.