Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Rangers "Win" Yu Darvish Sweepstakes

First off, lets get one thing out of the way.  I LOVE the team name "Nippon Ham Fighters".  I know that the nickname is just "Fighters", but I love to pretend its "Ham Fighters".  Anyway....

Japanese stud and member of the Nippon Ham Fighters, Yu Darvish, is now off the market.  The Texas Rangers have won the bidding rights to the young phenom for just over $51 Million dollars.  That is just what they give Nippon Ham after the player has signed with the Rangers.  They will still owe whatever they agree to pay Darvish.

Now, I like a hot foreign prospect as much as the next guy, and I'm all for Major League Baseball acquiring the best baseball talent in the world, but I can't help but feel the Rangers have overpaid for Darvish.  Granted, we all saw him dominate in the World Baseball Classic, and how well he has done in Japan, but that doesn't always equal MLB production.  In the WBC, even if the better guys play, they don't always give 100%, its just like extended Spring Training for some of them.  In Japan, guys like Daisuke and Matsui have been would-be Hall of Famers, but get over here and can barely squeak into the All-Star Game.

Many have said Yu Darvish is a different kind of talent, and that could be true, but the only guy who has come to the states for Asia and made a significant impact on the game has been Ichiro, but he has also been crippling the Mariners Payroll for about a decade (well, him and Adrian Beltre), and been in the cellar of the AL West for a good chunk of that time.

Part of me hopes Yu Darvish pays off, I hope he becomes a Top 10 pitcher in baseball and watching him toe the slab every 5 days becomes must-see-tv.  Somehow, though, I doubt that will happen.  I see him being a solid 2nd or 3rd starter, making an All-Star Team or two, and having a good, if forgettable, career.

Oh, but if he can find a way to always have this sweet mustache, he is cool with me:

Monday, December 19, 2011

Tebow: Making the Case for MVP.

Yeah, he lost yesterday to a much better Patriots team, but that still makes him 7-2 as a starter this season.  The Broncos record before Tebow took over as starting Quarterback?  1-4, and they looked out of the playoff picture going into their Week 6 Bye Week.  He (and the re-energized Defense) have now put the Broncos in 1st place in their division.   That's right, 1-4 all the way to a Home Playoff Game.  Sure, there are still a few weeks left in the season, and as of right now, any team in the West is mathematically still able to win that division, but lets assume the Broncos win out, finish 10-6 and get a home playoff game against the Jets or Titans.

They win that game, go on to face the Pats or Steelers in the next round, maybe win, maybe lose.  Either way, this team was destined for a losing season and a high draft pick.  Instead, they implant Tim Tebow during their Bye Week and end up in the second round of the playoffs.

So how do you not put this kid on your MVP Ballots?  Stats aside, he has clearly been incredibly valuable to his team.  Improbable comeback wins, bringing excitement to the stadium and locker room, and, most importantly, taking a team going nowhere to a playoff berth.

Obviously Drew Brees, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers are the favorites to win the award at this point, and you could argue that those teams (Saints, Patroits and Packers) would all be much worse without their star QB's, but would they be 1-4 bad?  Would they be 2-8 bad?  Would they be 3-12 bad?

I'm not saying he should WIN the award, his stats just don't back that up, but he should probably be in the Top 5 in MVP votes, maybe even the top 3.  I also don't think any of this will happen, because most MVP voters (in all sports) are too conventional and set in their ways.  It will be the 5 guys with the best stats, guy with the best stats wins.  It will have nothing to do with who is actually valuable to their team, like Tim Tebow.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Clippers Take One Step Forward, Two Steps Back.

Normally, when your team trades for an All-Star, it should be a happy day for you and your fellow fans. Sadly, when the Clippers trade for an All-Star, most fans can do nothing but let out a sigh and say "here we go again..."

The Los Angeles Clippers agreed to a trade today for New Orleans Hornets superstar Chris Paul, who is in his last year of his deal with the team, and was looking to be traded. Sadly, what the Clippers gave up in return was a future All-Star Guard in Eric Gordon, solid every day starters in Al-Farouq Aminu and Chris Kaman, and a possible #1 Overall pick they had gotten from Minnesota. It's very likely that this will lead to two straight NBA Drafts where the Clippers had the #1 Overall pick, but had traded it away (they traded a pick to Cleveland last year, and that pick turned into the #1 overall pick for 2011, Kyrie Irving from Duke).

As a Clippers fan, we are used to this kind of mismanagement from the front office, but we aren't used to getting an All-Star in return, and before we get all excited about Chris Paul, lets remember a few things: He has just about no cartilage in one of his knees, so how long does he last as an Elite Point Guard in the NBA? He is still only signed through the end of the 2011/12 season, and although he has said he will sign here for at least two years if traded, what are we basing that on? His word?

I know I should be excited, but I'm just not. I was looking forward to watching Eric Gordon grow into a superstar, or who we would take with the #1 pick in the 2012 Draft. Now, I know what I'm going to get. Alley Oops from Chris Paul to Blake Griffin. We win about half our games, make the playoffs and get swept in the first round by the Thunder.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Derek Jeter's Swag: Impossible to Measure

In my favorite news story of an otherwise slow day, it turns out Yankees Shortstop Derek Jeter, who split with "actress" Minka Kelly this past summer, has been thanking his one-night stands in perhaps the best way possible.

After the night of steamy passion (after which, Derek would regale his suitors with fantastical tales of his baseball prowess), he would let the women stay the night at his New York apartment, calling a car for them in the morning (to avoid the quite embarrassing "walk of shame", ever so popular in fictitious accounts of New York City). In the car would be a gift basket, including baseball memorabilia signed by the superstar himself. Apparently, he got caught in this web of awesome by giving a gift basket to the same woman twice (he forgot he had already been with her once before).

Could Derek Jeter be any more of a caricature of a playboy right now? Whats next, his off-the-field apparel is a robe and a tobacco pipe? I love every second of it, and while Derek Jeter has always been one of my favorite players on the field (love his heart and determination, and all those other cliched baseball words), this pretty much confirms that his off-the-field shenanigans are worthy of a place in my heart as well. Its not a life I'd ever want to live, but it warms my heart to know that people actually are out there living their lives like that.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Winter Meetings Recap Part 3: Everything Else.

Before Arte broke the bank on deals to Albert and CJ, before Jerry Dipoto locked his name into SoCal sports folklore a month into the job, there were a few moves that would have made Anaheim a better team in 2012, even without King Albert and Mighty CJ.

Move 1: Jeff Mathis traded to Toronto for Brad Mills
It could have been Jeff Mathis to Toronto for more of Vernon Wells' contract (I'm sure he has more hiding somewhere). Hell, it could have been Jeff Mathis to Toronto for a bag of baseballs and a hoagie, this was a great deal for the Angels. Even if Brad Mills never steps on the mound at the Big A, neither will Jeff Mathis (at least in Angel red). I liked Jeff Mathis, I really did, and he was a nice guy, but his bat was a cancer to the team. Its unfortunate Hank Conger didn't have a stellar 2011, because he probably could have muscled a few starts away from him. Simply taking away Mike Scioscia's ability to start Jeff Mathis for 100+ games in 2012, I knew I already loved Jerry Dipoto as a GM.

Move 2: Tyler Chatwood traded to Colorado for Chris Iannetta
Is Iannetta the worlds best defensive catcher? No. But lets face it, neither was Mathis. I like this deal for a couple reasons. I don't think Chatwood is quite up to par to be a solid big league starter in the American League, at least not right now. I love the step up from Mathis to Iannetta in terms of On Base Percentage (.220something to .357 over their careers). Plus Iannetta has some pop in his bat, not as much as Napoli did, but he is a 20 HR guy. With Iannetta in the lineup, the only weakness offensively is really Vernon Wells, and considering he hit 25 homers in 2011, that isn't a bad thing.

Move 3: Angels sign Right Handed Reliever LaTroy Hawkins for 1 year, $3 Million
Adding a great right-handed compliment to Scott Downs in an improving Bullpen was a great move on its own, then you throw in the fact that he is a long-time friend of Torii Hunter and a fantastic clubhouse guy? This was a steal at $3 Million. The signing was overshadowed by the signings of Pujols and Wilson (which happened only hours later), but it could just as important in bringing the Angels a World Series title in 2012.

If the Angels don't do anything else this off-season but re-sign all the arbitration guys (Kendrick, Aybar, etc), they are already primed to be among the top contenders in the American League. With the Yankees and Red Sox getting older, and the Rangers pitching in question, it could be a perfect storm for the Angels this October. But lets hold off on any World Series talk until this team wins a few games. Still no reason not to be excited for baseball to return. Only 67 days until pitchers and catchers report!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Winter Meetings Recap Part 2: CJ Wilson

This one is really simple. We paid a good price (less than the Yanks and Sox paid for AJ Burnett and John Lackey, respectively) for the best Free Agent Pitcher available, someone who would be an ace on 2/3rds of the teams in the major leagues, but will slide in somewhere between 2 and 4 for the Angels.

A Southern Californian native, Wilson makes the easy choice to live here year-round. In addition, he brings a respectable resume and will fit in nicely with our group of poorly groomed starters. Now that the Angels have perhaps the best starting rotation in baseball (even with a number of question marks regarding the 5th spot), all we need is 2-3 runs a game for an easy victory.

Take into account our bolstered bullpen (more on that coming soon), and full year of Jordan Walden closing games, this should be a pitching staff that simply dominates its opponents night after night. Then you consider that we ripped away Wilson from our biggest rival, who now lacks a true ace, and CJ becomes that much more valuable. While the Pujols deal might be a tad pricey, I feel like the Angels paid a great price for CJ Wilson, who will bring the Halos 15-18 Wins and a sub 3.50 ERA.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Winter Meetings Recap Part 1: I'm Just Albert

So, are you ready for a Seat, Soda and Hot Dog at Angel Stadium to be twice as expensive as it was last year, when our starting First Baseman was a "oh shit, Kendrys isn't ready" replacement from AAA? Well, maybe not twice as expensive, but it will be damn close.

After finally figuring out the combination to his safe, Angels owner Arte Moreno finally put up some big numbers to bring in some big stars, none of them bigger than 3-Time NL MVP Albert Pujols, considered by many to already be a Top 5 hitter all-time.

Many are already jumping on the Angels for making the deal. Complaining that Pujols will be 42 in the 10th year of his deal. While that is true, if the Angels can manage a World Championship or two in the first 6 or 7 years of the deal, won't that be worth still paying the best player of the last 30 years $25 Million when he is in his 40's? Not to mention he will be in the American League, where once his legs start to slow down, he can move over to Designated Hitter fairly easily.

Its pretty clear that if the Cardinals had signed the slugger to the similar deal they had proposed (10 years, $220 million), no one would be saying anything but "Its good for the Cardinals to finally pay the man." That's just it, for years, the Cardinals had underpaid for the future Hall-of-Famer, its about time he gets paid what he is worth.

I could go on and on, defending the Halos on the Albert Pujols deal. In the end, if you think its a bad deal, I'm not going to change your mind. Everyone made up their mind about it yesterday, and nothing is going to change that. In 10 years, we will find out who was right. Until then, its just a lot of fun to talk about.


Its pretty hilarious how mad St. Louis Cardinals fans are about Pujols leaving, as though he left them in the cold. 3 MVP awards, 10 All-Star Games, 3 NL Pennants, 2 Championships. That is a pretty fantastic decade. He had been upset with the way the Cardinals management had underpaid him all these years, and he stayed loyal as long as he could. The Cardinals will recover, and probably fight for a playoff spot again next year. St. Louis needs to just be happy that their hero deserved to get paid, and get paid he did.

Also, this (stolen from twitter, who stole it from ESPN) made me laugh:

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Welcome to the Evil Empire

Its been a long time coming.

Years and years of talk, years and years of "this will be the year Arte opens his wallet". Finally, that waiting and patience has paid off. Spending roughly $340 Million on Albert Pujols (a top 5 hitter all time), CJ Wilson (Our biggest rivals Ace and the best free agent pitching available) and LaTroy Hawkins (A veteran left handed reliever who is a great clubhouse guy and long-time friend of Torii Hunter).

Now, I'll go a little deeper into the discussion about Albert and CJ a little later, but I just wanted to take today to establish the Angels as the new "Bad Guys" in town. With our $150 Million Payroll (likely quite a bit more, when things are all said and done) we are no longer a upper middle class team. We are the 1%. We are the Yankees of the West, and I couldn't be happier. As Angels fans, we need to relish this opportunity to be the most hated team this side of the Mississippi. Tease fans of poor teams, and welcome the boos you receive when you don your Angels apparel in opposing parks.

You are on notice Angels fans. You need to step up to the plate, absorb the hate as well as our Yankee brethren to the east do. You need to sell out games against bad teams. You need to cheer as loud as you can for Albert, CJ, Jered and the rest of the gang. If we are going to spend money like the Yankees, we need to be as loud and passionate as their fans.

I believe in you Angels fans, now lets get out there and let Arte know he has our full support.


I'm not going to sit here and pretend like I've been writing since July, because I haven't been. But I'm back now and that's all that matters. I've already contacted the new owners of AngelsNation.net and asked if they'd be willing to sell the name back to me. Otherwise, this will likely be AngelsNation.org in a few weeks. Its good to be back.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Have You Seen This Blog?

If seen, please contact Mike. Will respond to "Angels Nation" or "Bloggy".

So... yeah... its been a while. I suppose if it were the offseason, I'd have a decent excuse for my two month hiatus, but its not, and I don't. I'd like to say I was off finishing up a college career, or fighting fires, or some other respectable reason to ignore my baby for 60 days, but I really don't. I have spent my time watching (and catching up on) Doctor Who and playing far too much Call of Duty.

While I've been gone, the Angels, oddly, have not only kept playing, but been playing well. I have been keeping track of the goings on (Russell Branyon, wtf?), and watching their climb up the West standings, but I have only actually watched a few games (maybe one a week?).

I've been thinking about writing again while this place collected dust, and when I came back to it today, I found it to be very ugly. Its no ones fault but my own... who on earth thinks a red and egg shell color scheme looks good? Anyway, I had been thinking about coming back to write, and finally a flurry of awesome enough things happened to where I can form a decent post and give you guys something to sink your teeth into.

1. Jered Weaver is Jered Weaver again. I know he wanted to take May off, so he swapped bodies with his brother Jeff. So while Jeff was trying to figure out big league hitters again, Jered was surfing and getting high (the only two things a guy who looks like that could possibly do with his free time). But since they swapped back in early June, Weaver found his stuff again and is making his bid to be the Starter for the AL in the All-Star Game. I hope this continues all the way to a Cy Young push... because if our most recent Cy Young winner remains Bartolo Colon for much longer, I'm defecting to basketball.

2. Jordan Walden backed into the All-Star Game. So what if the best Closer of all time had to get a bum arm in the first week of July for my boy Jordan to sneak into the All-Star Game? I'll take it, and I'm sure he will too. Remember when we thought Fernando Rodney was going to be our closer for at least the first half of the season? What a difference 4 months makes.

3. Mike Trout makes his Angels Debut tonight! Thats right, our uber-prospect Mike Trout makes his Major League debut tonight, well, hopefully. He is on the team, he has a number, and god-willing, he will be in the starting lineup. Its a shame it took a pulled hamstring from Peter Bourjos to get it done, but I'm still thrilled I'll finally get to watch this young man play.

So does this mean I'll be back to writing every day? Probably not. That stuff burnt me out by May, so its pretty clear that won't be happening again, but its pretty clear from the essay I've just written that my writers block is gone, which is nice. I'll probably do a semi-live blog for the All-Star Game again, but I regret that I'll be at work for the Home Run Derby. It's a shame, I could've used a mid-afternoon nap.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Totally Unwatchable

There are D&D nerds that have scored more than the Angels over the last couple days, and the offensive impotence jokes could continue, but in reality, the Halos have been outscored 17-0 since Tuesday Morning. Simply pathetic.

I wish I could say I've watched more than 5 innings of Angels Baseball over the last few days, but on this most recent losing streak, the Angels are just so miserable, they are impossible to watch for longer than a couple innings.

I'm not going to sit here and try to make excuses, or attempt to resolve these issues with a trade or signing that will never happen. I'm just making a plea to my beloved Angels:

Dear Angels Baseball,

Please stop sucking, and if you are going to lose, at least score some runs.

-Angels Nation

(PS: David Wright wouldn't hurt)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Wherefore Art Thou Kendrys?

Almost 12 Months since his horrific injury celebrating a walk-off win against Seattle, Kendrys Morales received a grim bit of news. He won't be back for the 2011 season, and some are speculating he won't ever be back.

As it stands, the Angels are still 1.5 games ahead of Oakland and Texas for first place in the AL West, a division that looks far more winnable than it did a month ago when Texas started the season 9-1. Even more promising for the Halos is the surprisingly good play of youngsters Mark Trumbo and Hank Conger. Trumbo got the nod after spring training when the Angels learned Kendrys wouldn't be ready for Opening Day. Many thought he'd get a nice month/month and a half in the bigs before being sent back down to Salt Lake in favor of Morales.

Now, it would seem, that Trumbo is going to get to continue this audition for the rest of the season, and continue his Rookie of the Year campaign. Trumbo already leads AL rookie hitters in Hits, Home Runs, Doubles, RBI's and, wait for it, Stolen Bases! Granted, he also has 20 more AB's than the next closest rookie (Toronto's JP Arencibia), but his numbers speak for themselves. He is also second in Batting Average behind teammate Hank Conger.

If things don't work out for Kendrys, the Angels community will be upset, and it will be sad. This poor guy comes from Cuba just to play baseball (and for freedom, I suppose), and when things finally start to go his way, his career is cut short on a freak accident. But as an organization, the Angels will continue to stand strong, and that really is a testament to how amazingly well built an organization this is. Already this season, guys like Aybar, Morales, Kazmir, Pineiro, Downs, Izturis, Wells and Willits have all missed some time, but the Angels have prospered, and find themselves in the drivers seat of the American League West once again. Its a great season to be an Angels fan, Kendrys or no Kendrys.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Be Careful What You Wish For

So... are you proud of yourselves? Vernon Wells is on the DL with a groin pull. Many Angels "fans" had jumped all over Wells' slow start, wanting him to be taken out of the lineup. I ask you this: For what?

You want an infielder who has practiced all of 3 times at playing the outfield (Alexi Amarista)? or a guy playing so old, he refuses to swing the bat (Bobby Abreu)? Or, do you want another Peter Bourjos, only without the pop in the bat and who has lost a step (Reggie Willits)? Well, thats what you've got. Congrats. I hope you are happy with yourselves.

I'm not Vernon Wells' biggest fan, but at the same time, he is trying to prove his worth for a new club where he was already disliked because of his contract and who we traded to get that contract. Well, Vernon Wells is more than a big contract, he was one of the most consistent hitters of the last decade in Toronto. He had a slow couple of years after signing his big contract, but started to turn it around last year, making his first All-Star Team since 2006. He was finally starting to turn his Angels Career around (hitting 3 HR in the last 8 games, and bringing in all 3 of the Angels runs on Saturday's loss to the Indians), but it still wasn't good enough for the Wells Nay-Sayers, and now they have gotten their wish, and Wells is out of the lineup. But at what cost?

Between Abreu, Amarista and Willits, whomever Scioscia decides to go with over the next two weeks, none of those are going to have the same impact in the lineup as Wells would have. No one has the same potential to put runs on the board with one swing. No one brings the same solidity to Left Field, a position that has long been a troublesome spot for the Halos. I just hope the Angels can manage to win 8 of their next 15, but its going to be tough without Wells around, regardless of how well our Pitchers pitch.

Monday, May 9, 2011

1000 is a Magic Number

Mike Scioscia has already done more for the Angels than all other Managers in Angels History combined. 5 Division Titles, An American League Pennant and, most importantly, a World Series Title. Not to mention he has made the Angels a competitive team for almost an entire decade. Yesterday, The Angels had not one, but TWO comebacks to clinch Scioscia's 1000th career win, all with the Halos.

Scioscia has pretty much confirmed that he will have his number retired, a street named after him in Anaheim and, should he continue on this career path, a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame. If nothing else, he will live on forever for the amazing faces he makes whenever the Angels screw up or the Umps botch a call. Now that Joe Torre has retired, I'd argue that Scioscia is the best manager in the bigs right now. I know Tony La Russa is still in the league, but I'd argue he was never that great.


Now its time for me to beg something of you, Angels Fans. Now that the Lakers, Kings and Ducks are done, and we all hate The Dodgers, its time to shift 100% of your sports focus on our beloved baseball team. Buy hats, buy jerseys, buy shirts, and most importantly, buy tickets to the games. Considering the great ticket deals and the sweet floppy sun hats for Mothers Day, the fact that yesterday's game didn't sell out is a little disappointing.

Lets sell out games, lets put our money were our mouths are and support this team. Is it the best team in baseball? No, but they are the best shot for the LA Area to win a Championship this year. They are a really likable group of guys who aren't the best at what they do, but they do it well enough to win more games than they lose, and they are a solid 2 games ahead of Oakland and Texas in first place. Put your support and love into this team, and I promise you will be rewarded for your time.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Curse of Jeff Mathis

A long time ago, on a baseball field far, far away (in Texas), a young man was being groomed. Being groomed to be the best, and to save a franchise.

Not many know what happened, but on a dark night in late 2009, after the dust had settled on a long postseason battle with the Yankees, Jeff Mathis turned. After being a hero in a losing effort, Mathis went mad. He alienated himself with his friends, teammates and mentors.

His mood changed, he went from a bright and sunny disposition to becoming of the most dark and brooding players in the league. He eventually slayed his best friend, a young warrior named Mike Napoli... leaving him for dead before he was allowed to flee for Canada.

Mathis came to destroy what he once loved, which was Angels Baseball and all it stood for. Mathis had defected to the dark side underneath the all-seeing eyes of Manager Mike Scioscia. He was filled with hate and darkness, spreading his piss-poor play to his teammates.

This is where our story comes, to the present day. With Jeff Mathis under the spell of the Dark Side, will our longtime leader Mike Scioscia and Angels Baseball's newest hope, Hank Conger, be able to thwart the plans of the evil Mathis before its too late? Or will Angels Baseball succumb to the dark side (and 4th Place)? Only time will tell. Stay tuned, baseball fans.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

We Wonned!

Bobby Abreu was told moments before his 13th Inning AB that the All-You-Can-Eat Breakfest Buffet at the team hotel only ran until 9:30am, and that the game needed to end soon if they wanted to actually make it back in time.

In a game that seem like it took half a day to complete, the Angels finally overcame the unstoppable beast that was the 2011 Boston Red Sox (who still aren't a .500 team). It was maybe the most gratifying game of the season, in that we actually felt like we were in a good position to win the game for most of the evening, then actually did. Also, beating Boston is ALWAYS sweet, even if we were 0-6 against them this year going into the game.

Oh, and Trevor Bell looks like the real deal. Without him, this game would have been lost hours ago, and we would all be going to bed very depressed right now.

I'm also officially lifting the household ban on Boston Sports being on our TV at home. Good news, because the Bruins are about to make the Eastern Conference Finals in the NHL Playoffs, and its always fun to watch the Celtics lose, especially to NBA Pariah, Lebron James.


Today's title was inspired by (read: ripped off from) one of my favorite blogs on the internet, I want to go to the zoo with roy halladay, a Philadelphia Phillies blog that is always filled with hilarity and half-assed photoshops. Even if you don't like the Phillies or the National League (who does? Honestly?), I implore you to check him out.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Dan Haren Treatment

The Dan Haren Treatment is a term used in baseball for when a Los Angeles Angels pitcher pitches well enough to win the game, but the offense gives him anywhere between 0-2 runs of support, causing the pitcher to get the loss or no decision.

As you can see from the wikipedia entry, this is a totally real thing, and you should all take it very seriously. Today, Joel Pineiro (in his first start this season after coming off the DL) tossed 7 innings, had just 1 run on 4 hits, and ended up with the no decision. If not for a "clutch" RBI ground-out by Kendrick in the top of the 9th, poor Joel would have ended up with the loss. Pineiro's only mistake (other than pitching for a team that refuses to hit consistently?)? A lead-off home run to Matt Joyce in the top of the 5th.

Otherwise, Pineiro was brilliant, giving Angels fans a ton of hope that we actually have a solid pitching rotation past our 1-2 punch of Weaver and Haren. There were a few situations where guys like Bourjos, Amarista and Conger could have come up big and gotten the Halos the lead, but they aren't going to be able to do it all season. I think its time for our 2-3-4 hitters to put up or shut up. Abreu, Hunter and Wells went a combined 1-12 with 12 strikeouts and a run. Pathetic. These are the guys who should already have 5 or 6 homers with 15 RBI (at least). Instead, they are grounding into double plays or just striking out.

If the Angels hope to contend for a Western division title this year, they had better stop giving guys like Haren and Pineiro the Dan Haren Treatment.


Fact: I started writing this in the top of the 10th, knowing full well Fernando Rodney (or someone else) would blow it in the bottom of the frame, giving us yet another extra inning loss....

Friday, April 29, 2011

Entire Nation Glued to Angels/Rays Rivalry

As most of the sports world is focused on the NFL Draft, any baseball fan worth anything has their tv time dedicated to the fierce rivalry between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels. Last time these two faced off, the tensions were high, and the Angels used their superior starting pitching to help lead them to a two-game sweep.

As many of you already know, this ferocious rivalry goes back to Tampa Bay's inception in 1998, when the Rays took up the Angels turf as the team with the silliest looking jerseys. Since then, the two have been in a heated battle for American League supremacy. Things got even more heated when former Angels bench coach Joe Maddon took the job as Manager of the Tampa Bay Rays.

2011 has been no exception, and the entire baseball world is enthralled with this weekends series between the two hated rivals. I mean, why else would MLB Schedule makers give the Angels 5 games in Tampa Bay before we even face Seattle once? We must be enormous rivals with deep-seeded hatred towards one another... right?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Swagger Ratings 2: The Swag Strikes Back

Well, this was probably the most fun I've ever had writing this blog, its time to revisit the Angels Swagger Ratings. You may remember the epic post from last year, if you'd like to revisit it, go for it, but we are ready to dive head first into Swag.

Quick Reference Chart:
Swag rated on scale of 1-100.
Swag of 1: Kevin James

Swag of 50: Bob Ross

Swag of 100: Old Spice Guy

Lets get this show on the road!

Jeff Mathis - Listen dude, you look like you have really let yourself go since Mike Napoli was traded in the offseason. If they needed a body double for Shaggy in the next Scooby Doo movie, you'd be a shoo-in, unless they needed Shaggy to throw out a runner trying to steal second, that is... Rating: 15

Hank Conger - Don't change, little buddy. You were born in the Swagsville known as Huntington Beach, then you go and impress everyone enough to let Mike Napoli get traded, then you steal Mathis' job out from underneath him?! Swag dude, swag. Rating: 70

Bobby Wilson - Come to find out, you are still on the team, but you still love Step Brothers... Rating: 7

First Basemen:
Mark Trumbo - What happened, bro? You started out the season with so much swag. You hit bombs in batting practice, then go up there and play like a bigger version of Brandon Wood. You've got some time to recover while Kendrys Morales gets healthy, but dude... step up the Swag. Rating: 38

Kendrys Morales - Still hurt man? A true Monster of Swag would've recovered from this injury two days later, then continued to jump into the pile at home plate... like a boss... Rating: 27

Second Basemen:
Howie Kendrick - Dude reeks of swag, and is finally hitting to that limitless potential we all gave you. You walk up to the plate to 2Pac, but you still do those awful Howards ad's.... man, if you weren't "The Other Howard", you'd probably blow up the Swag-Meter. Rating: 89

Alexi Amarista - You only got here earlier in the week, but you are already setting the team on fire with your awesome play. Hell, it looks like you've already taken Trumbo's spot in the starting linuep. Good stuff bro, can't wait to see you more once we dump this clown Aybar. Rating: 68

Third Basemen:
Alberto Callaspo - Dude, considering we all left you for dead after you stunk getting here from Kansas City, you have recovered nicely. If you could just have a bit more swag out there, that'd be great... right now, you are kinda boring. How about this: Next time you hit a double, do the Rickey Henderson Home Run trot around first base! Yeah... monster swag! Rating: 46

Macier Izturis - You are hurt again bro?! Truly swagalicious individuals can take a couple of Advil with a Tequila chaser and do anything! Maybe you need some Tigers Blood, Brah! Rating: 43

Erick Aybar - That Vladimir Guerrero swag rub-off has faded, and now you are desperate to find someone elses swag to leech off of. Too bad Bobby Abreu doesn't have any left... or you'd have a chance. Also, only swagless dopes try to bunt every at-bat... Rating: 2

Torii Hunter - Man, bro... what happened?! You were the league leader in swag, and won like, 10 straight silver swagger awards! Now, you lead the league in grounding into double plays... like a chump! I think its time for some swaggy facial hair, or maybe some new walk-up music. Rating: 72

Vernon Wells - Listen, I understand the conversion rate between the Canadian Dollar and American Dollar is pretty similar, but let me tell you right now that the conversion rate between Canadian Swag and American Swag isnt... whatever flew in the great white north ain't gonna fly down here, broham. You need to step up your swag-game, or else we will ship you back up there for a couple cases of Labatt Blue and a Bryan Adams record. Rating: 36 (63 Canadian)

Peter Bourjos - Gorgeous Bourjos! Maybe the swaggiest position player we have, and you are doing it all in high socks! Rating: 95

Designated Hitter:
Bobby Abreu - You know, for being a designated "hitter" you sure do draw a ton of walks... thats not a very swagish way to get on base, Abroham Lincoln... I think you need to lay off the Cheesy Double Deckers, hit the gym (nothing swaggier than the Gym) and drop a few of those LB's... then go out there and showed them why you had enough swag to get away with having "Kelly" as a middle name! Rating: 38

Starting Pitching:
Jered Weaver - Dude, just... man... At this point, if the other team sees you on the mound, they should just head back to the team bus and go home. In a recent interview, Mr. Weaver was asked what he thought of his 6-0 record and 0.99 ERA, he said "It ain't no big thang...", then walked out of the locker room with two of the finest ladies you have ever seen. Rating: 104

Dan Haren - This guy... he had a sweet beard, then he goes and shaves it... Swag Soldiers dont respect that king of facial hair mutilation, Brohemian Rhapsody... Thats why they ain't gonna score you no runs till you grow it back, then shave a sweet design into the side of it... Rating: 82 (98 Pre-Shave)

Ervin Santana - Man, who cares about pitching well? You still have the sweetest chin strap beard this side of Dwight's cousin from The Office! Rating: 81

Tyler Chatwood - Yeah, you are off to a fine start... but you have to let yourself succumb to the swag, my friend. You go out there like you have stick up your butt, and its gonna catch up eventually. Rating: 13

Scott Kazmir - Not only do you pitch like you don't care about the swag, you look like you don't care about the swag. There is nothing do be done to save you at this point, Brogressive Rock. Rating: -3

Fernando Rodney - Another example where your diminishing talents don't let you stop being the most Swag-forward dude around. Just a thought, though: try wearing gold chains next time you pitch, see if anyone notices. Rating: 84

Jordan Walden - You've got the beard (and skills I guess) to go a long way in this league, sir. Just keep it fresh and you are set for life, son. Rating: 75

Scott Downs - Man... first you got hurt playing with your kids, now you've got a stomach virus?!?! So not swag, my friend. Rating: 27

Quick Ratings:
Reggie Willits - 32, Hisanori Takahashi - 26, Kevin Jepsen - 29, Trevor Bell - 12, Matt Palmer - 19, Rich Thompson - 56, Michael Kohn - 34.

Thats it for now, Swaglings... We will revisit this towards the end of the season, should anything be too different.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Fall From Grace: Joe Saunders

The alternate title for this post (and future Angels Nation series) was "Did It Hurt When You Fell From Heaven, Because You Suck Now".

Since being traded last summer (along with prospects) for Dan Haren, Joe Saunders has not had the easiest time of things in Arizona. He struggled to close the 2010 campaign, and continues with a slow start into 2011. Granted, his Win-Loss record is partially a result of a streaky (at best) Arizona offense, which couldn't even get a couple of runs across for Dan Haren most days in 2010. But his other numbers show he isn't the same pitcher that made the 2008 All-Star Team, or that started off his big league career with a 48-22 record. Since joining Arizona, Saunders has posted a 3-9 Record, 4.40 ERA and 1.48 WHIP.

Those were his numbers going into today, and in his start today against the Phillies (who have been playing fairly bad offense recently) he has already given up 6 runs (and 10 hits) over 5.2 Innings. Remember, this is the same Joe Saunders who went 17-7 with a 3.41 ERA in 2008, just 2 1/2 years ago. Could it be he can't handle the National League? Could it be that the Angels just made a genius personnel move, and knew he was in the decline, and traded him while his value was still decent? Could be a little bit of both, his 2010 Angels numbers were already showing that he was trending down. Being one of the best pitchers on the D-Back staff probably comes with its own pressures, but Joe Saunders was arguably our best pitcher for a stretch between 2008 and 2009.

Saunders was always one of my favorites when he was with the club, and I've tried to follow his Arizona starts as closely as I can, but he isn't the same pitcher anymore. He seems to rely too much on trying to strike people out, which was never his strength when he was at the top of his game. As a result, guys are walking more, and his pitch counts get too high too soon. His K/BB ratio this season is an abysmal 0.77. Thats sure to improve a bit, he struck out 8 today while only walking 2, but its still not a good number. Should Saunders continue to decline, he could be out of the league by age 32, never truly realizing his potential.

Its a shame, but Saunders still has time, and the patience of his manager, to turn things around. Granted, if Saunders continues to struggle through 2011, he may struggle to find a new home in 2012.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Just Ammy Being Ammy

That's right, you heard it here first... the official nickname for Alexi Amarista is "Ammy". Lets hope this catches on, and I can get some credit for it. But beyond my own personal gain, Alexi Amarista was phenomenal in his first big league game. His first at-bat was a 2-RBI Double, scoring Howie Kendrick and Peter Bourjos (who scored from First, and later had his second triple of the season). Ammy is just the next in a long line of AAA prospects who have actually panned out for the Angels this season, following Bourjos, Trumbo, Conger, Walden and Chatwood (who pitched tonight, and was once again effective).

This youth movement the Angels are going through right now is pretty fantastic. It makes us all forget about bad decisions like Rodney, Downs and Kazmir... at least while they are showing us what all those Angels scouts saw in them years ago. Even if this season isn't successful (as in it doesn't end in a Championship of some kind), its still going to be fun to watch this club who will make us perennial contenders from 2012 onward.


You can now vote for the 2011 All-Star Game, and the Angels chose to put Jeff Mathis on the ballot over Hank Conger... bummer...

You can also vote for who you'd LIKE to see in the 2011 Home Run Derby, although it has no real effect on the outcome, its still fun to dream, and I spent about half an hour today voting over and over again for my write-in nominee, Mark Trumbo. You should do the same.

Jered Weaver: The Greatest American Hero

Jered Weaver is the best, around... nothings gonna ever keep him down. Facing down against a four game losing streak, and potentially falling even further back in the West, Jered Weaver brought his "A" game (no pun intended) for the sixth time this season. Solid Offensive contributions from Howie Kendrick and the gang led to an early 5-0 lead, which was more than enough for Weaver.

After Weaver's complete game shutout, his ERA dropped to 0.99. Silly. If there is anyone who will try to argue that Jered Weaver isn't the best pitcher in baseball right now, they clearly have a massive East Coast Bias, and that person should be ignored anyway.

He also struck out 10, and made most of the A's hitters look downright silly. If Weaver can pitch even close to this level for the rest of the season, he is a lock for the Cy Young Award, and hell, maybe even some MVP consideration. He is easily our most valuable player right now, and without him (and Dan Haren), this would likely be a losing ballclub.


Brandon Wood Update!

Yesterday in Pittsburgh, Brandon Wood finally got to put on a Pirates uniform and start (at third base) for the first time on another club. Wood looked GOOD. Although he was only 1-4, he looked really good in his at-bats, stretching nearly all of them to 3-2 counts, showing a ton of patience and usually getting good wood on the ball. That one hit though? It was a 2-RBI Double that scored the eventual winning runs for the Pirates.

I know its only a coincidence that we are 2-4 since letting him go, but I'd be an awful fake-journalist if I didn't at least point it out.


Tyler Chatwood, perhaps our third best pitcher at the moment, takes the mound tonight against the A's. He is facing off against Brandon McCarthy, who is 1-1 with a 2.10 ERA this season. It should be a good matchup, and if the Angels can get the win today, a sweep is likely with Dan Haren on the mound tomorrow.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Every Angels Article Ever

Print out this article and circle the correct options for whatever night you watched our beloved baseball team. (Note: Doesn't work during a win, but that shouldn't be much of a problem)

Well, it was a Tough/Miserable/Boring night for our Angels. Even though the dominance of Jered Weaver/Dan Haren/Peter Bourjos helped keep the Halos in the game, the ineptitude of Our Offense/Our Defense/Our Bullpen cost the Angels the victory.

Torii Hunter/Vernon Wells/Bobby Abreu looked tired last night, and looked like they were trying a bit too hard at the plate, and feels like their best days are behind them. But as usual, Erick Aybar/Jeff Mathis/Fernando Rodney just looked bad. If it wasn't for that Bad Call/Missed Tag/Big Error, the Angels might have had a chance to Keep it Tied/Keep it Close/Not Get Embarrassed by the Red Sox/Rangers/Royals.

On the brighter side of things, the promising play out of Mark Trumbo/Hank Conger/Jordan Walden gives us hope for the future, but the announcement of Kendrys Morales/Scott Downs/Joel Pineiro having their rehab delayed is a big blow to the team.

I'd like to say things look better going forward, but we've got another tough series against the Indians/Orioles/Yankees coming up. It really makes you wish we still had guys like Joe Saunders/Chone Figgins/Brandon Wood (haha, just kidding/I wish I was kidding/(look, more parenthesis!)).


(Please Note: the following epilogue only applies after the NBA Finals are over)

Congrats go out to the Los Angeles Lakers/Boston Celtics/Miami Heat for winning the 2010-11 NBA Championship. Kobe Bryant/Paul Pierce/Mike Miller had a great game 6/7/4 and won the Finals MVP.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Vernon Wells to the Rest of the League: "Playtime is Over"

No idea if he actually said this verbatim, but its essentially what he said with his bat last night, finally hitting his first home run of 2011 (and first as an Angel). If Wells can ride this good night into a hot streak, the Angels are going to be damn near unstoppable. As is stands, the Angels are 11-3 in their last 14 games, even though they are getting next to zero production from Abreu, Hunter and Wells, their 3, 4 and 5 hitters.

Jered Weaver looked as un-hittable as ever, pitching a complete game for his 5th win of the season, taking back first place on the Major League Strikeout Leader-board from The Freaky Franchise, Tim Lincecum.


Vin Scully is adorable. I was listening to the Dodgers game today and heard the following: "Nancy Bea Hefley serenading the crowd with 1940's music and believe me... what a relief from the music they normally play."

Dude is 83 years old, still doing what he loves, but you gotta feel for the guy. He has gone through such a culture shock the last 30 years or so. The way the players behave and ballpark etiquette have both changed so much. As much as it pains me to say this, I really hope the Dodgers can pull off another Championship before he passes, but with what is currently happening to ownership, that seems highly unlikely.


Angels start a 4-game series with the hated Boston Red Sox in Anaheim tonight. The probables tonight are Josh Beckett and Tyler Chatwood. If we get the Chatwood we got in Chicago, this should be a great game, if not, we could be in trouble.

Realistically, with the team playing like it is right now, winning 3 of 4 should be an easy task, but for the Angels, playing Boston is never easy. Should be a fun weekend, hope you can make it out to the Stadium!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The End of An Era

Brandon Wood, you had a bitter relationship with fans. For years, we all heard about how you were going to be the next big thing. You were going to be our A-Rod. Our Jeter. The comparisons were there. Your Talent was there. But for whatever reason, it never equaled big league production. We were patient, but soon our enthusiastic cheers turned to malcontent boos. We're sorry, we just expected A-Rod, and instead, we got what we thought was another Dallas McPherson.

In case you hadn't heard, Brandon Wood was designated for Assignment after the Angels 15-4 Win last night, to make room on the big league club for Erick Aybar. You may remember a few weeks ago, I made a bold prediction that Brandon Wood would have a bounce back year. Well, I never said it had to be with the Halos. No word yet if any teams have claimed the much maligned Shortstop, but its expected that someone will. If that is the case, I'll continue to follow this young man's career. I still expect good things, maybe not A-Rod Things, but he will be a solid Big League player for years to come.

We're Sorry, Brandon, at least... I'm sorry. Maybe if we had waited a little longer to turn those "You'll get 'em next time"'s into "Get off our team you bum!"'s, you would have had a better run here in Anaheim. Instead, you have been cast off into baseball purgatory, hoping to get snagged by another team for a change of scenery. I wish you luck in your future endeavors, and hope you can make an all-star team or two. Stick with it, Mr. Wood. You'll Get 'em Next Time!

Yours Truly,
- Angels Nation.


Another great Brandon Wood article from a friend of Angels Nation, True Grich: http://truegrich.blogspot.com/2011/04/wishing-brandon-wood-all-best.html

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What to Watch on TV Tonight Because the Angels are Probably Going to Stink; Part 1

It's never a good sign when we trot our third best starter out to the mound, and he loses, 7-1. An even worse sign? Our sixth best starter is getting trotted out tonight, against the same team. Last time Matt Palmer Started a game, Dan Haren got the win. Somehow I doubt history repeats itself. So, what are you going to do tonight? Watch the Angels get embarrassed for the second night in a row? There is no need to do that, not with this handy "What to Watch" guide for Tuesday!

If you have MLB.TV:
Roy Halladay is pretty much always must-see-tv, and tonight when he faces off against former Philly Brett Myers and the Milwuakee Brewers. Yeah, I know we all have a strong moral stance against the National League and everything it stands for (Boredom, Actually having a guy who hits .100 in your lineup (who isn't named Jeff Mathis)), but trust me when I say that this is going to be a really good game between two possible playoff teams.
Philadelphia Philles vs. Milwaukee Brewers, 4pm PST, MLB.tv, MLB Network

If you have Cable:
Listen, I know its a show about Fishing, but The Deadliest Catch is one of the best shows on television, period. I can't really explain why, but its damn amazing. So far, you've only missed a two-hour premiere, and now is the best time to jump in if you haven't already.
Deadliest Catch, 9pm PST, Discovery Channel/6pm PST Discovery Channel HD

Josh Gates is in Antarctica to hunt ghosts on tonights season finale of Destination Truth. If none of those words, especially intertwined, don't get you excited, you are dead to me as a person.
Destination Truth, 9pm PST, SyFy/6pm PST SyFy HD

If you don't have Cable:
Go buy basic cable... seriously... You really want to be stuck watching some bullcrap like The Biggest Loser or Seinfeld reruns? Although... if you are really stuck with basic TV, Seinfeld Reruns are always the way to go. I'm sure they are on one channel or another at some point all night.
Seinfeld, Syndicated, Check your Local Listings.


Also, I don't want to say we lost because Jeff Mathis was in the lineup.... but.... we lost because Jeff Mathis was in the lineup... He is my go-to guy for guilt, regardless of how he performs. I just assume Hank Conger would have gone 4-4 with 4 HR and 6 RBI, and called a perfect game from Ervin Santana.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Halos Slide Past Sox for 4th Straight Win

Vernon Wells scored his 3rd run in 3 games. Hank Conger and Howie Kendrick left the yard. Tyler Chatwood held the Sox to 1 run over 7 Innings of work, for the first win of his big-league career. It was a solid day all around for the Angels, who beat the Sox 7-2 after a 130 minute rain delay on Saturday Afternoon.

The biggest story of the day might be happening behind the scenes, however. On Saturday, Conger made his third straight start (and his 5th start in the last 6 games), after the lineup was announced, former golden boy Jeff Mathis went right to the top and asked to have a behind-closed-doors meeting with Skipper Mike Scioscia. He said he wanted more playing time, then didn't talk to the press afterward. Scioscia said the meeting was positive and he liked that Mathis asked him to play more.

However, after a three-run home run by Conger in the 6th inning, he used his abilities to ask for more playing time. This contest to be the Staring Catcher could get interesting. Not only is Conger effective at the plate, he can also throw out runners. Something Mathis has struggled with in 2011. Mathis will block the plate a bit better, and some have said he calls a better game (Angels pitchers have still been solid in Conger's starts, so I don't buy that as a plus for Mathis), but Mathis is a liability at the plate. There are Pitchers with better hitting stats in the last season and a half than Mathis.

Should Conger continue to hit the ball well, Angel Fans should hope that gives Scioscia little choice but to play the Huntington Beach native. However, I think we all remember a guy named Mike Napoli who also hit the ball incredibly well, and lost significant playing time to Mathis. Lets just hope Hank Conger doesn't become Napoli 2.0.


Random Thoughts:

-Chatwood looked incredibly solid against the Sox today. Could it have been the cold weather? Maybe. Lets hold off on any incredulous judgments until he gets to face the Sox on Thursday (in Anaheim)

-These are the ugliest promotional giveaway caps of all-time:

They are supposed to resemble a "rally cap", which is when you turn a hat inside out and place it on your head for a rally. Instead, they look REALLY stupid.


Angels look to sweep the Chicago White Sox tomorrow when Dan Haren (3-0, 0.73) faces off against Mark Buerhle (1-0, 4.26). Haren is 0-1 with a 4.67 ERA in his career against Chicago, while Buerhle is 2-6 with a 4.38 ERA against the Angels. Haren hopes to get his 3rd win in 9 days.

A Good Night for Anaheim

The Angels almost got rained out a couple times, but got the win against the White Sox, then the Ducks held off a 3rd period comeback to tie up their first round series against the Nashville Predators. For those unfamiliar with the Stanley Cup Playoffs, they play 4 rounds of best-of-7 series. Falling behind 2-0 wouldn't be the end of the world, but they would have to win at least one game in Nashville, where they struggle, so it would have been really tough.

At the end of the first rain delay last night, Macier Izturis hit a 2-run-double that proved to be an insurmountable 4-1 (eventually 4-3) lead. I still stand by my statement that if Macier Izturis hit 4th in the lineup (with the most chances for RISP), he'd have 100 RBI's every year. Dude is just clutch with RISP. If he can stay healthy all season, he will probably be our most consistent Run Producer.

The Angels are currently leading the White Sox 3-0 in the 4th Inning of another game this afternoon (that was also rain delayed), and the Ducks continue their first round playoff series against the Predators on Sunday in Nashville. The only thing that could make this weekend sweeter for the city of Anaheim? An announcement Monday that the Owners have voted to allow the Sacramento Kings to move to Honda Center and become the Anaheim Royals. More on that development as it happens!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Angels Having Worst Season in Team History

At least, that's what reading twitter on a nightly basis, or listening to Terry Smith take call-after-call on Angel Talk after the games would lead you to believe. Don't get me wrong. I'm incredibly glass-half-empty on a number of things, including my beloved Angels, but some of the stuff I've read and heard has been just silly. Between the Bullpen, Vernon Wells, Jeff Mathis, Scott Kazmir and our hitting with RISP, you'd think we were the worst team in baseball. We are 7-5... Is it great? No, but we are only two games back of the Rangers, who started 6-0. But I figured since its an off day, and I'm kinda bored, so lets play along!

So, its pretty clear through 12 games that this team isn't ready for any kind of sustained level of success. The bullpen has been MISERABLE, costing Ervin Santana wins in all three of his starts, and Dan Haren a win in one of his. Its like we gathered the guys scalping tickets on Gene Autry, slapped some random jerseys on their backs, and tossed them into our bullpen to blow our leads. That is, if we even get a lead!

The Angels have been historically bad offensively... I mean, I've got no stats here to back me up, but from what I've seen, with my own eyes, this is a bad team with runners in scoring position. We never come up with the big hits, or any hits at all for that matter. Its like we are taking negative steroids or something. To be honest though, this offensive haphazardness really begins and ends with our "big" off-season grab, Vernon BLEEPING Wells!

I don't think its possible to have a worse start to a season than the one Vernon Wells is having... I mean, isn't he only hitting like .100 now? What a bum! We trade beloved fan favorites Juan Rivera and Mike Napoli for this guy, and he just craps out all over the field. I don't know why he ever got a gold glove, dude plays the same level of defense as 35-year-old Garret Anderson. The Vernon Wells trade might be the worst one we have ever made, if it wasn't for some douche name Scott Kazmir!

(Ok, in all honesty here, I do not like the Scott Kazmir deal, and to be honest, the best option for him at this point is to let him go, eat the final year (years?) of his contract and just wash our hands of the whole thing. Find some sort of starter-by-committee with Palmer, Thompson, Takahashi and Chatwood. The only way out of this mess is to let him go. No foolin..)

So really, at this point, we are actually hoping and praying for the return of Erick Aybar, Joel Pineiro and Kendrys Morales? One guy who plays about the most average defense of anyone on our team, another guy who hasn't even given us a whole season of solid baseball, and a third who broke his leg celebrating? Good Grief. We are going to be lucky if we can squeak past the Mariners for third place...


This was fun, we should do it again some time.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Jeff Mathis = Jeff Awesome!

Well, maybe more like Jeff Mathis = Jeff Rightplacerightime, but the comment stands. Jeff Mathis won the game in the bottom of the 12th with a sac fly that scored Vernon Wells (!). It was a great pitching match-up, and the Angels bats were pretty cool all night. It seemed like the game would go on forever. Thankfully, Mathis got the key hit (er, flyout to center) which ended the game. This may continue to befuddle Mike Scioscia, as Hank Conger (who started the game) had a really solid game, both at the plate and behind it. But if Mathis can get key hits (again, flyouts to center), maybe this is a revitalization of his bat.

Or maybe he just came up with the Bases Loaded and 1 out, and all he had to do was hit the ball more than 300 feet.

The Best One-Two Punch in Baseball.

Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain? Maybe if they didn't play in the weakest offensive division in baseball. 4 out of 5 teams play in pitcher friendly parks, and Coors field has cooled down. Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee? Maybe in the postseason, but Cliff Lee isn't quite himself before September. No, the best Top of the Rotation in baseball resides here in Anaheim. Jered Weaver and Dan Haren are currently combine for a 6-0 record, including 48 Strikeouts, only 10 Walks, a 0.88 ERA, and a 0.67 WHIP over 45.1 Innings of work. Granted, this is a small sample size, but in the first two weeks of the season, there are no two more dominating pitchers than Weaver and Haren.

Obviously the two headed dragon of Weaver and Haren aren't going to win us 100 games this season (or can they?!), but they are going to help tremendously while Kendrys Morales, Joel Pineiro and Erick Aybar get healthy, and while guys like Peter Bourjos, Mark Trumbo and Tyler Chatwood mature into solid big-league players. Its also very possible that for the first time since 1973 (Nolan Ryan and Bill Singer), the Angels could have two 20-game winners in the same season. The dueling ace's could be a fun but competitve race for All-Star Game roster slots and Cy Young votes.

As bad as this team can be, thats how exciting they can be when either Weaver or Haren toe the slab. Its a shame a .400 win percentage won't get you in the post season.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

In Which I Obsess About Uniforms, Part 2

For those of you who were a fan of the first article in this series, I apologize in advance. This is going to take a much darker turn. Still plenty of pictures, but a more serious topic. I was in the middle of writing an article taking a look around the league, but while I was researching for that article, I found an interesting piece by a Mr. John Stiegerwald, a longtime Pittsburgh Sports Announcer. In the article, he actually went after Mr. Bryan Stow, the Giants fan who was assaulted and put into a coma by drunk Dodger "fans". I'd advise you to give it a read before continuing with this, but I'll briefly go over what he said.

In the article, Mr. Stiegerwald accosts Mr. Stow (who he calles Bryan Snow, which is like pissing on his grave at this point) for actually wearing the Giants Jersey in the first place. He says its cute when the 7-year-old walks in with the jersey on, but wonders why adults have to go the game in jerseys and not dressed like a "regular human being". So, that leads me to believe that anyone who wears a jersey to a ballgame is seen as "less" of a human being in Mr. Stiegerwald's eyes? What makes wearing a suit and tie to a ballgame any less peculiar? When half the stadium/arena/ballpark is wearing the jersey of either the home or away team, doesn't that make you the odd man out when you go in a Hawaiian shirt and board-shorts? What do "Regular Human Beings" dress like?

With all the different ways I see "Regular Human Beings" dress in everyday life, if its in a suit, or in a t-shirt, or a turtleneck, or a nice blouse... What makes those any more normal than a Yankees Jersey? Or a Kobe Bryant Jersey?

I suppose I've been going on about this the wrong way. If one person thinks jerseys are a fashion faux pas, thats really their opinion. But the real issue is attacking one man's right to wear a Giants Jersey to a Dodgers game. Are you really accusing the victim of a brutal attack to being at fault? REALLY? The Drunk Dodger "fans" who beat him mercilessly were essentially forced to attack him because he had the gall to wear his team's jersey as he watched them play? I've read over the article a couple times now, and I can't find anywhere where he retracts his statement. I won't go as far as to say he should lose his job, but this is a great example of where taking an unpopular stand as a media member takes a very disturbing turn. You know what the sickest part is? Since I started writing this about an hour ago, the article has been viewed an additional 10000 times. I'm sure he is loving the publicity.

This is a touchy subject for me. One of my favorite fashion accessories is a stylish sports jersey. Some people actually pull them off very well. Throw in the fact that he actually blames the man in a coma for being put into a coma, and Mr. Steigerwald comes off as one of the most ignorant sports media members in the country. Congrats Bill Plaschke, it looks like you are off the hook!


Update: The news website responsible for the article has corrected Bryan Stows name, and disabled comments because of the high volume. I looked it up, the piece now has over 65k views... the top viewed page for all of last week? Just 10k. I'm sure the Observer-Reporter (and Mr. Steigerwald) is loving the pub this is getting. Their were a total of 264 comments before the feature was disabled for the article. Here are a few of my favorites:

"Finally, someone with the cojones to step up and explain to the world that just because you are a citizen of the United States you do not have the right to not get beaten nearly to death by multiple aggressors who dislike your wardrobe. That isn't guaranteed in the bill of rights, look it up! We could all use a lesson from Doug Funny, who always wore the same green sweater vest over a white shirt and rarely if ever ended an episode in a coma."

"Ah, the Jason Whitlock school of journalism. If I say something as ridiculous as I possibly can, people will hear about it on web and find my story. Maybe I'll even get a TV interview out of it. Absolutly the time and place for a tired rant about adult wearing jerseys."

"And Rosa Parks had it coming to her for sitting in the front, right?"

Monday, April 11, 2011

Tyler Chatwood: Already a Bust?

Of Course Chatwood isn't already a bust. That's just silly talk. Granted, he gave up 4 runs in 5 Innings on Monday Nights loss to the flaming hot Cleveland Indians. But that's not really all that bad. Add an inning and subtract a run, that's a Quality Start! However, there is obviously room for improvement, and he shouldn't be the long term solution for the Halos in 2011, but its pretty clear that he will be a solid option for 2012 and beyond.

It didn't help that the offense gave Chatwood exactly zero runs of support (the Dan Haren Treatment, already?). The Offense looked as bad as it has all season, only coming up with 4 measly hits.

Scott Downs was solid in his return from the DL (and debut in an Angel Uniform), but in a game that was already over, did it really mean anything? Only time will tell. It was another good outing for the Bullpen, however. Zero Earned over 4 innings, one of their best performances of the season.

If nothing else, Chatwood can take this away from his first major league start: At least I'm better than Scott Kazmir and Matt Palmer.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Vernon Wells, You Are on Time-Out.

In his first game AGAINST the Blue Jays in his career, Vernon Wells went 0-4, never looked comfortable at bat, plus extended an inning by letting Jose Bautista reach base on a single on a ball that he SHOULD have caught, but instead decided to Garret Anderson the Ball and let it fall in front of him. The next batter, Adam Lind, hit a two-run double into Left-Center which tied the game.

I'd excuse the poor effort in left field if it wasn't for two factors: He is a Gold-Glove Center Fielder, so left field should be a piece of cake, right? Also, he was inept at the plate. Leaving 5 runners on base, striking out twice. If he would've had a 3-run blast, or even a clutch double as some point in this game, and he can make up for the run's he gives up in left, then I'd excuse it.

This won't happen, but he needs the day off tomorrow. He needs a day to think about his game and his approach at the plate. Just one day. A short time-out while Chris Pettit shows us what he can do in a big-league game. Is that too much to ask? If nothing else, he needs to drop down a couple spots in the lineup until he finds his swing. Guys like Callaspo and Trumbo are too hot to be coming up an inning after Vernon Wells kills another rally.


I wish I had something nice to say about the game today, but I'm just too miffed that the Angels blew a winnable game. I appreciate your enthusiasm, Tim Salmon, but the Angels didn't get beat today, they beat themselves.

Manny Ramirez Calls it a Career

Lets take a look at the series of events:

-Manny Ramirez hitting .059 on the season with 1 RBI.
-MLB notifies Manny he is about to fail another drug test, facing a 100 Game Suspension.
-Manny notifies MLB and Tampa Bay Rays that he is retiring from baseball.

Yeah... It was the perfect storm of playing badly and coming under scrutiny for taking performance enhancing drugs AGAIN. But Manny Ramirez, long-time Boston Red Sox, has retired from Major League Baseball. I doubt, though, that this will be the last we hear from Manny. I imagine the only reason he has come back (along with his crummy Captain Jack Sparrow impersonation) was to pay for bills he can't afford anymore. Granted, this is all speculation, but doesn't Manny seem like the kind of player who has already blown through all his cash on stupid things?

I'm sure in a few weeks/months we will hear that Manny has signed with a Japanese team, or some Independent League team. I'm sure that in five years, when his name comes up for Hall-of-Fame consideration, he will surely be another polarizing figure. Along with guys like McGwire, Canseco, Bonds, Palmeiro, Clemens and Sosa, guys who have certainly put up HOF-like numbers, but will probably be excluded for connections to steroids and the dirty era of baseball.

Through all the steroids, the "Manny being Manny" and any other shenanigans he put the baseball world through in his 19 (!) year career, I've always loved Manny. Even when he was a Red Sox, I loved Manny. Even when he was a DODGER! (Yes, that's worse), I loved Manny. He was fun to watch play. You never knew what he was going to do (or say) next. Easily one of the most interesting players over the last two decades, Manny Ramirez will be missed, especially by me.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Dear Boston: Karma's a Bitch.

League Leaders in Douchey Fans, overhyped potential and players stolen from the Angels. Oh, also losses. The Boston Red Sox lost again today to push their miserable (glorious, in my eyes) start to 0-6. I don't like to say "They deserve it" but, seriously... they deserve it.

For years, they'd get all high and mighty when talking about the Yankees "Buying a Championship"... so what have they done the last decade? Buy Championships.

Granted, I'm a bit biased, but nothing makes me happier than to see the legion of douchebags in Boston Caps put their heads down in shame after getting swept by the Cleveland Indians. I fully believe this stems entirely from the two shady moves the Sox made this offseason. Between shipping off a bunch of worthless prospects for Adrian Gonzalez and stealing Carl Crawford from underneath the Angels by throwing 20 million more dollars at him at the 11th hour... this is Karma. They deserve it.

The Sox will be fine. They will still win 85-90 games, but this absolutely puts their World Series chances in jeopardy, as well as winning the East, which is currently being dominated by the Orioles, who have started 5-1. If the Red Sox go 0-162, the Angels could go 3-159, and I'd still be the happiest baseball fan on the planet.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Why Alberto Callaspo is So Important

First off, let me start off by saying that the entire Angels Roster had a decent game today (outside of Brandon Wood, who, by all accounts is done. Guess I'll have to chalk that one up to just being wrong about a guy, oh well). Sure, Hunter and Wells both struck out 3 times, but both also had late RBI's to help the Halos push further and further away from Tampa Bay, giving Dan Haren his first win of the year.

Now, lets get on to why Callaspo is such a key for the Angels this season. He can play any infield position (I don't trust him at Shortstop, but hell, I don't trust Aybar at Short), and now that his wrist has healed, he has turned into the best all-around hitter in our lineup. He has two home runs, 9 hits and 5 RBI's in 20 AB's on the year. Throw in the fact that he is a solid third basemen defensively, and we have proven to the baseball world that we didn't, in fact, need Adrian Beltre. Sure, Beltre might have a bit more pop, and he plays gold-glove caliber third base, but Callaspo is more than just an average big-league player.

If the Angels manage to get Callaspo into 150 games this season, he could hit 20-25 Homers, drive in 80-90 runs and hit somewhere around .320. Thats a damn fine season for someone most had written off at the end of last season. His at-bats will decrease once Kendrys Morales returns, because Scioscia loves getting Izturis as many at bats as possible, but the Angels need to find a way to get him into the lineup everyday, and maybe even start hitting him as high in the order as 2nd or 3rd. Imagine the RBI opportunities he'd get if he had Bourjos, Izturis or Kendrick hitting right in front of him 3-4 times a game.

This team looks much better than it did even a day or two ago, but it looks like Tampa Bay is shaping up to be one of the worst teams in the league if they can't turn around their offense. But at the same time, Kansas City is about to improve to 5-1 on the season, winning their last two against the White Sox, so maybe we lost 3 of 4 to a better team than we thought. Regardless, the Angels are 3-3 and look to be turning the season around rather quickly. Lets hope we can keep the winning streak alive in our home opener against Home-Run Champ Jose Bautista and the Blue Jays.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I Told Ya So

Alberto Callaspo and Hank Conger led the Angels offense today, which helped push the club past the struggling Tampa Bay Rays, 5-3. Jered Weaver pitched an almost flawless game, his only real mistake coming on a solo shot to former Angel Sean Rodriguez (Yeah, the same one we traded to get Scott Kazmir). Jordan Walden made his first appearance as the Angels new Closer (a position anointed to him today), and shut down the Rays in the 9th.

So... I told ya so. Callaspo needs to find a way into the lineup everyday, and maybe Conger should split starts with Jeff Mathis 50/50. I know Mike Scioscia just made the move to get Walden closing games, and he isn't known for a ton of on-the-spot decisions at the same time, but the firing of Rodney (don't get too excited, he is still on the team) is a good start.

Dan Haren looks to improve the Angels to 3-3 tomorrow in the series closer against youngster Jeremy Hellickson, who was 4-0 with a 3.47 ERA in 2010.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Oh Kendrys, Where Art Thou?

From down 5-0 to up 9-7, I thought this team had figured it out. Then Fernando Rodney walks the bases loaded in the 9th, and almost immediately Vernon Wells drops a ball in the outfield and lets the tying runs score. Then almost two hours and 4 Innings Later, Matt Treanor hits a walk-off three-run-homer off of a tired Jason Bulger.

There were a ton of problems with this game. First was Scott Kazmir, pitching what I can only hope in his final game as a member of the Angels, who allowed 5 runs in 1.2 Innings of "work". I was honestly shocked that Mike Scioscia pulled him as quickly as he did. I hope this is a sign that Scioscia is ready to move forward as an manger and will pull guys who aren't up to the task of playing at a Major League level (Read: Jeff Mathis).

Speaking of Jeff Mathis, our "Defensive-Presence" catcher who always "calls a good game", went 0-for-6 in the extra inning game, plummeting his 2011 batting average to .154. Not to mention his "great game calling" led to at 12-run outing by one of the worst offensive teams in baseball, and he has thrown out 1 of 9 would-be base-stealers. ONE! OF NINE!!! So this talk about Mathis being this "superior defensive catcher" is turning out to be total Bullshit. Unless he turns this around (either at the plate or, at the very least, behind it), Bobby Wilson or Hank Conger NEED to see more time in the lineup.

There were some bright spots in yesterdays game. The Angels hit 5 home runs (including 2 by Howie Kendrick), and Rich Thompson came in and pitched a great 3.1 innings of relief for Scott Kazmir, and really put the Angels back in the game. Jason Bulger showed he could be a decent option out of bullpen (Especially if its not for 3 innings). Jordan Walden showed he is as dominant as I think he can be, while Rodney came that much closer to losing his Closer role.


I had planned on doing something yesterday recapping what happened around the league over Opening Weekend, but I really had no desire to write yesterday after the longest 5 hours of baseball I've ever watched. I might touch on some of the stuff going on around the league occasionally, since I'm currently working on a goal to watch at least one game of each team around the league. Philadelphia and Texas look better than I expected while Milwaukee and Boston look much worse.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Just Another Disappointing Day in Anaheim

I didn't get to see most of the game, but I heard most of it.. and what a dismal performance. You'd think in a game where we scored 4 runs, I couldn't get on the offenses case, but here we are. They left a ton of runners stranded in Scoring Position, and had numerous instances where they had a runner on second or third with fewer than two outs, and still failed to produce the run.

Equally as depressing as the anemic offense was the play in the field, which pushed across a run on a strikeout. Then the haphazard bullpen, whose star is Kevin Jepsen, put KC over the top for good in the 8th. If Mike Scioscia goes back to Jepsen in a similar set-up situation ever again, his sanity should be questioned. I almost hope that we get all these bullpen kinks worked out now... even if it means we have to start out 1-5, just so we establish the right guys in the right roles before the games start to mean more in August and September.

The only positives today were Alberto Callaspo and Erick Aybar, who went a combined 4-7 (with a walk) and drove in half of the Angels 4 runs. Torii Hunter hit his 2nd home run of the season, and Ervin Santana looked good, but had obvious room for improvement.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Words Cannot Describe...

Well, maybe just a few:


Two games into the season, our Bullpen (with the exception of Jordan Walden, who was once again hot tonight) looks horrendous. I don't think the addition of Scott Downs is going to improve the situation, and we may have to begin looking towards the free agent market, the Bees or even at trades to help stop the bleeding.

Also, Bobby Abreu isn't a #3 hitter, and Scioscia needs to stop treating him as one.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Mathis Shines, Bullpen Does the Opposite, Angels Win Anyway

On his 28th Birthday, Jeff Mathis went ahead and hit a home run, throw in a double and an Angels win, and it was a pretty good birthday present.

While the Angels beat the Royals, 4-2, it wasn't an easy one. Jered Weaver looked amazing, giving up zero runs through 6.1 innings, but then the Bullpen decided to make things interesting. The only guy out of the pen who looked in command of his stuff was Jordan Walden. Michael Kohn didn't look bad, but he didn't look that great either. Fernando Rodney put runners on the corners with two outs, then watched Alex Gordon almost take him deep to end the game (if he swung any earlier, it would have been a no-doubter). Thankfully, Gordon struck out a few pitches later and the Angels won.

The offense looked better than I expected, including a DEEP home run by Torii Hunter to get them started. But if the Bullpen is going to play like this all season, we are going to need to get more than 6.1 Innings out of our starters. It was an embarassing display put on by our pen today. I don't know if its Scioscia putting his trust in the wrong guys, or something completely different, but this was bad.

Dan Haren gets a chance to push the Angels to 2-0 tomorrow. Lets hope he can go a little further into the game and with a bigger lead.


Random Thoughts:
- Billy Butler looks like a chubby Country Music Star
- Vernon Wells had an average first day, had a nice double.
- Mark Trumbo looked rattled at the plate today, but was solid defensively at first.
- Of all the games played today, the only snoozer was Braves/Nationals. It was 2-0 early and you could tell it was already over.
- Can't wait to see the Freaky Franchise dominate the Dodgers tonight.