For whatever reason, when it comes to closers (not named Brian Fuentes), Mike Scioscia seems to have them on a very short leash. After allowing to Tampa Bay Rays to come back and win in the 9th inning last night, Scioscialism seems to have pulled the plug on Walden being our full time closer (for now). He said today that the closer of the immediate future will be Scott Downs, who has easily been our most reliable arm out of the bullpen the last two seasons.
But is this the right move? Not only is it completely stunting the growth of Jordan Walden (who might never be the same after losing his job like this), but is the role right for Downs? He seemed very comfortable over the last few seasons as a lefty specialist and set-up man, but not everyone can make the transition from the 8th to the 9th. We know Downs is clutch, but it takes a special kind of player to get the hardest three outs of a ballgame.
Starting him off as the Closer in Cleveland is a very smart idea, its a lineup of predominately left-handed hitters, so any situation he might find himself in late in the game, he will likely see at least one left handed hitter. This is also the right time of the season to make changes like this. We just have to wait and see if its actually the right move for the Angels.
It was also announced today that Bryce Harper (Washington Nationals super prospect and former #1 overall pick in the draft) was going to get called up to the Majors on Saturday and would make his major league debut. My only problem with this? He is off to a cold start in AAA.
In only 82 Plate Appearances, Harper is hitting an incredibly average .250 with 1 home run, 3 RBI's and a few doubles. He is slugging only .355, which is an Ecksteinien number. The Washinton Nationals need this kid to be the next Ryan Braun, not the next David Eckstein. I have him in 2/3rds of my fantasy leagues, so I'm happy about that, but I still think the call-up is too soon for the blossoming star.
Just an observation I made yesterday that I didn't vocalize on Twitter (@Angels-nation): Angels radio announcer Terry Smith made a very solid call on the Walk-Off Home Run yesterday by the Rays. He almost sounded excited that he was there to be a part of it. Clearly not as excited as he would have been had the Angels been the ones walking off, but still happy for the Rays, none the less. Some might not care for that in their hometown announcer, but a bit of neutrality is good for announcers, even if they aren't on National TV/Radio. He just sounded happy to be witnessing a great baseball moment, no matter the team. I appreciate that, and there are few in the league as good as Smith. We are lucky fans.
This is from Reddit.com, and is awesome: