Saturday, April 30, 2005

Twins - at least four; Angels - probably no more than one

Steve Finley just flat out sucks. I can't say it any more plainly than that. Two balls to the gap, one by noted speedster Justin Morneau, end up going for triples. The guy can't hit, and the guy can't field.

Tomorrow will complete the first sweep of the Angels this season, and probably drop them back into a tie for first with just about everyone else in the division.

Remember that thing I said about feeling like they should win every game? Yeah, that's gone. We're back to "I'd be shocked if they won tonight." This is simply a bad baseball team. And Vlad.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Debacle. Twins - 7; Angels - something less than 7

Probably a term I'll use a lot this year, but let's take care of this one quickly.

  • Steve Finley sucks. That's all that can be said. He can't hit. He can't field. He's essentially worthless.
  • Paul Byrd. Well, it's not pretty. He actually wasn't awful tonight, but, well, he wasn't good either. I'll admit, I've been completely wrong about him so far.
  • D-Mac. He does a lot of things well, but apparently thinking isn't one of them. A baserunning mistake cost the Angels a run. Another fielding mistake led to a run. Seriously, Dallas, it's freaking Nick Punto. You don't have to play on the outfield grass.
  • Estaban Yan. I'd be more concerned about his crappy outing if the game weren't already a fait accomplis.
There's not really much else to say. It's going to be tough to win a division championship if you can't win more than two games in a row. And they're gonna get beat on Sunday, so they better win tomorrow, or they'll be out of first place by Sunday.

So pretty much a pathetic performance all around.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Angels 3; Yankees 1

Fine outing by Lackey, and MAJOR props to Scioscia who didn't make the mistake of leaving him in too long again. He's been burned a couple of times, most notably in Texas a couple of weeks ago. The bullpen is living up to their promise. Excellent for three and two thirds, topped off by Frankie's two strike outs.

Legs Figgins has been on fire lately, and had the average almost up to .300. Vlad is Vlad. D-Mac had another couple of hits, including another double to the opposite field. It hasn't been mentioned much, but his power and willingness to go the other way is very encouraging. He continues to play solid defense, and almost made a terrific catch on a funky little pop-up by Sheffield, which quite honestly, should have been taken by Brendan Donnelly. But Donnelly pitched his way out of it, so no harm done.

Good start to the road trip, and they essentially kept pace with the A's, who took two of the three from what's left of the White Sox earlier in the week.

Next up are the Twins, including a start by Johan Santana on Sunday. I hate when my pitchers go against the Angels. Hopefully I'll have a big enough lead that it won't matter. I honestly don't think the Twins are that good, so I'd settle for another two out of three, which makes Paul Byrd's start tomorrow very important. I think Escobar will be nails on Saturday.

This makes 7 of the last 10 for the Halos, and while they still don't look like they're going to run away with anything yet, I still get the feeling that they should win every game before it starts. Probably just a carry-over from the fabulous season by the Fighting Illini.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The Pride of Duke University

As I'm writing this, the Dodgers are threatening in th first inning against the D-Backs, who feature one Quinton McCracken. As he came to the plate for his first inning at bat, the golden throated Vin Scully called him "The Pride of Duke University". I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that this was the first time he had been referred to as such. Why, you ask? Well let's take a look.

Mr. McCracken has played 10 seasons in the majors. In that time he has hit 19 home runs, stolen 83 bases, and is a career .279 hitter. His career OPS is .722, and his career OPS+ is 81, well below average. These are certainly respectable numbers, and let's face it, just making the majors is a hell of an accomplishment. Great job, Q.

But pride of the University? This is a university that has had at least one Nobel Prize winner (per their website). They've had a law grad go on to be president of the United States (in McCracken's defense, it *was* Nixon). They have had four national championships in the last 15 years or so, and bunch of final fours. Christian Laettner, Grant Hill, Elton Brand, Jay Williams. Chris Duhon's rib! And let's not forget Annabeth Gish.
inpiration for first Smashing Pumpkins album

Vin, not everyone who attended a university is the pride of that university. The day I'm the pride of UC Riverside is the day that it's renamed California Men's Correctional Facility at the Riverside Citrus Station.

Of course, this came on the heels of calling Craig Counsell the Pride of Notre Dame. Don't even get me started. He's no more the Pride of Notre Dame than he is the Hunchback of Notre Dame. I love Vin Scully (though I hate the Dodgers), but sometimes I'm reminded that he is in fact an old man. An old man who needs to fill some dead air now and then. Not that I would ever become one of those psychos who used to write to the Times and complain about Chick Hearn or anything. Vin *is* the Dodgers as far as I'm concerned, and I wish him many more years in the booth. It won't be the same when he's gone.

Angels 5; Yankees 1

Boy, this one looked like big trouble early, but a nice play by GA kept a run off the board with none out in the first, and had the added benefit of causing Jeter pain. I would have settled for the pain, but cutting the run off at the plate was nice too. Anyway, back to back doubles by Vlad and GA plated one, GA drove in two more with a bomb to left center, and Methuselah added a two run shot of his own over the short porch, accounting for all five Angel runs. J-dub was remarkably effective, holding the Yanks to one run, getting a few strikeouts, and inducing a few double plays. If he can keep getting the double play ball, it will be a very big unexpected benefit from a fly ball pitcher.

D-Mac added another double, and made a few very nice plays at third base. Started a double play (maybe two), and made a nice diving stop and quick throw to get a force at second for the third out of whatever inning he did it in. He's not going to gobble the ball up like Glaus did when healthy, but if he make good throws, he might make up for that, considering it was always an adventure when Glaus let loose, or at least it seemed that way.

Big win to keep pace after the White Sox couldn't get it done against Kirk Sarloos, which will keep Dan Meyer in the minors for another week or two. All across America, fantasy baseball players in leagues with lax rules for postition qualification are snatching up Jermaine Dye like hawks picking off defenseless field mice. Speaking of defenseless, they're doing it because he played an inning at short, replacing the already out of position Joe Crede, forced to short by the injuries to Uribe (Guzzlers starting shortstop) and Ozuna.

Speaking of the Guzzlers, big day today. Couple of homers from Derrek Lee, and very nice 90+ point effort out of Jeremy Bonderman. Mind you, I'm writing this before the inevitable "Gasoline-on-fire" performance art piece from Jeff Weaver (who, in all fairness, got out of the first inning without any damage). A nice 6-0 week could make up for some really crappy performances the last two weeks.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Yankees - A lot; Angels - not so much

Not much to say about this one. I think Colon was getting squeezed in the first couple of innings, but he made some really awful pitches to A-Rod, and he paid the price he deserved to pay. On the bright side, the home runs did a good job of rendering Figgins' horrendous defense irrelevant, so let's hope both of them got it out of their systems.

D-Mac with a nice double and a solid walk later in the game was good to see. If he can start to contribute, it would be a big boost to the offense.

Washburn vs. Mussina tomorrow. Wash has been hot and cold, and Moose's numbers are nothing to write home about so far, so it's really anyone's guess as to what will happen.

In Guzzlers news, it looks like the Ace's will both pick up wins today, while decent days at the plate for Estrada, Dunn, and Derek Lee are gonna net me some serious points. I need it after two pretty crappy weeks.

Monday, April 25, 2005

The Raveonettes

I know that sound doesn't travel as fast as light, but did Buddy Holly and the Everly Brothers just recently reach the shores of Scandanavia? I'm somewhat intrigued by their "Jesus and Mary Chain does late '50s American rock and roll" schtick, but the new album is striking me as somewhat pedestrian. I defy you to listen to it a few times and distinguish one track from the next. It's not bad music, and I'll probably sit through most of their show at the Double Door. But I'll be honest, I'm glad that the band that I truly want to see will be playing earlier on the bill. I sort of doubt I'll sit through the encore. And it sucks that Autolux won't be headlining, because it means they'll play a shorter set, and probably won't even get all the way through their album. On the plus side, as an opening act, I'll probably get a pretty good spot to stand. I don't think I've ever bought a ticket solely to see an opening act. Also, it could mean that Carla Azar is hanging around afterwards.

I Am A Fugitive

Today I broke the law. Again. Recently I received a juror summons from Cook County. It was waiting for me in Chicago when I got back from roughly a one month vacation back in L.A. Seeing as how I'd been out of the office forever, and they were expecting me to show up a week later, I ditched. Not long after that, I received another. Fair enough, I guess. Things having slowed down a bit at work, I decided that it was probably unbecoming of an officer of the court (technically, anyway) to keep ditching jury duty. Also, I figure they're probably hard asses here, as opposed to back home. So I drove out to Maywood, hung out for a few hours, and got dismissed. Duty fulfilled.

So what's the problem, you ask? I have shirked my juror responsibilities yet again. Today marked the first day that I was scheduled for jury East Los Angeles! Mind you, I haven't lived in Los Angeles County in roughly six and half years. I carry an Illinois driver's license. I'm not only registered, but I've voted in two general elections in the state of Illinois (one as a Champaign resident, and one as a Chicago resident). This is about the fourth time I've received a juror summons from L.A. County in that time. The first two I ignored. The last one I finally sent in with an explanation that I no longer live there. Hell, even the hospital to whom I "owed" $3,000 (big misunderstanding, long story) finally admitted as much.

This figures to be SOP for the L.A. County court system. According to my dad, my grandmother received two summons (summonses?) after she was dead. I'm surprised my mom sent them back in. I would have called their bluff and said "come git 'er". Anyway, apparently if everything were legit, then I'd be facing a serious fine.

This time I think I'm going to send them a map.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

The Vulture

Scot Shields is tied for the American League lead in wins. He's on pace for better than 20 wins. Scot Shields for Cy Young!! If he keeps winning games, he may finally get that extra T.

Two Birdies

Played my first semi-real round of the season out at Water's Edge. We didn't start until late in the day, and we were behind a big group, so we sort of jumped around a lot, and got about 20 holes in before it got dark. I hit the irons OK, but struggled off the tee for the first five or six, except for a three wood on 18 that I cranked. Figured out what I was doing on 8 (like I said, we jumped around), then put it into practice on nine, where I smoked one, the knocked it to about 8 feet before missing the birdie putt. On the signature 11th, a par five with a tight fairway and water down the right side, I hammered one down the middle, then knocked a two iron from 230, 215 of carry, to the right edge of the green. Hit the stick on the chip, and knocked in the putt for my first birdie of the year. Played the par 5 15th for the last hole of the day, hit a decent drive, kind of chunked a 3-iron, then knocked pitching wedge to about 5 feet. Made the putt for another birdie.

We didn't keep score because of the jumping around thing, but I figure I was good for an 83-85, and that's including the poor start. If I start hitting the range this month, I'd imagine that I'll be scoring as well as I did two years ago when I routinely breaking 80. If I can get off the tee like I did on Thursday, I should play well. I'd like to fire a low number at Cog Hill this year. I know I can bust the 81 I shot there last year.

Angels - 1; Athletics - 0

The calendar reads 2005, but the run support for Kelvim Escobar remains the same. The Angels couldn't put one on the board until Kelvim was long gone, but he was outstanding in his first start of the season. Joe Blanton was just as good on the other side, although he needed a bit more help from his defense. Kielty's diving catch in the sixth prevented a run. Steve Finley hit one where no one could defend, and Scot Shields and Frankie made sure that the run held up. Shields was a bit a punching bag, getting hit in the hand and the ass, but recording outs on both balls. Frankie had to pitch out of a bit of a jam, as Maicer Izturis was able to chuck one into what must be the only three feet of the dugout that isn't protected by a short fence, which allowed the A's to put a runner on second with two outs in the ninth.

Two out of three from the A's is nothing to complain about, but the Angels really need to start putting some wins together. The division is still waiting for someone to break from the pack, and right now no one seems to want to. Although, I should note that if not for some late game heroics by the A's on Friday, the Angels would be winners of five in a row. Oh well, it's a marathon, not a sprint.