Saturday, September 03, 2005

Mariners at least 6; Angels likely no more than 2

I'm not real big on booing guys. Most of the time, I figure guys are giving it their all, and sometimes things don't bounce your way. But if I had been at the game, I've gotta think I would have joined in with the rest of the crowd who booed Donnelly and Shields off the field. These guys just suck. It's so goddamn predictable. What was it I was saying the other day?

When the offense provides some runs, the pitchers can't hold the opponents down consistently. When the starters and the offense do their job to get the game to the bullpen, they blow it more often than should be acceptable.

These guys just suck. I was thinking it during the earlier innings of tonight's game, but why the hell did Escobar go 74 pitches last night? Honestly, right now I say you give Donnelly and Shields seats right next to Finley, use Frankie for any possible seventh inning work, and make Escobar the setup/closer. I'm serious. He has the stamina to go two at a time. Give him the ball and fuck all of the other guys. Although now that I think of it, Shields could be useful if the Angels needed someone to provide an intentional walk.

Nine fuckin' runners left on base. Then again, I'm shocked that nine runners even reached base. Sorry, Wash, but when you sign your big contract next season and ditch this group of losers, I hope you go to a team that can actually hit.

Angels 4; Mariners 1

Sorry for the late posting on this one, but I was listening to the game on my TV while holding cold compresses on my eyes. My love for playing golf, my seasonal allergies, and the fact that I'm too lazy to see a doctor (and too busy right now, as I type this from work) aren't really compatible.

Congrats to Garret on his record breaking double, and congrats to Vlad on #300. Maybe now he can relax a little bit. The starters continue to be tremendous, and Frankie even looked pretty good on his fourth straight day of work. Something tells me that regardless of the circumstances, he won't be going today.

The fallout of the Payton-Ztu collision the other day has necessitated a Brandon Wood call-up to triple A. There's not much time left in the season, and this could derail his shot at 100 extra base hits. So far the returns, an 0 for 5er, aren't good, but it's great experience. Rob has the round up up on his minor league report.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Angels 3; A's 0

I know the A's offense isn't necessarily anything to write home about, especially with Croby out of the lineup, but 24 and 2/3 innings with one run allowed by your starters is pretty damn good, and hopefully when you get that in a three game series, you'll win at least two. The kid was terrific tonight, and he was never better than on the off-speed pitch to Mark Ellis that led to the double play ball that got him out of the eighth. Frankie only needed to get two tonight, but it was his third straight game, and he pitched well. he got a little help from Payton on strike two, but it was a step in the right direction.

The offense continues to be a cause for concern, with Vlad failing in two RBI opportunities. But he did pick up a double, stolen base, and run scored in the eighth. One thing about this team's versatility, combined with the benching of Finley, that I really like is the platoon situation. I just wish they were facing more lefties to get Quinlan in the lineup more often.

I noticed some things tonight that lead me to believe things might be looking up. I already talked about the double play that Ellis hit into, which was a bouncer right on the bag at second base. A couple of plays at first, most notably the nice catch by Erstad on the bunt out by Dan Johnson in the ninth. That was a really tough play, and maybe on another night that ball hit Johson and goes into right field. Also, the foul tip by Vlad in the eighth that very easily could have been called a strikeout. He got another pitch and drilled. Little things like that started going the Angels' way over the last two nights, and those might be signs of good things to come.

Three more against Seattle, with Byrd on the mound tomorrow night against Moyer. It sure would be nice to get a sweep out of this one. And the Angels avoid King Felix.

So that's where Sean's been for the last couple days

He's been a little busy.

Angels 2; A's 1

That was obviously a huge win. The Angels had to avoid a sweep. Otherwise, even the most optimstic among us may have started to doubt.

To be honest, there are still plenty of things to be worried about. The offense continues to sputter, although part of that was the wildly inconsistent strike zone. The bullpen continues to be less than stellar. Frankie is still struggling with his control (note to Rex Hudler: he didn't throw any sliders to Scutaro because he was behind in the count the whole time).

One of the things we don't have to worry about is Lackey. He's finally putting it together this year, and he and Bart will really have to be the glue that holds this team together down the stretch.

Vlad picked a nice time to show up and get a couple of hits. Cabrera has been playing fantastic defense at short ever since his boot lost the game for the Angels a few weeks ago. He's been flashing the leather in this series, and dare I say it, he's been somewhat reliable at the plate. Garret has to get hot, though. Otherwise, as soon as Vlad turns it on, he's not going to get anything to hit. Honestly, I'm a lot more excited about this win than I'm letting on, but I've cast myself, however inadvertantly, in the role of pessimist, so I can't break character.

The Kid versus Joe Kennnedy tomorrow night, as Harden gets skipped, and no one really knows how long he'll be out. The Angels got great news, while my fantasy team got horrible news with the injury to Bobby Crosby, who may be lost for the season. It's the first time I've been in playoff position (it's a non-traditional points league, with 6 head to head games per week). I'll need decent numbers from Juan Uribe to win it all. In other words, I won't be winning it all.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Memo to Mike Scioscia

Don't skip batting practice anymore.

And another thing, let your pitchers retaliate. I wanna see Jay Payton spitting out dirt after his next at bat.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The Difference

The Oakland A's find ways to win. The Angels find ways to lose.

I mentioned it in a previous post, but there's just something this team doesn't have. They simply do not find ways to win. They are, however, experts at coming up with creative ways to lose. Physioc mentioned in the 10th inning that the A's just find ways to win. They've been doing it for the last three months.

We saw what it took in 2002. That was a team that was never dead. They never gave up. This team just simply does not have that ability. Part of it was the fact that that the bullpen was good enough to keep giving them opportunity after opportunity. That may be the real measurable difference between 2002 and 2005.

Bartolo was terrific, getting tons of early count outs, and keeping his pitch count low enough to get himself into the 10th inning. After surrendering a runner to second base with no one out, Frankie got the job done. But with the pressure off and the freedom to nibble, he got behind in the count in the 11th, and grooved a pitch that Kielty crushed. And that, as they say, was that.

They'll try it again tomorrow, but they face their biggest deficit of the season, and things don't figure to get better so long as they can't score more than one run. I fear that this will make Stoneman do something stupid, like trade for Mike Sweeney. I'll say it right now. I'd rather lose than make a ridiculous trade like that. And if they make a trade for a bat that costs them a top 10 prospect, ANY top 10 prospect, I won't watch another game this season.

Now they have to win twice, Sean.

The Showdown

Well, if the last series against the A's wasn't make or break, this one is sure a hell of a lot closer to being so. Not only are we entering the last month of the season, but the Angels enter this series without any breathing room, as their four game losing streak has wiped out their lead in the A.L. West. Some of us are pretty convinced that this thing is more or less over regardless of the outcome of this series, although we tend to be outnumbered by the Pol-ly-annas, while a minority remain on the fence.

I'll be honest. No matter what happens in this series, including an Angels sweep, I just don't see the type of team on the field that can sustain any momentum. They have exactly two winning streaks longer than four games. On the flip side, the A's seem to be the type of team that doesn't let adversity affect them. Just when you think they've got one foot in the grave (two losses to the Royals?), the spring back to life, and the Angels are there to provide the elixir. The Angels have one guy who gets on base consistently (maybe two if you count Kennedy), and one guy who has any sort of reliable power. Unfortunately, they're the same guy. The one thing keeping this team in the hunt is their starting pitching, a group whose work is often completely undone by the bullpen.

So while a sweep would be fantastic, and I'm hoping for the best, I still don't think it will change a thing. I still can't see any way in which this team will make the playoffs, short of a plane crash.


Sean chimes in:

I have nothing to say about this that I haven't said before. You can keep the faith or try hedging your bets, so that if your team doesn't win you at least get the satisfaction of saying "I told you so."

Look, none of us want to wag our fingers and say "I told you so". I can't think of anything *less* satisfying. I've said many times that I don't want Matt's money. I would imagine that I speak for Rob when I say that I want the Angels to win as much, if not more, than anybody else. Nothing would be better than walking into the Cell in my jersey and hat to see the Angels play the White Sox in the ALDS or CS or what the hell ever round they might meet up in. But realistically, I don't think they're very good.

Anyway, it has nothing to do with spite or one upsmanship. It has everything to do with preparing myself for the worst so that, when they inevitably fail, it won't hurt so much.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Swept right out of first

Let's face it, folks. This team is simply not very good. That isn't to say that they aren't occasionally good enough to make us forget just how bad they are, but they simply aren't a very good "team". When the pitchers are great, the offense doesn't step up. When the offense provides some runs, the pitchers can't hold the opponents down consistently. When the starters and the offense do their job to get the game to the bullpen, they blow it more often than should be acceptable. In 2002, the whole thing came together, with one part of the team picking up the other parts. That's not happening this year. It hasn't happened all year, and we certainly shouldn't expect it to start next month.

Inconceivably, management took a team that won the division last year (and perhaps they shouldn't have, because they were exposed in the playoffs), spent millions upon millions of dollars, and somehow found a way to make the team worse. That's tough to do. Stoneman made one acquisition that has worked, and that's Paul Byrd. But really, who could have predicted that a 40 year old center fielder might be on the decline?

Honestly, I don't know what it is. Maybe it was Eckstein and Percival, but I just don't see the same heart, the same drive, the same will to win that they had last year and three years ago. Really, I don't want Matt's money, but I can't see any way this team can possibly make the playoffs. Feel free to convince me otherwise, but this team is just not championship caliber.

D-Raize Train 6; Angels 3

Didn't see it. I was playing golf again, this time at Thunderhawk. And I paid the price last night and continue to do so today. Golf a tough habit to have when you have really really bad allergies at this time of year. The skin around my eyes feels like, well, I can't really describe how bad it feels. Made my first eagle of the year, though. 520 yard par five. Hit it about 320 off the tee, then ripped a five iron to about 10 feet and canned the putt. 42 on the front, 39 on the back, for an 81. Not awful for my first time on that course.

Anyway, Finley sucks. Hard.