Saturday, June 17, 2006

Front office to fan base: You can all go home now

Tonight, June 16th (PDT), the Angels front office officially gave up on the 2006 season. They've made the decision to send Jered Weaver back to AAA. Apparently the solution to the defensive woes that in practice have cost the Angels at least seven or eight games this year is to send down the one person that has been their best player over the last three weeks.

Bill Stoneman = Charlatan. And not in the good "Tim Burgess" way.

What kind of person looks at this team, a team that scores roughly 3 runs per game against the Royals and Padres, a team that gives their opponents 10 innings every night, a team who's offense has a history of making luggage like Mark Redman look like Cy Young, and decides the best way to compete is to send down their best pitcher? Quite frankly, it's madness.

Publicly, I gave up on this season a long time ago, but personally, I watch almost every game, I take every game seriously, and I realize they really aren't that far out of first place. But the facts are these:
  • On the field, they look like they don't care about winning;
  • To the extent that they do care, they apparently aren't willing to work on the things they need to work on in order to tighten up their play;
  • The front office is more concerned with saving face and not upsetting veterans than they are with winning games.
So to recap, players may or may not care, whatever. Management has other priorities. Fans, hey , we're supposed to care no matter what.

Look, if they don't care about winning, let's go the whole nine. Deal Kennedy. Deal Cabrera (seriously, he'll NEVER have the value he has right now). Deal them for prospects in the low minors (like local boy Ryan Tucker). Deal a pitcher or two, like Colon. Call up Saunders and see if he can stick at this level. I'd love the rotation next year to be Santana, Jered, Saunders, Lackey, and Escobar.

Right now, there isn't one level near the top of the organization that cares about winning. But the fact is, ten years ago, we'd have killed to be in this position. Oh well, the shit we're taking this season is going to make the next few feel a lot better.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Good luck music

I'm posting this in hopes it brings the Angels luck. Also, it's stuff you all should listen to. I'm currently reading this book about these guys, and so far it's pretty good.


The Angels opened the week by taking three of four from arguably the worst team that MLB has seen in the last forty years. Of course, that's one fewer loss than the Royals handed the A's, but I digress.

On the positive side, the pitching was fairly solid, although it's tough to judge just how good they were considering it was the Royals offense that they were facing. Then again, considering the defense they had behind them, the fact that they only allowed 10 runs in four games is downright amazing, but I'll get to that. Both Mike Napoli and Dallas McPherson are showing a nice approach at the plate, actually willing to take a walk. Napoli's 10th inning walk last night spurred the Angels on to their third victory in the series. Orlando Cabrera has absolutely been on fire, reaching base in something like 46 games straight. He was 7/16 in the series, extending the streak last night with a single in what should have been his last at bat, then piling on with the game winning hit in the bottom of the 10th.

On the negative side, Vlad (4/16) and GA (2/15) are slumping, though in Vlad's defense (when you read that, try not to actually think about Vlad's defense), he did hit a homer last night that looked to be the difference until....what else? Crappy defense was their undoing on Wednesday, and it almost did them in last night as well. Ya know, it's one thing to be a poor team defensively. Some guys just aren't skilled with the glove, and no matter how much they practice, they just don't get much better. It's another thing to be stupid and lazy, and too many of the errors lately have been of the stupid and lazy variety. Between Vlad's dropped pop-ups (lazy), Figgins' chucks into right field (stupid) and Jose Molina's ill-advised and unneccesary fling into center field last night (galactically stupid), they're playing like a bunch of little leaguers in teh field. They've already allowed more unearned runs this season than they allowed all of last season. A month into the season, it was a sample size thing. We weren't all that concerned because any team can have a bad month, and if you pull a random month out of any season, even the best defensive teams probably would look less than adequate at some point. But it's mid-June, and the mistakes almost seem to be increasing.

Credit Frankie Rodriguez for getting the job done last night in the 8th inning (and ninth, FWIW). But Jose Molina really needs a brain transplant. His idiotic throw into center field cost the Angels the lead, and very nearly the game. I was pretty sure that Matt Stairs was going to come through for the Royals again, just as he had twice earlier in the previous 10 innings.

So the Angels sit five games behind the first place and surging A's. Interleague starts up again tonight with a three game set against the Padres. Two of three would be nice, but at some point, this team needs to put a streak together. As we saw last weekend, those houses of cards are easily knocked down by a quick Marine breeze.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


That's it. 33.

Monday, June 12, 2006

9 days gone in 3

In one brief weekend, the Angels erased all of the good work they'd done over the last week and half, dropping the three games to .500 that it had taken them nine games to earn. Even worse, really, since the sweeep came against a division rival, all while the Rangers and especially the A's were making time against actual good teams. So really, two weeks of work were undone in less than 48 hours.

There's something that this team just doesn't have. They score a ton of runs when the pitching is good. They can't win close games. They have a bad habit of letting the first few innings of a game dictate the outcome. They either score early and quit, or they give up runs early and quit. They refuse to play anything resembling a major league caliber defense. Their pitchers refuse to throw strikes when they get ahead in counts. They're simply not very good. As enjoyable as they've been to watch over the previous 15 games, their series wins were hollow. You don't get back into a race by winning two of three over an extended period, precisely because one bad stretch wipes out weeks worth of effort, as they've just shown.

Tonight they start a four game stretch again quite possibly the worst team in forty years. If they split this series, it will be one of the most embarrassing moments of the last six or seven years. And while some of us have been convinced for a while that the Angels are done, almost anything short of a sweep will probably convince others as well.

It's gonna be a long, boring summer from here on out folks.