Thursday, August 03, 2006

How cool is YouTube?

Man, this is one of the funniest sketches I've ever seen, but Exit 57 is never on TV anymore. Thank God for YouTube.

What goes up.....

The Angels offense returned to earth, then kept going, against the A's the past couple of days, dropping two of three in an important, yet not particularly critical home series. Next up is four straight against the Rangers. This is no time for a letdown, and the Angels probably need to step up and take three out of four in this series, or at least split 2-2. This thing isn't going to be decided until the final two weeks of the season, but it's important that they don't spend a lot of time playing catch-up heading into those final two weeks.

As the Angels offense has morphed from that was good to one that is bad, it's no surprise that the monkey days of old are more or less out the window, which of course puts more pressure on the bullpen. If someone like Shields comes in and can't get the job done, there's really no chance that the offense is going to come through and pick him up. The Angels are now something like 1-44 when trailing after eight innings. I think we need a new monkey.

Finally, I held the belief for a while that all the errors were pretty much just small sample size. I mean, the defense isn't all that different from last year, and any team can go through a tough few months. But the fact of the matter is, they aren't getting better. They continue to make errors, and that extends innings, and that means more pitches, and that means we get to the bullpen quicker. That's not a good thing with a bullpen as shaky as the Angels' bullpen has been. I don't know what the fix is, and I don't know if they can overcome it, but for the most part, the team is roughly in line with what we expected them to do aside from the defensive miscues. And after watching them put the contact play on with the A's infield in, I still maintain that the Angels are the dumbest team in baseball. They may be able to overcome that, but it sure makes the road tougher.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

More to come later in the week...

I'll be posting about the A's series, of course, in addition to the Pitchfork Music Festival that I attended last weekend in the sweltering Midwestern heat, and the Grant Lee Phillips shows that I'll be attending tonight and tomorrow night. But until I have a few minutes to get those thoughts down, I'll leave you with a couple of vids from Pitchfork performers The Walkmen, who played a pretty sweet set on Saturday. The second tune, "Little House of Savages", was personally my favorite song of 2004. But first up, to whet your appetite, is "The Rat", their first single off of their 2004 LP "Bows and Arrows". Enjoy.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Angels outslug their own stupidity

Trust me, I know it's out of character for me, but I really believe this team can win the AL West. I even think they can do it without making a deal at the deadline. But they simply cannot win the West if they continue to be the stupidest team in baseball. How stupid are they? Let me count the ways:
  1. Howie Kendrick throws a ball into left field trying to turn a double play they had little chance of turning, putting runners on first and second with none out in the first (I'm willing to let this one slide based on Kendrick's limited experience at first base).
  2. John Lackey, after getting drilled on the thigh by Manny Ramirez, inexplicably tries to throw the runner out at the plate, a play which he had no chance of making, instead of taking the sure out at first.
  3. Chone Figgins tries to turn a double into a triple, then tries to turn it back into a double, which he was successful doing, because you still get credit for double when you reach second base safely before idiotically overrunning it and getting thrown out on your way back.
  4. The top of the sixth inning. Like, the whole thing, even though they scored four times, no thanks to smart baseball. First, Jamie Van Buren walks Mike Napoli on four pitches to load the bases. Got that? Four pitches! So what does Kennedy do? Goes after the first pitch, a 58 footer. He wasn't close. Then after taking three ball, he fouls off ball five, then lines out to center on ball six. Nice at bat, AK. But that wasn't as bad as....
  5. Juan Rivera, who inexplicably (I hate to use that word twice, but there was a lot of inexplicability out there tonight) remained on third base after Coco Crisp made a diving catch of Kennedy's line drive. How galactically stupid was this? First, Crisp has about as strong an arm as my dead grandmother. Second, he was lying on his stomach after making the catch. He would have had to get up and thrown to a cutoff man (since he probably couldn't have gotten it all the way to the plate) to get Rivera had he tagged. But to make it even worse, Crisp got up and fired to first in an attempt to throw out Napoli who has broken for second. Rivera was STILL AT THIRD!!! What the hell was he waiting for?
Now, the Angels got clutch hits out of Figgins and Izturis, and a sac fly out of Cabrera, and finished their half of the sixth with a six run lead. But they nearly blew a chance at a big inning, and almost left without scoring a run at all.

This is a stupid baseball team, folks. They've shown it all season in the field and on the basepaths. I actually think they have the talent and ability to reach the post-season. But I'm not convinced they have the brains to do so.