Saturday, April 28, 2007

Angels 3; White Sox 7; Temperature about 45

At least they scored a couple of runs on the road.

Santana looked pretty sharp until he lost control of the Jermain Dye at bat. He had him down 0-2, lost him, threw him a fat strike on a 3-2 pitch that landed about 400 feet away. Presumably rattled, he left another pitch in a bad location to AJ Piersasdflksski and it was immediately 2-0. Again, he was one out away from ending the fifth when he gave up an RBI double to Paul Konerko. Santana has, throughout his career, struggled with putting guys away, and last night was no different.

To their credit, the Angels offense didn't fold like it had in pretty much every other road game this season. Casey Kotchman followed up three straight singles with a two out shot to right field to tie the game at three. Of course, had Vlad not been thrown out at third for the second time this week, they might have taken the lead. But don't ask Scioscia about it, because they aren't going to change their style. They're aggressive, and they'll continue to be aggressive no matter how many stupid outs they run into.

The killer all night, however, were the double plays. Mike Napoli legged it out to beat the throw on the second to last AB of the game, just avoiding what would have been the Angels fifth double play of the game. Fittingly, that left it up to Erick Aybar, responsible for two of those double plays, to make the last out.

It was pretty chilly out, and the longer you sit in that weather, the colder it gets. But at least Sox fans weren't total dicks to me last night. No one really said anything, which is fine with me. It's probably the only game I'll see on this trip, because I have Ted Leo tickets tonight, and I'll probably play golf on Sunday.

Weaver and Garland tonight. Let's see if Little Weav is still hurting, or if the last game was an aberration.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Friday Morning Music

Not sure why, but I've been on a big Mary's Danish kick lately, and there is limited postable content on the net, so you get the classics. Saw them at UCR during my freshman year at the Barn, which at the time had a sort of seedy bar feel, but apparently is now a "casual dining location". At least it's still there. Good place to see a show, or to drink before going to see a show at the Rec Center.

I don't what it is about female fronted rock acts, but they seem to deliver a ton of energy to their performances. The Raveonettes come to mind as well, and the Peels. Anyway, these guys were great, and they got totally scewed by their record company. Enjoy:

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Angels a lot; D-Rays not so much

If you had told me before the game that the Angels' run total would equal Big Bart's strikeout total, I would have figured we would be in for a rough game to end the homestand. But the fat man fanned 11, and the offense picked up their end, with much of the damage coming in the first inning.

Bart looked fantastic, throwing a ton of strikes and basically having his way with anyone in a green uniform. It was vintage Bartolo, and it will be a huge lift for the pitching staff if it's a sign of things to come.

As for Brandon Wood, he pretty much looked like a guy who strikes out a lot playing in his first major league game. I didn't expect too much, and he delivered. But he's still got a long way to go, and he's still ahead of schedule as far as I'm concerned. Nice to see him get into a game, especially one in which the Angels romped.

Back to the road for the Angels, which has not been friendly this season. I've got tickets for tomorrow night's game, but we're supposed to get a lot of rain tonight and tomorrow morning, and it's going to be in the 40s tomorrow, so I'm not sure whether it will be worth it. We'll see.

Wednesday Recap

D-Rays 1; Angels 9

Lackey was pretty sharp for the first five innings, and for once he didn't seem to be getting cute around the edges. He was challenging guys, using his fastball to get ahead early in counts, and put the D-Rays hitters away. He struck out seven over six innings, none bigger than the bases loaded, two out strikeout of B.J. Upton that ended the sixth. He loaded the bases by walking Elijah Dukes, which prompted an exchange between Lackey and home plate ump Chris Guccione, who really had no idea what the strike zone was for much of the night.

As has been true for much of the homestand, the Angels relied on awful defense from their opponents for early runs. Two Upton errors led to three Angels runs in the fifth inning, two coming home on a double from HGHMJ. The Angels did the rest of their damage in the seventh, primarily benefiting from doubles off the bats of Erick Aybar and Garret Anderson, and a two run single from Shea Hillenbrand. Speier, Carrasco, and Bootcheck all pitched scoreless innings to preserve the victory.

Big Bart is scheduled to go today if his ankle permits.

Brandon Wood Called Up

He'll replace Kendry Morales, who heads back to AAA. The Angels are essentially clearing a spot (3rd base) for Chone Figgins to do his rehab work at Salt Lake. Additionally, this is something that the Angels have been pretty good about over the last few seasons, and I think it's a good strategy. They've consistently brought their top prospects up for a taste of Major League Baseball, and not just during September. They did it with Howie Kendrick. They did it with Casey Kotchman a couple of years ago. They did it with Morales last year. They bring these guys up with very little pressure. They know that unless they set the world on fire, which no one expects, they're probably going to go back down. But most importantly, when they recall those guys (and Kendrick is probably the best example of this) at a time where they actually DO need production, the players can focus on getting the job done. They've already dealt with the distractions of making their major league debut, and they can just focus on baseball.

Wood will come up, get some at bats, start a game or two, an in a week, he'll be back in Salt Lake, hopefully with a better idea of what he needs to work on. And when he comes back up in the fall, or next season, he'll be ready to play ball.

Darren Collison Staying at UCLA

Not really surprising that he's staying, but I'm a little surprised that he's not testing the waters and getting some feedback from NBA scouts. This isn't big news so much next year as it is for the year after. My understanding is that a player can't "test the waters" twice. In other words, Arron Afflalo could not put his name into the draft pool like he did last year and still come back to school, even without hiring an agent. What this means for Collison and UCLA is that Collison can test the waters next year, and if he so chooses, can still come back for his senior season.

Now, it may sound crazy to imply that Collison won't be a first rounder after next season. But the fact is, you just never know. You never know who's going to explode onto the scene. You can't know how the next season is going to play out. The consequences of Collison testing the waters this season were that he'd probably come back, but was definitely gone after next season. But by deciding not to test the waters this spring, it means he's definitely back next season, and his options are open for his senior season.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Another Classy Gesture From a UC Riverside Grad

From today's LA Times:
Closer Troy Percival did not throw a pitch for the Tigers in 2006, but the team still awarded the former Angels reliever a full playoff share.

Percival, who is now retired, reciprocated by spending $120,000 to lease an 18-seat luxury suite in Comerica Park for players' wives to use this season.

"I've never heard of anything like it," Detroit closer Todd Jones said. "It's the best gesture I've ever seen."
First he builds a clubhouse for the Highlander baseball team with his own two hands, and now this. Is it any wonder why I sponsor his baseball reference page?

My only quibble is with the Tigers. I didn't throw a pitch for the 2006 Tigers either, and I didn't even get a half share. That sucks.

Schmendrick Starts Blogging

Just got an email letting me know that John Lackey has a new blog. Already got a couple of posts up. You can check it out right here. I'm not sure how well these "celebrity" blogs turn out, as I don't read, well, any. But a lot of people like Curt Schilling's blog, which I refuse to read because I hate Curt Schilling, but that's my issue. Should be interesting to see how interactive John is.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I was one inning off - Updated x2

A good friend of mine is a Tigers fan, and we've been exchanging emails today. When Shields came in, I told him that the Tigers would leave that inning with the lead. Turns out I was off by one.

This team is flat out awful. If they hit, they can't get starting pitching. If they get starting pitching, they can't get relief pitching. Seriously, is there anyone who thought they actually had a chance to win once Sheffield hit that ball to left?

And Shields, jebus, he really, really sucks right now. I'm pretty sure I could get on base against him, mostly by standing there and waiting for him to throw me nothing near the strike zone.

98 balls. That's how many pitches out of the strike zone that Angels pitchers have thrown. They've taken less than half of that.

And you really have to ask yourself, how shitty are the Mariners?

Update: This is turning into a battle to see who sucks more, the Angels pitching, or the Tigers defense. It's the classic battle between the movable object and the resistible force.

Update x2: In a preview of the upcoming Little League season, the Tigers defense showed that it was just as bad as it was in last year's World Series, with Todd Jones allowing the eventual winning run to reach base by not only picking up a ball that was going foul, but by then chucking it into right field. Amazing. It was a battle to see who could outsuck one another.

These are two not ver good baseball teams.

If It's April....'s baseball season. And if it's baseball season, that means it's time to get ready for another six months of Rob overreacting to every little bump in the road.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Early Warning

If anyone who saw the first three batters of the game didn't think Weaver was going to get absolutely lit up, then they're either true believers, or don't know baseball very well.

When you give up a homer to a guy after going 0-2, then go to three ball counts on pretty much every batter, you may as well walk back into the dugout and not come out, because as long as you're in the game, your team is going to lose.

That was ugly.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Got To Punch, Right On Target

I wasn't quite expecting to see the lows and highs of the season in the span of about a week and a half, but shortly after looking like a Low A team for six straight games, the Angels bats woke up and tore apart the Mariners in a three game sweep.

The bats struck early and often, taking multi-run leads in the early innings of all three games, while the starters held down the Mariners until the bullpen, "led" be Carrasco and Shields, did it's best to blow up games 1 and 2. Speier and Mosely looked fine in game three. The victories coincided (though it surely wasn't a coincidence) with the return of Vlad, who hit monster home runs in games 1 and 2 to help create those early leads. And whether he had anything to do with it or not, HGHMJ, Casey Kotchman, and Garret Anderson started pitching in as well. HGHMJ also finally started playing some defense again.

Still, and I don't mean to be a downer, but we certainly aren't past concern territory. Don't get me wrong, this was the right series at the right time, but we can't ignore the fact that this was still just the Mariners. On top of that, there were a lot of hard hit balls that ended up in Angels gloves, and there were multiple line drive double plays. This was a series that can be a momentum builder, but I wouldn't take it as evidence that all is well in Halo-land.

On the positive side, Bartolo Colon looked excellent in his first start of the season. And with Jered Weaver back in the rotation, the Angels optioned a guy who would be no worse than a third starter for probably 15-20 major league teams to AAA. That's serious depth. And while he's been up, Dustin Mosely is starting to get the scent of trade bait.

But the best news of the weekend? After series number 1, Angels - 3, Cocksucker Guillen - 0. Don't worry though, M's fans, Jose went 4-12, and that's all that's really important. Team success is secondary for Guillen. What's good for Jose is good for......Jose.

Bonus points for getting the reference in the title. Minus points for using Google.