Friday, June 15, 2007

Are there two Adam Dunns?

I only ask because apparently Cincinnati is thinking about trading one of them, but it can't be the guy that played left field in the recently completed series, because they're asking, well, a bit too much for that one.
The Angels had preliminary discussions with Cincinnati about acquiring Dunn, according to a baseball source, but those talks quickly ended when the Reds requested a proven major league starting pitcher, a major league infielder — preferably a second baseman — and a top prospect.

Those demands were considered too hefty for a player whose $13-million option for 2008 would be voided if he's traded, meaning he could become a free agent after this season.
Umm, Okay, Cincinnati. So they're looking for Ervin Santana, Erick Aybar, and one of Conger, Adenhart, or Wood. Wow.

Apparently they're a little stung from that awful Austin Kearns deal (that would be the one that landed them Gary Majewski, who you could argue is already pitching for the Angels).
The Angels probably wouldn't even trade second baseman Howie Kendrick for Dunn straight up, according to the source.
Probably? Probably wouldn't? I sure as hell hope they wouldn't!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Angels 6; Reds 3

There were rumblings yesterday about Vlad slumping, and failing to come through in the clutch as of late (apparently eight or nine days ago against Baltimore does not count as "of late"). Vlad gave notice that he's alive and well, driving in four runs on three hits, two of which went for extra bases, and he was the difference in the Angels bleed staunching victory over the Reds yesterday.

You hate to call any game in mid-June a "must win", but the fact is that at this point of the season, Lackey and Escobar have been the Angels best and most consistent pitchers. If they had lost last night, they were staring down the barrel of a sweep against a really crappy team, so yesterday's game had a little extra importance. Lackey delivered, going six innings and allowing three runs, only one earned, to pick up his 10th win on the season.

Scot Shields has been very sharp lately after a very shaky start to the season, and last night may have been one of his best outings yet. Called on to deliver two innings, Shields responded by retiring the side in order in the seventh before striking out the side (with one hit sandwiched in between) in the eighth. He inherited a one run lead and delivered a three run lead to Frankie, who did his part by retiring the side in order in the ninth, picking up two strikeouts of his own.

Coupled with the Mariners loss, the Angels were able to catch their breath a little bit, and they have a two game lead over the Mariners in the loss column, while the A's sit four games back in the loss column.

Two more hits for Garret Anderson, including an RBI single in the eighth. Orlando Cabrera continues to sizzle, picking up three base hits, and upping his average to .339.

In other news, someone somewhere must have linked to Troy Percival's Baseball-Reference page, because I've already had about five hits from there this morning.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Angels 3; Reds 5 - and other notes

I'm with the Rev on this one. I can't think of one particular player, or even two, on whom this loss can be pinned. Escobar only lasted six, and gave up three runs, but he also struck out 14, so it's tough to blame him. Of course, he occasionally had trouble getting the strikeouts he really needed, but that's simply analysis in hindsight.

Figgins blew a simple tag that cost the Angels a big run. Heads up play by Josh Hamilton on that slide, but as I told my dad after that play, if I'm the Angels, I make sure every tag comes down hard. No retaliation, but send the message that if they're going to make tricky slides, they're going to pay for the privilege. And while a review of the scoreboard says Erick Aybar's error didn't matter much, it more or less put the final nail in the coffin. It's a lot easier to get one run than two in an inning featuring the Angels' three best "sluggers".

Mike Napoli and Orlando Cabrera had less than stellar nights at the plate. They were a combined 1-9, with five runners left on base, three in scoring position.

But ultimately, they just played against a team who played better than them, at least for one night, and sometimes that happens. They aren't going to win every game. But losing the first game of the set puts extra importance on the last two. It doesn't help matters that the Mariners simply won't lose. They've won five in a row and nine of their last ten, and they now sit only a game back in the loss column. I still don't think the Mariners are *that* good, but what I think doesn't matter. All that matters is what they think, and if they think they're that good, they're going to be very tough beat this season.

In other news, the Times is reporting that Dallas McPherson has been cleared to run on a treadmill, and Juan Rivera will be taking batting practice as soon as next week. In addition, Maicer Izturis is almost done with his rehab assignment. Sooner or later, someone needs to figure out where all of these guys are going to go. There are four guys on the DL who could return by mid to late July, and three of those should be back much sooner. So where do they go?

Nathan Haynes will go down, obviously, so that covers Rivera. If you bring back Ztu and McPherson, Aybar will have to go, but who else? Another outfielder? Hillenbrand? As much as many of us might like it to be Hillenbrand, I'm not sure I could see the Angels brass making that move.

Who goes out for Speier? Oliver? Carrasco? Bootcheck and Moseley have outpitched both of them, but will the Angels cut those ties? There are some tough decisions coming up, assuming other injuries don't come into play to "help" the Angels make those roster decisions.

And finally, I haven't seen this noted anywhere else, but Casey Kotchman now has eight homers, and is on pace for 21. I think most people have considered Kotchman to be a 20-25 homer guy (per season) for his career, which is good, but not great power. But I'll tell you what. For a guy who isn't supposed to have great power, he has hit the shit out of the balls that have left the yard for his last three or four homers. These haven't been of the Garret Anderson in the 2003 home run derby variety*. They've been getting five to ten rows deep into the right field bleachers in Anaheim, which isn't easy to do for a left hander, and the one he hit yesterday was an absolute bomb. The kid is only 24. Don't be surprised if in three years or so, he's hitting somewhere between 30-40 per season.

*GA won the 2003 home run derby, and I swear that he didn't one homer more than about 3 rows deep at the Cell. It was like he was hitting wedges and dropping them right on the pin. It was more a display of conservation of energy than pure power. But it was impressive.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Two of three

Not a bad start to the road trip, although today's game left a bit to be desired. We seem to be getting into the nagging injury phase to the season, and that could play a significant role on this trip, as Kotchman, Anderson, and Weaver all seem to be ailing somewhat. It comes at a particularly bad time for the two former, as they were both either hot, or starting to heat up.

Fortunately, their absence may be somewhat tempered by the fact that both Chone Figgins and Howie Kendrick seem to have found their swings. On to Cincinnati where Escobar, Lackey, and possibly Colon will try to take care of the Reds.

Speaking of the pitchers, perhaps the best new of the weekend came in last night's game, where Ervin Santana went six innings, giving up three runs, while driving in two of his own. It was by far his best start of the season on the road, and the 2 run double was icing on the cake. A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that with two straight starts at home, perhaps that was a chance for Santana to build some momentum going into last night's game. Maybe I was right. Coming off three straight solid starts, he'll have another chance to prove himself on the road later in the week.

Personally, I missed today's game, and only caught last night's game on my DVR. The wife of a friend and former co-worker of mine plays on the Duramed Futures Tour, which is like the minor league version of the LPGA Tour. They were about a half hour away in Hammond this weekend, so I went down to watch the final two rounds. Fortunately the atmosphere is pretty laid back. There are no ropes, not really any security, and you can pretty much walk wherever you want within reason. I say fortunately, because this gives me a chance to talk to my friend, which allows me to catch up, and more importantly, establishes that I'm there to see friends, as opposed to being the creepy guy who goes by himself to watch "minor league" women's golf.

As for Courtney, she finished two over, in a tie for third place, which is by far her best finish in a year and a half on tour. She made more than twice as much money today as she did all of last season, and she's already made as many cuts this year as she did all of last year. One of her playing partners in today's round, Allison Fouch, fired a six under 66, and won by three shots, so it was a good group to follow.

Probably time much better spent than watching the Angels today.