Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Another one gone

Nothing you can do now but hope they pull out of it. If the Angels fall behind Seattle and end up failing to make the playoffs, they'll have no one but themselves to blame. Dumb baserunning, poor fielding, and a gawd-awful back of the rotation.

They're not out of it, but they certainly aren't playing like they want to finish in first place. They're on the verge of being swept by Tampa Bay, and I'm not gonna look this up, but there can't be many teams who have been swept by both the Royals and Devil Rays. That alone ought to disqualify a team from the playoffs.

Oh well. Rob won't have Santana to kick around anymore.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Decision Time

I was hoping it wouldn't come to this, but I think it's time to either move Ervin to the pen, or to send him back to Salt Lake. I think he's still got the stuff, and I think the Angels won't make the playoffs without some contribution from him down the stretch. Whether that means he gets thing worked out and rejoins the rotation for the last five weeks or so, or he pitches out of the pen (though I'm not sure in what role), I'm not sure. But I still think he's somewhat integral to their chances to make the post-season.

He doesn't look hurt. He hasn't lost any velocity. He's simply getting hit, and getting hit very hard. The thing is, he's nowhere near a lost cause. He's like an extra strength version of a young Lackey. He'll throw a couple of solid innings, but then he'll hit some adversity, and fall apart. He's falling victim to Lackey innings on a huge scale. But that also means that there's hope. He just needs to figure out how to avoid the big innings. I just don't think the Angels can afford to let him figure it out in the starting rotation. And unfortunately, there's still an 800 pound Bartolo in the room.

Not that it mattered, but the Angels have turned into a very poor baserunning team recently, and tonight was no different with Jose Molina making the first out of the inning at third base on a failed bid for a triple/three base error after he ripped one to the center field wall that BJ Upton couldn't catch. It was still a game at that point, and it was stupid. It seems to be happening with greater frequency lately.

With each loss, the next game becomes more crucial. We'll see if they bring it tomorrow night.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Catching up

Coming to you tonight from my work laptop on a stolen wireless connection (yay for apartment living) mostly because I'm too lazy to plug my router in. When I got home tonight, my old Gateway desktop, just shy of its sixth birthday, appears to have passed away. It was a fine soldier, surviving one apartment move, and a great deal of neglect where maintenance is concerned. Such is life, I guess.

Anyway, over the last few weeks, the Angels have seen a comfortable 7-8 game lead or so dwindle to three, two in the loss column. Their poor play has coincided with a bit of a hot streak from the Mariners to close the gap. It's also coincided with injuries to Casey Kotchman, Howie Kendrick, and Mike Napoli. It hasn't helped that Chone Figgins and Reggie Willits cooled off at the same time. And while Lackey, Weaver, and Escobar have been as advertised (save for a rough one here or there), Santana and Colon have struggled mightily.

So where's the good news? The Angels are still in first place. Willits and Figgins appear to be rising back to an acceptable level. Also promising has been Garret Anderson, who is hitting 382/417/471 in the month of July, and has gone for two hits in six of his last seven games. Even Kotchman has had hits in four of his last five. Sure, it's only been a hit at a time, but he appears to be emerging from the horrendous slump that followed his concussion. And as a 24 year old, Kotchman is streaky. We've learned that this season. He's had his recent bad streak, and he's due for a hot streak. Couple those with the return of Juan Rivera, hopefully next month, and the return of Justin Speier to the bullpen, and the Angels are primed for a run that takes them into September with a solid lead.

Also key will be late July and August series at Seattle, especially the July series. I can't see a change of more than a game or two in the current standing before then, and if they Angels go in up three and leave up one, it gives Seattle hope, and the Mariners' belief in themselves might be the Angels biggest enemy right now. They have 10 games left with the Mariners, and only four of them are in Anaheim (fortunately all in late September). Those 10 games will decide the division.

So that's where we're at. Napoli and Kendrick will be back soon. Rivera shortly thereafter. They're poised to make a run, and they have a nice mix in their starting lineup of guys who've been there before and guys who should be hungry to get there. Santana and Colon can't possibly be any worse, so that's a plus as well. It's the second half. It's time for scoreboard watching. And it's time for the Angels to get moving.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Flight of the Conchords

Holy Crap. This is by far the funniest show currently on television, at least while the office is on hiatus. Seriously, if you have HBO and you're not watching this show, you are....well...I'm sorry, I can't stand to look at you. You really need to watch this show.