Friday, August 19, 2005

Half Game Gain

It's good to see the offense bouncing back quickly with 13 runs on 15 hits and 5 BB, although they struck out 9 times. Finley does again nothing to help his cause, going 0-4 with a BB (at least) and playing awful defense (ok, I only saw that one ball in the beginning, but anybody but Finley would have caught that).
I don't have much time to write anything today, I'm visiting my parents and have to catch a train...

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Blue Jays - Bogy Team

The Angels lose the rubber game to the Blue Jays and it wasn't the bullpen this time.
Fortunately, the Halos got some unexpected help from the O's, who swept the A's at home and even the Devil Rays took two out of three from the Yankees to keep the Angels lead in the wild card at 3.5 games. But on the horizon, the Indians are closing in, only 5 games behind now (and the Blue Jays are within 6).
In the next series, the Angels really must take advantage of the recently pretty mediocre pitching from Boston and win 3 of the 4 games with the Red Sox, because the A's are not going to lose in Kansas City, where the Royals are working on a an all time record losing streak (How about a new manager?). They stand at 18 straight loses and the A's will gladly help them make that 22, one shy of the record.
The keys against Boston will be to avoid making mistakes on defense, because if you give this offense extra opportunities, they will make you pay, and for the pitcher to stay away from the long ball. If they can do that, I like the Angels chances against Wakefield (I can't see Vlad miss to many knucklers), Arroyo, Clement and Noname Runfaerie. There's no name that scares you particularly, not even Closer-By-Misery Curt Schilling, who is hit hard and hit often. Also, a series win against the Red Sox will be a confidence booster for a likely division series matchup.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Oops, they did it again

Who would have ever thought that one day, Kevin Gregg would relieve Francisco Rodriguez in the 9th? And that it would work? Certainly not me. Gutsy decision by Scioscia, good job by Gregg, who now has 11 consecutive scoreless innings. But the Angels could not rally back after Rodriguez gave it away.
Fortunately, he wasn't the only closer who failed to do his job today as Mariano "Automatic" Rivera blew his second save in his last three opportunities and the Yankees finally lost in 11 innings against Tampa Bay.
The A's couldn't catch a break either, as the O's scored 3 unearned runs after an error (by an umpire) and the A's left the bases loaded in the 9th, losing 4-3.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

No luck this time!

So Oakland finally ran out of luck, losing 0-1 and 1-2 to the Twins and playing sloppily in the 7th as Zito hit a batter to load the bases, failed to field a slow tapper down the line (he fell down - and it was not ruled an error!), then walked in a run to tie the game. Finally, Crosby threw the ball into right field on a perfect double play ball. That was all the O's needed to win the game.
Meanwhile, the Angels committed another error themselves, but it was just a good old regular throwing error from the third baseman Izturis to first, nothing freaky. While it allowed one extra run to score, the Blue Jays kindly returned the favor with two errors of their own and allowed the Halos to finally win the game in the 11th.
I have said many nasty things about Orlando Cabrera, but he made some nice defensive plays early in the game and his relay throw in the seventh kept it a one run game.
Also, how about Kevin Gregg? The former white flagg has not allowed a run in his 10.1 innings in august while striking out 11 and walking only one. Wow! Looks like he finally has found his control.
While the collective Halosphere breathes more easily now that the A's are two games back again, the Angels' margin of error has actually become smaller. While they enjoyed a comfortable lead in the wild card standings for a long time (though nobody noticed it while we were in first place), this lead is now down to 3.5 games. If the Angels lost 4 games to the Yankees and 2 to the A's, they would be out of the playoffs.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Angels @ Mariner, Lackey vs. Meche

No liveblogging today, just a few thoughts from time to time.

22.08: Garret Anderson is out of the lineup again. Let's hope Bengie can make the Mariners pay if they walk Vladdi intentionally four times today. Oh, and Cabrera is still hitting 2nd. :(

22.14: Finley is just an awful centerfielder. How could this be a double, even for Ichiro???

22.27: Lackey with some serious trouble early. Now the offense has to pick him up. 3-0 Mariners

22.52: Minnesota leads 1-0 in Oakland. Only 6 innings to go.

23.04: Casey Kotchman did it again! Could it be he has hit more dingers than singles? 3-1 Mariners

23.10: Second time Finley came to the plate as the tying run. First time line out, second time double play.

23.32: The A's tie the game in Oakland. Shortly after, Vladdi hits a three-run-bomb. 5-3 Angels

23.42: Apparrently I missed a homerun, because it's 6-3 already.

23.44: Bengie hit one out. And Finley ends an inning for the third time tonight.

23.45: Ichiro steals 2nd after an infield single and comes home. 6-4 Angels

23.56: The Twins have a man in scoring position with no outs in the 9th.

23.57: 2-1 Twins

00.09: Joe Nathan is my hero! Twins beat the A's 2-1

00.19: The announcer just said that Finley was in a "looong slump". He's right. It started in April.

00.32: Ichiro! singles in a run. That's it for Lackey. Pine Tar Time! 6-5 Angels

00.44: Ichiro!! goes to third on a steal and a wild pitch.

00.45: They CAN NOT stop it! Damn it! Donnelly can't throw the ball to Erstad from 10 feet away. Ichiro!!! scores. Game tied at 6-6

00.57: I really don't agree with the decision to let Figgins bunt over Kennedy. He is so hot right now and the two guys behind him are not. Also, Vlad will have to lead of the 9th. No good idea.

01.00: I bow to Erstad, he's got it done. I'm not worthy! 7-6 Angels

01.09: Do you remember how it felt to be not nervous in the 7th, 8th or 9th inning with a lead? Shields comes in and walks Sexson.

01.11: Double. 3rd and 2nd.

01.13: Figgins with a great catch, but a bad throw. Bengie managed to tag out Sexson though. At least that's what the ump said. Bless him!

01.14: God old Scott Spiezio comes to the plate. A flyout lowers his average from .044 to .043.

01.26: Francisco's pitch hits ... the umpire.

01.29: K on 9 pitches.

01.30: Ichiro? flies out.

01.33: K on 3 pitches. Angels win 7-6 and are alone in first place again.

So I guess I was liveblogging after all.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Angels @ Mariners & Twins @ A's - Liveblogging Doubleheader

22.08 (CET) - Oakland: The game is delayed in Oakland because Eckersley's number is retired.

22.15 - Seattle: Runners at the corners. No outs.

22.17 - Seattle: Cabrera picked off at first. Arg!

22.18 - Seattle: Base hit by Vladdi. 1-0 Angels

22.21 - Oakland:The A's and Twins finally start to earn their paychecks today.

22.22 - Seattle: Juan Rivera drives in Vladdi with a single. 2-0 Angels

22.23 - Seattle:Izturis flies out. OC's pickoff costs us at least one run, probably two. The Angels just can't stop making mistakes.

22.29 - Oakland: No score after one inning.

22.30 - Seattle: The Mariners go quietly in the first.

22.38 - Seattle: Homerun Chone Figgins!!! 3-0 Angels

22.39 - Oakland: Still no score after two. The only hit so far came from Kendall in the first.

22.45 - Oakland: The Twins have two men on with one out.

22.45 - Seattle: Another 1-2-3 inning for Colon. He has 3 Ks.

22.48 - Oakland: The Twins cannot score.

22.51 - Seattle: The Angels fail to score in the third. Let's hope that won't become a trend.

22.54 - Seattle: The Mariners have their first hit. A single with no outs.

22.58 - Oakland: A double and a walk for the A's, but still no score as Mays retires Kotsay.

23.02 - Seattle: Colon retires the next three batters on strike, pop and ground out.

23.08 - Seattle: Izturis nearly hits another homer, but Ichiro makes the catch at the wall.

23.09 - Oakland: Erich Chavez in scoring position at 2B with two outs, Payton bats.

23.10 - Oakland: ... and grounds out.

23.12 - Seattle: Kennedy strikes out and strands Molina, who's singled, at first.

23.18 - Oakland: Runners at the corners with two outs for the Twins, Stewart bats.

23.21 - Seattle: Colon finds himself in a jam after a single and a walk with Beltre at the plate. Only one out.

23.22 - Seattle: Double play!

23.24 - Oakland: Stewart pops up.

23.30 - Oakland: Swisher ist at 2nd base with two outs after a walk, but Kendall grounds out.

23.31 - Seattle: Figgins, who has singled, scores from 1B on a single by Cabrera because Reed in center bobbles the ball and doesn't pay attention to the running Figgins. 4-0 Angels

23.32 - Seattle: A single by Erstad puts runners at the corners for Vladdi with no outs.

23.37 - Oakland: Justin Morneau hits a two runs homer in the 6th! 2-0 Twins

23.38 - Seattle: Vladdi singles home Cabrera. 5-0 Angels

23.40 - Seattle: Rivera bloops one into left, scoring Erstad. Rivera advances to second on a bad throw. 6-0 Angels

23.45 - Seattle: Is Cabrera tired or just stupid? Does he always speak like that? Could it be he annoys his team-mates? Is that why they make so many mistakes?

23.46 - Oakland: Runners at the corners again with one out for Oakland.

23.49 - Seattle: The Mariners walk Izturis to load the bases for Jose Molina. He responds by hitting a ground rule double. 8-0 Angels

23.50 - Oakland: The A's get a single from Johnson and cut the Twins' lead in half. 2-1 Twins

23.51 - Oakland: Jay Payton hits a three-run-homerun to put the A's on top 4-2. Damn you Payton! Couldn't you just keep sitting quietly on the bench in Boston?

23.57 - Seattle: Colon gets himself another easy inning. He has just allowed two hits and a walk so far while striking out 4.

00.04 - Seattle: The top of the 6th holds only two Ks and a flyout for the Angels.

00.08 - Seattle: Vladdi is in a generous mood and gives Ichiro a homerun as a present. He tries to time his leap, can't hold on to the ball and pushes it over the wall. If the score wasn't so loopsided, I'd get a little bit annoyed. 8-1 Angels

00.10 - Seattle: OC flashes the leather.

00.12 - Oakland: Seventh inning stretch in Oakland. Still 4-2 Oakland.

00.13 - Seattle: Finley pinch hits for Anderson give him some rest.

00.15 - Seattle: Seattle fans send "Get Well, Mike" wishes to Ex-Mariner Mike Cameron, who collided with Beltran on Thursday. Very nice!

00.19 - Oakland: Kotsay homers. 5-2 A's

00.20 - Seattle: Juan Rivera homers. 9-1 Angels

00.21: There can't be any doubt that Rivera MUST play regularly against righthanders. He now has an .855 OPS against righthanders this year.

00.26 - Seattle: That "Sound Of The Game" record on fox proves it. OC annoys his teammates. Have you looked into their faces? That's the same look you had a school when that strange guy you hardly knew appeared and told you about band camp. That's what you get if you sign a guy out of the Red Sox' clubhouse.

00.31 - Seattle: The Mariners get another single of Colon and another K as well, that's all. Colon is at 88 pitches.

00.33 - Oakland: The Twins have a man in scoring position again.

00.34 - Seattle: Figgins steps to the plate searching for the triple, which would give him the cycle. He flies out though.

00.36 - Oakland: The Twins bring the tying run to the plate in rightfielder Michael Ryan, who's hitting .175 for the year (.493 OPS). He strike out, of course. Pinch hitting, anyone? And why's this guy hitting 6th??? Vladdi would have better numbers swinging with the eyes closed.

00.45 - Oakland: The 9th inning begins. The bottom of the Twins order will bat (4-8, BB today).

00.48 - Oakland: Cuddyer walks.

00.49 - Oakland: Redmond singles. Error by Swisher in right field put runners on second and third. The tying run will come to the plate in Bartlett (2HR in 05).

00.52 - Oakland: K

00.53 - Oakland: Stewart at the plate (10HR in 05).

00.54 - Seattle: Bottom 9th, Yan relieves Colon.

00.56 - Seattle: 1-2-3, Angels win 9-1

00.56 - Oakland: Stewart strike out after fouling off 5 straight.

00.57 - Oakland: Pinch hitter Tiffee is up (1HR in 05 - The Twins really have some pop on their bench! By the way: There's a Tiffee in the German Sesame Street, it's a girlish pelican or something like that).

00.59 - Oakland: Tiffee strikes out manly on three pitches. A's win 5-2

01.01: I go to bed now.

The Road ahead

After some claimed the Angels season was over, here we are in first place again, 3.5. game ahead in the wild card. Will it last?
Let's take a look at the remainng schedule:

2@SEA 2-MIN 2-TEX 2-TB. 2-CWS
3-TOR 3-BAL 3@TB. 3-TEX 3@DET
4-BOS 3-KC. 3@CWS 3-BAL 4@LAA
3@BAL 3@DET 4-TOR 4@TB. 3@KC.
3@TB. 4@BAL 3-KC. 3@TOR 3-DET
3-OAK 3@LAA 4@SEA 3-DET 4-TB
3@BOS 3-SEA 3-TB. 3@DET 3-LAA
3@SEA 3@CLE 3@TB. 3-OAK 3@TOR
4-DET 4@BOS 3@TOR 3-KC. 4-OAK
3-TEX 3-MIN 4-BAL 3@CWS 3@TB
3-TB. 3-TEX 3-TOR 4@KC. 3@BAL
4@OAK 4-LAA 4@BAL 3-TB. 4-TOR

Home sweet home?
LAA: 23 @ home, 24 on the road
OAK: 24 @ home, 23 on the road
NYY: 22 @ home, 26 on the road
CLE: 26 @ home, 20 on the road
BOS: 26 @ home, 22 on the road

Top dogs? Gimmies?
(Games against teams over .500/ 10 games over .500 / 10 games under .500)
LAA: 20 / 17 / 14
OAK: 22 / 19 / 09
NYY: 22 / 12 / 16
CLE: 18 / 09 / 16
BOS: 26 / 19 / 10

On the bright side, the Angels' schedule is a little weaker than the Athletics'. Unfortunately, the wild card runner-ups also have relatively weak schedules, so the Angels should try hard to win the division and not lay back and wait for the wild card to fall into their laps. Even Boston, though 5 games ahead of the Yankees, is not through yet.
The Angels absolutely have to avoid making mistakes and drop games to Tampa Bay and Seattle, 10-4 is a must against them if you remember how Oakland is handling these kind of teams (they outscored KC 32-5 in a three games sweep).
Against Boston and Chicago, I would be happy if the Angels could play .500 ball, maybe 6-4 to gain confidence for the ALDS.
The Halos should also win most of the series against Toronto, Texas, Baltimore and Detroit, maybe a sweep here or there. They absolutely have to avoid something like what happened in the SkyDome a few weeks ago. 10-6 is not too much to ask.
So let's say the Angels go 25-15 over the last month of the season, that would leave them at 91-64, with 7 games against Oakland left. Even if the Angels lose these series, let's say 3-4 or even 2-5, 93 wins will most likely be enough for the postseason. So while the two remaining series against Oakland mean a lot, the Angels can take some pressure out of these games by playing well against the other teams. It doesn't have to be like last year (though I'd take it if the Angels come out on top again).

Friday, August 12, 2005

Angels @ A's series afterthoughts

Now that the Angels have finished their series in Oakland, it's time to think about what we have learned:
  1. The Angels starting pitching is right there with the best of them. Lackey, Santana and Byrd all were good to excellent.
  2. The Angels can score of Harden and Zito.
  3. The Angels bullpen is in a serious funk. No lead is safe. Shields, Donnelly, K-Rod, you can't trust anybody right now.
  4. The Angels need a southpaw for the pen. The Eric-Chavez-At-Bat today proved that once again.
  5. OC should not hit at the top of the order. He went only 2-13 with 1 BB in Oakland. Move Kennedy in the 2 spot. His .379 OBP is just wasted down there.
  6. Vlad needs better protection. With Anderson out, Vladdi was walked intentionally three in the rubber game, a treatment that usually only Bonds receives.
  7. The Angels need to get a grip on themselves. There were so many errors, misplays and brain lapses over the last weeks, you couldn't count them. I don't know what the team must do, I'm not a coach, but something has to be done. And flipping the batting order around will not be enough.
  8. The Angels need a bat!!! (See 6.) Mr Stoneman, give up a prospect, will you? How many middle infielder do you want to play in 2008? And why did you give OC 4 years in the first place?
Second Guessing:
Mr Scioscia, if you let Kotchman hit behind Vlad, you must believe that he can protect him and get the job done if the opponent pitches around him. Then why pinch hit for him? If you pinch hit for him, you obviously don't trust his ability. Then why did you put him behind Vlad in the first place???

Suggested lineups for the next games:
Against lefties:
Jeff DV, DH (.476, .577, .667)
Kennedy, 2B (.303, .349, .403)
Vlad, RF (.294, .363, .500)
Anderson, LF (.338, .361, .472)
Molina B C (.380, .420, .648)
Finley, CF (.268, .317, .464)
Erstad, 1B (.248, .333, .323)
OC, SS (.240, .330, .313)
Figgins, 3B (.196, .277, .266)

Against righties:
Figgins, CF (.326, .367, .451)
Kennedy, 2B (.330, .388, .412)
Vlad, RF (.322, .375, .585)
Anderson, LF (.263, .297, .419)
Rivera, DH (.262, .302, .508)
Erstad, 1B (.300, .351, .417)
Molina C (.270, .302, .402)
Izturis, 3B (.283, .321, .415)
OC, SS (.254, .297, .371)

I never realised that Figgins was that bad against lefties. You can't have him lead off against a southpaw with that kind of numbers. Maybe he should stop switch-hitting?

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Angels @ A's - Liveblogging - Take One

Ok, rubber game in Oakland. I'll try this liveblogging thing today.

(CET): Oh dear, Finley in center again.

21.39: Blanton retires the Angels 1-2-3 on 12 pitches.

21.42: Come on, Kendall didn't even try to get out of the way. HBP.

21.47: Oakland gives up an out (?) and bunts him out.
A passed ball moves him to third, but Byrd comes back from 2-0 to strike out Crosby. Chavez grouds out on the first pitch, thank you very much. 12 pitches for Byrd as well.

21.48: Vladdi goes yard. 1-0 Angels

21.52: So Finley's got a track record of not-sucking. Great. He's forty years old for crying out loud. And he flies out to left.

21.56: Two walks and a double play. 36 pitches for Blanton.

22.03: 0-2-single, double play, single, fly out. 25 pitches for Byrd.

22.10: Figgins speed produces another error. Runners at the corners, no outs.

22.12: What a crap! Early in the game the batter should take some pitches and not swing at bad pitches, especially on a 1-0 count. Cabrera behind 1-2, a strike-out in the waiting.

22.13: Fly out, not deep enough. Just as good.

22.16: Erstad strikes out on three pitches. Why is he in the third spot again?

22.17: I think it says a lot that the announcers expect Erstad to make a productive out with runners on 2nd and 3rd, instead of getting a hit or something. Kotchman ground out on the first pitch. Typical Angels inning.

22.20: 58 pitches for Blaton by the way.

22.25: Kotsay hammers a ball high in the air and it lands just in front of the wall. Kotsay in awe of himself is held to a single. Crosby misses a 3-runs-homerun as the ball hooks around the foul pole. I swear my heart stopped for a second.

22.29: With two nice plays by Byrd and Erstad, who at least took his gold glove out of the locker again, the Angels get out of the inning unscathed. Byrd has 29 pitches.

22.37: Kennedy drives home Izturis, who doubled, with two outs. 2-0 Angels

22.48: A single and that's it. Byrd has thrown 66 pitches.

22.54: 1st and 2nd, no outs and Vladdi up.

22.55: Fly out to left. Too bad.

22.56: Kotchman grounds out, nearly a double play ball.

22.58: Finley flies out, inning over. 91 pitches for Blanton, so we probably will see more of him next inning.

23.10: Byrd allows a leadoff single, but gets out of the inning on three fly outs, interrupt by another single. 86 pitches thrown.

23.19: My internet connection just broke down, so I missed a 1-2-3 inning for the Angels and Byrd is pitching again.

23.22: Kielty tries a karate move to avoid the tag, but has no success. A beautyful Strike-Out-Thrown-Him-Out double ends the inning.

23.27: At 104 pitches, Byrd probably won't come out again.

23.30: Figgins, who led off with a double, is caught in a rundown between 3rd and 2nd but manages to stay alive long enough to let OC reach 2nd. One out.

23.33: Erstad grounds out, of course and is intentionally walked. Bengie pinch hits.

23.34: I find myself wondering why Scioscia didn't bring in JD, but force that thought out of my mind by force.

23.35: After falling behing 3-1 the last ball is intentional. Finley is up. Now is the time for him to prove my point that he's useful against lefties.

23.38: YES! Double! 4-0 Angels!

23.43: Izturis grounds out. Seventh inning stretch.

23.44: Donnelly comes in and gives up another lead off hit. A homerum by Payton. 4-1 Angels

23.50: Two more singles, still nobody out and the tying run at the plate.

23.55: Groundball to first, runners move on. Strike out. And just when you think the Angels might get out of it, Chavez hits a 3-run-dinger. The score is tied up at 4-4.

23.59: Duchscherererererer comes in from the pen. Molina grounds out on the frickin' first pitch.

00.03: Kennedy strikes out on three pitches. Unless Vladdi hits one out in the 9th, this is not going to end well.

00.05: Figgins pops out. The Elephants come to bat.

00.08: Shields on the mound.

00.10: 1-2-3. The Angels (and I) needed that.

00.16: Our number two and three hitter do nothing again and Vladdi is once again intentionally walked. After a five minute at-bat, Bengie walks and Finley, who is "red hot" (lol!!!), is up.

00.23: Finley does what he does best against right handed pitchers. He pops up.

00.24: I guess I could not bear a walk-off homerun today.

00.30: Ellis lead off with a base hit. Kendall tries to bunt him over, but Shields gets Ellis at 2nd. Kotsays singles.

00.33: With runners on 1st and 2nd and only one out. K-Rod comes up.

00.34: Groundball for the second out, but Kendall is on third. Will Francisco have confidence in his catcher to block his slider?

00.36: OH MY GOD! What was this??? Bengie throws the ball back to K-Rod and he drops it. Kendall scores from 3rd. Unbelievable. I'm speechless.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

That sure feels good!

I couldn't watch the "real" game (it started at 4 a.m. for me), but if the condensed game on MLB.TV was any indication, that game was a thing of beauty. Despite striking out 13 times, the Angels were able to score 7 runs (6 earned) of Rich "Unhittable" Harden, highlighted by a grand slam from Vladdi. Lackey, meanwhile, struck out six himself, pitching 7 scoreless innings.
That was the beginning of a prolonged losing streak of the A's, whose spirits are totally crushed now, being in second place again. They'll managed to win the wild card one game ahead of the Yankees though, who started their own slide yesterday. Remember, you heard it here first. :)

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Don't Panik!

So the Angels aren't alone in first place anymore. Big deal. Happened before. They even were in second place one day. Want to see what happened afterwards? (Graphic from The Hardball Times)

The Rangers went from beeing in first place to hoovering around .500, 7.5 games out of the wild card race. Of course, one can not expect the A's to do the same, but are they really going to keep up playing like they right now?
Since June, the A's as a team hit .276, .350, .458 after hitting just .177, .320, .345 in April and May (I think it's remarkable that they kept their plate discipline even when they were struggling. .143 isolated discipline as a team over two months, wow! Pujols had 0.84 in 2004). However, the A's are currently putting up team numbers like offensive power-houses like Boston, New York or Baltimore put up over the year and the A's clearly don't belong in this category. But the A's success had always depened on pitching over the last years and this year is no difference. In April and May, their starters had an ERA of 4.58, while since June, it's 3.19. While the A's starters certainly are good, they are not that good. The pitchers benefited from a very strong defense behind them. Nearly every A's pitcher has an ERA that's significantly better than his FIP (e.g. ERA with an average defense behind him) or at least close to it. Even then they've been lucky, because their xFIP (that expected fielding independent pitching) is usually higher than their FIP/ERA, which means that the pitchers are likely to be worse or at least less good than they are doing right now.
Overall, the A's will most likely cool off any time soon. Which is totally what we would have expected anyway, right? Even if they do not, there's no reason to worry. The Angels have a comfortable 4 games lead in the wild card and won't meet the A's before the ALCS and we all know they never get there. So the Angels have to righten their ship, play solid baseball as they did before July and TRADE FOR A BAT!!! Or maybe not. Maybe we let Vlad hit leadoff, so that he takes more pitches, hit Erstad 3rd, so that he hits for more power and let Finley ...
but what do I know.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Some quick thoughts

  • Nice way to end a winning streak, Red Sox!
  • How often do two players in one game steal twice and advance to third twice on an error? Something one should ask Jayson Stark.
  • A walk on a 1-2 count??? LOL
  • Congrats Casey!
  • The A's just can't lose, even when they don't play that great. They score the tying and winning run on only one hit, but are helped out by three walk and a wild pitch. After that, they end the inning striking out and being caught in a rundown at third. Oh man!

Friday, August 05, 2005

Second Guessing

It's good to see the Angels win two games with a combined score of 18-5 without outhitting the O's. I wonder if that says something about the Angels offense or pitcher or is mere luck. Unfortunately, the Halos were unable to complete the sweep against the Birds, who played under new interim manager and former bench coach Sam Perrozzo after firing Lee Mazzilli. They got some help from the Angels defense (again!), as Erstad made an error that led to two unearned runs in the 3rd. Erstad had twisted his ankle earlier in the game while going over the mound after a popup. He was replace later by Kotchman and is listed day-to-day. Sammy Sosa added two more on his 588th career dinger, following a hit batter. Still, Ervin Santana pitched a fine game, allowing only two earned runs on 5 hits in seven innings, striking out 7 while walking 2. The Angels offense was the problem as they managed only two hits of starter Lopez, but when he left after five, the Angels still couldn't get anything going against the O's pen. Still, they somehow managed to load the bases in the eight with two out against the southpaw Ryan and Finley (2K and a groundout so far) at the plate, but Scioscia decided to pinch hit for him. This decision seems reasonable with Finley being a left-handed hitter. But as I've mentioned before, Finley is actually hitting lefthanders much better than righties (and wasn't bad against lefties in the past). So Ryan is especially tough on lefties then? On the contrary! Lefties had better success against him, hitting .239, .321, .457 compared to .206, .275, .279 for righties. But Scioscia brings in a right-handed batter anyway (to be fair: he was tougher on lefties in the past years). At least Jose Molina was indeed the best option available (other than Finley) and he has hit lefties pretty well this year (.283, .353, .478 in 46 AB), although that's not significantly better than Finley (.280, .330, .484 in 93 AB). Also, Jose's numbers in the past against LHP aren't that great (.264, .301., .364 in 2002-04).
All in all, the decision to bring in Jose is defendable by the numbers, as well as leaving Finley in the game. In my opinion though, Scioscia should have left Finley in, hoping that he gets a big hit and rebuilds some confidence.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Revenge Of The Halos - Gone?

Where has my post gone??? :'(

Release Finley?

Since returning from the DL, which most Angels fans hoped would spark his offense, Steve Finley is hitting .255 AVG. Although that's better than his .225 before the break, he now has lost any pop to speak of, slugging .291.
Josh from Pearly Gates and Rev from Halos Heavenare already calling for the "Appier approach", dumping Finley and eating his salary. Although one certainly can't be happy with Finley's performance, I don't think releasing someone is a good idea unless he's stinking up (is that a word?) the clubhouse or you desperately need a roster spot. None of this seems to be the case, so I think the Angels try another approach. I don't know if a 40-year-old would approve going down to the minor leagues to work on his swing, but even if Finley stays on the big league roster, he can be of value. Of course, Figgins should be the everyday centerfielder, with Finley getting a start once in a while to rest Figgins or let him play another position if he needs to. But these starts should come in day games, where Finley is somewhat decent (.263, .306, .450 to .219, .280, .363 in night games - maybe there's something wrong with his eyes?). Also, Finley is still hitting lefthanders fairly well (.281, .333, .494), so should be used as a pinchhitter against southpaws late in the game. So while paying 8 millions for a utility outfielder/pinchhitter isn't excactly a bargain, it's still better than getting nothing at all for your money.
(Sorry for the poor grammar)