Mark Trumbo, the “Trum-bomber” has launched the home run bomb in six of the last nine games; this is the sole positive that the Angels have this season. I know that in an earlier entry I mentioned that the team had tuned out Angels’ manager Mike Scioscia. However, I’m beginning to think that the problem is not Mike Scioscia, but Jerry Dipoto; the Angels’ General Manager, he was quoted on May 8, 2013 in the Los Angeles Times:
“There is no move to make,” “Our best talent, our best team, is here. There really isn’t a quick fix, a magic bullet, a singular player move you can make that would turn things around. The best thing we can do is show up today and play hard.”
Mr. DiPoto, lifelong Angels’ fans like myself, and especially season-ticket holders who spend their hard-earned money on this team deserve a better explanation than that. Yes, there is no quick solution, on the other hand, at least own and admit your mistakes.
Mistake number one: Ryan Madson, a player coming off arguably risky Tommy John surgery, He yet has to play an inning for the Angels; at times these players don’t really recover, yet you decided to give him a contract.
Mistake number two: you used money that was earmarked for re-singing Zack Greinke, to sign Josh Hamilton, instead of using that money to upgrade pitching which includes the bullpen. This is an area of need that the Angels have had for the last two years, yet, you do-nothing of meaning to improve this glaring weakness.
Mistake number three (which is closely related to mistake number two): you traded Kendrys Morales, a power hitter whom the Angels’ farm system developed, for an average pitcher Jason Vargas. A smart move would have been to keep Morales and go after a few above average pitchers using the money that was earmarked. What you did is replace Morales with Hamilton, a player who may have more name recognition but can’t hit the inside fastball which was one of my concerns when you gave him a contract.
Mistake number four: Joe Blanton: 0-6, a pitcher that clearly does not fit in the Angels’ system. The Halos’ offensive production is negated by the poor pitching performance of the entire pitching staff, a pitching staff, which you are ultimately responsible for putting together. Please remind me why you decided not to re-sign Dan Haren? Picking up his option is a better decision than signing Joe Blanton. Haren may not be the player he used to be, but he sure a better player than Joe Blanton at this point.
The Halos have the talent that they need to succeed, but it needs to be managed better, the front office needs to make better decisions. Until then, for the foreseeable future let’s keep the “Trum-bombs” coming.
The Angels avoided the sweep by the Oakland Athletics with the Home Run ball. As unbelievable as it may seem the Angels are off to an even worse start than they were last year. Many, including myself didn’t believe that was possible. What’s wrong? It starts with the Angels’ pitching, both the starting rotation and bullpen. The Halos can’t hold a lead. Their team ERA is currently 4.91 this is the source of the Angels inability to succeed at this point of the season. Despite 19 runs scored in the series including seven Home Runs by the Angels’ offense.
Sure, the Angels have a plethora of players on the disabled list, but it’s not like this team hasn’t been competitive. The pitching staff at the very least should be able to take advantage of the offensive production and keep afloat during games. Hanson and Blanton have been especially disappointing.
Given the circumstances how do the Angels stay afloat? Well, aside from the fact that they need to get better pitching which is very difficult to do right now, since their farm system is relatively dry. I believe they can offset the pitching staff’s poor performance by increasing base-running pressure that historically has been the Angels’ trademark. Mike Trout needs to return to the lead-off spot, that will allow him to steal bases more often. the Angels can put pressure on the base paths, that in turn puts the opposing pitcher on his toes, consequently making it more likely for the pitcher to make a mistake thus, increasing the likelihood of pitching mistakes which the offense can then take advantage of in order to offset the pitching staff’s shortcomings; essentially temporarily creating defense by creating offensive production and pressure. The Angels are simply not taking advantage of their speed right now, which is unfortunate.
I’m sure Arturo Moreno is quite frustrated, I also share his frustration. The lone bright spot is Mark Trumbo who homered in all three games in the Oakland series and two of four games played against the Baltimore Orioles.
The Angels are waiting for their players to come off the disabled list, the question then becomes can the Angels contend once they are at full strength? Unless Josh Hamilton improves his overall performance and the Angels do something major to improve the overall pitching performance, given the way this team is currently constructed; the answer is unfortunately no.
The proof? The Angels have played 10 series so far, and only won 2; they are 2-8 in series this season. They swept the Detroit Tigers and won two out of three against the Houston Astros.
It is my hope that the Angels find themselves, compete and contend to their potential and ability, one thing remains true no, matter what happens; I will always be a diehard Angels’ fanatic. There will be brighter days ahead. Go Angels!
Although this website is designed as a forum to discuss my beloved Angels, from time to time I will post an entry that is not directly about the Angels however it is somehow related to the Angels. This is one such entry, on Sunday, April 28th I attended my first minor league game. I never thought that I would ever see a minor-league game in my lifetime, since I grew up in very close proximity to Angel Stadium, I always thought that my exposure would be limited to Major League Baseball.
My move to Sacramento changed that however, I was able to go see the minor-league Angels, also known as. The Salt Lake Bees, for the Salt Lake Bees versus The Sacramento River Cats at Raley Field. I must say that Triple-A baseball feels different, yet it feels the same. One gets the feel that one is in a major league ballpark environment while at the same time it takes place in a very intimate setting.
This parK has very unique features, one of which is Homerun Hill, one can purchase tickets to sit in this area beyond the right-field wall. What makes this very unique is that there are no bleachers in right field like you would find in a major league ballpark., The fans bring blankets and enjoy the game as if they were having a picnic. An individual who calls himself “Mike on the Mic” entertains the fans in Homerun Hill by using T-shirt cannons and holding contests on the field between innings.
The entertainment also has a major league feel to it. The two things that are most memorable were “The Heads of State” and “Cats’ Cab. The Heads of State is similar to the United States Presidents used by the Washington Nationals and like the Nationals the heads of state or composed of former Governors of California. The Governors include: Ronald Reagan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Gray Davis. Similar to the Nationals, one Governor never wins, Gray Davis, known to the fans as “Wrong Way Gray” because he always starts the race by going the wrong way.. I can appreciate the political satire. You see, California is primarily a blue state with a few exceptions, however California’s Governors are primarily Republican with the exception of Governor Jerry Brown and Governor Gray Davis; referring to Governor Davis as “Wrong Way Gray” is funny because it probably refers to the only Governor in California history to be recalled; as a blue voter myself, I can appreciate the satire. This is just my theory of course, but it makes total sense given California’s history and legacy.
“The Cats’ Cab” is a parody of the Discovery Channel’s “Cash Cab” where a River Cats’ fan is asked a trivia question about the River Cats, in this particular instance the fan got the question right, garnering the approval of the crowd.
This Triple-A game was a lot of fun. Even though the Bees lost 7-2 to the River Cats. Although it was disappointing I can’t say it wasn’t fun. Yes indeed, I was fitted for a Bee Stinger to complement my Halo. I definitely plan to make another appearance supporting the Salt Lake Bees.
My trip home is sadly coming to an end, I head back To the State capitol tomorrow morning. I was able to catch two games while I was home, against the new arrivals to the American League West, the Houston Astros; and the forever hated rival the Oakland Athletics. After a sweep by the A’s, they lost the series against the Twins in Minnesota (there is one more game to be played in Minnesota since the last game of the series was postponed) the Angels came home to take two out of three from the Houston Astros and unbelievably sweept the Detroit Tigers.
The Angels are on quite a turnaround, they outscored the Tigers 22-4 in the three-game series. I’m especially impressed by the youngsters; relief pitcher Michael Roth who was promoted from Double-A affiliate the Arkansas Travelers directly to the major league squad; he is holding his own quite well. Luis Jimenez who was promoted from Triple-A Bees and is doing quite well at third base, and last but certainly not least; Mike Trout hit his first career grand slam on Saturday afternoon in the 10-0 shellacking of Detroit Tigers.
Leaving home for me is bittersweet, first and foremost I miss my family tremendously, and it is always hard to be away from home especially during baseball season. Unlike when I lived in the Bay Area when I could see the Angels every time they played the Oakland Athletics, Sacramento does not have a major league team. Sacramento is the home of the Triple-A affiliate of the Oakland A’s; the Sacramento River Cats. I hope that I’m able to catch a few games when they play the Salt Lake City Bees that way, I am at least able to see future Angels play the game that I love.
Tonight begins a “Texas sized” series against the Texas Rangers, it is my hope that the Angels are able to continue their winning ways and slowly but surely climb into the upper echelons of the American League West.
It is my sincere hope that the Angels turn it around, so the next time I come home, which will be soon; I’m able to enjoy the sweet nectar that is brought when the Angels play to their potential, and “light up the Halo!”
What constitutes beauty in sports? Is it a winning streak? Is it the underdog coming from behind to beat their heavily favored opponent? Or is it the team that was expected to be irrelevant during a given season, beating the odds to raise the championship trophy in their respective sport? One can ponder these questions all day and still not come up with answers.
Questions that one may never find the answers to, this concept can be aptly applied to how I feel about the Angels so far this season. They dropped two out of three in Arlington, to make matters worse Jered Weaver fell victim to an injury, suffering an elbow strain by landing awkwardly on it; in an effort to avoid a ball that was coming towards him.
Albert Pujols has what amounts to be an inflamed heal which makes it hard for him to change speeds while running. This is an injury he is dealt with most of his career, however this is the first year it has affected him this early in the season. Josh Hamilton is making my worst fears come true, as I mentioned in previous entries, I am afraid of his inability to hit the inside fastball, a fear which unfortunately is coming true; through the first five games of the season he has gone 1 for 20 with 10 strikeouts.
Are the Angels snake bitten? It seems that every time a bona fide star comes to the team they go through a sharp decline in which a player is unable to return to his former glory. A clear example of this is Vernon Wells, are Pujols and Hamilton next?
There are some positives coming out of the series with the Texas Rangers, the Home Runs; Albert Pujols hit two Home Runs in one game, Mark Trumbo and Peter Bourjos each contributed with a Home Run.
Tonight the Angels have an opportunity for a fresh start, as they face the Oakland Athletics in the Halos’ home opener. It is their opportunity to be impeccable, nearly perfect at home. Perhaps, this is the jumpstart they need to be successful this season.
Update: Weaver is out of the Angels’ pitching rotation 4-6 weeks with a broken elbow. This is very unfortunate. http://losangeles.angels.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130409&content_id=44305998&c_id=ana
Texas: “The Lone
Star Halo State”
With the first series of the season over, the Angels had a less than stellar performance, only winning one of three games. Yes, it is the first series of the season. Yes, the Angels had the distinction of being the first team in Major League Baseball history (along with the Cincinnati Reds) to play an interleague series in the first series of the season. Yes, it was in a National League ballpark with National League rules. Yes, the first series does not make a season.
Now that all possible explanations for the Angels’ poor performance have been stated, here’s the truth; the Angels have the best record overall when it comes to interleague play. They were in a hitter friendly ballpark in Cincinnati. There is no reason why the Angels shouldn’t be hitting the cover off the ball, in the series the Angels fell victim to 36 strikeouts and they left 27 men on base. These were the determining factors that led to the Angels downfall. The bullpen on the other hand was pleasantly surprising. I was especially impressed by Mark Lowe who kept the Angels afloat in the 13 inning marathon opening-day, if the bullpen stays solid and the hitters can find their groove, the Angels should be alright this season.
The Angels go to a hitter friendly ballpark in Arlington for the next series, a showdown with the Texas Rangers. Another hitter friendly ballpark, under American League rules which means an extra hitter, with the incorporation of the DH, no more pinch-hitting for the pitcher which should alleviate the taxing of the bench.
I hope with these different variables, the variables that the Halos are accustomed to; they can get back to form. They cannot have 36 strikeouts and 27 men left on base and expect to survive against a talented team like the Texas Rangers. Arlington Texas is in “The Lone Star State”, now with the incorporation of the Houston Astros into the American League West, the Angels will be traveling to Texas twice as much from this point forward and they must dominate the Texas teams on the road. The Angels must make sure that Texas is known to the baseball world as, Texas: “The Lone
Star Halo State.”
It is finally Opening Day! The day that every baseball fan awaits with excitement and anticipation of the season that has yet to be. I am no exception. As of noon tomorrow Pacific daylight Time I will be unavailable to the rest of the known world for about four hours, why? I will be entranced by the sheer beauty that is the baseball diamond, the crown jewel of all jewels; the only jewel that outshines all others.
The opening Day roster, the players who have received their major league Halo include: Pitcher Mark Lowe, Infielder Brendan Harris, and outfielder J. B. Shuck. Luis Jimenez, David Carpenter, John Hester, and Kole Calhoun have all been sent to the Angels’ Triple-A affiliate the Salt Lake City Bees, Ryan Madson and Andrew Taylor have been added to the 15 Day Disabled List, retroactive to March 22.
Coming out of spring training, this team still has one glaring concern; the starting pitching. Jason Vargas gave Up seven runs to the Dodgers in the middle game of the preseason Freeway Series. If the Angels do not remedy this soon, it’s going to be a long season for the Angels and their fan base. As I mentioned before, it doesn’t do any good for a team to have a potent offense if the pitching staff can’t hold any leads. The games are for real now, the meaningless exhibition season is gone; this is where it all begins. If the Angels don’t get a good start out of the gate it doesn’t matter how well they do the rest of the season, if they create too much of a deficit; it is very easily going to be a repeat showing of last season.
With that said, to me Opening Day represents optimism; and as such, I’m not going to focus on things this team needs to fix. Rather, I’m going to continue to enjoy the beautiful hypnotic enchantment that is provided by the beauty of the baseball diamond.
The Angels no longer have a need for wishing wells, as in wishing that Vernon Wells improves. Wells was sent to the New York Yankees today. In exchange, the Angels received two low-level prospects in 21-year-old outfielder Exicardo Cayones (.228 with 15 RBIs in Class A last year) and 24-year-old lefty Kramer Sneed (0-7 with a 5.37 ERA).
The Yankees will pay $13.9 million dollars of the $42 million dollars owed to Wells over the next two years. That may not seem like much given the size of the contract however, if one takes a moment to think about it the Angels now have $13.9 million dollars to spend on a player that will produce, at this point, preferably a pitcher; additionally this now opens up a roster spot for someone who is better equipped to help the Angels. Additionally, the two minor leaguers/prospects will help replenish the Halos’ farm system.
I wish Vernon Wells well in his future endeavors, sometimes a change of scenery can help a player return to form. The dimensions at Yankee Stadium should help improve his offensive production especially to right-field. Thank you Yankees, for the two prospects and the $13.9 million dollar gift.
The Angels defeated the Milwaukee Brewers today 5-1 which is a nice recovery from the disaster that happened yesterday. The Angels had a 7-1 lead going into the third inning, they ultimately lost the game. Honestly, that is the least of my worries about this team.
I do realize that it is indeed spring training; and yes the games are meaningless. However, with 10 days left in the preseason as of yesterday, it is now less about who makes the opening day roster; and more about fine-tuning the starters. The pitching as a whole is horrendous. To say that C. J. Wilson was knocked around would be an understatement. He is projected to be the number two starter behind Weaver, with the number three, four, and five starters still in question; it is especially important that Weaver and Wilson do not falter.
It feels like a dose of déjà vu, the Angels’ starting rotation and bullpen are not living up to the expectation. The starting rotation seems to be inept at holding leads that they’re elite offensive squad provides.
I’m not going to harp too much about the starting rotation since I’ve already talked about my disappointment in the pitching staff this year; in previous entries. It goes without saying that the Angels need to find a solution to what they haven’t been able to solve in recent years. Improve the pitching and this team will contend for a World Series.
There is a big difference between contending and competing, it is my belief that the Angels have been using these two terms as interchangeably the last few years. It isn’t enough to compete, they must be able to contend. It doesn’t seem to me that the Angels are anywhere near the ability to contend, at least not with the current configuration of the pitching staff. The trillion dollar question is, are the Angels’ players truly prepared for the upcoming season? They have nine days to figure it out, I for one, sincerely hope so.