Why are the Angels just barely a .500 team with Vlad in the lineup?
You can go long sample - the season - for a 37-36 team record in Vlad's 73 starts, or you can go recent sample - the last 19 games he has started - when the team was 10-9. Long, or short, it is still just barely .500 ball. For those who wonder how the team does without Vlad as a starter, that record is now 45-19, in 64 games. That is a pretty big sample size, and a pretty big difference.
( Update, as of 9/26: The team is now 44-44 in Vlad's starts - under .500 since the original post. In games Vlad didn't start? 46-20. Vlad's last 34 games = 35 for 134, .261 BA. Definitely NOT "cleanup" hitter numbers! )
Another thing that keeps coming up, is the present team-wide slump of most of the other players. Almost as if they are negatively impacted by Vlad's presence in the lineup. A lot of people pooh-pooh that suggestion, saying that it's poppycock - or worse. Why then, is it not poppycock that most of management and players feel strongly that Bobby Abreu is a positive influence on the rest of the team, frequently naming him as a major reason for the team's success, so far this year? It seems irrational, to me, to embrace the concept for one player, but to throw it out, for another.
The team now has 25 games remaining, including 7 with Texas. If we only win 50% - 13, we will end the season with 94 wins, which should be enough. On the other hand, if we play .500 ball against everyone else, and Texas plays us as well as they have previously, we may have a little problem. I'll go on record to say right now, if we play .500 ball, or less, and do not make the playoffs, presumably because Vlad was in the lineup - especially batting cleanup - for these final 25 games, somebody might have a little 'splainin' to do, Lucy.
( Update, as of 9/26: Eight games to go - all we need to do is play .500 ball. Four measly wins. I hope we do it. )
Let's hope something starts to change, whether it's Vladdy playing better, or Scioscia moving him down a peg or two or three in the lineup, or some other combination of things. And hopefully pretty soon - this next 4 weeks is probably going to go by pretty quickly. Let's go Angels!