Kazmir Looks Solid, Previewing the West. Halolinks

Pecota secrets revealed!

Brewers 1, Angels 1(10) -  CBSSports.com
Scott Kazmir pitched five sharp innings in his final Cactus League start, and the Los Angeles Angels and Milwaukee Brewers played to a 1-all tie in 10 innings Tuesday. Kazmir allowed one run and four hits. The left-hander missed his previous start because of shoulder stiffness. He was held out as a precaution. Kazmir was set to throw around 90 pitches in a camp game Sunday. If all goes well, he's expected to start the Angels' fifth game against Oakland on April 9.  Michael Ryan, who hasn't played in the majors since 2005 with Minnesota, tied it for the Angels with a sacrifice fly in the seventh. He appears to have a solid shot of making the big league roster. Brewers starter Chris Narveson worked three scoreless innings, running his string to 12 consecutive scoreless innings.

Kazmir right on track as season looms - angelsbaseball.com
Five strong innings on Tuesday against the Brewers at Tempe Diablo Stadium convinced Kazmir that he's right on target, needing only one more substantial tune-up on Sunday in a camp game in Arizona to be ready to roll. "All in all, a good day," Kazmir said, having unloaded 71 pitches while yielding one run on four hits. "It was a big step today. I'm getting a little bit of rhythm and throwing back-to-back sliders the way I want to -- and that's a good sign.

Two days ago it was Joel Pineiro, yesterday it was Scott Kazmir.  And yes, I realize it's still spring training, but it's hard for me not to get really excited about how fantastic the Angels pitching has been recently.  Is it possible to have five 15-game winners?

How does Angels' lineup compare to past opening days? - Orange County Register
"This has the potential to be the deepest lineup we've had in a long time – with hopefully some of the same batter's box offense we saw last year," Scioscia said in this spring's version. "Last year, we had some terrific batter's box offense, combined with the way these guys ran the bases. I think this year, our team speed is probably not as dynamic as when we had (Chone) Figgins but we have guys who can run, guys who can go first to third and we have guys who can create situations on the bases that go past what happens in the batter's box.

This is a pretty cool post listing all of the Angels opening day lineups over the last 10 seasons.


MORE LINKS AFTER THE BREAK...

There were a bunch of previews posted by various websites yesterday.  Here are the one's I found:

2010 MLB predictions from Ted's frozen head - FOX Sports on MSN
5. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim — Not sure where Torii Hunter was going when he called black Latinos "imposters" but Mike Scioscia’s rainbow coalition of whites, blacks, Dominicans, Venezuelans, Cubans, Puerto Ricans and Japanese is going to its usual destination: the playoffs.

Ted's head said (see what I did there?) the Angels are the 5th best team in the majors.

Forecasting the AL West: I'm picking...the Angels - Seattle Times Newspaper
The Seattle Times writing staff had to submit their 2010 predictions today, which will run in the newspaper this weekend (I'm not sure which day, but I'll find out). Here's how I forecast the AL West: 1 - Angels, 2 - Mariners, 3 - Rangers, 4 - A's

Rain-soaked writer rides the Halos.  (That didn't make any sense)

Ranking the majors' 2010 division races - Stan McNeal - Sporting News
Be surprised if: The Angels win fewer than 92 games. They have won at least that many in five of the past six seasons, the exception being an 89-win season in 2006.

Sporting News: You snooze, you lose.  (Over / under in Vegas is 85, better hurry to place your bets!)

AccuScore: Crown the Yankees, Twins and Angels -  Yahoo! Sports
The Angels are atop the projections with nearly 87 wins and a 43 percent chance to win the division. The Rangers probably have the highest upside of any team in the division with plenty of young players in the daily lineup, and waiting in the minors. Depending on their development, the Rangers could run past their projection or fall behind quickly.

MLB Power Rankings - Top 30 MLB Baseball Teams - FOX Sports on MSN
Angels #3

Fox hocks Sox jocks.  Okay, I'll stop it now.

2010 Preview: AL West Division - USATODAY.com
SCOUTS TAKE ON THE AL WEST Four scouts who have watched American League West teams this spring break down the division. They requested anonymity for competitive reasons: Angels: I look at the Angels, and I wonder why people think they're going to struggle. They're going to be just fine. They still have the best team in the division. Who has a better rotation from top to bottom? Maybe they don't have a lot of depth, but that's the case with everyone. Brandon Wood should be fine at third base.

It appears the early spring Seattle sucking has come to a halt, as each of the above previews pick the Angels as the better team.  Kind of worries me.  Hasn't recent history shown the team the experts pick usually tanks in the A.L. West?

Ambidextrous pitcher Pat Venditte throws for Yankees -  Sporting News
Venditte started out as a righty in the fifth and retired Yunel Escobar on a grounder to end the inning. In the sixth, Venditte pitched right-handed to Matt Diaz and gave up a single. Venditte shifted to a lefty and fielded Nate McLouth's sacrifice bunt. Later in the inning, switch-hitter Brooks Conrad came to the plate and by rule Venditte had to declare in advance how he would pitch. He went righty, Conrad batted lefty and grounded out.

If he doesn't make it in baseball, he has a bright future as a bartender.

Spring training attendance blooms after drop-off in 2009 - USATODAY.com
Spring training attendance is up 3.3% entering the final week of exhibition games, sparking optimism there will not be a repeat of last season's dip. "It is very encouraging," Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig said while trying to wipe the dollar signs from his eyes. "I've been talking to everybody, and everyone has been pleased this spring." Regular-season attendance dropped 6.6% in 2009, but snapshots throughout Arizona and Florida this month show a change.

Cubs strike out on ticket surcharge - Mesa Arizona News
Support has died for funding a new Chicago Cubs complex in Mesa by charging a ticket surcharge at every Valley stadium that hosts Cactus League games. No alternative plan has emerged, but Mesa Mayor Scott Smith said on Monday that the city is cobbling together a new plan with lawmakers and Major League Baseball.

Why I love baseball - The Hardball Times
I love baseball because it affords me the opportunity to forget about the mundane concerns of everyday life for a while and to spend an unpredictable amount of time with others who take pleasure in enjoying a similar respite.

This is also the reason I love Halos Heaven.

Yesterday's sister-kiss:

Milwaukee AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
Gomez, C, CF 3 1 2 0 0 0 1 .313
  Inglett, LF 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 .194
Escobar, A, SS 3 0 0 0 0 0 3 .321
  Counsell, SS 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 .278
Weeks, DH 2 0 1 1 1 0 0 .314
  a-Miller, E, PH-DH 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 .500
Fielder, 1B 3 0 0 0 0 1 2 .259
  Green, T, 1B 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .200
McGehee, C, 3B 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 .182
  1-Stang, PR-RF 1 0 0 0 0 1 2 .500
Hart, C, RF 3 0 0 0 0 1 1 .135
  Wheeler, 3B 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .375
Stern, LF-CF 3 0 1 0 1 1 1 .389
Lawrie, 2B 3 0 1 0 0 1 2 .250
  Olmedo, 2B 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 .333
Kottaras, G, C 3 0 1 0 0 0 3 .333
  Maldonado, M, C 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 .250
Totals 35 1 9 1 4 6 17  

a-Walked for Weeks in the 8th.
1-Ran for McGehee, C in the 7th.

BATTING
2B: Weeks (5, Kazmir), Lawrie (1, Kazmir).
TB: Gomez, C 2; Inglett; Weeks 2; McGehee, C; Stern; Lawrie 2; Olmedo; Kottaras, G.
RBI: Weeks (8).
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Escobar, A; Kottaras, G 2; Stang.
GIDP: Counsell.
Team RISP: 1-for-7.
Team LOB: 8.

BASERUNNING
SB: Escobar, A (3, 2nd base off Bulger/Mathis, J), Kottaras, G (1, 2nd base off Kazmir/Mathis, J), Gomez, C (11, 2nd base off Kazmir/Mathis, J).
CS: Stern (1, 2nd base by Aldridge, R/Wilson, Bo), Escobar, A (1, 3rd base by Bulger/Mathis, J).

FIELDING
DP: 2 (Counsell-Green, T, Wheeler-Green, T).

 
LA Angels AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
Aybar, E, SS 2 0 1 0 1 0 1 .333
  a-Aldridge, C, PH-LF 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 .371
Abreu, B, DH 3 0 0 0 0 2 5 .212
  b-Ryan, PH-DH 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 .281
Hunter, CF 3 0 0 0 0 1 5 .375
  Evans, T, CF 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 .194
Matsui, H, LF 3 0 1 0 0 1 4 .256
  Quinlan, 1B 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 .182
Morales, K, 1B 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 .364
  Wilson, Bo, C 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 .320
Rivera, J, RF 3 0 1 0 0 1 0 .250
  Patchett, SS 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 .333
Kendrick, H, 2B 3 0 1 0 0 1 1 .310
  1-Statia, PR-2B 1 1 0 0 0 0 2 .150
Mathis, J, C 2 0 1 0 0 0 1 .243
  2-Sandoval, F, PR-3B 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 .171
Wood, B, 3B 1 0 1 0 1 0 0 .295
  Kiniry, RF 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Totals 33 1 7 1 4 7 24  

a-Walked for Aybar, E in the 7th. b-Hit a sacrifice fly for Abreu, B in the 7th.
1-Ran for Kendrick, H in the 7th. 2-Ran for Mathis, J in the 7th.

BATTING
2B: Rivera, J (7, Parra, M).
TB: Aybar, E; Matsui, H; Wilson, Bo; Rivera, J 2; Kendrick, H; Mathis, J; Wood, B.
RBI: Ryan (8).
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Matsui, H 3; Mathis, J; Evans, T.
S: Wood, B.
SF: Ryan.
GIDP: Morales, K; Statia.
Team RISP: 1-for-11.
Team LOB: 9.

BASERUNNING
SB: Aybar, E 2 (4, 2nd base off Narveson/Kottaras, G, 3rd base off Narveson/Kottaras, G).

FIELDING
E: Wood, B (1, throw).
DP: 2 (Aybar, E, Quinlan-Patchett-Quinlan).

 
Milwaukee IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Narveson 3.0 3 0 0 1 5 0 0.00
Parra, M (H, 1) 2.0 1 0 0 1 1 0 5.60
Hawkins (H, 3) 1.0 1 0 0 0 0 0 6.00
Vargas, C (BS, 1) 1.0 1 1 1 1 0 0 3.38
Stetter 1.0 1 0 0 1 0 0 11.25
Smith, C 2.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 2.02
 
LA Angels IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Kazmir 5.0 4 1 1 0 2 0 4.76
Bulger 1.0 1 0 0 1 1 0 1.29
Chick 2.0 1 0 0 3 2 0 5.06
Aldridge, R 1.0 2 0 0 0 1 0 0.00
Hill 1.0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2.70

HBP: Mathis, J (by Vargas, C).
Groundouts-flyouts: Narveson 3-1, Parra, M 3-0, Hawkins 3-0, Vargas, C 1-1, Stetter 3-0, Smith, C 1-1, Kazmir 4-5, Bulger 1-0, Chick 1-3, Aldridge, R 0-1, Hill 3-0.
Batters faced: Narveson 13, Parra, M 8, Hawkins 3, Vargas, C 6, Stetter 4, Smith, C 6, Kazmir 18, Bulger 4, Chick 10, Aldridge, R 4, Hill 3.
Umpires: HP: Dana DeMuth. 1B: Jim Wolf. 2B: . 3B: Dan Bellino.
Weather: 88 degrees, sunny.
Wind: 3 mph, Varies.
T: 3:00.
Att: 6,561.
March 30, 2010
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