Angels Beat Rays, Is Fuentes A Clown? Halolinks

"Hey you. Yeah you Fuentes. I'm coming for ya. You can't hide behind Scioscia anymore. I'M BOZO DAMMIT!"

Tampa Bay Rays vs. Los Angeles Angels -  May 10, 2010 - Sportingnews.com
Juan Rivera 's sacrifice fly in the 11th inning gave the Angels a 5-4 victory Monday night over the team with baseball's best record after closer Brian Fuentes blew a three-run lead in the ninth. After Willy Aybar homered with one out, Jason Bartlett beat out an infield single to the right of second base, Zobrist walked with two outs, and Evan Longoria drove Fuentes' next pitch to the fence in left-center to score both runners. It was his first career at-bat against the four-time All-Star, who led the majors last season with a career-high 48 saves. " It wasn't a bad pitch in my mind,'' Fuentes said. " It was a first-pitch changeup and he went out and got it. But it was really the walk that hurt me the most. But we won, so that's some relief."

It wasn't a bad pitch?  I guess not, a bad pitch would just now be landing in Des Moines.  Here are some highlights from last night's game...The game winner - Morales scores winning run on a sac fly.  Napoli's bomb -  Napoli belts a two-run homer to left. More Napoli love - Napoli throws out Kapler at second base.  And Torii Hunter doing what he does - Hunter makes a great catch in center field.

Angels regroup to top Rays in 11th - angelsbaseball.com: News
It was Fuentes' second blown save of the season and his ERA skyrocketed to 7.04, but Scioscia insisted after the game that he is still the club's closer despite strong performances from Rodney and Kevin Jepsen. "We have to let this keep moving forward," Scioscia said. "We haven't seen enough of this to evaluate. We need all three of those guys -- Jepsen, Rodney and Fuentes. We need those guys to settle in before we'll consider evaluating changing roles."

I'm so tired of Scioscia and his "roles".  Although Longoria performs just as well against right-handed pitching as he does against lefties like Fuentes, Fuentes has historically been worse against right-handed batters.  Fuentes' has been struggling against righties so far this season to the tune of .350/.458/.850.  I'm not suggesting Jason Bulger is the answer to the Angels bullpen woes, but last night he seemed to be the better option to face Longoria considering Fernando Rodney and Kevin Jepsen had already been used in the 7th and 8th...which are their roles Scioscia is intent on sticking to.

Rays-Angels Preview - FOX Sports on MSN
Scott Kazmir faces his former teammates for the first time since Tampa Bay traded him to the Los Angeles Angels in August, and the struggling left-hander hopes he can use the occasion to turn around his dismal start.Similar struggles with the slider have again plagued Kazmir (2-2, 7.11 ERA) during his shaky 2010. He has walked at least four in each of his last three starts, issuing five free passes while allowing seven runs in 4 1-3 innings of an 11-6 loss at Boston on Thursday.The emergence of Jeff Niemann, who won 13 games as a rookie last year, was one reason the Rays could afford to trade Kazmir. Niemann (2-0, 2.23) has been even better in 2010, and he's coming off his best start after holding Seattle to four hits in seven innings of Thursday's 8-0 win.

Hopefully Kazmir can do what Lackey did to his former teammates last week.


MORE LINKS AFTER THE BREAK...

Angels recall RHP Bell, Quinlan to Triple-A -  Sporting News
The Los Angeles Angels recalled right-hander Trevor Bell from Triple-A Salt Lake on Monday and optioned utility infielder Robb Quinlan to their Pacific Coast League club before the opener of a three-game series with Tampa Bay. Bell made eight appearances for the Angels last season, including four starts, and was 1-2 with a 9.74 ERA. His grandfather, Bob Bell, played Bozo the Clown on television for 25 years. The three-time defending AL West champions are hurting in the pitching department because of an overworked bullpen. The staff entered Monday with 141 walks and 41 home runs allowed, the highest totals in the AL.

Oh yeah, I completely forgot about Trevor Bell and his clown grandpa.  Probably because I was distracted by Fuentes and his "Ignito, the Flaming Clown" routine.  Also, could this finally be the end of the Quinlan-era in Anaheim?

Expensive Angels In Relief - FanGraphs Baseball
Between Rodney and Fuentes, the Angels have two pitchers who are merely running on their reputations and save counts from prior years. As a result, more long nights like Monday from that expensive duo could very well be in store for the Angels.

I have to disagree with this Fangraph's post only because I don't think Rodney's been as bad as this article suggests.  If you click through to read this post, let me know if you get the same "feeling" from it as I did, which is, the author is making excuses for Fuentes who he thinks is better than Rodney.

Los Angeles Angels' Brian Fuentes struggles again in Angels' win - ESPN Los Angeles
Should he remain the closer? Will he, the way Kevin Jepsen and Fernando Rodney are pitching? Yeah, he will, at least for now, Scioscia said. "Right now, we need those guys to settle in and get the job done the way they can before we're going to consider evaluating any changes in roles," Scioscia said. "We're going to stay with it right now and, if we have to adjust, we'll adjust as we go forward."

Can you say "LOOGY"?

And it's the hitters' fault? - Los Angeles Angels Blog - ESPN Los Angeles
In case you missed it, Angels pitcher Ervin Santana placed the blame for the Angels 14-19 record on a lack of clutch hitting yesterday. The more I thought about Santana's comments, the more preposterous they became. Angels pitchers have walked more batters (141) than any team in the majors. They have given up more home runs (41) than any team in the American League.

Mark Saxon is trying his hardest to generate some traffic to ESPN's Los Angeles site. 

Get Kendry Morales to the 2010 MLB All-Star Game! - Facebook

If you've got a Facebook account you know what you need to do.

California pitcher's fourth straight no-hitter breaks state record - USATODAY.com
The 6-3 senior right-hander threw his fourth consecutive no-hitter Friday to break the state record of three, set by Lloyd Allen of Selma in 1967. Kukuruda threw only 16⅔ innings last season and had not had a no-hitter at any level until this season. Though he opened the season with 4⅔ no-hit innings for a victory, he was only 2-2 after six starts. "He was overthrowing," East Nicolaus coach Dave Deniz said. "He was trying to strike everyone out. I think he had 26 walks in his first 32 innings. He would go so deep in his counts that he was tiring early in the game. The difference is he began throwing strikes and trusting his defense."

Quick, someone hire this kid's coach and have him talk to the Angels pitching staff!  Throwing strikes?  What a concept!

SBJ: Selig plays hardball with creditors in Rangers' sale -  Sporting News
Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig has warned the creditors of the Texas Rangers owner that he could revoke their liens on the franchise if they do not approve the long-pending and controversial sale of the club, sources said last week. In response, the sources said, creditors representing 95 percent of the debt voted last Tuesday to reject the deal. While the creditors still would be paid back something from the proceeds of a subsequent franchise sale, the commissioner by taking this route would be blocking the lenders' right to stop the sale and have a say in their payments. The creditors surely would sue in response, and one source said many of the roughly 40 lending institutions, which are owed $525 million, already are clamoring to file an involuntary bankruptcy petition on behalf of the Rangers. That document is ready to be filed, sources said.

I predict this is going to get really ugly (not Lackey-ugly, but pretty darn close).  I haven't followed this real closely, but it seems Rangers owner Tom Hicks is trying to pull a greedy rich guy move and Selig is trying to help him.  I say screw Hicks, Greenberg and Nolan Ryan.  Let the Rangers go to the highest bidder.

Commentary: For Griffey, Mariners, end is near - The News Tribune
Last week, when some members of the press corps asked manager Don Wakamatsu why he hadn’t used Griffey as a pinch hitter for Rob Johnson late in a game, Wakamatsu was vague. Two Mariners players, however, weren’t. Both are younger players, fond of Griffey. Neither had an ax to grind. So why didn’t Wakamatsu go to Junior off the bench? "He was asleep in the clubhouse," one player said. "He’d gone back about the fifth inning to get a jacket and didn’t come back. I went back in about the seventh inning – and he was in his chair, sound asleep."

The big internet story for the next couple days.  If this is the first time you're hearing about this, you haven't been paying attention (or your internet connection has been down).

M's looking to bring back Jose Guillen? - Fannation
One name that jumps out as being both potentially available, and potentially helpful to the Mariners, is one of their former players, Kansas City's Jose Guillen. Guillen reached the weekend with a .275 average, eight homers and 25 RBI.

Also, he does his sleeping on the field.

May 11 - BR Bullpen
1963 - Sandy Koufax pitches the second of four career no-hitters to help the Los Angeles Dodgers beat San Francisco 8 - 0.
Happy b-day to the guy who was named after the wildly popular comedy duo Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin.
1949 - Jerry Martin, outfielder

I love you Joel Pineiro:

Tampa Bay Rays
Jason Bartlett , SS 5 1 1 0 1 3 2 .246
Carl Crawford , LF 6 0 1 0 0 2 2 .301
Ben Zobrist , CF 4 1 2 0 2 1 1 .267
Evan Longoria , 3B 6 1 2 2 0 2 4 .325
Carlos Pena , 1B 3 0 0 0 1 2 0 .179
John Jaso , C 5 0 3 1 0 0 2 .350
Pat Burrell , DH 5 0 1 0 0 1 4 .221
Reid Brignac , SS 3 0 0 0 0 0 2 .279
Sean Rodriguez , 2B 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 .200
a-Willy Aybar , PH-2B 3 1 1 1 0 0 3 .277
Gabe Kapler , RF 2 0 1 0 0 1 0 .233
Totals 44 4 12 4 4 12 20
a-Fouled out for S Rodriguez in the 7th.
BATTING
2B - E Longoria 2 (11)
HR - W Aybar (3)
RBI - E Longoria 2 (25); J Jaso (12); W Aybar (8)
BASERUNNING
CS - G Kapler (1)
FIELDING
E - J Jaso (2); R Brignac (3)
Los Angeles Angels
Erick Aybar , SS 5 1 1 0 0 1 2 .246
Bobby Abreu , RF 5 0 1 0 0 1 1 .263
Torii Hunter , CF 4 1 1 2 0 1 0 .276
Kendry Morales , 1B 5 1 2 0 0 1 1 .291
Hideki Matsui , LF 2 0 0 0 1 0 1 .233
  Reggie Willits , PR-DH 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .150
Juan L. Rivera , LF 4 0 0 1 0 2 3 .236
Howard Kendrick , 2B 4 1 2 0 0 1 0 .271
Mike Napoli , C 3 1 1 2 0 2 0 .225
Brandon Wood , 3B 4 0 0 0 0 1 2 .165
Totals 36 5 8 5 1 10 10
BATTING
2B - H Kendrick (7)
HR - T Hunter (4); M Napoli (2)
RBI - T Hunter 2 (18); J Rivera (15); M Napoli 2 (6)
SF - T Hunter (3); J Rivera (2)
S - (1)R Willits (2)
BASERUNNING
CS - E Aybar (4); K Morales (1)
FIELDING
E - J Rivera (2)
 
Tampa Bay Rays
Matt Garza 7.2 7 4 4 1 7 2 2.49
Dan Wheeler 1.1 0 0 0 0 2 0 1.64
Randy Choate 0.2 0 0 0 0 1 0 7.27
Grant Balfour (L,0-1) 1.0 1 1 1 0 0 0 2.45
Los Angeles Angels
Joel Pineiro 6.1 5 0 0 1 7 0 4.50
Kevin Jepsen 0.2 0 0 0 0 1 0 4.05
Fernando Rodney 1.0 3 1 1 1 0 0 2.87
Brian Fuentes 1.0 3 3 3 1 1 1 7.04
Jason Bulger 1.2 1 0 0 1 2 0 4.50
Trevor Bell (W,1-0) 0.1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00
 
Game Information
Attendance - 36798
Game Time - 4:04
Temperature - 64
Umpires - Home - Tony Randazzo, First Base - Paul Nauert, Second Base - Brian Gorman, Third Base - Ted Barrett
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