Yeah we've lost 7 straight games. We're still only 3 back and only have to beat the Rangers. The A's and M's will take care of themselves and fail by August. Player by player though, who can we expect to improve or get worse?
Scott Kazmir: Career ERA in April is 4.57, career ERA in May, 3.80, July 3.52, August 3.94, September 3.04. Pre All-star break 4.43, post All-star break, 3.28. You get the idea right? Chances are, Kazmir's going to figure out his slider and start shutting opposing teams down. You don't just forget how to pitch. Better
Joe Saunders: He has a career ERA in April of 3.23, not a huge sample, but in context to the rest of the months, it has meaning. May 4.09, June 4.92, August 4.72, September 5.13. There's a good chance, this is the Joe Saunders we will see all year long. A brilliant start mixed in with a mediocre one and two awful starts. If anyone in this rotation will be replaced this season, chances are, it's Hokie Joe. Worse
Joel Piñeiro: He typically heats up around the end of May and stays hot through June and July before wearing out and becoming useless. He's done it his whole career and did it last year with the Cards. He has April and May ERA's closer to 5 than 4 and then in June and July his ERA sinks down below 4. He's a better pitcher now and last year than ever, so these numbers will probably be even better. So fear not, history suggests he'll be alright this month, but in the heat of the summer when games mean a lot, Piñeiro's gonna be clutch. Better, then worse.
Ervin Santana: May's not usually a good month for Black Magic. Chances are, this will be his best season behind 2008, and even in 08, his May ERA wasn't as good as April. Ervin tends to get better as the season wears on. So basically, I'd expect May to be similar to April this year, he'll be solid, but come the end of July (which happens to be his worst month oddly), August and September, we can expect Ervin to probably be a useful front end starter. Worse, then Better
Jered Weaver wakes up in the morning and pisses excellence. Lackey was 27 when he took over as staff ace and I believe Weaver's better than Lackey. We have our ace, it's just a matter of time before the rest of baseball realizes it. Same
Some players, there's just not enough there to really evaluate them at the major league level. I trust Kowbell will be kowbell and Wood will swing and miss a lot but also get better.
Erick Aybar: Last season we finally saw the true Erick Aybar. He started off hitting rockets in Spring, just like this season, .245 in April, just like this season. In May he took off and hit over .300 and continued to perform form there. His career suggests more of the same. He just gets better as the season goes on and hits .30 points higher after the all-star break. I expect very good things from him this season. Better
Bobby Abreu: He's consistent every month. Last season was a rarity, where for some odd reason he had a terrible May and August, but nothing in his career suggests that will happen again. You can set your watch by Bobby Abreu. Always good, hardly ever bad or great, always better than average. Same
Torii Hunter: Like Mr. Abreu, he's pretty consistent across the board. Usually hits about .275 every month with power. Last season he was great until an injury filled summer derailed his season, though he still put up good overall numbers. This season, I expect Scioscia to rest Hunter quite a bit more, hopefully preventing injury. Hunter should be as good every month as he was in April this year. Same
Hideki Matsui: Possibly the most interesting subject to analyze. He always has an "ok" April, but starting in May and spanning though July and again in September, Hideki's pretty much a .300 hitter. His power really develops in June and July. I think we'll see a much better Matsui than we've seen already this season. Better
Juan Rivera: He's not going to heat up any time soon. His career numbers make this clear and he's followed the same format every year. Rivera's pretty much a sorry excuse for a hitter in April, May and June. In July, August and September, he'll bat out of his mind. Last September he was God awful, but that seems like a slight blip. Don't expect Rivera to be very good any April, he's not going to be good this month either. The month after that isn't looking great as well. But then he'll carry the offense. But you can all assume to have a huge hole in the 5/6 spot in the lineup for the next couple months. Worse, then better.
Howie Kendrick: For some reason, every May, Howie Kendrick forgets how to hit. Every other month he's around .300, except in July he hits .400. But in May, Howie's BA is .181. This is over the course of several years. So, history suggests, it's not gonna be a very good month for Howie Kendrick. He's gonna be a hole in the lineup this month. Then be our most dependable hitter from there on out. The man hits .40 points higher on average after the break. Worse, then better.
As far as the bullpen goes, well can Shields, Palmer and Stokes really get any worse? Rodney and Jepson should continue to be fine. Bulger's figuring it out and will be our bullpen work horse. Shields will probably figure it out but never be as dominant. Palmer and Stokes really should only pitch when we're down by a lot. Basically, I'm saying they'll get better, or we'll trade for or promote someone who will be better.
So what's this say about the Angels? Chances are, May won't be too much better than April. We probably won't be in 1st place, we'll probably be about 5 games back on Texas. But then something the Angels will start punishing teams and surge ahead through summer. So stay patient, expect another hard month of some ups and a lot of downs. Then expect a good summer.