Dodger Goofs Make Angels Night, Bullpen Help On the Way?  Halolinks

Dodgers get blunder struck on basepaths as Angels win again in Freeway Series - LA Daily News
One second, the Dodgers are celebrating what looks like a tying hit in the ninth inning. The next, Russell Martin is slamming his helmet to the ground after being tagged out before that run could score. So the Angels' mastery of the Dodgers continued Wednesday with a 2-1 victory at Angel Stadium and they can finish off this season's second three-game sweep of their rivals tonight. "I guess you see something new every day in the game," Angels starter Joel Pineiro said. "That's amazing." Pineiro (7-6) had pitched the Angels to their one-run lead and reliever Brian Fuentes was trying to put it away, but he wasn't making it easy. Pineiro gave up six hits and a run in the first three innings but that was it.  "Early in the ballgame I was getting the ball up a little bit," Pineiro said. "And then after that I started to get the ball down and that's when the ground balls started to come." Pineiro retired 14 batters in a row before walking Andre Ethier with one out in the eighth inning.  Kevin Frandsen, the Angels' hottest hitter, bounced a double over first base to open the fourth inning. He took third on a groundout then scored when Furcal, playing in with a runner on third, couldn't handle Torii Hunter's ground ball. Frandsen, delivering relief help while infielders Erick Aybar and Maicer Izturis recover from injuries, has hit safely in 16 of his last 19 games and the Angels are 17-8 in games he has appeared this season.

Weird game, that's for sure, but I get the feeling the Angels got (and I hate to use the word...) lucky last night.  I'm not too sure Fuentes didn't balk on his pick off of Kemp, Martin might have been safe on the play that ended the game, and the club is fortunate Reed Johnson didn't run full-speed.  I'm not saying the Angels didn't deserve to win the game, they did just based on Pineiro's performance...and in spite of another Brian "I got the save so I must be pitching good" Fuentes lob-toss inning.  Here are the highlights:  Rivera throws behind runner, seals the win - Juan Rivera throws behind the runner on second following a single and gets the last out of a one-run game in the top of the ninth, Fuentes gets a huge pickoff in the ninth - Brian Fuentes gets a big out in the ninth inning of a one-run game by picking Matt Kemp off of second base, Frandsen scores on Furcal's fielding error - Kevin Frandsen scores a run on Rafael Furcal's fielding error, tying the game at 1 in the bottom of the fourth inning, Napoli gets ball caught in webbing of glove - Mike Napoli makes a great stop on a hard ground ball by Andre Ethier, but the ball gets jammed in the webbing of his glove.

Dodgers-Angels Preview - 6/24/10 - FOX Sports on MSN
Offensive woes have plagued the Dodgers, as they've plated 15 runs while batting .164 with runners in scoring position during their skid. Breaking out of this funk against Scott Kazmir (7-5, 5.08 ERA) likely won't be easy. Kazmir has posted a 2.35 ERA in winning his four starts this month, yielding two runs or fewer in each outing. This stretch includes a 4-2 victory over the Dodgers on June 12, when the left-hander allowed two runs, three hits and four walks in five innings. The Dodgers counter with knuckleballer Charlie Haeger, who is expected to be activated from the disabled list. Haeger (0-4, 8.53) missed most of May while on the DL with plantar fasciitis in his right foot, and hasn't pitched since June 7 because of a sprained right toe. The right-hander recorded a 13.14 ERA in losing his last four starts for Los Angeles, but is coming off an encouraging rehab start for Triple-A Albuquerque, throwing six scoreless innings Sunday.

 

Relief on the way... and Aybar still in a holding pattern -  ESPN Los Angeles
Reliever Jason Bulger has been one of the Angels' steadiest relievers this year, and he could be close to helping them bridge the gap from the starters to closer Brian Fuentes again. Bulger has been playing catch without pain in his right shoulder and he said he could get back on a mound by Friday. If all goes well, he could return from the disabled list by next week.Shortstop Erick Aybar, meanwhile, has not engaged in any baseball activities since receiving a cortisone injection Tuesday. The Angels still haven't decided whether or not they'll put him on the DL.

Another interesting bullpen development could be happening with the performance of Daniel Cabrera (see link below).

Angels' Bobby Wilson doesn't make waves - latimes.com
There is credible evidence to support the rookie catcher — the Angels are 10-1 in his 11 starts, their pitchers combining for a 2.53 earned-run average in those games."I would like to think there is a correlation — the guys I've caught have pitched well," Wilson said. "But I don't want to look into it too much. The bottom line is to try to keep the team close to give the offense a chance."

An intriguing arm to keep an eye on at double-A Arkansas: Daniel Cabrera, a 6-9 right-hander who signed a minor league deal with the Angels in mid-June. Known for his blazing fastball and control problems, Cabrera had 674 strikeouts and 520 walks in 892 1/3 innings over six big league seasons, five with the Baltimore Orioles. The Angels are converting Cabrera to a reliever, and he has a 2.57 ERA in seven innings, with six strikeouts and three walks. "The arm strength is there," Scioscia said. "There are some delivery things we're looking at."

It's only been 7 innings, but how huge would a Cabrera transformation be to the Angels pen?  Throw in a rejuvenated Scot Shields and the pen would be stocked with dominating relief...minus Fuentes.

The Baserunning Blunder In Anaheim - FanGraphs Baseball
We can clearly see in the video that he picks up his speed a little bit more than halfway between home and third. This one is pretty simple to me – Reed Johnson just didn’t run it out, and if he had, the Dodgers might still be playing in Anaheim.

Interesting analysis from FanGraphs (although the headline kind of bothers me).  A lot of pictures, something I like.

Baseball ain't easy  - The Orange County Register
The cliché has a special part in baseball history, and one of the best movies about the sports, "Bull Durham" devotes an entire scene to "taking it one game at a time."But when you ask a ball player what's the single hardest thing to do on the diamond, and the answers start to change.The clichés are replaced by thoughtful responses, highlighting some specific plays and some of the mental challenges of being a professional baseball player.

A good write-up by Dan Woike as he provides a unique look at some Angel players. 

Plate discipline made Yankees' Robinson Cano a breakout player - Tom Verducci - SI.com
Is there another Robinson Cano in the majors right now -- a good, young hitter who can reach an elite level by "learning" better plate discipline? Chances are, given that most patient hitters are born and not made, the answer is no. But here are four candidates who could be the next breakout hitter like Cano, if they improve their plate discipline:3. Howie Kendrick, Los Angeles Angels. Kendrick posted a .403 OBP in the minors, but that was more a function of a ridiculously high batting average (.360) than it was command of the strike zone. In the majors, he is "only" a .297 hitter and his OBP is an unacceptable .328. Kendrick has drawn just 52 unintentional walks in 1,692 plate appearances. Without the abilities to draw walks and hit for power, Kendrick is a below-average player.

Howie Kendrick may win a batting title one day.  You heard it here first.

Report says Valentine is Marlins' choice - CBSSports.com
Could Bobby Valentine be the Marlins manager by next week? The New York Daily News ' Mark Feinsand cites an anonymous source saying Florida owner Jeffrey Loria has already settled on the former Mets manager. Feinsand cites a source "with knowledge of the Marlins' thinking." "I'd say it's about 95 percent that it will be Valentine," the mysterious source told Feinsand. "Loria has already told him he's his guy." It would make sense, Valentine is reportedly friends with Loria and as soon as Fredi Gonzalez was fired, Valentine pulled his name from consideration for the Orioles' position.

Loria's expectations for the Marlins are too high -  FOX Sports on MSN
It was Loria — not Gonzalez, not president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest — who set ridiculous expectations for this team in spring training, saying he expected to make the playoffs and proclaiming, “We’ve got all the ammunition we need.” All the ammunition that the Marlins could buy with their $57 million Opening Day payroll, the fifth lowest in the majors — and remember, it took union intervention to ensure that the Marlins spent that much. So now Gonzalez is gone, despite increasing the Marlins’ win total from 71 to 84 to 87 in his three full seasons. Gone, too, are bench coach Carlos Tosca and hitting coach Jim Presley — the latter even though the Marlins rank fourth in the NL in runs per game, with shortstop Hanley Ramirez performing below his usual levels.

At least he didn't hire someone to send positive energy to his team through the television.

New Strasburg rookie-card auction goes north of $100,000 - Big League Stew -  Yahoo! Sports
If you click on over to eBay, you'll find that the Stephen Strasburg "Red Autograph" 2010 Bowman card has received 142 bids and is currently scheduled to sell for $101,000. But the auction doesn't end until next Monday, so that eye-popping price will likely soar higher.

When I posted this article, the price was already up to $113,201.  Oh, and the other Strasburg card that recently sold on ebay is back up for auction and is at $21,200.

Bugs & Cranks » Does Somebody Have a Case of the Grumpies?
But back to the story, Fielder was hit by a Brian Duensing pitch that glanced off of his right hand, to which the linebacker first baseman dropped his bat and stared off into the seats behind the plate, as if to calm himself. Fielder then took a peek into the Twins dugout before offering a bit of a stare toward Minnesota’s reliever.

Typical write-up, right?  This post goes on to talk about intensity and game situation, but then this happens...

Get the chip off your shoulder, and get your big ass out of the way when the ball is coming at you. No one is trying to send a message to your Jerome Bettis-lookin’ ass, they’re all scared of you, not just because you are the size of a small car, but because you clearly can’t control your discontent in any baseball-related situation, and half the time are in possession of a blunt object. How ’bout this, concentrate on getting the ol’ average above .260 and reach 30 RBI on the year, and then worry about who may or may not be throwing at you, your majesty.

Holy crap, does someone have a case of the grumpies?  Dislike fat ballplayers?  Milwaukee Brewers?  Geez, it's not like Fielder did anything other than look around and then trot down to first base.

Hooray for Mollywood! - Wherein Molly Lawless delights and entertains with comics, illustrations, and other foolishness.

I stumbled upon this blog/website yesterday and found this awesome baseball comic (and other cool stuff):  The Senators' Last Stand. 

June 24 - BR Bullpen
1964 - University of Wisconsin star slugger Rick Reichardt signs with the Angels. He receives the biggest bonus to that point, an estimated $200,000. The signing is one reason that the amateur draft is put into place to try to level the playing field and hold the line on bonuses.
1972 - Culminating a long battle to reach pro baseball, Bernice Gera umpires the first game of a doubleheader between Auburn and Geneva (New York-Pennsylvania League). Several disputes take place and she ejects the Auburn manager, Nolan Campbell. Gera resigns before the 2nd game, leaving in tears, saying resentment from the other umps was a factor in her decision. She will later work in the Mets PR department.  (insert "there's no crying in baseball" quote here...oh, wait, I just did)
1983 - Milwaukee's Don Sutton strikes out Alan Bannister in the 8th inning of a 3 - 2 win over Cleveland to become the 8th pitcher in ML history with 3,000 career strikeouts. County Stadium is packed with 46,037 fans for the game, mostly to welcome back popular OF Gorman Thomas, who was traded to Cleveland earlier this month. (Sorry, but any time Alan Bannister is mentioned it gets posted here...even when he strikes out)
1999 - The Angels defeat the Mariners, 12 - 7, as 2B Randy Velarde and DH Mo Vaughn both go 5-for-6. Velarde homers and drives home four runs, while Vaughn homers twice and brings home 6.
2009 - Vladimir Guerrero hits his first home run since April 12 in Los Angeles' 11 - 3 win over the Colorado Rockies, who lose their second straight after winning 17 of their previous 18 games. Guerrero and Bobby Abreu drive in 3 runs each for the Angels and Joe Saunders picks up the win while Jason Marquis fails in his bid to become the majors' first 10-game winner.
Happy b-day:
1971 - Chip Glass, minor league outfielder (one of the best baseball names ever)

One day, we'll write sonnets about Joel Pineiro:

Los Angeles Dodgers
Rafael Furcal, SS 4 0 0 0 0 1 0 .298
Andre Ethier, RF 3 1 2 0 1 0 0 .325
Manny Ramirez, DH 4 0 1 0 0 1 2 .299
James Loney, 1B 4 0 1 0 0 1 3 .297
Matt Kemp, CF 4 0 1 1 0 0 2 .258
Garret Anderson, LF 3 0 0 0 0 1 2 .193
   a- Ronnie Belliard, PH 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 .267
    Reed Johnson, PR 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .296
Casey Blake, 3B 4 0 1 0 0 2 2 .259
Russell Martin, C 3 0 0 0 1 0 0 .250
Blake DeWitt, 2B 3 0 0 0 0 1 1 .267
   b- Jamey Carroll, PH 1 0 1 0 0 0 2 .285
Totals 34 1 8 1 2 7    
a-singled for G. Anderson in the 9th
b-singled for DeWitt in the 9th
Batting
2B - Matt Kemp (14, Pineiro)
RBI - Matt Kemp (39)
2-OUT RBI - Matt Kemp (12)
PK - Matt Kemp (1, Fuentes)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Furcal-DeWitt-Loney, DeWitt-Furcal-Loney
E - Rafael Furcal 2 (10, Misplayed grounder)
Los Angeles Angels
Howard Kendrick, 2B 4 0 1 1 0 0 0 .280
Kevin Frandsen, 3B 3 1 1 0 1 0 1 .351
Bobby Abreu, RF 3 0 0 0 1 2 3 .267
Torii Hunter, CF 4 0 0 1 0 1 3 .283
Hideki Matsui, DH 2 0 0 0 1 1 1 .259
Juan Rivera, LF 3 0 1 0 0 1 2 .242
Mike Napoli, 1B 3 1 1 0 0 1 2 .249
    Robb Quinlan, 1B 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .121
Jeff Mathis, C 3 0 0 0 0 1 0 .292
Brandon Wood, SS 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 .174
Totals 27 2 4 2 3 8    
Batting
2B - Kevin Frandsen (8, Ely), Mike Napoli (12, Ely)
SH - Brandon Wood (5)
RBI - Howard Kendrick (48), Torii Hunter (51)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Juan Rivera 1
E - Brandon Wood (7, Throwing)
 
Los Angeles Dodgers
John Ely (L,3-5) 7 3 2 1 2 6 0 3.86
Jonathan Broxton 1 1 0 0 1 2 0 0.89
Pitches-Strikes - John Ely 97-58, Jonathan Broxton 24-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - John Ely 11-4, Jonathan Broxton 1-0
Batters Faced - John Ely 26, Jonathan Broxton 5
Los Angeles Angels
Joel Pineiro (W,7-6) 7.1 6 1 1 1 5 0 4.21
Kevin Jepsen (H,16) 0.2 0 0 0 0 1 0 4.81
Brian Fuentes (S,12) 1 2 0 0 1 1 0 5.59
Pitches-Strikes - Joel Pineiro 100-59, Kevin Jepsen 10-6, Brian Fuentes 19-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Joel Pineiro 10-7, Brian Fuentes 1-0
Batters Faced - Joel Pineiro 29, Kevin Jepsen 2, Brian Fuentes 5
 
Game Information
Attendance - 41001
Game Time - 2:31
Temperature - 71
Umpires - Home - Mike DiMuro, First Base - Tim Welke, Second Base - Jim Reynolds, Third Base - Bill Welke
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