MORE LINKS AFTER THE BREAK...Top prospect Mike Trout hit a tying RBI single in the ninth and Hank Conger delivered the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly, helping the Angels beat the Dodgers 5-4 Monday night in the opener of the preseason Freeway Series and saddling Don Mattingly with a loss in his first game at Dodger Stadium as a big league manager. Hisanori Takahashi got the win with an inning of two-hit relief and Ryan Brasier got the final two outs for the save. The left-hander has allowed just one earned run this spring in 13 innings. ''I like the fact that he has the confidence to throw any pitch in any count,'' Conger said. ''That's what makes him so effective.'' Box Score
I didn't get a chance to see this game, but when looking over the recap I got a good feeling that the Angels' young talent will be (or already is) fun to watch. Also, did anyone notice how low the attendance was for this game? 19,415 is all. Probably because of the regular season interleague games, but I remember the freeway series being a bigger deal.
2011 Organizational Rankings: #12 – LA Angels - FanGraphs Baseball
Coming off a year that saw the Angels fall to fourth in their five-team division, it may be a little difficult to appreciate the run of success they’ve had.
I like FanGraphs, I really do, but when this is the first sentence in a continuing organization ranking article it makes me think someone's not paying attention to their content. And if they aren't, why should I?
Angels FYI: Mark Trumbo swinging a big bat but may have only a midsized role - latimes.com
Trumbo leads the Angels with six homers and 20 RBIs this spring, but Manager Mike Scioscia won't commit to him as the everyday first baseman in injured Kendrys Morales' absence. Scioscia likes the infield defense when Howie Kendrick is at first.
Mark Trumbo may share time at first base for the Angels. Because of defense. - HardballTalk
Look, the example of Brandon Wood is proof that, no, you can’t trust everyone who rakes at Salt Lake City to be good in the majors. But really: is Mike Scioscia truly going to make his decision of who plays at first base based on defense?
SERIOUSLY? Are we going to go through this shit again? Does Scioscia have something against home runs? I get it, defense is important, but isn't defense at first base the least important position? Why reduce your team's run scoring ability, especially when it isn't that strong to begin with, for defense at first base? I may be making more of this than it truly is. Trumbo hasn't done anything in the major leagues yet, so sitting him in favor of Kendrick may be moot.
Scioscia won’t say first-base job belongs to Trumbo - The Orange County Register
Downs will start the season on the DL. But Monday's progress makes the Angels optimistic that they will be able to add the left-hander to their bullpen soon. A DL move to start the season can be backdated to March 22, making Downs eligible to return as early as April 6 if he is ready.
Within another Trumbo not starting article, I found this tidbit about Downs. Looks like he'll be back a lot sooner than what I expected.
Time for PREDICTIONS:
2011 staff predictions - The Hardball Times
Since spring training is starting to wind down, we at The Hardball Times' office decided to gather around at the break room and boldly make some predictions for the 2011 season.
AL West Preview - baseballmusings.com
It’s unusual to see the pitching staff with a higher WAR than the position players, but the Angels accomplished that. Part of the problem is the injury status of Kendrys Morales puts Mark Trumbo at first base. If he should be there an extended length of time, it’s likely the offense will suffer. On top of that, there’s a huge downside to Vernon Wells. He did play well in 2010, but his record since signing his big contract is less than stellar. Penciling him in as a 4.0 WAR player is quite optimistic.
2011 Division Previews: AL West - Baseball Daily Digest
The strength of this team is the starting pitching, led by a pair of aces in Jered Weaver and Dan Haren. The supporting cast is represented by the occasionally-great Ervin Santana and the innings-munching Joel Pineiro, plus the hope that Scott Kazmir can recapture a hint of his former self. As a franchise, the Angels have consistently put together shutdown bullpens, but this year’s relief corps is a glaring weakness, from shaky closer Fernando Rodney on down to the pseudo-Francisco Rodriguez. The Angels will need some peak performances to contend in the West, but their roster has the upside to regain their crown.
More Predictions That Will Be Wrong - FanGraphs Baseball
3. The Rangers will win the American League West by 10+ games.
It's not that Dave Cameron didn't pick the Angels, it's that he completely wrote-off Oakland that makes this prediction seem so bad to me.
2011 predictions thread - Angels blog - The Orange County Register
7. Lowest ERA on the staff goes to Michael Kohn.
Halowood is making some predictions in the OCR comment section. One man's lust for another can be a beautiful thing.
Five questions: California Angels - The Hardball Times
Prediction: 79 wins, third place AL West, no Mike Trout debut until 2012, a June draft featuring more college players taken in early rounds than qualify for this year’s Rhodes Scholarship, a panic late-summer trade for an overpaid "difference-maker" who blends in, performs well but doesn’t make a difference and then Reagins gets fired. Hey, a fan can dream can’t he?
You may have heard of this guy before. 79 wins, huh?
Ervin Santana adds to his arsenal - ESPN Los Angeles
Santana finished his spring with a 2.42 ERA and will make his season debut Saturday in Kansas City. He credits Haren with helping him master the split-finger grip. Haren has one of the best split-finger pitches in baseball.
We've talked about this before, ESPN just now getting the story.
Belinsky's legacy short on pitching victories but long on cool - ReviewJournal.com
In between, he won 28 games in the major leagues and lost 51. On May 5, 1962, Bo pitched the first no-hitter at Dodger Stadium, the first no-hitter in the brief history of the Los Angeles Angels, when he hypnotized Baltimore Orioles bats, 2-0. That made him sort of famous.
Interesting story about the former Halo hurler.
Ten things I didn’t know about the original AL expansion teams - The Hardball Times
Given the Angels' better overall record, it shouldn't come as much surprise that they have the edge in their overall series: 393-368. As it happens, the Angels are the club the Rangers have played the most times. However, the Angels have played the A's more times than anyone else. That's a bit odd, but it's because the Rangers played in the AL East for a little while when they were the Senators while California and Oakland have always been in the same division.
The Hardball Times is becoming one of my favorite sites simply because they consistently feature interesting stories that are well written.
Yankee Stadium parking prices hiked more than 50% - HardballTalk
Mark Feinsand of the Daily News tweeted yesterday that the price to park at Yankee Stadium was just raised from $23 to $35. I have two reactions to this, with the second reaction more or less trumping the first one:
1. Wow, that’s a big hike. It’s hard to justify that kind of an increase as anything other than a cash grab; and
2. What on God’s green Earth are you doing driving to Yankee Stadium? I mean, really.
$35? You can buy a couple of pretty good tickets to an Angels game for $35.
Tech-savvy Major League Baseball can do more to promote players - FOX Sports
Bob Bowman, the CEO of MLB Advanced Media (BAM) predicts that fans eventually will connect to the game in three ways — at the ballpark, through their home televisions and on wireless devices such as phones, laptops and tablets. The sport, by offering a massive amount of content — 4,860 games each regular season — is perfectly positioned to reach a huge Internet audience.
Sure, once they get rid of their stupid blackout policy!
Stew Book Review: ‘Solid Fool’s Gold’ by Bill James - - Yahoo! Sports
This book is inessential fun. It's mostly about baseball, but there are a few pieces about other topics, like red light cameras, the TSA, and tipping — which James believes will soon be illegal, for reasons he explains.
Just thought I'd pass this along.
March 29 - BR Bullpen
Events, births and deaths that occurred on March 29.
1867 - Denton True "Cy" Young is born in Gilmore, a tiny village near Newcomerstown, Ohio. Young will earn his nickname for his cyclone-like pitching motion and he will win (and lose) more games than any pitcher in major league history with a 511-316 record and a 2.63 ERA over 22 seasons. Young will win 20 or more games 15 times, and top the 30-win mark five times. He will be elected to the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers Association of America in 1937, with 153 votes on 201 ballots. Forty-eight writers didn't vote for Cy Young. This boggles my mind.
1933 - Chicago Cubs outfielder Kiki Cuyler breaks his leg and will miss nearly three months of the season. Cuyler also missed half of last season when he broke his other leg. Hey Kendrys, don't even think about it.
1962 - Billy Beane, outfielder; General Manager