That's it, Albert Pujols CAN NOT take a day off this season:
- I'm going to try and put a positive spin of the Angels' loss yesterday...the Mariners open the season in Japan against the Oakland A's and have been in camp a few days longer than the rest of the league. This means their players are closer to "game shape" than their Halo counterparts. Yeah, I know...whatever: Mariners 6, Angels 4 - FOX Sports. ''I'm just trying to get a feel of that flow again,'' Weaver said. ''It's easy to get amped up and get rushed out there.'' Weaver finished second in the AL Cy Young race in 2011 after going 18-8 with a 2.41 ERA , only the fourth time in Angels history a pitcher has won at least 18 games and had an ERA lower than 2.50 in a season." Can you name the three other instances where an Angels pitcher won at least 18 games with an ERA under 2.50?
- It was reported last week that Jordan Walden was going to try and incorporate a changeup into his game repertoire: Mariners defeat Angels, 6-4 - latimes.com. "Closer Jordan Walden followed Weaver and threw a scoreless third inning, giving up an infield single, striking out one and throwing several good changeups." Adding a change to this 100+ MPH fastball might take the Angels' closer to elite status.
- A lot of Trumbo news today: Trumbo has quiet first day at third - The Orange County Register. "Trumbo expects to be cleared for full participation in games this weekend. He welcomes the chance to swing the bat in games again but admitted he will "make a conscious effort" to separate his offense and defense this season. That could be a challenge with the Angels possibly moving him around to as many as five different positions (first base, third base, right field, left field and DH) in an effort to get him playing time this season."
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- I don't know if I agree with the statement that Trumbo's play at third is the key to the Angels' season. I think the health of Kendrys Morales is much more important to the Angels success, with the bullpen's performance a close second. This post did have a couple of interesting tidbits though: Angels camp report: Trumbo's switch to third key this season -CBSSports.com. "That morning, Trumbo awoke in California to find his phone flooded with text messages. At first, he wondered if he had been traded, and just hadn't been told about it yet. Then he realized that Pujols had signed. "As a lifelong Angels fan, I was as happy as anyone," he said. "I also knew he plays the same position as I do -- or as I did." In baseball, the initial thought was that the Angels would look to trade Trumbo, but they quickly said they had no plans to do so. Scioscia called Trumbo later that day to tell him the same thing. It was what Trumbo wanted to hear. "I grew up 10 minutes away [from Angel Stadium]," he said. "This is the place I want to be." Thus, he became a third baseman."
- And speaking of third basemen: Positional Power Rankings: Third Base - FanGraphs Baseball. "Mark Trumbo is a sabermetric nightmare. He has gobs of power but no plate discipline and iffy defense. Putting him at third will only exacerbate the situation — and yet, if he can fake it with the glove at his new position, there’s a chance he could… approach the 3.6 wins Callaspo managed there last year. Maybe. With a new, more stat-friendly sheriff-GM in town, this configuration seems highly unlikely, and yet it’s the one that’s being proffered to us. If it’s Callaspo all year, maybe you can move them up a few slots. Third base is not a position of strength for this otherwise contending team." FanGraphs also has other positional power rankings posted.
- He's just going to have to get used to pitching with a lead: Jered Weaver says he'll miss Jeff Mathis - ESPN Los Angeles. "After throwing to new catcher Chris Iannetta for the first time spring, Weaver acknowledged it's not going to be easy. "I’m definitely going to miss Jeff. When you’ve had that kind of relationship with somebody, you pretty much know what each other’s thinking and what each other wants to do," Weaver said. "It’s going to be a little different, no doubt about it, when you get a new guy -- the way he catches a ball, the way he sets up, the way he calls a game." The color of his eyes, his smile, the way he throws to first on a stolen base attempt.
- Here's something I hadn't thought of -- in my comments above I mention the bullpen's performance being an important factor in the Angels' success this season, but I had forgotten that the Angel's GM was a former bullpen guy himself: Work doesn't stop after busy winter for Jerry Dipoto - angels.com. ""We're going with what we've got," Dipoto said. "It may not be a star-studded cast, but this is generally how you build a bullpen -- you find all the mix-and-match components in the bullpen, you find different experiences and you put a group of guys together. That world I know fairly well." (Emphasis mine).
- 6-foot-5? I wonder if he has to get his skirts custom-made? Texas Rangers' Yu Darvish has an enigmatic start - latimes.com. "This is what the Padres learned about him Wednesday: He's tall and he throws hard. Padres second baseman Orlando Hudson said he was surprised by how tall the 6-foot-5 Darvish looked in person. "When I got to the plate, I was like, 'Damn, who the hell is this?'" Hudson said. Darvish's fastball touched 95 mph, prompting Venable to compare him to baseball's elite pitchers. "His stuff is right up there with those guys," Venable said."
- I get feeds from Deadspin mainly for the crazy shit they publish, but when they start quoting PitchFX data, I get a little freaked out: The Data Behind Yu Darvish's Brief But Devastating Debut - Deadspin. "There are several graphs here which break down his 36 pitches (including 26 strikes) on the day, which led to three strikeouts and two hits. Most notable is the third graph, which shows the five swinging strikes below the strike zone, and the average pitch data, which shows a 14 mph difference between his max fastball and curveball." Hey Deadspin, we've got many other sites that can analyze this stuff, so please just stick with goofy stuff like this: Marlins President Calls Miamians Stupid, Jose Reyes Greedy, "If you know anything about the sweetheart deal the city gave the Marlins to build a new stadium, you know team president David Samson basically bent Miami over a pinball machine and had his way with it. But he's far from done with the humiliation—with his remarks to a gathering of local business leaders yesterday, Samson essentially tossed Miami five bucks for cab fare and told it to clean itself up." And this, Peyton Manning Leaves Insanely Good Tips At Restaurants, "When the bill came just before 10 p.m., Peyton ponied up an extra $200 on top of the already-included 18 percent gratuity. So yeah, even though his days with the Colts are over, Peyton's making friends everywhere he goes. Something tells me he'll be alright." Otherwise I'll have to start perusing TMZ (and I don't want to resort to that).
- This is pretty cool: Tim Lincecum impersonator faces Tim Lincecum - Yahoo! Sports. "The 20-something Phillies fan had won a Red Bull-sponsored contest that aimed to find the best impersonator of Tim Lincecum's trademark delivery and rewarded him with a chance to step in the box against the San Francisco Giants pitcher."
- Does this mean he's available? The Lineup Card: 10 Choices for 2012 Declines - Baseball Prospectus. "If this is a new skill and Granderson is a new player, then I'm wrong and he won't regress. But, at least for the purposes of this article, I'm betting that the Granderson who hit 20 homers against lefties over six seasons is still in there, wearing a hockey mask, holding some serrated utensil, lurking behind the kitchen door, waiting for the new Granderson, the one who hit 16 homers versus lefties last year, to saunter down for a 3 a.m. sandwich in his PJs."
- Kind of late in the season for one of these lists, they're usually posted during the dreary, slow news days of December/January: Jeff Polman: The Top 25 Baseball Books for Your Desert Island - Huffington Post. "21. Crazy '08 by Cait Murphy Two volumes about the same 1908 season made the list, and this one includes all the drama of the less-reported but equally contentious American League race, won by the Tigers. Murphy, a graduate of Amherst College and editor at Fortune Magazine, is a fine writer and researcher, and pulls off the neat trick of telling most of the story in the present tense to give it a refreshing immediacy." I'm currently reading this one...not too bad. Still one of my favorites that doesn't make many lists is "If I Never Get Back" by Darryl Brock.
- $63,000,000.00 seems like a little much to just release: Who Could Be Released This Year? - MLBTradeRumors.com. "Vernon Wells, Angels: three years, $63MM. The contract gives Wells first crack as the Angels' starting left fielder. With Mike Trout waiting in the wings, Wells needs to produce in the first half. Bobby Abreu, owed $9MM this year, seems more likely to be traded than released." More like Wells becomes the worlds most expensive part-time employee.
- After tossing an Angel's scout and this, are the Giants a bunch of whiners? A's Make Statement: Let Us Move To San Jose - Baseball Nation.
- This is funny: