Wednesday Halolinks: Bullpen Bumblings Blows Another, Put The Best Team On The Field

"Holy crap! What am I doing here??"

Mid-week, frustrated Halolinks:

Wouldn't it be a bummer if the Angels, after spending all of that money and creating this terrific feeling of positive expectations, let the season get away because of a bad bullpen? Yes, it's only been eleven games, but the tread is already starting to develop: A's rally with 4-run 8th to beat Angels 5-3 - Yahoo! Sports. "The Athletics got a one-out single from Cespedes and a two-out bunt hit from Kurt Suzuki in the seventh before Angels manager Mike Scioscia brought in left-hander Scott Downs to face the left-swinging Barton - leaving Haren with an 85-pitch outing and a bewildered look on his face." It's real easy to second-guess after the fact, but sometimes the second guessing is caused by a head-scratching move that makes almost no sense. Leave an effective Haren in the game, and then use Downs in the 8th or even the 9th. Oh yeah, and then there's this: "Albert Pujols' season-opening home run drought reached 11 games and 45 at-bats. The only other time in his 12-year career that the three-time NL MVP went more than five games before hitting his first homer was 2009, when it took Pujols nine games and 28 at-bats to do it." I still think he's going to hit at least 40 home runs, I just wish he'd get started hitting them out.

Jepsen has appeared in 6 games so far this season. Four of those appearances were pretty good, the other two...not so much: Oakland Athletics at Los Angeles Angels - April 17, 2012 - MLB.com. "Reliever Kevin Jepsen couldn't hold a 2-1 lead, giving up two straight walks with one out, before Coco Crisp hit a sharp RBI single to center and tied the score at 2." Two walks and a sharply hit single. Why was he allowed to face the next batter? "He had good action on his ball, he just couldn't get it into the zone," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He just lost his release point a little bit, and when he got it back, he couldn't put them away." When he finally got it back, the game was lost. If a pitcher "just lost it", during a game isn't the time to look for it. "Someone has to be a part of that back-end pyramid," Scioscia said. "We can't just have Scott Downs being the lone solider going to [Jordan] Walden again. We need some guys to get into that pyramid. Kevin has the stuff to do it but just didn't get it done tonight. We need that consistency that can grow that depth." Angels' bullpen again can't close - The Orange County Register. "We're going to have to have guys form some roles down there (in the bullpen), make pitches and hold leads," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "That's critical for our club."

On this, Mark Saxon and I agree: Bullpen's bumblings test Mike Scioscia - ESPN Los Angeles. "Given a deep, but unwieldy roster, he has been unwilling to pick his best nine hitters and stick with them. Left without a reliable bullpen, he's finding his late-game pitching moves are backfiring."

Game three of their homestand is tonight: Oakland Athletics at Los Angeles Angels - April 18, 2012 - MLB.com Preview. "In 23 career outings against the A's, Santana has set personal bests with 13 wins and a 2.00 ERA (minimum two starts). But something will have to change from his first two outings, as Santana noted he is "mad at the way I've started," with an 0-2 record and a 7.71 ERA."

We give him a lot of shit, mainly for being such a homer when writing about the Seattle Mariners, but everyonehere at Halos Heaven is so glad things are working out for Dave: Baseball analyst Dave Cameron has learned to beat the odds - MLB.com. "The red dots covered Dave Cameron's legs. The purplish bruises crawled up his arms. Cameron hadn't thought much about them. As one of the baseball world's most respected statistical analysts at the age of 29, he knew his data. Those spots were not sun rashes or bug bites or cardboard cuts. They were not the laughable soon-to-fade products of an active Southern lifestyle. No, she knew too well what they were. "Dave, those are petechiae and purpura," she said. "You could have ... " She couldn't take her eyes off his legs. He couldn't keep her from crying as she said it. "Leukemia."

This is frustrating: Patient Trumbo waits for playing time - The Orange County Register. "Out of the lineup were Izturis, coming off two consecutive flawless starts at third and a .462 batting average, and Trumbo, hitting .375 but having committed three errors in his 12 chances at third."We want to get Trumb(o) in there as much as possible," Scioscia said. "Nothing has changed from spring training. ... Right now, there are some guys who look like they are about to break out that we want to keep playing in the lineup." The club is sitting two guys who are hitting the crap out of the ball in order to play to guys who look like they might start hitting. What kind of frickin' logic is that?? Mark Saxon askes the same question: Why is Mark Trumbo sitting again? - ESPN Los Angeles. "He leads the Angels in on-base percentage (.474), slugging (.750) and is tied for the lead in home runs (two) in fewer than half the at-bats of other players on the roster. Yet Mark Trumbo was not in the lineup either of the past two nights. There must be some explanation why a power hitter batting .375 and gradually mastering the art of plate discipline can't get everyday at-bats, right? "You might know more than I do on that one," Trumbo said.

Meanwhile, at least one player is making everyone excited: While Pujols finds his way, Morales ready to get back to running speed - CBSSports.com. "Now, he says, look out. "It felt extremely good," Morales told me through a translator Tuesday. "I haven't hit one in the regular season in a long time. "They're going to come in bunches now." Mark those words, and we'll see if his prediction comes true. "I think you'll see that happen with Albert, too," Hatcher said. "The first couple of games, things kind of clicked off for him. But now he's starting to feel like he did in spring training." Never before at the start of a season has Pujols gone this long without a homer. With a career average of one every 14.3 at-bats, Pujols is now up to 45 homerless at-bats to begin 2012. He's hitting just .267, with four doubles and four RBI over 11 games. The longest homerless drought of his career came last April and May -- a span of 105 at-bats."

Once the bullpen odyssey is cleared up, the leadoff spot will be come the next focus: 3 up, 3 down: A's 5, Angels 3 - - ESPN Los Angeles. "It might be time to slip Erick Aybar out of the leadoff spot for a bit, perhaps even give him a day off. The shortstop is even jumpier than usual at the plate. He has four hits in his last 28 at-bats and he struck out twice, hearing a few boos in the process. Aybar's not exactly setting a bounteous table these days, batting .171 and with two walks all season. Maybe a lineout to the shortstop in his final at-bat will get him going."

How about giving the guy a shot in some lower-leverage situations before putting him out there with the game on the line: Carpenter eager to make impression on Halos - angels.com. ""In the few outings he's had here, he hasn't been intimidated," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He has some deception to his delivery and has a good sinker. That should play well for a guy slotted somewhere in the middle of the bullpen right now. "He'll get a chance to contribute. That's for sure."

MLB releases 2012 draft order - CBSSports. "Major League Baseball officially announced the order for the 2012 draft." The Angels had the 19th pick, but forfeited it to the Cardinals for signing Albert Pujols.

Thanks to these guys for the video: The. Single. Greatest. World Series. Video. Ever. - Cardsdiaspora.com

One of those photo, click-thru things the OC Register is so fond of: A brief history of the bobblehead craze - The Orange County Register. "A brief history of the bobblehead craze | bobblehead, alioto, gate, resurgence, every, obsession, until, cast, kid, thing"

One of those "Good News/Bad News" things: Rangers blast 6 HRs, crush Red Sox 18-3 - NBC Sports
Hamilton's three-run shot in the eighth was one of six homers the Texas Rangers hit in an 18-3 rout of the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday night. Mike Napoli hit a pair of two-run shots to lead the home run derby for the Rangers, who increased their winning streak to five straight. "The ball was carrying pretty good tonight," Hamilton said."

Moyer, 49, oldest pitcher to win MLB game - NBC Sports. "Jamie Moyer showed there remains a place for a vintage lefty in a young man's game as the 49-year-old became the oldest pitcher to ever win a major league contest. He threw seven strong innings and Dexter Fowler hit a two-run homer to help the Colorado Rockies beat the San Diego Padres 5-3 on Tuesday night."

This is a classy move: Opening Day - Mariners.com. "We are offering free tickets for Seattle Mariners home games in April or May, and a credit for concession stands, for all fans who attended Opening Night on Friday, April 13. The offer is a make-good for fans who experienced long lines at concession stands during the game due to a failure of the software system that operates cash registers and processes credit cards at Safeco Field."

You gotta follow your dreams: Meet The Man Who Tried Out To Be A Denver Broncos Cheerleader. "When Sacha Heppell noticed that the Broncos were holding an open call for new cheerleaders last weekend, he decided to give it a go."

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