Ben Zobrist shows the Angels what a home run trot looks like.
Here's an interesting group of clips/links. From reading all of the feeds I get each morning, there are two "feelings" I get from each quote and analysis. The first is optimism. The players seem to know that it's just a matter time that they start hitting and winning ballgames. And they're right, this team is too good to continue to lose. However, there's also an underlying feeling of finger pointing, and most of the fingers are aimed at Halo skipper Mike Sciosica. Here are the links, I did my best to try and not take quotes out of context, but it's up to you to read and feel:
- The ever quotable Torii Hunter is looking to believe: Los Angeles Angels at Tampa Bay Rays - April 25, 2012 - MLB.com. "The Angels' start ties their slowest in club history through 18 games, though the 2002 World Series team also started that way. They previously dropped their first four series for the first time in club history, and now have dropped five of six. They now trail Texas by 8 1/2 games in the American League West. "It's early," Hunter said. "Things can change. We just have to believe that it's going to change."
- But then Hunter adds this quote: Angels' 3-2 loss to Tampa Bay doesn't cut it with Torii Hunter - latimes.com. "I don't think we believe we're trying that hard. We're just going through the motions. We have to do what we're capable of doing. That's everybody; not just the players." That's an interesting quote..."not just the players." For Hunter to say something like this, especially after having a long, closed-door meeting with Scioscia kind of shows the frustration the players have. The article continues with this, "Hunter's remark seemed to be a veiled criticism of Scioscia for not having Maicer Izturis bunt after Hunter and Vernon Wells opened the second with singles. Izturis flied to left. Asked if the game could have changed with some early execution, Hunter said, "You mean if we bunted in the second? What can we do? All we do is play the game." Just like when President Johnson said about the Viet Nam war, "If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost America", if Scioscia has lost Torii Hunter, he's lost the clubhouse.
- The press is also questioning the strategies used by Scioscia last night: Angels, Pujols continue to struggle in 3-2 loss - The Orange County Register. "He has gone through 16 different lineups in 18 games, oddly choosing to search for offensive consistency by changing things on a daily basis. He has seemed to reign in the Angels' aggressive baserunning, only to have two runners caught stealing at the top of innings Wednesday. He has found little reliability in the bullpen, and yet, he left Jason Isringhausen in Wednesday's game long enough to walk four batters and force in a run in the eighth inning. That decision proved costly when the Angels scored an unearned run in the ninth. Then in that ninth as the Angels tried to stage a rally against their one-time (briefly) closer Fernando Rodney, Scioscia turned to Alberto Callaspo as a pinch hitter – looking for a single if Erick Aybar could get into scoring position (he didn't) – and left Mark Trumbo's potential game-changing power on the bench." All of this would be moot if the club were winning, but since they've lost six of 18, each decision is going to be magnified. If the team were winning, each bad decision would be overlooked, but they're not winning, and the bad decisions are one of the reasons.
- Maybe Jerome Williams is the answer: Los Angeles Angels at Tampa Bay Rays - April 26, 2012 - MLB.com Preview. "That's all it is, just not worrying about anything else and just pitch my game. And that's my game -- attack the strike zone," Williams said."
- Time to be optimistic: Don’t forget: April is a small sample - The Hardball Times. "Well, until the games actually start. April's quickly turning into May, and quite a few teams are sitting in their division's cellars, wondering what's wrong. And while it's easy to start worrying after only a few weeks, it's not over yet. Not by a long shot. These first 20 games may be the only sample we have, but remember, it's still a small one. This is baseball. This is the game where the Rockies can win 14 out of their last 15 to sneak into the wild card in 2007. The 2002 Angels won six of their first 20 on the way to a World Series trophy. Does it really matter how a team plays in the first 12 percent of the year? In fact, since 1998 (when MLB expanded to 30 franchises), teams that eventually made the playoffs averaged 11.3 wins over their first 20 games. That's it! Just 11 and change. The teams who missed the playoffs averaged 9.5 over the same timeframe. The difference is basically two games. That's two cleaner throws or two fewer mistake pitches. If you were optimistic before the season, April shouldn't be enough to change your mind."
- Most people counted on Albert Pujols to hit anywhere between 30 and 50 home runs this season. He hasn't all of a sudden forgotten how to hit, those home runs (and doubles) are going to be hit: Pujols still trying to find comfort zone in new place - The Orange County Register. ""Like he says, we're 20 days into it," Isringhausen said. "If we had to stop today then, yeah, he'd worry. It's just a matter of time. It's just a matter of time."
- Here's one of those OC Register click-thru photo things: 10 reasons why Albert Pujols isn’t hitting - The Orange County Register. It's actually pretty good. I agree that Pujols might be a little over anxious and is swinging at pitches he normally would let go by, but I doubt the lack of line-up protection has anything to do with it. Anyway, it could be worse: Rolen hits first homer since July 6, and at least the Halos are mixing in some wins: Royals end 12-game losing streak, beat Indians 8-2 - Yahoo! Sports
- But what's the worse possible scenario? Being a douchebag Rangers' fan: Young Rangers fan cries after inconsiderate neighbors keep baseball for themselves - Yahoo! Sports. "If you act completely oblivious to the child's cries and carry on with your special lady friend — as this adult fan did at the Rangers-Yankees game on Wednesday night — there's a chance your apparent self absorption will land you on every highlight show and blog before you even leave the park."
- It's not like the kids is going to grow up scarred enough having to live in Texas, but good God...Worst People Ever Catch Foul Ball, Refuse To Give It To A Crying Child, Are Vilified By Michael Kay [UPDATE]. "An unfortunate scene unfolded in Arlington tonight as a pair of Rangers fans caught a foul ball tossed into the stands by Mitch Moreland in the eighth inning of Rangers-Yankees, then refused to give the ball to the toddler sitting next to them—instead choosing to pose for pictures and generally behave like douchebags."
- I'm still trying to get over the goofy fuckster from a couple of days ago.
- Some other stuff to feel depressed about: Catching prospect Conger on DL with elbow injury - angels.com. "Angels catching prospect Hank Conger was recently placed on the seven-day Minor League disabled list with a right elbow injury. "Just a light sprain in the elbow," Conger said via text message on Wednesday night. "I'll be good. Should be back in a couple of weeks. Nothing serious."
- Pretty sure Wilson will get his chance today (Thursday): B. Wilson patiently waits to play in hometown - angels.com "Bobby Wilson has been with the Angels since 2008, has appeared in 120 games and spent the entirety of last season in the big leagues. But he has never once played at Tropicana Field. To most, that would be nothing more than a statistical oddity. But it means a lot more to Wilson, who grew up 10 minutes north in Seminole, Fla., where he makes his offseason home, and always has a bunch of friends and family at the stadium when the Angels visit the Rays."
- In case you haven't heard: Athletics Designate Rich Thompson for Assignment - MLB Daily Dish. "Claimed off waivers from the Angels last week, the right-hander pitched just two-thirds of an inning for Bob Melvin's club, surrendering a single along with two fly ball outs." This one baffles me as to why he was released by the Angels in the first place. Something must have happened either physically or whatever for the club to let him go when the bullpen is already such a mess.
- No, they're not talking about Bobby Abreu. Some other dude is old too: Oldest living ex-major leaguer turns 101 - HardballTalk. "Conrado Marrero, a 5-foot-5 pitcher who played for the Washington Senators from 1950-54, turned 101 on Wednesday."
- And finally, words to live by: The Dirty Secrets Of A Sports Arena, As Revealed By A Drunk Stadium Employee Emailing Us At 5:30 P.M.. "2) Be a dick to anyone in a suit. Especially if it's Nick. He's a cunt."
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