Two days until the Angels' season starts. In other words, today is Opening Day Eve eve.
LINKS ARE AFTER THE BREAK...
Dodgers beat Angels 4-1 with 3-run sixth - Yahoo! Sports. "Angels right-hander Ervin Santana worked in and out of trouble for five innings, allowing a run and six hits on 72 pitches. He struck out five and walked one. He finished spring training 1-1 with a 2.08 ERA, and will make his season debut Sunday against Kansas City." Another good outing by an Angels starter. We all know spring training stats don't really mean much, but here are the ERA's of the Halo front-four: Weaver - 5.40, Haren - 2.05, Santana - 2.08, and Wilson - 1.33. An interesting stat from this spring; these four starters combined to throw 82.1 innings so far this spring. In those 82.1 innings they struck out 75 while walking just 17 batters.
- If you've been an Angels fan for any significant length of time, you'll remember a lot of the success the team had in the early 2000's was built on having a strong bullpen. That wasn't the case last season: Is the bullpen still the weak link? - ESPN Los Angeles. "Dipoto has been working the phones fairly aggressively, a source said, to try to dig up pitchers that can secure leads for Angels starters and make the rebuilt offense’s work stand up. "If you said, ‘Would you want to add bullpen depth? Well, of course,’ manager Mike Scioscia said, "but if we don’t, I think we’re in a position where we’re going to be very comfortable if guys just pitch to their potential." Of course he's not going to say, "Geez, some of these guys are really stinking it up. I wish we could bring in some better players." What Scioscia does is talk about the positives...things like depth: Scioscia looking for better days from Izzy - angels.com "I think we are going to be deep in our bullpen," Scioscia said on Tuesday before meeting the Dodgers in the second game of the Freeway Series. "You look at the resurgence of Kevin Jepsen and he's starting to get back to where he was a few seasons ago. "With Jordan Walden, Scott Downs and everyone else down the line, we are going to have depth."
- Abreu might be turning it around at the plate - The Orange County Register. "Manager Mike Scioscia pointed to last Saturday’s 9-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks, in which Abreu started in left field, batted sixth and went 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI — bringing his season total to three. He went 0-for-3 in an 8-1 loss to the Cubs on Sunday; in Monday’s Freeway Series opener, he went 0-for-2 but drew two walks in a 12-3 rout of the Dodgers. "I think he’s feeling more confident," Scioscia said. "Hopefully he’s going to carry it into the season." Abreu went 1-for-3 with a walk in Tuesday night’s 4-1 loss to the Dodgers." Kind of sad when turning it around is going 3 for your last 11.
- Interesting tidbit about working the count and having more strikeouts: Bourjos, Abreu seek comfort zones - ESPN Los Angeles. "In an effort to boost his on-base percentage, Bourjos was trying to get into deeper counts and taking pitches. It actually led to his most persistent bugaboo coming back: strikeouts."I'm prone to strikeouts, so for me getting deeper in counts isn't really good for me," Bourjos said. "I need my at-bats to be more consistent, so I'm working on attacking the ball a little bit earlier."
- Angels option catcher Conger to Triple-A - The Orange County Register. "The Angels will go with Chris Iannetta, who’s hit .256 this spring, and Bobby Wilson, who’s hitting .269, as their catchers. Conger, 24, hit .295 in 18 games for the Angels this spring, getting 13 hits in 44 at-bats, with five RBI." Conger must still need to work on his defense behind the plate, or else the Halos are looking for him to get regular playing time.
- Nice write-up: Angels' C.J. Wilson: Most interesting man in world - The Orange County Register. ""We didn't know anything about C.J. except he was a pitcher for the Rangers," Champagne recalled. "But we hardly ever talked about baseball." Wilson visited their Dallas home and watched Champagne give Micah his daily IV infusion of medications. After the 10-minute treatment, Wilson and Micah began what would become five seasons of regular visits."
- Informative article by Lyle Spencer: Humble Jered Weaver is the true lead dog for the Los Angeles Angels - angels.com. "Weaver increased his strikeouts from 174 in 2009 to an MLB-high 233 in '10 in part because of the return of an old friend: the soft-serve curve. Long in storage, the hook seemed to come out of nowhere, freezing hitters. "I threw the curve my junior year, and when I left Long Beach," Weaver said, "Buckley told me it was going to be a great pitch for me as a pro to keep hitters off my fastball. I probably threw it a little too much my first year. I dropped it halfway through my rookie season  and just stopped throwing it, using the slider and change as my offspeed stuff. When I came back to [the curve, in 2010], it was because the league was adjusting to me."
- I have one question; why is James Earl Jones wearing both suspenders and a belt?
- Usually Napoli is filming other things blowing: Mike Napoli films funnel cloud from dugout at Rangers Ballpark - Yahoo! Sports. "Confirming that fact with actual video evidence from the eye of the storm was none other than Mike Napoli, an amateur cinematographer whose utility to the Texas Rangers knows no bounds."
- Oh man, the guy with the best name for a pitcher now has something to be embarrassed about: Colorado Rockies reliever Josh Outman injures oblique after vomiting - FOX Sports. "According to manager Jim Tracy, Outman sustained the injury from vomiting due to a bout of food poisoning."
- Is it just me or are some people making too big of a deal about Darvish? The guy hasn't thrown an inning in the big leagues and he's already better than a pitcher who had a sub-3.00 ERA last season in one of the most hitter-friendly parks in baseball? Season predictions: Tigers will win World Series; Verlander bags Cy - CBSSports.com
1. Rangers: Before getting to the question of who beats the Rangers in this year's World Series, shouldn't we at least list reasons why Texas can return? Yu Darvish is a rotation upgrade over C.J. Wilson, Neftali Feliz's switch to starter has a high upside, Derek Holland, Alexi Ogando, Josh Hamilton, Mike Napoli ... these Rangers might be better than the past two AL champion teams. And the farm system is loaded with reinforcements.
2. Angels: Best blood feud this side of Yankees-Red Sox is now Angels-Rangers. And if you don’t believe that, C.J. Wilson has a few more phone numbers he can tweet. You know he and Napoli are going to get into a major dustup at some point this summer. The Angels' season-ticket base increased by 13 percent after they signed Albert Pujols, and talk about increased expectations. Even the Rally Monkey thinks Bobby Abreu will be traded soon.
- I don't think so: Sorry, Bud: Padres manager is odds-on favorite to be first manager fired - Yahoo! Sports. "The Bovada Sports Book names Harry Ralston "Bud" Black as the betting favorite to be the first Major League Baseball manager fired in 2012."