Well, it was a busy week, was it not? Jered Weaver's back (see what I did there?), Jerome Williams is out, Garrett Richards is in, Mike Trout arrives on the stats boards, David Pauley is long gone. Meanwhile, we had two very rare sightings: one) Peter Bourjos, and two) the Kendrys Morales home run stroke. The Angels continue to burn through some of the best competition in the Major Leagues while the Texas Rangers take a month off to play exhibition games.
The Dodgers drag their sorry infestation of Steve Garvey fan base wannabes down the 5 freeway for a weekend road series after losing 6 of their last 9, 2 of which came at the steady hands of SoCal's finest professional baseball franchise - your Los Angeles Angels. Yes, folks, it's time to force the provincials from the Western Smog Zone to venture down and dip their toes behind The Orange Curtain once again. And just in time for yet another thrashing as their 2012 magical fairy dust continues to wear off and those Thinking Blue are learning about the meaning of the word "regression". The only good news for Dodger fans is that the entire NL West division has been taking a shellacking, predominantly by their superior cousins in the American League.
Dumb Laws Throughout Dodger Country: It is illegal to drive more than two thousand sheep down Hollywood Boulevard at one time..........In Hermosa Beach, public restrooms must be supplied with toilet paper, and no person may show his or her buttocks on a playground..........In Glendale, dogs are not allowed on elevators, it is illegal to jump into a moving car, and cars are not allowed to be driven in reverse..........In Long Beach, cars are the only things allowed in garages, and it is illegal to curse while playing mini-golf..........In LA, it is illegal to bathe two babies in the tub at the same time, toads are not to be licked, and dogs are not allowed to mate within 500 yards of a church. Oh, and crying on the witness stand is illegal, despite TV dramas..........In Baldwin Park it is illegal to ride a bicycle in a swimming pool..........In Pasadena, secretaries must not be alone in a room with her boss. (I have no idea as to what's allowed or not when it's HIS boss.)
Status Update---Rangers Accelerating, But On A Downhill Glide: In a short exchange with Caseys Kiss of Death the other night, I was inspired to look out at the future opponents of the Rangers and was appalled. Their so-called "Strength Of Schedule" since they faced the Giants on June 10th is pretty much a long holiday vacation. For comparison sake, when I did the math a couple of nights ago, the Rangers have 15 series left on their schedule against teams currently playing .500 ball or better, with 50 games against those teams. And the average per game opponent record average is .490. Meanwhile, the Angels have 19 series left on their schedule against teams currently playing .500 ball or better, with 60 games against those teams. And the average per game opponent record average is .526. All of which makes hagiographies such as this quite revolting.
Angels Pitching Report: The Halos pitching staff currently leads the AL in ERA, with the fewest Runs Scored, the fewest Home Runs Allowed, the third lowest Batting Average Against, and the fourth lowest WHIP. Meanwhile, Scott Downs and Ernesto Frieri have the best combined ERA of any MLB reliever pair: 0.67.
C.J. Wilson - The better of the two huge off-season signings so far this year, suprisingly, is CJ. Even more surprisingly, Wilson is starting to pop up in Cy Young forecasts instead of Jered Weaver, and Wilson is showing up near the top. (Just Google c.j. wilson +"cy young" to see more references for yourself). But they sure are bitter back in Dallas: "He was condescending and thinks he's smarter than everyone else".
Mike Trout, Bigger News Than You Think: Check out this phrase from a Fantasy Baseball site: "I was watching the -A's game last night and the A's announcers were talking about outfielder . One of them said that Trout will be an MVP candidate." This was at the time that, over in Anaheim, Trout was busy going 4 for 4 against the Giants. The A's announcers, while broadcasting a Dodger game, were scoreboard watching and following the adventures of Mike Trout. Think about that for a while...
Mike Trout, Overnight Sensation: Aaaaaaand, right on cue, as soon as the NBA Finals are concluded and the end to the Miami Heat Love-Fest has an end in sight, EastSPiN turns their bandwagon machine to Mike Trout, putting him and Trumbo on their MLBfront page and then taking Trout and his MVP candidacy (!) behind their pay wall.
Howie Kendrick, More Frustrating Than You Think: Jeff Miller over at the OC Register shares with us a Sports Illustrated magazine poll of the players where Howie comes in as the second most underrated position player in all of Major League Baseball. Clearly I need to reconsider my stance that the ASG vote should be conducted exclusively by the players.
Mark Trumbo: Bill Shaikin tweets something interesting. Mark Trumbo has belted 46 home runs in his first 779 at-bats in the major leagues and, by way of comparison, Albert Pujols ("The Greatest Hitter Of Our Generation") hit 47 home runs in his first 779 AB's. By the way, Trumbo is on pace to hit 20 homers and garner 60 RBI before the All-Star break. Only two two players in the history of the Angels have done that with a .315 average or better: Garret Anderson in 2003 and Vlad Guerrero in 2004.
Erick Aybar: Our favorite knucklehead as raised his BA 25 points over the past 10 games to .245, garnering hits in 9 of those and riding a 7 game hitting streak. While we are at it, Aybar leads the Majors with 20 infield hits this season, as well as with 11 bunt base hits.
Jean Segura: Segura will be the only prospect from the Angels minor league system to be going to The Futures Game. Personally, after being spoiled by Trout/Harper, the only reason I would go out of my way to watch this particular episode would be to watch Billy Hamilton, the super-duper-speedy kid in the Cincinnati Reds organization.
eBay Fun Find Of the Week: Vintage 1951 Pacific Coast League Los Angeles Angels autographed baseball. "Baseball signed by 10 members of the 1951 Los Angeles Angels including Bill Moisan, Doyle Lade, Bob Spicer, Ed Chandler, Dewey Adkins and a very light Max West. The other autographs are too light to make out although I think Jess Dobernic is on the sweet spot along with another player or coach". A quick check of BBR Minor League DB for this squad shows that these were from the pitching staff that season.
AS USUAL AND CUSTOMARY, LOTS MORE FUN STUFF AFTER THE JUMP!
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. LA Angels @ Angels Stadium - 7:05 PM Start (FS-W)
Chad Billingsley (R) 4-5 3.75 ERA vs.Dan Haren (R) 4-7 3.97 ERA
BIG BANG FRIDAY
LIVE MUSIC IN THE GARDEN @ Angel Stadium
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. LA Angels @ Angels Stadium - 4:15 PM Start (FOX)
Ervin Santana (R) 4-7 5.16 ERAERA vs.
Los Angeles vs. LA Angels @ Angels Stadium - 12:35 PM Start (FS-W)
Aaron Harang (R) 5-4 3.76 ERA vs.Garrett Richards (R) 2-0 0.86 ERA
Well, folks, here we are back at that rather unfortunate wheel of destiny that is Dan Haren, ready for yet another spin. Which one shall we get tonight? Getting past the Friday game gives us an early Saturday start for a reborn Ervin Santana in a national broadcast. And then we close with a Sunday outing of the guy who has put the pressure on Santana and clearly woken Ervin's sorry ass up: Garrett Richards and his sterling 0.86 ERA. Which begs the question: if it is true that pitchers in the AL, because of the DL, are generally about 1 full point higher than what their performance would grant them in the National League, does this mean that Richards would have a negative ERA if he had been in the Dodgers' rotation? (Rhetorical humor. Knuckleheads need to reply!)
This Day In Baseball: 1926 - The St. Louis Cardinals claim Grover Cleveland Alexander off of waivers from the Cubs as they chase the pennant..........1932 - The National League finally approves the use of numbers on player jerseys..........1936 - Ival Goodman hits a shot that comes to rest on the top of the scoreboard and Ebbets Field, which is ruled a live ball, and easily cruises around the bases for an inside-the-park home run as the Brooklyn Dodgers can only stand and stare..........1946 - Bill Veeck leads a syndicate to a winning bid for the Cleveland Indians, and a baseball marketing legend is born..........1947 - Ewell Blackwell of the Cincinnati Reds narrowly misses consecutive no-hitters when Eddie Stanky singles in the 9th for the Brooklyn Dodgers..........1966 The Houston Astros set an Astrodome attendance record of 50,908 as they host the Los Angeles Dodgers and Sandy Koufax.........1987 - Tom Seaver announces his retirement..........1993 - Carlton Fisk's final game as a player..........2002 - Bed Selig cancels the scheduled game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs when it is learned that Cards pitcher Darryl Kile has been found in his hotel room having expired due to heart attack.
Brendan Donnelly, Public Defender: So you most certainly know by know that Joel Peralta of the Rays was caught with pine tar in his mitt, prompting an immediate ejection. And, of course, our old friend Joe Maddon immediately went on the offensive against some unspoken rule being violated that exposed his cheater. Well, another old friend, Brendan Donnelly (he of our own little pine tar incident, as you may recall) has come rushing to Peralta's defense, volunteering that this is all about public safety, what with a pitcher's sweaty little hands. I don't really know why any male would pick that particular defense, but, whatever dude. And, did I miss something? Peralta received an 8 game suspension (Donnelly got 10), but Maddon got off scott free (unlike Scioscia)??
Radical Pitching: Wouldn't it be cool if the Rockies now go on a pitching tear for the balance of the season, demonstrating to baseball crustaceans everywhere that, perhaps, maybe, just possibly, there are better ways to leverage the assets on the roster dedicated to the position that occupies the pitching mound?
The R.A. Dickey Corner: The Baseball World is filling up with outstandingly fun and interesting R.A. Dickey stories. If it were not for our own Trout/Trumbo Dynamic Duo, Dickey would be my favorite story of the season so far. Because, let's face it, any multimillionaire dude who calls his Toyota Sienna family minivan The Millenium Falcon has the best outlook on life. And this same guy, Dickey, jogged around town in an oxygen deprivation mask in order to train for a hike of Mt Kilamanjaro, a hike he dedicated to raise awareness of child prostitution in India. An effort, it should be noted, that was over the protests of the NY Mets. And, extending his Star Wars gooberhood, Dickey has had his "Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope!" moments. And Dickey has Fangraphs forced to wrap their heads around knuckleball movement.
Making It Impossible To Argue AGAINST Robots: Jeff Sullivan does a sweet job of finding the worst instance of a pitch thrown for a strike, that was called a ball by the (human) umpire. I am sure that I have seen just as bad in some Halo games even this season, but hats off to Jeff for walking us all through the folly.
Making It Impossible To Argue FOR Robots: Jason Wojciechowski over at Baseball Prospectus takes a look back on the past 50 year history of robotic umpiring in baseball. Ok, yeah, it's a humorous fantasy, written from the far-distant future. Just go with it, folks, and enjoy some free laughs. It's a great, great read.
Please Let This Be An Omen Of Wheels Coming Off The Cart, just in time: As the Dodgers come to town, let's hope they bring with them more instances of boneheaded baseball:
Five great places to go and waste your employer's Friday morning...
1. Library Of Congress, American Memory Project: Early Baseball Pictures, 1860's to 1920's. (Exactly what the title suggests.)
2. The Business Of Baseball. (All about the functions of the business side of the sport.)
3. Baseball For Business. (The flip side to number 2 above, Lessons of baseball for modern business management.)
4. The Onion Sports Network. (Sure, everybody has heard about The Onion, but not enough people actually click over and get lost there.)
5. The Black Sox Scandal. (We all know the summary, but too few of us know the details.)
Kenyan kids mock the Red Sox - and Bill Buckner in particular!......... Back to a time that did not exist - Tampa Bay Rays have decided to get into the throwback uniform business. Yuck..........MLB Loves Baseball History - But only when the MLB can figure out a way to make money off of it..........A. J. Pierzynski Can't Count to Three, Either - This must be an omen that some day he is going to be finishing out his career as a (gulf!) Ranger..........All I know is, Rev Better Start Thinking About Sharing Someday! - Ted Turner has ditched Sports Illustrated for....wait for it....The Bleacher Report! Price? $200 million. Ugh..........Praise The Lord We Aren't Boston Fans - Really? Full arm tats of Lego minifigs???..........New Drinking Game: Every Time Joe Maddon says "coward" - First it was Luke Scott and the Red Sox. Now it is Davey Johnson and the Nats.
Speaking of Drinking Games....now...being the full service weekend linkage institution that we are, here is the obligatory moment we take out of each Friday for beer:
This weekend, June 22 through 24, the San Diego County Fair at Del Mar will be featuring the Sixth Annual San Diego International Beer Festival! Showcased will be nearly 300 beers and 140 breweries from around the world, with Sunday emphasizing San Diego craft beers. Price is $48 per session, which includes admission to the SD Fair.