For a franchise known for having the suckiest farm system in all of Major League Baseball, we sure are getting some decent mileage lately out of all these minor leaguers. The Halos defeated the Rays 6 - 2 last night, powered by the likes of Luis Jiminez (2 for 4 with 2 runs scored), Kole Calhoun (1 for 4 with 1 RBI), Grant Green (1 for 3 with 1 run scored and 1 RBI) and Collin Cowgill (1 for 3 with 3 RBI).
The Rays are still battling to hold off the Yankees for the coveted Bud Selig Honorary Additional Playoff Slot Designated for the Division Loser Between Boston and New York. But they are getting burned by the AL West. Their last 10 games have been against the Angels and A's, and the Rays have lost 7 of them. Up next, Seattle. Then a 6 game break, and a final trio against the Rangers.
And did you notice? Ernesto Frieri seems to be back on a somewhat of a roll these days. No worries for Ernesto Frieri in Angels' victory over Tampa Bay Rays, 6-2. "Beginning with an Aug. 10 outing in Cleveland, Frieri has allowed no runs and five hits, struck out 15 and walked two in 11 2/3 innings of 10 games, lowering his ERA from 4.79 to 3.84 and reclaiming his closer job." So Frieri has righted his ship and is back to being the bullpen strength we were hoping for, even had we had that mythical Ryan Madson. "When you have a short career like I have — three years in the big leagues — when you have a family and you take care of your mom and grandma and other people, you start worrying about the future when things aren't going good." As my Latin baseball info conduit once told me, the most important thing for any Latin player is not get the big contract, but to get 5 full seasons in MLB and qualify for the pension. The lifetime pension is guaranteed, and enough alone to live like a king back home.
On To Angels Baseball!
The Scott Downs Project, Part 4: CONCLUSION
All right, let's sum up where we are to date. We have a growing set of confident data to show that Mike Scioscia under-utilized Scott Downs, to the disadvantage of the team's success. We started by looking into the number of batters Downs faced during the three seasons just prior to his LAA tenure, versus his LAA days. On the possibility that Downs was pitching worse, more often, as an Angel than he was as a Blue Jay, we filtered out those outings when he was surrendering runs and we still have Downs being used less than he was capable. We then have moved over to pitch count, in an effort to address the possible theory that Downs was being pulled after so few batters because he was throwing too many pitches per batter while an Angel. Last week we saw that this was not the case, in general. But the last question is to consider that maybe Downs was was being pulled by pitch count because he was sucking. As we saw with this question applied to number of batters, we can see below that, again, the answer is no. Mike Scioscia was pulling Scott Downs, even in good situations, twice as fast as Scott Downs was capable.
# PITCHES THROWN ONLY WHEN THINGS WERE GOING GOOD
|7 pitches of less||9 pitches of less||13 pitches or less|
Same outcome. In the nearly three full seasons that he had him, Sosh pulled Downs nearly twice as frequently after only 7 pitches or less than Downs had just proven capable while spending three full seasons in Toronto, when things were going just fine on the mound. And about 2/3's more often at the 9 pitches or less. After all this, you probably are not surprised, right?
SO WHAT AM I TRYING TO SAY?
It's pretty simple, actually. As many of us suspected, and some railed against repeatedly, Scioscia had a propensity to utilize Scott Downs in a way that was far from what he was capable of contributing. And it was most often not because of Scott Downs' actual effectiveness, nor his actual skill set. You go ahead and impose whatever explanation suits your fancy. For me, it reeks of decision-making via overly-simple formulas for assigning and controlling player roles.
Why did this matter? Well, in my mind, transferring the workload from one player onto others increases the workloads on the recipients. If Downs truly was capable of doing more of the relief work over time, and especially if he was being effective, than it only makes sense that continuing to give that work to others who have yet to prove they are effective that game can only result in two things: (1) an increased chance for bullpen failure within each game under discussion, and (2) greater chance for wear and tear on the other relievers over time. Neither of those are good. Ergo, Mike Scioscia's management of the resource that was Scott Downs as an Angel was, in a word, "bad".
How bad? Ok, here is where I just fly off the handle. Looking at that same information, in 2011 we finished 10 games out of 1st place. And I can identify 11 games when Downs was pulled before he had surrendered a run and the Angels ended up losing afterward. In 2012 we finished 5 games out. And I can identify 7 such games that the Angels ended up losing. Now I don't actually know what might have happened in some parallel universe where Downs was allowed to stay in more games. But neither do the doubters. There are no certainties in life. I can only say that I sure would liked to have found out. We already found out what happened in the universe of the doubters, because we witnessed it. And it sucked.
- Bobby Knoop: I loved me my Knoop as a kid. I even met him once, and hung out with him for a few hours. Total class act, as you all witnessed last night. And the double-play combo of Fregosi and Knoop truly was top notch. No doubt he is one of our all-time greats. No offense to Knoop, however, but I do have to ask if he is the best Halo now retired deserving of such recognition? Was he really next in line? Is there some unpublished rule concerning years retired with which I am still unfamiliar? And, no, I reject the technicality that the entire 2002 team is "inducted".
- Anaheim: While I am asking questions...a lot of chatter has already been spread concerning the announcements this week concerning the contract negotiations between the City of Anaheim and the Angels. We all have our opinions, even at this stage. But here is my question: why the need for an extension? Did 2016 sneak up on everybody or something?? (Ok, so that was two questions.) I know, for fact, that we have been speaking about this around here for years, and doing a LOT of plotting. These two sides should not be the only ones so far behind while still trying to figure this out that, by now, they don't have enough time in the remaining three years.
- Mike Trout: Highly topical this week is the subject of wishing for your team to lose in order to improve your draft slot. Well, Fangraphs offers up some tables regarding the records of each team should their best player not exist. In our case that player is Trout and, without him, we would have the 5th overall pick in the upcoming draft. So, extending the dialog, should we have wished Trout to have been down with mono all year so that we get an even better pick? Once you concede the season, where is the limit for wishing less than desireable things upon the object of your affection? Meanwhile, keep in mind, few of those nice first round picks are guaranteed, anyway.
- More Trout: Too late to make last WeekEnd Linkage publication, max peter pointed me to a decent explanation of why Trout exceeds Miguel Cabrera in WAR. It was written by Joe Posnanski who, if you Google into it, writes a lot about Trout, Cabrera, WAR and MVPs. I give him credit, because he is really trying to understand and now working hard to be fair. In this case, he went right to Tom Tango to get the skinny. Here's Tango: "Baseball-Reference suggests that based in the parks they play in, you'd score ten percent more runs in all of Cabrera’s games than in all of Trout’s games. That ten percent is enormous. Baseball Reference has Cabrera as having created 145 runs, and Trout as 130 runs. A ten percent change will close that gap to almost nothing."
- LAA Front Office PR: Ok, so we already witnessed Rev blast the LAAughing stock Marketing rookies. Truly I say unto you: it is a sign. You might have dropped in on recent Fridays and caught my links to the Front Office Game Notes handed out to the MSM before each game, wherein they pump up the candidacy of J.B. Shuck for 2013 AL ROY. Guess what? With the notable exception of local team hack William Boor, it's pretty safe to say that it appears that nobody is buying it.
- Scott Spiezio: This is not good. Not good at all. Speze has now been arrested for battery on a former girlfriend. "Sheriff Kevin Callahan said Spiezio, 40, is charged with domestic battery and vandalism related to an Aug. 17 incident in which a 31-year-old woman called police to Spiezio’s house, 7615 N. Saratoga Road, to report a fight with him, whom she identified as her former boyfriend."
- Tommy Hanson: Downing Rules already linked everyone to the news that Hanson is sucking still down at AAA. To add a little perspective, recall that we traded Jordan Walden to the Atlanta Braves for Tommy. The Braves have run away with the NL East, and Walden has been a part of that. He is having a stellar year by totally fixing his walk rate. So, is it all just good luck there? But there is the recent exception of a rash of injuries. So where is that "lucky"? If not luck, then, good coaching, perhaps?
- Mike Scioscia: In the most monumental example of "turning the page" yet, Sosh was quoted as proclaiming that "Next year begins today". My question: does this mean that, since we begin today, we can expect the crew to be ready in time for Opening Day 2014??
Buy Stuff - Crazy-ass Baseball Finds On the Internet:
A map of all the ballparks in America, on a baseball. And you don't have to threaten the health of nearby children to chase it down!
Friday, September 6 @ 7:05 PM, (FS-W / MLB.TV) Texas Rangers @ LA Angels - Angels Stadium, Anaheim
[BIG BANG FRIDAY, TROUT FARM IN SECTION 101]
(RHP) 3-2 4.04 ERA versus (LHP) 14-6 3.35 ERA
Saturday, September 7 @ 6:05 PM, (FS-W / MLB.TV) Texas Rangers @ LA Angels - Angels Stadium, Anaheim
[FIESTA ANGELS CONCERT & FESTIVAL, TROUT FARM IN SECTION 101]
(LHP) 9-7 3.07 ERA versus (RHP) 5-6 4.06 ERA
Sunday, September 8 @ 12:35 AM, (FS-W / MLB.TV) Texas Rangers @ LA Angels - Angels Stadium, Anaheim
[PREPARE SOCAL RALLY TOWEL, TROUT FARM IN SECTION 101]
versus (LHP) 8-6 3.80 ERA
Since Misery Loves Company, it is time to start pissing on the hopes and dreams of those unworthy ones, whom we despise.
This Date In Baseball History: 1953 - In a cross-town rivalry game in New York City, at the tail end of a record heat wave, the Giants and Dodgers battled. With the Dodgers at bat and Carl Furillo at the plate, Giants manager Leo Durocher yells out to pitcher Ruben Gomez to "stick it in his ear!" (This was something Durocher had been doing to Furillo a lot. Furillo had been hospitalized by a Giants' bean ball just weeks prior.) Gomez does, and Furillo takes first base. Furillo then turns and dashes into the Giants dugout to take out Durocher. In the fight, Furillo injures his hand and ends his season...........1995 - Cal Ripken officially breaks Lou Gehrig's consecutive game streak..........2000 - In what makes for a pretty cool boxscore, Scott Sheldon plays all nine positions as the White Sox torch the Rangers..........2000 - Major League Baseball reaches an agreement with Mogan, Lewis & Bockis LLP and can finally start using MLB.com...........
1912 - Jeff Tesreau becomes the third rookie to pitch a no hitter.
1996 - Eddie Murray collects his 500th home run.
1996 - Paul Molitor reaches 200 hits in a season for the 4th time, knocking a single off of Chuck Finley.
2001 - Barry Bonds collects his 60th home run of the season.
2009 - Ichiro gets his 2000th hit.
Rounding Up The Major League News
- WTF: Now here is a meme that, somehow, I have completely overlooked. UFO's at baseball games. Apparently, this had been ongoing for some time. And it ain't just American baseball that they are checking out. That first link, in Vancouver, was seen and filmed by many fans, so that one is interesting, and should not be dismissed by confusing it with this guy...But check out some incidents for yourself. Ignore the one of the seagull in the background of the Dodgers/Giants broadcast.
- WTF 2: It appears that we have a new winner for most lame manner in which a baseball player is to suffer a season-ending injury. In this case, it's Mitch Walding, a prospect with the Phillies, who broke a rib on his left side...by getting up off a couch.
- Stadium Music: Oh, man. Now here is the kind of close up that I fear Angels Stadium would not survive. Larry Granillo up at SBN actually took the time out of his life to document every piece of music played during a Milwaukee Brewers baseball game. And the results are not pretty. Here is what we are up against: "Of the 271 pitches thrown on Monday, 119 had some sort of musical cue afterwards. If we count the walk-up music for each of the Brewers' plate appearances, that brings the total to 152, or 56 percent of the game's pitches punctuated by music in some way. This does not include the extended musical selections heard during nearly every inning break." And Granillo closes with this clarion call: "And just think, with enough data, we might even be able to start a MUSICf/x system! Who wouldn't want to know that Mike Trout performs best after listening to 10 seconds of early-90s hip-hop?"
- Leo The Lip: There are a lot of people in Major League Baseball that are despised today. Many by their own teammates. (Here's lookin' at you, Pershitski!) And, looking back, we all know about Ty Cobb. Well, what about a guy who was such an ass that he even barked down Ty Cobb himself? Yeah, we are talking about Leo Durocher here. I just linked above to an episode with Durocher that occurred in 1953. Deadspin takes us a little further into his character, which includes lying on the witness stand, under oath, to impugn the integrity of a war vet wounded in WWII, just to cover up the fact that he and one of his goons beat the crap out of said vet during a game. Because the vet, a fan, had the temerity to give Durocher some lip.
- Fan Bases: Speaking of Deadspin, while there I also tripped over this pretty cool series of maps, showing how many people live within range of each stadium. the goal is to identify the population base from which each franchise, in each major port, has to draw from. The metric is "Within how many miles of the closest venue do 2/3's of America live?" In the case of MLB, the answer is 119 miles. Two thirds of America live within 199 miles of a Major League baseball stadium. Looking at all the maps, it sucks to be Meridian, Mississippi. Or Boise, Idaho.
- Old Timey Baseball: Hat tip to Old Time Family Baseball for linking to this sports section from the Pittsburgh Press dated June 10, 1907. You need to scroll over to Page 8, "THE REALM OF SPORTS", which is pretty quaint in and of itself. The focus of the link was the section "BRIGHT BASEBALL BRIEFS" in the left column, at the fold. Funny stuff there, to be sure ("New Twirlers have held back the Lancasters", the same of which could be said of the Halos). But I was drawn away to the Miller Huggins article at the top of column 7, where Huggins the player calls out the National League President Harry Pulliam for being wrong in adjudicating a decision of hit versus fielder's choice. Huggins was gifted the hit, but spent all his energy arguing that the right call would be to take away the hit and assign the event as fielder's choice. Wow. I think I like the sense of honor and integrity, back in the day...
Video Of The Week
(Something you will never see happen at a football game!)
(Trouble viewing the video? Direct link here.)
Video Gumbo: Fernando Rodney craps out..........Cubs' broadcast team goes all finger puppet..........Counting to 4. It's so hard............Counting to 3 must be even harder............You are really not supposed to leave us white people alone to figure out how to dance..............Stupid people using cellphones at ballgames..............Mike Trout, winning over the entire city of Milwaukee.
What's easier? Catching a foul ball hit directly to you while wearing a glove?............Or catching a foul ball hit directly into your beer gut?............ Or maybe having a foul ball land right smack in the middle of your big ol' platter of cotton candy?............Whichever it is, it can't possibly be as rewarding as racing over the stadium seats trying to fetch a foul ball on the loose, with your toddler flapping about in your arms! But then, there is always the Boston way, where all the fans in the seats just make idiot faces.
And, finally...........Toronto Police: true baseball fans.
And now, being the full service weekend linkage institution that we are, here is the obligatory moment we take out of each Friday...for beer...
Friday: It started back on September 3rd, but the Beachwood BBQ in Seal Beach continues their run of the SourFest 2013 through Sunday..........Original Gravity House in San Jose puts up a beer and food event, Calicraft Wet, Wild and Hopped!!............Here in Los Angeles, La Luz De Jesus Gallery takes on a social gathering with Beer Is Art Reception..............Or, perhaps you are in the neighborhood for the Jug Shop Barrel Aged Beer Fest in San Francisco............A reminder that the LA County Fair is ongoing.
Saturday: Still more of the SourFest 2013..............and the LA County Fair..............Much closer to the stadium, in Silverado (which is a pretty cool place if you are unfamiliar) Oak Canyon Park is the scene of 4th Annual OC Brew Ha Ha.............The California Beer Festival moves on to San Dimas, at Frank G. Bonelli Park............Modern Times Beer hosts a Grand Opening Party down San Diego way...........But up in San Francisco Speakeasy Ale's & Lager is throwing the 16th Annual Block Party..............Or try out Berkeley, at the Pyramid Alehouse, for the Bone Brewfest.
Sunday: One last day of the SourFest 2013..............More of the LA County Fair............Or be lucky enough to be closing out your weekend in Morro Bay, where you might partake in the Barrelworks Tap Takeover at The Libertine Pub.
Future Forecasts: Still gifted to us by Ladybug:
First, coming up next, is Rocktoberfest at The Yost Theater in Santa Ana, on September 21...........
Second is the Ultimate Beerfest OC on October 19th at the OC Fairgrounds. Again, Living Social..........