There are only 3 more home games left in the home stand and then the Halos are on the road again. So, after yesterday afternoon, they enter this weekend with a grand total of 2 home wins for the entire month of April under their belt and an outside chance to make it 5.
GAME UPDATE: Well, well. Nick Tropeano pulled out the "never-seen-me-before-so-you-can't-beat-me" trick that so many rookies play on the Halos year after year. And he turned around and beat the Oakland A's over the head with it. Tropo shut out the A's over 6 full innings of work, holding them to 4 singles and a double. Meanwhile, the Angels offense mustered but 1 hit, but Kole Calhoun made it a meaningful one - hitting a 2-run homer in the 3rd. Thus, after the 14-run blowout of Tuesday night, that is a mere 4 runs and 5 hits total, across 17 innings (18 innings, if you count the last inning of at-bats on Tuesday). Mercurial, no?
Oh, and did you notice the roll of the dice that Mike Scioscia pulled in the 8th inning, when he sent Joe Smith out with a 2-run lead...against Oakland?? Going in to that game Smith was carrying from the 2014 season a 1.759 WHIP and 7.45 ERA in 11 games against the A's, by far and away the most damaging team he faced. In fact, in his career only the Tigers are in the same monstrous class as the A's with as much face time. And this was an Oakland team that had generated 9 runs on 18 hits just the night before. Ballsy move, right there. No reason why it should have worked out, but there you are.
Finally, Victor Rojas was on the verge last night. On. The. Verge. It would have been classic, earning him a promotion here in the HH realm beyond being a common erstwhile comment contributor. And for the curious, or ill-informed, Victor was thinking about going here:
Harry Doyle: One hit, that's all we got, one goddamn hit?
Assistant: You can't say goddamn on the air.
Harry Doyle: Don't worry, nobody is listening anyway.
Looking forward, here is this weekend series:
TEXAS RANGERS @ Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Angels Stadium. Anaheim, CA.
|7:05 PM PDT
|Wandy Rodriguez (0-0, 0.00 ERA) versus Garrett Richards (0-1, 5.40 ERA)
|6:05 PM PDT
|Colby Lewis (1-1, 3.79 ERA) versus C,J, Wilson (1-2, 3.54 ERA)
|12:35 PM PDT
|Nick Martinez (2-0, 0.45 ERA) versus Hector Santiago (2-1, 3.54 ERA)
- Greatness Under the Halo: It should come as no surprise to anyone that if you use modern Information Age tools to collect opinions about historical figures, the voting will trend towards the more modern candidates. So it is with MLB's quest for fans to determine the Greatest 4 Angels Ever. So far, the voting is going in favor of Nolan Ryan, then Mike Trout, then Tim Salmon, then Vlad Guerrero. Jim Fregosi, Chuck Finley, Brian Downing and Garrett Anderson are not making the cut. Just some perspective, those Top Four currently rank among the all-time LAA player bWAR achievements, in order: 4th, 10th, 3rd and 15th. Sure, there is more to being a franchise icon than just on the field production, but Guerrero over Fregosi?
- Catching Flak: If you can, try and extract yourself from your common immersion in the world of baseball and think of how abstract it is that there exists such a thing as a "catcher". The very word becomes odd. You have a dude bundle up in a lot of weird-looking armor and don a massive round leather thing, and then go and squat behind a flat, white, monument embedded into the ground and be responsible for dodging the efforts of some guy with a heavy wooden club and another guy hovering over him in black, just so that this catcher guy can secure one corner of the playing field. And as it turns out, this particular vantage point is strategically critical to the overall efforts and success of the other players on his side scattered elsewhere around the field of play. From this abstract beginning, one eventually comes to understand that this catcher dude is a very busy guy, and he should have mastered as much of the non-thinking stuff as possible by the time he gets tot he big league so that he can focus on the rest of his job at game speeds. Enter Chris Iannetta. In this pitch-framing review by Jeff Sullivan over at Fangraphs, it's clear that Iannetta has re-engineered himself over the off-season and has come out this season as a markedly improved behind-home-plate resource. And, as Sullivan points out, the edge in Iannetta's improvement come from the more modern understanding of pitch framing, and not Lyle's Spencer's CERA.
- Trout Porn: Mike Trout will be honored publicly with the receipt of his 2014 major awards this weekend. Tonight he will officially be given his 2014 Silver Slugger and Player's Choice Awards. Saturday he will receive his AL MVP Award.
- Waiting For Hamilton: Even as Sosh struggles to remove the boots from the mouth of the organization, walking the franchise back from the embarrassing PR pickle in which they find themselves after their outward barking over Hamilton's lapse back in February, the pensive Jerry Dipoto enters the scene and reminds the skipper that they will not be proceeding, but must wait for Hambone. Thus, the two seek a lifeless tree nearby. Sosh dreams, while Dipoto cannot find it in himself to dangle the carrot.
MathisMatt Joyce is expressing a frustration with his train-wreck offense. Pretty much like the rest of humanity and, especially, the LAA fan corner of humanity. "Asked how he's feeling at the plate, Joyce reeled off a 240-word answer that touched on chasing too much, being robbed of a few hits, trying too hard, staying persistent, the overall dominance of pitchers and five words that put it all in perspective." Yeah. I could talk my way around being horrible, too.
- Adds, Moves & Changes: The Angels picked a speed burner outfielder off waiver from the Cardinals Wednesday. Chris Brown was once a first-rounder back in 2010, but has never punched his ticket into a Big League career. But, as Dipoto is quoted in the link, on the scouting scale of speed, which runs from Bengie Molina to Billy Hamilton, Brown is rated as a Hamilton. (Nah, just kidding, it's actually 20 to 80 with Brown being an 80.) Also, in that link, note that Cory Rasmus was moved to the 60-day DL and we won't see him back until at least June.
This Date In Baseball History: 1901 - The American League plays its very first baseball game, an 8-2 victory by the Chicago White Sox over the Cleveland Blues (modern day Indians)..........1945 - Baseball owners elect their second-ever Commissioner, U.S. Senator Happy Chandler. Chandler will replace Kenesaw Mountain Landis, the man who came down hard with all the punishments in the Black Sox scandal and laid the groundwork for Pete Rose's eventual demise. Chandler, still serving as Senator, will pull double-duty for 6 months until his term expires..........1956 - Frank Umont becomes the first umpire who needs to wear glasses, to actually wear them while calling a game..........1957 - Because, after all, it's the Cubs, a new National League record is set as 3 different Cubbie pitchers walk 9 total Reds batters in one inning. Don Hoak and Roy McMillan each walked twice!.........1960 - In one of those great Saturday afternoon barn-burner games worth remembering if you bought a ducat, the Yankees score 8 runs against Baltimore in the bottom of the first inning before even recording an out. They score 4 more runs in the second inning and things get dull until the 8th, when Baltimore comes up with a grand slam. The Yankees, now awoken, nullify that with 3 more runs of their own in the bottom frame. Baltimore comes back up in the top of the 9th and gets another grand slam, but things will end there as the Yankees win, 15-9..........1962 - Sandy Koufax strikes out 18 Cubs. This was Koufax's 2nd 18-K game, the first coming back in '59 against the Giants..........1962 - How quaint. Mets manager Casey Stengel is fined $500 by MLB for appearing in an ad. For beer............1965 - Mets manager Casey Stengel participates in the 3,000 victory of his baseball career (as player AND manager, he only had 1905 career wins as a manager)...........1987 - Rickey Henderson hits two home runs in the same game, each off a different 300-game winning pitcher (Phil Niekro and Steve Carlton)...........1989 - Ken Griffey, Jr. gets a candy bar named after him, something he will never taste since Junior is allergic to chocolate..........1996 - In what must have been a Wednesday afternoon getaway game from hell, the Twins torch the Tigers for 24 runs, with both teams putting across a total of 35 in a game that lasts 3 hours and 43 minutes.That would span from a late lunch to an early dinner, in one game..........2012 - The Marlins set an historic first in futility as 4 different pitchers manage to walk 4 consecutive Mets batters, forcing in a critical run in the 7th in what will be a 2-1 loss.
- Steamier Projecting: A couple of days ago I publicized via comment the goal of one day as essay about the ass-hat phase that teams and their fans go through when they finally rise to top-tier success. The inspirations of this reveal were the current Kansas City Royals, and the current KCR fans. Well, whaddaya know, the Royals being thought of as nasty has become kind of an Internet thing. That kind of makes them the perfect case profile, doesn't it? So, let's follow along and see how all this blossoms, shall we?..........After all, it won't take long!!! The stupid punk-assed Yordano Ventura takes his shit-for-brains act on the road. And after doing their bench-clearing brawl do-si-do with the A's just 5 days ago, the KC Royals need to go all punk yet again...........And, remember everyone, the best revenge against jerk-wads is to jerk one out yourself, going all Vlad-mode. Hat's off to Jose Bautista!
- Speaking of getting steamed, here is a weird one. Albert Pujols had to call Ned Yost, manager of the Royals, and proclaim his innocence, saying that he never called the team "bush league". Because, like, he never did. Jed Lowrie did, and the MSM up in the Bay area mis-interpreted Lowrie's comments and put Pujols into the potential cross hairs of the Knucklehead City Royals.............It kind of makes sense, I suppose, considering how grammatically challenged they appear to be up there.
- Foolish me: Don't I feel like an idiot now? before the season started, i was mocking Terry Collins for claiming that the Mets were a World Series contender. And alos, as my example of how silly that kind of claim was, that they were running out Bartolo Colon as their Opening Day starter. Ha. What an idiot. While I sit here rooting for a team lumping down the standings at 7 and 9, with no strong pitcher in the entire rotation and an offense sputtering oil and fuel and nuts and bolts, there go the Mets, 11 wins in a row and standing tall at 13-3, with Colon becoming only the 6th player in over 100 years to be over 40 years of age, and start a season by going 4-0. Of course, it doesn't hurt to go from April 13th through April 26th and never leave New York. In fact, checking their schedule, they are going to go from April 5th through May 10th and never leave the Easter time zone.
Mike Trout is fast. Damned fast. But he isn't always the fastest...........Bartolo Colon is slow. Damned slow. But he isn't always the slowest. (And the very best part of Colon's run-down is that the one guy in baseball slower than Colon, who will now have to live with this forever, is none other than A.J. Pierzynksi.)..........Pete Rose's rehabilitation appears to be coming along, slightly quicker than that of Hamilton...........Dodger fans probably wish they could see their team on TV, and witness the brilliant defense of their second baseman............Our second baseman isn't too shabby, either...........Yeah, I agree with this guy. The Angels uniforms are uninspired. They are as memorable as wonder bread. They used to be great, and it has nothing to do with my lawn................Chris Rock goes off on the decline of black baseball players and black baseball fans, while I cringe and pray that he recognizes that Dominican players are, indeed, black............The 8 highest paid baseball players in 2015, only 1 is an Angel and 0 belong to the Yankees anymore.............This is how it's done, folks. This is the BESTEST ceremonial first pitch of 2015 and I am not going to allow any other one to beat it!!.............Once Yankee Bernie Williams has finally decided to retire. Finally. 10 years later............Baseball in super-cool slow motion is always, always cool...........Welcome to the Hall of Stupidity, Mr. Blue Jays Fan. Your friends will have this loop on their phones forever.
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...
Saturday: Brews @ the Beach, a surf-side beer festival, is at Chase Palm Park in Santa Barbara. That is right there at Cabrillo and Garden St............Pasadena Beerfest is at the Pasadena Civic Plaza..........Hops and Hopes Craft Beer Fest takes place at the LA Coliseum. This is a charity event for Autism Awareness Month..........Rhythm & Blues Music & Craft Beer Fest is hoppin' in Historic Downtown Vista..........Left Coast Brewing Company in San Clemente is putting on the San Clemente Micro-Brew Fest..........Up in Visalia, at Mooney Grove Park, the 2015 Visalia Beer Festserves to beat the heat.
Sunday: Pyramid Alehouse in Berkeley is hosting a charity event for Autism Awareness Month..........Stone Brewing Company in Escondido is holding Stone Oakquinox 2015, a beer festival (that, for the record, comes a month too late to align with the 2015 vernal equinox)...........Atwater Village Beer, Food & Wine Festival runs at Link N Hops in Atwater Village, LA. For those unfamiliar, Atwater Village is just east of Griffith Park, other side of the 5 fwy.