While you were away...the Angels finished up their Stay at the Bay by getting their asses handed to them. And all of a sudden, the AL West standings are upside down. The Astros are in 1st place, 7 games up on the second place Angels. They have won 10 in a row, and are 10 and 2 at home.
Remember how fun it was going to be to have our very own lame division member to gift us a playoff spot every year, the way that the Yankees and Red Sox enjoyed out of Tampa Bay for a decade? The Astros got booted out of the National League right when they grew into serious ass-kicking contenders, and they got dumped into our division and are beating the crap out of all of us. It's not a laughing matter. In their 10th season, the Rays finished 36 games out. In their whole history they had averaged 34 games out of 1st place, and never done better than 18 games out. But in their 11th season, the very next year, they were AL Champions.
So is it over? Not yet. Sure, it's just the first of May but you have to ask yourself: does this LA Angels team look like it is the kind of group that has the one or two 10-game winning streaks in it now necessary to become a serious contender in 2015?
The next upcoming series, after a day off today, will be:
Seattle Mariners @ Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Angels Stadium, Anaheim CA.
|Day||Game Time||Probable Pitchers||TV|
|MONDAY||7:05 PM PDT||Felix Hernandez (4-0,1.82 ERA) versus Matt Shoemaker (2-1, 6.00 ERA)||FS-W|
|TUESDAY||7:05 PM PDT||James Paxton (0-2, 5.74 ERA) versus Garrett Richards (2-1, 3.00 ERA)||FS-W|
|WEDNESDAY||7:05 AM PDT||Roenis Elias (0-1, 3.86 ERA) versus C.J. Wilson (1-2, 2.73 ERA)||FS-W|
- Elsewhere in the Heavens of Anaheim: One of our biggest problems is right there at the top of the rotation: Jered Weaver. There is no talking your way around it, he is stinking up the joint. After a couple of years of sniping by the analysts as his velocity kept dropping and dropping, he has come out of the blocks this season at rock bottom. And he is only getting worse. Don't go looking to Scioscia for any insight. Sharing meaningful information with the people that make the whole idea of professional baseball possible is just not something he does: "'...and some things got away from us on the mound." Yeah. Something DID get away you. Something like a division title. Everybody hopes that Weaver is just going to snap out of it. At 32 years of age, with three years of downward trending in athleticism, Weaver is not going to just "snap" in any direction considered to be positive.
- XXXXXXXX Time: Mike Trout chose to root for Floyd Mayweather in The Big
GameFight over the weekend, so he sent out a quick tweet. Well, he stepped into that sticky mess that comes from rooting for a sports personality who comes with loads of societal issues outside the arena of competition. it's always been a problem, but the past 5 years has truly amped up the dialog. Now we have lines being drawn, and now we have absolutes. Soon we will have a whole new chapter in the encyclopedia of Political Correctness. And there is no graceful way to pull back once you put your grip onto it. As Trout is finding out. (And, yeah, I chose the handle on this paragraph knowing full well that it has garnered an additional, unwelcome, meaning.)
- A Real Baseball Hero: Every once in a while, we get somebody here on HH barking at everyone with the claim of their fan heritage in order to define the legitimacy of their opinion. It's pretty silly, really. And one must assume that even your teenagers of today let that slip with their younger siblings. Nobody is totally immune. Well, somewhere there has to be a true tip of the spear, a bonafide community that really are the kings of the hill. And in Anaheim, it just so happens that there is. And among the three dozen, one member's name is Tom Amberry, season ticket holder since 1961.
- Leave it to Boston: If there is one thing that really makes me want to vomit as a sports fan, it's finding out that Boston Red Sox and their followers have usurped something that has never had anything to do with them and turned it into any kind of anthem that tries vainly to connect them to the more meaningful idea in the hopes that it validates their self-absorption. "Cowboy up"? Really? Well, anyway, now they have help. James Taylor was so enamored with the BoSux punch-through into a WS title in 2004 that he was inspired to write a new song, one released just now. Brace yourselves for the title: "Angels in Boston". When you read the link, keep in mind that Taylor moved to California way back in 1970. That's 45 years completely glossed over.
- Trout Porn: Beyond the Boxscore noticed what we have noticed, which is that Trout has adjusted to last season and is improved. Again. He has his own monthly update going on there, which I hope lasts all season. In this April review, a brilliant GIF is presented that compares Trout's 2014 heat map with that of 2015. Even for a guy such as me, who coined the whole Velociraptor concept to define Mike as the alpha Velo, who learns, that GIF is scary-holy-shit stuff. "Last year, pitchers began attacking Trout up and in, and his strikeouts skyrocketed. A whole lot of hay was made of Trout’s approach, and many wondered if the wunderkind had been made mortal. Oh, if only. Nay, Mike Trout is back and better than ever." Trout has reclaimed everything up, nearly everything inside, and pitchers have to try and get him to chase pitches away. The even better news is that pitchers are now trending back down in elevation. You know, Trout's traditional kill zone. This could get brutally beautiful to watch!
- Around Baseball: Ron Roenicke is for hire. That's what happens when you find yourself 4 games behind the misery that currently is the LA Angels. And that's what you get for winning 2 in a row. And about 50% of every Angels fan reading this sentence right now is having a minor melt-down trying to figure out how in the hell it could be possible to hire Roenicke back into the organization so he can be lined up to get back into the dugout and manage Scioscia for us.
- A-Rod: This will be fun. Over the weekend Alex Rodriguez tied Willie Mays in the all-time home run record books. That's a big deal, a landmark achievement. But, A-Rod being A-Rod, this thing became all twisted into some weir mobiius pretzel of a controversy. A-Rod has a contract with the Yankees that was originally intended to grant him $6 million in bonus money when this happened. But A-Rod juiced, losing all supporters (including Scott Boras, the agent A-Rod fired who stands to get a commission cut from that bonus). And the Yankees are still trying to make us all believe they are embarrassed to have the player they signed on to keep for their very own and away from anybody else, while they rode him for his WAR and milestones. So the Yankees aren't going to pay any of these bonuses. Normally, the player would get upset and the Union would come screaming in to sue the ass off everybody and get that money. But the contract has some interpretive leeway, the Yankees have suddenly gotten cheap, and A-Rod did once sue the Players Union. And so, here we now are. We have an A-Rod who doesn't quite know what to do about it all. I just observe that, after all these years, this couldn't have happened to a better collection of nattering nabobs.
- Perfect Timing: If it wasn't for the fact that this guy is a Dodger fan, this would be the perfect fan moment of all time. Guy videotapes himself standing at the rail in the precise location where the next pitch will result in a home run being right to him. Guy has glove ready for easy home run ball catch. Guy makes catch. Guy becomes Immortal.
- Imperfect Timing: Ok. We have a new bottom. I know, I know. That Jeff-Mathis-tries-to-bail-a-runner-stealing-second-base-by-throwing-to-first-base is epic. Truly epic. But I do believe that he has finally - FINALLY! - been usurped at the Nadir of shitty catcher plays at runners on the basepaths. The new leader is ex-Big Leaguer Humberto Quintero. You have to see it for yourself to believe it. I've watched it about 30 times now, and I am still unsure as to what I am seeing.
- Baseball Biz: When 2016 gets here and the Players Union and Owners sit down to hammer out a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, both sides will have rookies running the show. Both sides will have new heads of state who will be overseeing their first new contract. We already know the Arte Morenos of the world will be clamoring for changes dealing with JDA infractions and punishments, and possibly with individual player contract clauses. But that will be small change compared to the bigger issue to be discussed: the declining share of baseball revenues finding its way into the pockets of players. Fangraphs has already documented that "...players have gone from receiving just over 56% of MLB’s revenues in 2002 to around 38% today..." That is most certainly NOT going unnoticed. This week, Fangraphs dives deeper into the issue, looking at how the Luxury Tax is an effective driver at lowering player wages everywhere. It is quite informative, and recommended reading for anyone interested in hearing the owner-speak and union-speak in a new light.
- Secret Weapon: Padres broadcast crew has accidentally exposed to all other baseball teams the secret used in San Diego to drive more wins.