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RE LAX. What is Baseball?

Why do we need pitchers, anyway?

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Texas Rangers
Don’t panic.
Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

Tyler Skaggs is a good major league pitcher. That’s undeniable. It remains to be seen whether he’ll be an All-Star or not, but at the very least, most people can agree that his stuff is above average. His injury, compounded with the ones to Garrett Richards, Nick Tropeano, Andrew Heaney, Cam Bedrosian, and countless others, means that the Angel pitching staff is, once again, pretty decimated.

What is Tyler Skaggs? What is Andrew Heaney? What is Garrett Richards? They’re human, of course, but for our purposes, they are baseball-flinging machines that happen to do so at a couple of ticks northward of 90 mph, and they’re pretty accurate from 60 feet 6 inches away.

Take your mind off that for a second, and just think about that logically. Someone is hurling a little spherical object towards you at about 1.5X the speed of a slow car on the freeway, and you only have a general idea of where it might be. Heck, this object might even hit you and give you a nasty welt. Oh well. By the way, the object might come slower than you expect and break in weird directions. Yeah, and, even if you get wood on the object, it has to land in a certain area in order to be successful. That area is smaller when you have crazy fish and barons and lions running amuck around the area in which you’re trying to land your object. Good luck.

The fact remains, then, that hitting a major league baseball is an extremely hard task. I washed out after Little League I couldn’t do it. You couldn’t do it. There are about 390 people in the world that the most brilliant baseball minds in the world have deemed worthy of hitting a major league pitch. Scratch that, 389; I forgot to take off Matt Joyce. And we have 13 of them. One of them happens to be exceptionally good at it as well.

What is David Hernandez? What is Daniel Wright? They’re guys who have the same aforementioned skills, and they may be a little worse or better, and who knows? I certainly can’t tell. They get the same results as the other talented pitchers we have most of the time. Skaggs pitches once every five days. Richards pitches once every five days. On the days they pitch, they barely complete 23 of the game. What good is that?

The simple truth is that pitching was never going to get us to the playoffs. Those names above were not going to guarantee us a slot in October. We only hoped that they could throw the baseball at 90+ mph well enough to give us a shot. David Hernandez can do that. Daniel Wright can do that. Bud Norris seems to be doing exceptionally well at doing that.

The names we should care about, or should have been caring about the entire time, are as follows: Yunel Escobar. Kole Calhoun. Mike Trout. Albert Pujols. Jefry Marte. Andrelton Simmons. Danny Espinosa. Cameron Maybin. Martin Maldonado. This whole season, we were hoping that this band of 9 would put good enough wood on the baseball such that it would drop a few times more than it maybe should have been caught, and catch the baseball a few times more than it maybe should have dropped. It’s still the same narrative we’re hoping for. They happen to be good at that. We’re in the bottom 5 in the majors in OPS; there is a lot of room to move up. It’s still the same situation we expected. Nothing has changed. We play Seattle tonight. We’ll take the series, if not sweep it. This is still a Team of Destiny.

Just remember to RE LAX.