Woe is the Angel fan looking to salvage some level of satisfaction and entertainment from this lost season. How are we supposed to maintain interest in a team that was just disappointing at first but has now devolved into a complete and utter mess? Well, The Monkey is here to pontificate on what we can fixate on the rest of the way (and to refer to himself in the third person):
First things first, it is time for us to adopt a National League team. There is no joy left in Anaheim, so go find your joy elsewhere, just do it in the NL so there is no conflict of interest. I'm not saying become a bandwagon fan, just find a National League team in contention that you can root for down the stretch. You are free to choose whoever you want, but I will junk punch you if you pick the Dodgers. As for me, I'm torn. The Pirates are a fun story, but latching on to them seems trendy. But by the same token, selecting the Cards or Reds means rooting against the Pirates, which is no fun. That really just leaves the Braves or the Diamondbacks. I've never liked the Braves, so that just isn't going to happen, especially since it means having Dan Uggla in my life and nobody needs that. That leaves Arizona. I'm not a big fan of their front office or manager, but at least they are in my time zone and would be responsible for chasing down the Dodgers. It is pretty much a "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" situation. So, GO D'BACKS!
Kole Calhoun is now The Monkey's cause célèbre even though I just wrote a whole thing on tempering your expectations for him. (Do as I say, not as I do.) The remainder of the season should be about absolutely nothing other than evaluating talent for next year's roster. Calhoun, as the only thing resembling a real major league ready prospect, should be the focal point of that evaluation. So why is he sitting against lefties? Isn't that something the team should determine if he can handle? We've already gotten a pantload of J.B. Shuck this season. If the Halos don't know his strengths and weaknesses at this point, they need to reevaluate their pro scouting process. Maybe they should let the real prospect, Calhoun, show what he can do instead of the non-prospect Shuck. The same could be said to a lesser extent about Collin Cowgill, though he isn't much of a prospect either, but they should at least give him some opportunity to play on a semi-regular basis. Not that they should go out of their way for Cowgill because it seems pretty clear that he is terrible.
One player I wish I could get excited about is Nick Maronde. It was a little less than a year ago that Maronde was first called up and looked like he was going to be a kick ass reliever. Then he forgot how to throw strikes until July of this year. If he really has gotten his act together and starts moving towards his potential then the Angels won't miss Scott Downs much at all. But so far, it looks like the control issue is still, well, an issue. This bullpen is going to be so very bad for the rest of this season.
I'm kind of indifferent on Grant Green, which is weird because he is the shiny new toy. I don't know if it is just that we don't know enough about him or that the A's seemed a little to eager to give up on him. I really should like him more, especially with him having an alliterative name which is a major indicator of someone being a superhero. I'm sure I will come around in good time, though if Scioscia buries him on the bench when Kendrick gets healthy (as I suspect he will), it might take awhile.
I don't even pretend to have insight into what Dipoto and Moreno are thinking with Scioscia's job security, but how bad of a record can this team really finish with and still justify keeping Scioscia around? I always thought this team would start playing up to their true talent level and find a way to finish in the 78 to 82 win range, but that is looking like wishful thinking at this point. I know Moreno supposedly loves Scioscia, but what if this ends up being a 90-loss season?
Baseball Prospectus has the Angels' playoff odds now officially at 0%. Somehow Coolstandings still gives them a 0.2% chance. So, I guess that is uplifting, right? They still have a chance! Or not.
On the smarter side of standings forecasting, BP has the Halos on track to win 75 games while Fangraphs has them pegged for 77. HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?!!?!? I know there were those that doubted the Angels' pitching going into the season, but there couldn't possibly have been anyone who saw them being that bad. But you know what's worse? I am not sure they can even win 75. Those projections are still considering how this team was semi-competitive earlier in the year. The last few weeks though, this squad seems to have just fallen to pieces and I can't imagine them playing even .500 ball the rest of the way. The rest of the season is really going to suck.
I'm not done ragging on the team yet. Yesterday they had an off day and for the first time in a long time I was glad they had an off day. Even in past seasons where they missed the playoffs, they were still interesting and/or fun to watch. But this team, yikes. These last few weeks have been like watching a snuff film starring a beloved family member. Don't be surprised if the 2013 Angels Season in Review video is sold as the next installment of the Faces of Death series.
Seriously, I hate watching this team so don't be surprised if I start recapping Arizona games instead. Actually, I won't do that, but I am giving serious thought to recapping Salt Lake Bees games that I watch on MILB.tv. You'd totally read that, right?
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