Before you get too excited, this has absolutely nothing to do with the Los Angeles Clippers, Chris Paul, or Blake Griffin.
Rays 3, Angels 2
The Los Angeles Angels might as well share the clever title with the Los Angeles Clippers. However, the Angels don't get the positive connotation of this nickname.
I could write a novel on how many times I've complained about the Angels LOB (left on base) statistic for the past couple of years. It was their problem on offense then, and it's their problem on offense now.
The Angels are able to out hit any team that they face, including the Rays tonight. When these hits are coming at the wrong times, it makes it that much more difficult to score runs. One of the leading contributions to this problem is the line up. It's getting the right person, in the right place, at the right time...which isn't working in the Angels' favor at all.
Because the Halos lack consistency in their offense, it makes it difficult for Mike Scioscia to put together a properly functioning line up.
This is what I would do (remember, I have no professional training):
MOVE PUJOLS DOWN IN THE LINE UP.
Clearly he is struggling and what happens to any other player that struggles on offense? They are either benched or they are moved down in the line up.
Scioscia, you should consider it. Leaving Pujols out of the line up entirely will cause too much unnecessary drama for the organization. Moving him down in the line up won't. With all do respect, skipper, you have been trying out a multitude of line ups. I say give this one a shot. If it works, you can thank me. If it doesn't, same ol' same ol'. If the Halos are going to get swept by Tampa Bay, I'd much rather it was because we tried something different to help, instead of remaining consistently inconsistent to dig us deeper into a hole of misery.
Get us out of "LOB city". Or take us to see CP3 and Blake Griffin. Someone do something.
Before you get too excited, this has absolutely nothing to do with the Los Angeles Clippers, Chris Paul, or Blake Griffin.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (6-11) @ Tampa Bay Rays (10-7)
Pitching Probables: LAA – C.J. Wilson (2-1, 2.37 ERA) TB -- Jeremy Hellickson (2-0, 3.26 ERA)
Game Info: 4:10PM PT; TV - FS-W, ESPN 2; Radio - KLAA 830 AM
First thing's first: that record makes me cringe.
With nearly the exact opposite record of Tampa Bay, the Angels are proving to each and every baseball analyst that they may have been wrong about the team that was supposed to have a shot at the World Series. Don't tell me it's too early to be saying that, either. Before you know it, we'll be at the All Star break getting ready to embark on a traditional, poor second half of the season.
I'm beginning to run out of explanations as to why the Halos are doing so poorly. I've recycled the same excuses multiple times, and unfortunately, it looks as if I will continue to do so, simply because the Angels are making the same mistakes.
The Angels' bullpen is underperforming right alongside the offense. Only in terms of play can we call the defense consistent. Mike Scioscia's ever-changing line up has contributed to the many inconsistencies that make up the Angels.
Bobby Abreu will be leading off for the Halos this evening in what appears to be a backwards line up. I've avoided discussing Albert Pujols' struggles as much as I possibly could, but enough is enough.
Although the current situation is frustrating, I have not lost any faith in Pujols. It has become very clear that his struggles at the plate have led to a bit of pressure. I wish that Scioscia would recognize this and move Pujols down in the line up, where he can hit around an inconsistent offense rather than an inconsistent offense hitting around him. Am I going to hell for saying that...?
Facing Jeremy Hellickson today might be a blessing in disguise for the Angels. As a pitcher who struggles with his pitch count, perhaps the Angels will show a bit of patience at the plate and make some exciting things happen.
They owe us their patience. We've been pretty patient with them, after all.
|Like MWAH on Facebook||Follow MWAH on Twitter|
One of the things I love about Twitter is that it makes it so easy to find and talk to other Angels fans. At almost any time of day I can hop on the old internets machine and talk Halos with a vast array of people. Now that I live in Seattle, that is actually very important to me since Angel fans are not so easy to find up here. Long story short, Twitter is great.
Actually, I should say Twitter is great most of the time. One of the unfortunate side effects of it being such an open platform is that it is almost unavoidable to run into people are less interested in having a constructive or fun dialogue and more interested in tweaking rival fans. For me and other Angels fans, that means dealing with Rangers fans.
One Ranger fan in particular has been on my radar for the wrong reasons most of this season, that being Jamey Newberg of The Newberg Report a prominent and respected Rangers blog. Now, I actually follow Newberg because he is a really good blogger, even if it is for the rival team. He's smart, he knows his stuff and is generally a good follow. But it turns out he really likes tweaking the Angels as is shown by his tweets reveling in our bullpen's failures this season and, most noticeably, his #scwatching and #stwatching tweets in which he gleefully announces how many games back the Angels are of the Rangers. If you haven't seen these tweets yourself, and I'm sure many of you have, they are really irritating to have pop up in your timeline mere moments after a Halo loss.
But that's the point, right? Newberg and the hordes of Ranger fans who have followed his lead want to both celebrate their own team's success while also aggravating their struggling rivals. To me, especially at this point of the season, it seems like a bit much. Then again, I am not exactly impartial. But you know who is? Baseball Prospectus' Kevin Goldstein who noticed the #scwatching trend last week and voiced his opinion on the matter.
Sorry Rangers folks, but scoreboard watching in April is kind of gauche.— Kevin Goldstein (@Kevin_Goldstein) April 20, 2012
The April 25th, 2012 edition of daily news for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim including Albert Pujols' lack of walks might not be short-lived, Mark Trumbo starts at five positions in five consecutive games, Mickey Hatcher concerned about lineups over-aggressiveness and much more...
The Monkey Says: This is unsettling information. I've been convinced that Albert's seeming lack of plate discipline this year was just because he is pressing, but if this unfortunate trend began last season, then, as the post states, the Angels aren't getting the player they thought they signed, which is kind of significant what with a quarter of a billion dollars involved.
The Monkey Says: That has to be a first, right? I mean, players have started at five positions in a season with great frequency, but five different positions in five consecutive days is definitely something I can't ever recall seeing before.
Come on now, come on guys. Seriously, there's no way this is happening for real guys. No way Santana goes and gives up 4 home runs in 5 innings to add to his terrible losing streak which has now extended to four games. His ERA is so horribly ugly that's I intentionally won't write it just to save you from the horrors that would be sure to come if you laid your eyes on such ungodly atrocities. Unfortunately that is my job here, to deliver this pain to you in the written word, and I'll have to let you in on a little secret. Well it may not be such a secret because I saw everyone talking about it on Twitter earlier, but Santana's 4 home runs allowed in today’s game is the worst in his career. For all his talk about being one of the four aces on the Angels he really isn't pitching like a guy you'd want at the top of your rotation.
The fact is that this isn't all because Santana has turned into junk; the stress brought on by the Angels underperforming offense is affecting the entire team in big ways. Our pitchers are becoming too fine on the mound, they're pressing to degrees so bad that they've lost control of the strike zone; and don't forget about how bad the hitters have become with the strike zone as well. It's become a mental slaughtering that our team is having a hard time dealing with, they just can't manage to pull themselves through games. Once they bring out the super glue and put some of the mental pieces back together they'll be able to get through tough games and get back into the rhythm of baseball.
But dear God why is it taking so long????
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (6-10) @ Tampa Bay Rays (9-7)
Pitching Probables: LAA – Ervin Santana (0-3, 6.75 ERA) TB -- David Price (2-1, 4.20 ERA)
Game Info: 4:10PM PT; TV - FS-W; Radio - KLAA 830 AM
Well here we are again, back to square one where the Angels have to one again try to keep the ship from falling apart and get the ball rolling once again. Maybe things would be different if it weren't Santana on the mound, seeing as how he's been an absolute train wreck to start off the season I wouldn't be surprised to see the offense pressing too hard to get Santana all the run support he needs. Then again all the starters have been getting their heads back together so it wouldn't be too far of a stretch to imagine Santana would be pitching like his old self again, or at least get back on track to pitching like his old self.
The Angels still haven't gotten a win streak together, and it's going to be very tough to come out of Tampa Bay with a winning streak lined up, and with the way this team has been playing (especially this god forsaken bullpen) there's little chance the Angels will come out with a sweep. It's a painful realization knowing that we're all already scoreboard watching in the first month of the season, but the Angels need to win timely games so they can gain some ground on Texas.
The Angels have a tough task in facing the Rays and David Price, who hasn't been as sharp as he usually is which might give the Angels a chance to jump on him early and pull in some big runs for Santana. However, it does go both ways since Tropicana is a hitters park, and Santana has been extremely prone to the homerun ball as of late. Look for the Angels to bust out of their power funk they've been in as of late, especially with Albert Pujols. This is the best chance he has to hit his first homerun as an Angel, it might not come tonight, but it will definitely come this series.
Scratch that, it's totally coming tonight
Much has been made of the many varied lineup that Mike Scioscia has used this season. The lineup has become some unpredictable that I am actually seriously considering instituting some sort of pre-game batting order prediction contest. Through 16 games this season, the Halos have presented us with 14 distinct batting orders. Even for Scioscia, that's a lot.
And I do mean that. Scioscia has a propensity for using a great number of lineup permutations. In 2011, Scioscia used 129 lineups. He used 133 the year before that. And in 2009 when the offense was actually good, he used 123. This has been the pattern for Scioscia his entire tenure. To be fair, most teams use well over 100 lineup in a given season. Knowing this full well and knowing that statistical research strongly suggests that batting order doesn't matter that much, I didn't really think too much of Scioscia's early lineup tinkering.
However, after looking at some of the numbers and discussing the issue with various people online, I'm starting to think that this might be a problem after all. It isn't just that Scioscia is making small adjustments here and there, he is monkeying with the batting order at such a level that it actively interferes with the lineup being able to establish any level of consistency. Just look at the number of starts each player has gotten at each spot in the lineup.
Starts per Lineup Spot
- Aybar (13), Izturis (2), Abreu (1)
- Kendrick (14), Abreu (2)
- Pujols (16)
- Morales (9), Hunter (7)
- Hunter (8), Wells (4), Trumbo (4)
- Wells (8), Abreu (3), Trumbo (2), Morales (2), Callaspo (1)
- Callaspo (5), Izturis (4), Trumbo (3), Wells (2), Iannetta (1), Morales (1)
- Iannetta (10), Callaspo (2), Wilson (2), Izturis (1), Aybar (1)
- Bourjos (12), Wilson (2), Iannetta (1), Callaspo