Bartolo Colon threw eight shut-out innings against the Angels tonight.
Yes, I know. Bartolo Colon.
Atheltics 6, Angels 0
Where do I even begin? Do I begin with Yoenis Cespedes' three-run home run off of Ervin Santana in the first inning? Or shall I fast foward to the bottom of the 8th inning when the Angels finally presented a threat to Colon's merciless outing?
As the line up was posted earlier this evening, I watched hell break loose on Twitter. Mark Trumbo was left out of the line up for the third night in a row and the already defeated Angel fans were undoubtedly upset about it. It turns out that Trumbo was sick with flu-like symptoms. As soon as that news broke, I watched as the Twitterverse take a step back and let Scioscia off the hook...today.
As always, I gave Scioscia the benefit of the doubt. He is the manager, after all. I am nothing but a humble spectator. But that line up...
Peter Bourjos and Erik Aybar were left out for nothing but a day off, which is well-deserved by the both of them. In my opinion.
However, even the players that were resting today couldn't catch a break. Aybar went in to pinch hit for Bobby Wilson in the 8th inning, hit a ground rule double over the right field fence, and posed the only threat to Colon all game. Right off the bench.
Scioscia seems to be looking for that perfect line up that is going to do just what the Angels need it to. His struggle to put together a consistent line up may be due to nothing but positives. Our roster is incredibly talented in so many different ways that it must be overwhelming to attempt to fit every type of talent into one, cohesive line up. That isn't a bad thing by any means.
What I would like to see Scioscia do (especially after today's festive line up) is leave one line up alone. Perhaps one that wins us a game one day. Why change it? With a record of 4-8 now, we can afford to use the same line up twice. Scioscia has no problem leaving some pitchers in a little bit longer than necessary, why not try it out with the line up?
I will give credit where credit is due: Colon threw an incredible game against a former team this evening. The Angels couldn't handle it, plain and simple. Any pitcher, on a good day, will be able to take advantage of this team's state. Colon did just that.
The best they can do now is split the series with the A's.
Hope for the best, expect the worst. They'll come around eventually. Until then, hang in there, Halo fans.
AND FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, PLEASE LET TRUMBO PLAY TOMORROW.
Bartolo Colon threw eight shut-out innings against the Angels tonight.
Oakland Athletics (5-7) @ Los Angeles Angels (4-7)
Probable Pitchers: OAK - Bartolo Colon (2-1, 3.72 ERA) LAA - Ervin Santana (0-2, 7.71 ERA)
Game Info: 7:05 PM PT; TV - FS-W; Radio - KLAA 830 AM
It's no secret that the Angels haven't met anyone's expectations thus far. Whether you are a skeptical fan, optimistic fan, or a analyst. No one could have foreseen this disastrous start for the Halos.
With Ervin Santana on the hill tonight in Anaheim, the Angels are looking to develop some sort of consistency. Maybe Santana isn't the best to rely on when it comes to consistency, but they need to start somewhere. Santana is hungry for his first win of the season after allowing 11 total runs in his last two starts.
His winning record against the A's is promising, as is the Angels' winning record against the A's in Anaheim. Perhaps statistics will be on their side this evening as they attempt to take the lead in the series. Or just a lead in the game...that lasts all 9 innings...
Keep an eye on Vernon Wells. Although it's too early to say whether he is getting settled in at the plate, he can only go up from where he's started. I expect him to finish out the series strong.
Mike Scioscia has been playing musical chairs with the line up and it isn't going unnoticed. Perhaps he'll stick with a line up that has won a game, just once. We'll see what he has in store for us tonight. Thanks for keeping us on our toes, Scioscia.
As for me, I'll be sitting, watching, waiting, praying, chanting, rain dancing...doing whatever it takes to help the Halos win tonight. Maybe I'll make an appearance on the mound in the 7th inning.
But, for now, it's up in the air.
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There's been quite a bit of complaining over the way Scioscia has been handle the lineup the past weekend, and with good reason too. Who wouldn't be a little frustrated with the way the lineup has been managed thus far? He's burying the teams hottest hitters in the bottom of the lineup, he's thrust his veterans into the middle of the order when they've been having consistent trouble in RBI situations, maybe not Torii Hunter nearly as much as Vernon Wells, but Hunter is having his fair share of struggles. Oh, and we can't forget two moves that have been giving us the most trouble thus far, giving some of the younger guys too much bench time and keeping Aybar locked in at leadoff.
I'm just gonna go ahead and talk about Trumbo right off the bat since that's one of the Angels fan's biggest gripes over the lineup. I briefly went over the situation in Tuesday night's game, but keeping Trumbo out of the lineup at the beginning of the season is the best for Trumbo's long term plans with the team. Letting him slowly get comfortable at third and build up confidence takes a lot of time, and playing him everyday runs the risk of him losing confidence over a string of bad games, let him get a couple good games in, get the next day off to soak up the confidence and then let it build over a month or two. There's one thing I didn't mention last night, Mark Trumbo doesn't need to be thrown into the lineup when the other middle of the order bats are ice cold like Kendrys and Pujols were the past week. Now that they're starting to heat up it'll be easier to get Mark Trumbo into a groove seeing as how he won't have to push himself to carry most of the lineup like he's been not only the past week but the entire '11 season.
I hate to make Trumbo sound like a fragile little butterfly, but if the Angels want this to work out they're going to have to nurture the hell out of this, with extreme care might I add. This is a high risk high reward situation and the last thing the Angels need is another bust soiling the roster like we've been so used to seeing, and when it does work out somewhere down the line (yes I do have that much faith in him) the Angels are going to have one of the most dangerous middle of the order in the game.
Erick Aybar will be the Angels shortstop for the foreseeable future. According to a report from ESPN's Jerry Crasnick, Aybar will a four-year, $35 million dollar extension which means he will be paired with Howie Kendrick and Albert Pujols through the 2016 season. The deal is expected to be officially announced by the team when Aybar is presented with his Gold Glove award tomorrow. So who are the winners and losers here...let's break it down:
Winner: The Angels -- Aybar's age, ability and position would have meant a much larger deal had he hit the open market, so getting Erick for a team friendly deal that is not really that long seems to be a win for the Halos. I imagine the Red Sox in particular are annoyed by this development as it would have been an obvious play for them to sign Aybar to fill their gaping hole at short. So anytime the Halos can get a deal and stick it to the Sox is a win in my mind.
Loser: Jean Segura -- With this signing, Segura now is blocked from any real shot at being the Angel shortstop. This will put him in play as the essential trade piece in any deal for relief help for the big club. Segura proved his worth over the Spring so I would imagine Jerry Dipoto will get some calls here in the next week or so inquiring about Segura.
Winner: Jerry Dipoto -- It's one thing to land a big name free agent or two. It's another to keep your house in order without breaking the bank. I count this and the Kendrick signing as two really shrewd moves on JeDi's part. He has probably saved the Angels $30 million. Makes you wonder what Tony Reagins would have done in this case.
Loser: Maicer Itzuris -- With Kendrick and Aybar now signed to big time deals and Callaspo establishing himself as the go to third baseman (along with the Mark Trumbo Experiment), it would seem Maicer's opportunity to play regularly is drying up. Adding to that is the fact that Alexi Amarista can do basically the same things with the added benefit of staying healthy on a regular basis.
Winner -- Angel Fans: Stability in the line-up is a great thing for the fans. It makes it easier to root for the team and allows those of us that follow the day to day travails of Angels to not have to worry about keeping track of all the new faces.
Winner: Erick Aybar -- Dude is getting a healthy raise to play on a championship calibar team at the prime of his career. I call that a win in any book.
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The Bullpen of Perpetual Sorrow has struck once again. That's three blown saves from the Angel relievers, accounting for three of the Angels seven losses. Oh, and Jordan Walden, who led the league in blown saves last season, hasn't even been involved yet.
There is no dubt that the relief corps needs to be fixed, and soon. The only problem is that doing that really isn't possible at the moment. Which sucks. A lot.
As cathartic as it might feel to scream at the front office to make a trade, that just isn't an option. Assuming I am reading my calendar correctly, it is April 18th. That is at least two months early for trade season. Even the most decrepit of teams isn't looking to trade away quality relievers two weeks into the season since they owe it to their fans to at least pretend that they care about winning games. Jerry Dipoto is also already on record as stating that the Angels won't be signing any free agent relievers either, mostly because there are no good free agent relievers, which is a pretty good reason.
That, unfortunately, means the Angels will have to find help from within. In that scenario, Jerry Dipoto will be doing his best Old Mother Hubbard impersonation since there are nothing but bones in his relief pitcher cupboard.
The April 18th, 2012 edition of daily news for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim including searching for reasons why Trumbo isn't playing much, Angels settle wheelchair access lawsuit, David Carpenter is eager to make a good impression and much more...
The Monkey Says: I will tell you why, because Mike Scioscia has too many players to juggle in his lineup. He is clearly trying to get everyone their fair share of playing time and Trumbo has gotten lost in the wash the last few days despite the fact that he is off to a hot start. That doesn't make it right though. At some point Mike Scioscia needs to quit worrying about if everyone is playing enough and just play the guys who are producing. In case you haven't noticed, the Angels need all the runs they can get, so Sosh would be well advised to just go with the hot bat from here on out.
The Monkey Says: Call me cold-hearted if you want, but I have little sympathy for handicap people who feel like they are being underserved in the luxury suites.
You know... I'm glad the game went the way it did in the 8th because maybe now Scioscia will stop putting so much undeserved trust into Kevin Jepsen. Jesus Christ the guy is garbage, he's always been bad and people think just because he put up a tolerable year in '10 that he's going to somehow find the potential that he doesn't have. Maybe Dipoto will be able to sell him to another team as good as the Angels have been selling Jepsen all Spring Training, I knew he was going to be this bad coming into the season and I'm not in the least bit surprised to see him blowing game after game.
It isn't all Jepsen's fault however, even though it should be. Absolutly horrible mismanagement of the bullpen lead to this loss, Scioscia had ZERO reason to take out Scott Downs after striking out one batter to end the 7th, replacing him with Jepsen was just icing on the cake. The fact that he completely flip flops and leaves Carpenter in for two innings was just the most frustrating thing to deal with. I really like Carpenter, he's got the stuff to be one of the only arms to hold down this bullpen, he should have been the one to pitch the 8th since Scioscia was so keen on prematurely pulling the hook on Downs. Scioscia is always one move behind and that was completely evident with the way the bullpen was handled tonight. The only way to stop Scioscia from pulling more boneheaded moves in the future is to simply get Jepsen off the trade. Trade him, release him, sent him down I don't care, the Angels have to do whatever it takes to get this bum off of our team and replace him with a real reliever.
It kills me that this 19 year old undergrad has a better idea of how to manage this bullpen than a professional manager.
Athletics 5 Angels 3