The Jered Weaver Short Rest Experiment went exactly according to plan today, in fact, it couldn't have gone better. The only problem is that it feels like too little, too late.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (82-69) @ Baltimore Orioles (62-88)
Pitching Probables: LAA – Jered Weaver (17-7, 2.40 ERA) BAL – Alfredo Simon (4-8, 4.67 ERA)
Game Info: 10:35 AM PT; TV - Fox Sports West; Radio - KLAA 830 AM
Today, Mike Scioscia goes all in on the rest of the season. By opting to pitch Jered Weaver on short rest for the second time this season, the Angel manager is pushing all his chips into the pot and hoping his ace can survive this outing and remain strong afterwards, all in the name of keeping the Angels' slim playoff hopes alive.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (82-68) @ Baltimore Orioles (61-88)
Pitching Probables: LAA – Ervin Santana (11-11, 3.30 ERA) BAL -- Zach Britton (9-10, 4.43 ERA)
Game Info: 4:05 PM PT; TV - KCOP; Radio - KLAA 830 AM
A little math for you on this fine weekend. As it stands, the Angels find themselves 3 1/2 games back with 13 games left to play. If the Angels win all their remaining series and the Rangers do the same, the Angels would be three games back heading into the final weekend. That of course means the Halos would have to sweep that series to force a one game playoff. This means to get into the playoffs the Angels need to go 11-2 (including the playoff) to end the season. The Rangers conversely would go 6-6. A swing of one loss to the Angels makes the math virtually impossible. However, if the Angels can pick up 1 1/2 games prior to the last series, then a sweep is not required. The Halos can control the half game on their own, but some help is needed on the other front. Just don't ask Mike Scioscia about all this...
Time for some Monkeying Around (formerly Free For All Friday, I'm done with alliteration for now), a time to talk about all the Angels-related topics that slipped through the cracks this week, as well as any other totally unrelated topic you feel like bringing up.
Here are a few topics for you to discuss amongst yourselves:
- The Rangers are killing me. I've gone over and over and over the remaining games for each team and who the probable pitchers will be and, even with my obvious bias, I have a hard time concocting a scenario where the Angels don't need a sweep to win or even just tie the Rangers for the AL West. And these are scenarios where the Halos finish the season on a 11-2 or 10-3 tear. It isn't just that the Rangers are so good, which they are, but there schedule is SO easy.
- You know whose schedule isn't super easy? The Red Sox. Honestly, I think I am leaning towards worrying about the Angels chasing them down more than Texas at this point. Of course, that brings the Rays into the equation as well. Gosh, it is just so damned complicated. I long for the days when the Halos would cruise to the AL West title.
- I alluded to this in the Halo Headlines earlier this week (I think), but the weakest link in the Angels playoff run is that Joel Pineiro is slated to start at least two more times, the same goes for Jerome Williams, but to a lesser extent since he has only been bad once. Anyway, the Angels need to figure out how to minimize the damage those two can do, but it will require a little thinking outside the box. Some have suggested just going with a four-man rotation the rest of the way, which is a good start, but I don't like the idea since it is so high risk and could leave the Angels rnning on fumes should they make the post-season. Instead of that, I say name Pineiro the starter, but only nominally. The instant he starts getting in trouble, be it the first inning or sixth, Scioscia needs to get someone up in the bullpen. And when that guy comes in and gets in trouble, go to the pen again. Basically, just use the bullpen as much as possible until you find someone who has it going. That seems like an odd strategy since the Angel bullpen generally sucks, but I have to think that if Scioscia calls upon Chatwood, Richards, Bell, Takahashi or Thompson, one of them has to be having a good day. It would tax the relief corps, but mostly just guys Scioscia doesn't want to use anyway.
- I am probably jinxing it, but the blowpen actually isn't so bad after all, at least right now. In case you haven't noticed, the primary relievers Scioscia relies upon (Walden, Downs, Cassevah and Takahashi) have combined to pitch 25 innings this month while allowing ZERO runs, 6 hits, 7 walks and 22 strikeouts. DAMN! That's some good relieving! See what happens when you drop Fraudney from the mix? Now, when the pen inevitably blows a save in each game this weekend, I ask that you direct all your angry comments to my Twitter feed (@Monkeywithahalo), just because I don't like the swearing in the comment section. Thanks for your cooperation.
Or just feel free to bring up a topic of your own. I don't really care (as long as you keep it clean) because it's Friday.
The September 16th, 2011 edition of daily news for the LA Angels including Angels put playoff tickets on sale, prospect Shoemaker picked for Team USA, Abreu endures his toughest season ever and much more...
The Monkey Says: Ugh, this makes me feel sick. I get that the team needs to start selling tickets in advance of a potential series, but seeing them do this when they are three and a half games out of the playoffs seems like a jinx to me.
The Monkey Says: This is a big honor for Shoemaker who had a breakout season in Double-A. This is a guy who wasn't even on most top 20 Angel prospects lists before the season and now he is playing for the national team. His performance will definitely be worth watching.
As I watch the baseball world fall all over themselves to anoint Justin Verlander as 2011's Pitching Jesus, I can't help but wonder what happened to Jered Weaver. Back before that fateful July day in Detroit when Weaver got into a "who showed up who" fracas with the Tigers, the Cy Young race was neck-and-neck between Weaver and Verlander, now Jered may not even finish second in the voting. He got his big extension but has also seen his performance fall off to the point where some have even wondered if his arm might be overworked.
Fret not, Angel fans. There is nothing wrong with Jered Weaver. He isn't hurt. He isn't feeling the pressure. Heck, he isn't even slumping. He's just regressing.
Congratulations to Jered Weaver, who reached a career high 17 victories yesterday, and also to Mark Trumbo for notching his 27th homer of the year. That's just 4 away from tying up Salmon's illustrious rookie record he set with the Angels during his RotY campaign. But who cares about tying records? I want to see records broken, and with 13 games left for the Angels Mark Trumbo's time is quickly running short. 5 home runs in 13 games? Not impossible, in fact, if Trumbo were able to do it he would effectively seal the ROtY award for himself. Plus, a huge power trip like that would work nothing but wonders for the Angels playoffs chances, but when you couple that with Howie Wowies incredible power surge you have a recipe for disaster. At least for the Rangers.
Angels 4 Athletics 1