Time for some Monkeying Around, with a special emphasis on keeping Angel fans' hopes alive in these desperate times; 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:
- I realize I am venturing into dangerously delusional territory here, but I am not quite ready to give up on the Angel season. First off, why give up with six games left? That's like the fans who start heading out to the parking lot even though there is still one out left in the ninth and their team is down by one. I will say that the AL West is probably out of reach since the Halos wasted yesterday's Ranger loss. The Wild Card though, is not. All that needs to happen to force a one-game playoff is the Angels going 5-1 while the Red Sox go 2-4, which is entirely possible with how bad they are playing right now. The Rays would need to do worse than 5-1 themselves, which is also entirely plausible. I know none of it is likely, but I'm not giving up hope yet.
- If the Angels do miss the playoffs, 2011 will be remembered as the season the Blue Jays just couldn't stop screwing over the Angels. First they tricked Tony Reagins into trading for Vernon Wells, then they double-crossed him by sending Mike Napoli to Texas where he has had a monster season. Now they beat the Halos twice in extra innings down the stretch.
- By my count, the Angels have had four losses (including last night) since the trade deadline that might have been avoidable if the Angels had trusted reliever depth beyond Walden and Downs. That may not sound like a lot, but four losses of the Angels' 21 losses in less than two months. Had they been able to acquire someone like Mike Adams or a lesser reliever, I can't help but think one or maybe two of those losses could have been avoided. That would have put the Angels still in contention in the AL West and in great position in the Wild Card. So my point here is, once again, great work, Tony Reagins.
- Here is an interesting question. Which would you rather see happen in the final week: the Rangers clinching the division BEFORE they arrive in Anaheim, making that series largely meaningless, or Texas coming to Anaheim up by three games, meaning the Angels would have to sweep them and then win a one-game playoff to advance to the post-season, which strikes me as pretty unlikely, but it means the Angels have a chance but also means that there is a high chance that the Rangers will celebrate the division title on the Angel Stadium grass? I'll be honest, I'm not sure which one I would choose.
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.
Angels 3 Blue Jays 4
The September 23rd, 2011 edition of daily news for the LA Angels including AL Wild Card tie-breaking scenarios could get crazy for the Angels, what needs to happen for the Angels to make the playoffs, the Angels shocking return to contention and much more...
The Monkey Says: If it happens, the Angels will basically finish the season in Anaheim, fly to Boston to play the next day and, if they win, then come back home to face the Rays. If they win that game, the ALDS starts the next day in New York for two days before shifting to Anaheim again with on travel day in between! This would be fascinating to watch, so part of me wants it to happen, but I also don't see how it could result in the Angels actually winning the ALDS.
The Monkey Says: A lot of folks are hoping the Rangers wrap things up so that they mail in the final series of the season, but I'm not sold. There is a fair amount of animosity between these two clubs and I don't see them just rolling over for the Angels. It is also worth noting that the Rangers need to win to get home field advantage over Detroit should they meet in the ALDS or ALCS, so they could still be very motivated when they show up in Anaheim on Monday.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (85-70) @ Toronto Blue Jays (78-77)
Pitching Probables: LAA – Ervin Santana (11-12, 3.40 ERA) TOR –Henderson Alvarez (1-2, 3.62 ERA)
Game Info: 4:07 PM PT; TV - Fox Sports West; Radio - KLAA 830 AM
Today's game is pretty much a replica of yesterday's game, except for a few small facts. Henderson Alvarez may not have as much ML experience as McGowan, but he certainly has proved to a be a more reliable starter, at least for this season. He is only 21 however, and we've seen what happens to a stellar young pitcher down the line with Tyler Chatwood. Alvarez hasn't lost a game in nearly a month, which is as pretty a streak as any for a pitcher as young as himself. Santana, on the other hand, has given up 5 runs in his past 2 starts. What an ugly streak, lucky for us all streaks have to come to an end sometime, and too bad for the Blue Jays.
Normally, I would save off-season trade ideas for, well, the off-season, but in light of recent events, I think this one needs to be considered right now. Not only that, but I'm going to turn this into a series because finding ways for the Angels to dump bad contracts this off-season is probably going to end up being something we all have to consider pretty frequently (thanks, Tony Reagins). So here it goes, the first suggestion in a line of trade ideas that make sense (and thus probably will never happen): Vernon Wells traded for former Angel and current terrible Red Sox pitcher John Lackey.
Let's start with the first criteria of a bad contract swap. Do both players suck? Let's see Wells has been on fire this month and his OPS is just .673. Check. And Lackey, he is carrying a 6.49 ERA, the worst ERA out of any qualified pitcher in baseball. Double check.
Now for the actual contracts. Wells, as every Angel fan knows all too well, is owed $21 million per year through the 2014 season. Ugh. Lackey's contract runs through 2014 as well, but is "only" for $15.95 million each year. Triple check.
The Angels have unexpectedly surged into the wildcard race this week, with today's win cementing them in the race for the rest of the season. At the beginning of the season I didn't think the Angels would come this close to the wildcard this far into the season, let alone watch them fight their way past a struggling Red Sox team. Oh how poetically sweet the justice would be if the Angels trumped the Red Sox for the AL wildcard, it would be the perfect revenge against Carl Crawford. No I still haven't gotten over it, and I won't unless he watches the team he shunned in the offseason step all over his new team to make it to the playoffs. I don't think you'll have a better chance of winning a ring with the Red Sox if you're sitting at home your team that should have been thrive in the post-season. Enough about my obsession with Carl Crawford, on to last night's game.
Angels 7 Blue Jays 2