Sometimes being smart sucks. For instance, back when the season began I wrote about how the April schedule for our beloved Halos looked particularly brutal. Thanks to a poor rotation and an incompetent bullpen, I ended up looking pretty smart. I also ended up with an ulcer because I really didn't want to be right about that and it is now stressing me out.
But sometimes being smart can be good! In fact, it can be good in the same way that I just showed you that it was bad. As it turns out, the scheduling gods of MLB have something of a sick sense of humor when it comes to the Angels. Having put them through the ringer in April and pushing fans to the brink of quitting on the team, they gift wrap the month of May for the desperate and ragged Halos as their one chance to right the ship or good back on track or dig themselves out of the hole or whatever tired metaphor you prefer.
First a quick caveat. Sabermetric research strongly suggests that teams are pretty much what they are after 30 games. There is some wiggle room there for improvement via promoted players or guys coming back from injury, but by the 30-game mark, if you stink then you are likely to continue to stink at about the same level. In case you haven't noticed, the Angels really stink. So enter into this exercise knowing that the odds are already against them to suddenly flip the switch and make good on all of their pre-season promise.no comments
Just when it looks like things can't get any worse for the Angels, Mike Scioscia goes and makes a fool of himself. This scene from last night's Angels-Athletics games features a confused Scioscia heading out to the mound with a 3-1 count on Adam Rosales. Of course Scioscia can't do that because pitching coach Mike Butcher went out for a mound visit to pitcher Nick Maronde at the beginning of Rosales' at-bat:
This looks particularly bad for Scioscia because it means he either doesn't know the rules, forgot that his own pitching coach made a trip to the mound four pitches ago or he lost track of the count and thought Maronde had just thrown ball four not ball three. Let's just say with questions about Scioscia's job security already abound, this isn't going to help.
Oh, and in case you are wondering, the pitching change that Scioscia wanted to make didn't help. Barry Enright entered the game, to face a lefty which would seem to be an ideal match-up for Maronde, and immediately gave up a bases-clearing double.
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The May 1st, 2013 edition of daily news for the Los Angeles Angels including Hamilton's worsening struggles, numbers from the marathon game and much more...
The Monkey Says: I just don't see how it is going to get better for him. His approach is only getting worse and obviously nobody can talk him out of it. Yet teams now clearly know that all they have to do is just bury him in breaking balls low and away and he will just keep whiffing or rolling over and grounding out to the right side. The parallel is being drawn to Pujols last season, but this seems to be a much more systemic problem with Hamilton.
The Monkey Says: It was a fun game and all, but let's not forget that the Angels gagged away a five-run lead and then choked away a one-run lead in extras.
Two starts ago, Garrett Richards was being anointed (by some) as the new ace of the Angels starting staff. The kid with the mid-90's fastball and lively breaking ball was supposed to hold down the fort before Jered Weaver came back.
Two starts ago, Richards and his team had a much better outlook on this 2013 season than they do after tonight. A few hours after playing in the longest game in franchise history, the Angels offense did everything in their power to knock together some runs. And thanks to Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo, the game remained fairly close on a night when aforementioned "ace" Garrett Richards decided he was playing spikeball. That's not much of an exaggeration, either. In 5 2/3 innings, Richards walked two, and also made two costly wild pitches that bounced well before reaching the plate, allowing key Oakland A's runs to score. We can delve into how he pitched much better than his final line of 5.2, 8 H, 7ER, 2BB, but 7 runs is 7 runs.
Nick Maronde offered no "relief," also throwing a wild pitch, while surrendering two earned runs on ZERO hits, and two walks. If not for the shoddy relief work from the young lefty, the game would have remained within reach. But it was not to be for this day.
-- In what turned out to be the most bizarre moment in a bizarre past couple games, Angels manager Mike Scioscia made his most insufferable blunder yet. Get this:
1. Pitching coach Mike Butcher pays Maronde a visit to the mound, in what turned out to be an unsuccessful attempt at calming down the pitcher.
2. A few pitchers later, with the same batter still at the plate, here comes Scioscia, waddling out to do… something? Nobody is quite sure what. First base umpire Gary Cederstorm promptly shoos him away, reminding the clueless manager that Butcher had already come out and that he could only visit the pitcher if to make a pitching change. Which, apparently, Scioscia wasn't going to do…?
3. If that description was confusing to you, it's because it was a confusing moment.
Mike Scioscia is confusing.
-- Shortstop Erick Aybar made his return to the Angels lineup tonight and provided some spark at the top of the order., with a walk and a hit. If he can continue this, the Angels just might be able to weather the loss of Peter Bourjos for the next couple weeks. Keyword being a big "might."
-- Josh Hamilton walked. I repeat, Josh Hamilton walked! In other news, a flock of swine was spotted in flight around the Sierra Madre mountain range area.
-- After clubbing two home runs last night, Albert Pujols looked old again. 0-5.
-- Mark Trumbo is powerful.
Halo A-Hole of the Game
The month of April really sucks.no comments
The Angel bullpen was once the backbone of the Scioscia era, now that backbone has broken and left the Angels a crippled shell of their old selves. Despite efforts to rebuild the relief corps in recent years, things only seem to be getting worse amidst a vicious cycle of pitcher abuse, decreasing depth and woeful role mismanagement.
Early in his managerial career, Mike Scioscia was lauded for being smart with his bullpen usage. As the years have gone on, that reputation has diminished and possibly even reversed, especially if you look at recent seasons. Judging by his difficulties juggling the current batch of misfits, it seems that Scioscia's early success had less to do with tactical brilliance and more to do with having such a deep and talented crop of relievers that he couldn't mess them up if he tried.
Now though he is saddled with a bullpen so devoid of talent that he may not be able to find success if he tried, and boy is he trying. That wasn't supposed to be the case though. Jerry Dipoto recognized the problems the lack of bullpen depth caused the Halos in 2012, his first year as GM. He signed Ryan Madson and Sean Burnett in the off-season while adding Mark Lowe off waivers before the season began. This should have made things better. Some of it is Scioscia's fault and some of it is Dipoto's.no comments
It is too late for me to write a real recap. This game was also too weird and frustrating for such a thing, so here is a list of the nuttiness for those of you who weren't brave enough to stay up and watch:
-Two quality starts in one game from the Angels
-Five players lost to injury
-Two exploded hamstrings
-Two homers by Albert Pujols
-One murdered baseball by Mark Trumbo
-One pitcher that was scratched from the start only to end up pitching multiple innings in relief
-Two dozen non-sensical statements from the Angel broadcasting crew as they try to fill air time and act as if they aren't punchy
-One umpire who was clearly so drowsy that he completely lost the strike zone during the 15th inning
-One last train leaving Oakland at midnight that no doubt left dozens of A's fans stranded
-One shot of a woman sleeping in the stands that got videobombed by a dude picking his nose
-Nineteen innings of Chris Iannetta squatting behind the plate and Albert Pujols playing first base (poorly) on bad feet and Josh Hamilton not getting a hit
-One bad sac bunt that could've been a triple play only to have Pujols bobble the ball and then have to hold his throw because Jerome Williams was in his way so they only got one out
-One comically bad Trout misplay of a ball in left that resulted in a video replay of a ball that landed three feet short of the wall, just because
-One pitcher batting in an American League game
-Three gingers with beards pitching in the same game
-Two teams setting new records for the longest game in franchise history
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