The snowballing of bad contracts Reagins continues to hand out like candy has hampered this teams progress to the post-season in many ways. The GMJ and Kazmir contracts prevented them from using their money in a productive manner instead of throwing money at sub-par players who don't even play for the team anymore. The Vernon Wells contract has done almost the same for this team, though he isn't nearly as bad as Kazmir and GMJ his performance does not condone such a hefty contract. The Bobby Abreu contract and his pesky 550 PA vesting option, while it isn't dragging the team down it is preventing the team from adding obvious upgrades. Now the Angels are more then likely stuck with Abreu, not only for the remainder of this season, but for all of next season as well. He can't field anymore and he can BARELY hit well enough to justify his mismatch in the DH hole, he is simply getting too old to be anything other then a decent player at best. Sounds like a classic Reagins contract to me!
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (58-48) @ Detroit Tigers (55-50)
Pitching Probables: LAA – Tyler Chatwood (6-6, 3.64 ERA) DET – Rick Porcello (10-6, 4.67 ERA)
Game Info: 4:05 PM PT; TV - Fox Sports West; Radio - KLAA 830 AM
The last two Angels games have been studies in contrast. Santana's No Hitter was an exercise in pitching brilliance while yesterday's 12 run outburst was a prime example of how to pummel your opponent into submission. And yet, even with the last two days of evidence, most pundits are taking the Angels seriously as playoff contenders. All you hear is how Texas is going to get Heath Bell and will eventually pull away since they are clearly the most talented team in the west. But the Angels just keep plugging away and one of these days they will put both halves of the game together. That, my friends, is what happens today.
Time for Free For All Friday, 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 haven't seen this discussed anywhere really, but I thought it was worth pointing out. You know Ryan Vogelsong? The NL All-Star/Cy Young contender/Comeback Player of the Year shoe-in? Yeah, that Ryan Vogelsong. He's been such a great story for his awesome comeback with the Giants, but did you know who he played for in the minors last season? THE ANGELS!!!! Yup, he pitched 36.2 innings for the Salt Lake Bees, but he got shelled for 47 hits and 23 runs while coughing up 22 walks. Hard to blame the Halos for kicking him to the curb, but it isn't going to stop me from fantasizing about what could've been.
- Why must people on Twitter try my patience so much? I love interacting with other fans via that medium and I find most of those folks by searching the #Angels hashtag. Unfortunately, the multiple areas where the term Angels applies is vast. I can deal with the religious types and their occassional prayers to angels, but what I can't abide is pop artist groupies. Last year I had to deal with Trey Songz and his fans blathering on all the time about voting for him in some video countdown BS, but that has since died down, mercifully. Unfortunately, some new set of groupies have tried to co-opt "Angels" as their collective name. This time the usurpers are all supporters of some Australian twink, Justin Bieber clone named Cody Simpson. I'm sitting here trying to sort through the tweets to find juicy news on potential Angels trades but I end up spending half my time filtering through gaggles of tweens tweeting "OMG, Cody Simpson is so totally dreamy! #Angels". It only makes my head hurt worse when I realize that in ten years, it will be my daughter composing those tweets. Shoot me now.
- Remember last month when the Angels got jobbed against the Dodgers when the home plate umpire claimed Mathis missed the tag on Dee Gordon? Yeah, I apologize for complaining so vociferously about that after seeing what Jerry Meals did to the Pirates earlier this week. Consider my complaint withdrawn.
- I hear nothing but good things about Captain America and I am dying to see it... well, I would be but for one small problem: Chris Evans. Nothing against him, I actually think he is a good actor and a great fit for the role, but the issue is that he is already a superhero and one from the Marvel universe at that. He can't be the Human Torch and Captain America, it just isn't right. It's superhero polygamy, which I am pretty sure is the long lost 11th Commandment and I just won't stand for it.
- Just going to put this one out there and I would appreciate some feedback. I'm considering doing a weekly podcast for the site. I've actually been thinking about it for awhile, but have yet to pull the trigger partly because I am not exactly sure of what kind of format I would go with since I would likely be doing it solo (the other part of that partly is laziness). Most every podcast I hear out there is a group, so, I'm a bit stumped as to how a one-man podcast would work. If you've got any ideas (including whether or not you think Monkey With a Podcast is a good idea or not) are warmly invited.
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 July 29th, 2011 edition of daily news for the LA Angels including rumors heat up that Aramis Ramirez might waive his no-trade clause, evaluating Jered Weaver's Cy Young chances, Santana basks in the no-hitter afterglow and much more...
The Monkey Says: Now we are talking! Ramirez has been saying all season that he won't waive his no-trade clause for family reasons, but he seems to be realizing that the Cubs could be heading into rebuilding mode and may not want to stick around for it. If he does decide to allow a trade, the Angels are the most logical match both in terms of team fit and trade package. There is even word that the Cubs had scouts at last night's Arkansas Travelers game. Ramirez better make up his mind soon, because if he needs to allow whatever team that acquires him to figure out what to do about his 2012 option which automatically vests if he is traded, but he may not want it to, so there will definitely be negotiations that need to take place.
The Story: Can Jered Weaver win the Cy Young?
The Monkey Says: It is going to be close this year and might come down to who finishes the season best. I still think Verlander has the edge because he is flashier than Weaver, but if Jered can keep his ERA under 2.00, voters of every kind are going to have a hard time not voting for him.
The magic carries over to Detroit as Trumbo comes just a single shy of hitting for the cycle, having himself one of his best games all year. Unfortunately the magic didn't carry over to Pineiro, who continues to struggle start after start. The firey offense that was absent during the Cleveland series finally came back to play against the Tigers, the proof that this offense has finally jumpstarted is irrefutable. Jeff Mathis ended up with a multi-hit game today, he even had an RBI! If the fire carried all the way down to the 9 hole logic states that it's gotta be for real. Especially when that 9-hole hitter is named Jeff Mathis.
Angels 12 Tigers 7
That stench you smelled across the country after Ervin Santana finished his no-hitter was the the collective group of would-be MLB contenders soiling their pants at the thought of having to face this Angels rotation at some point in the post-season.
Already armed with arguably the best pitcher in baseball right now, Jered Weaver, and the most underrated but almost as dominant ace in baseball, Dan Haren, the Halos were already formidable foes in a best-of-five series, but now add Ervin Santana at the top of his game to those two and the Angels should be striking bowel-evacuating fear into the hearts of any opposing team that dare stand in their way.
As we saw with the Giants last year, a team with similar offensive concerns to the Angels, if you have strong pitching and your underwhelming lineup can heat up at the right time, you can go a long, long way in the playoffs. That is a mold the Halos have been looking to fill all season long, but they didn't fit in perfectly until Santana's very public emergence as a force to be reckoned with. It wasn't like folks didn't know about Ervin Santana beforehand, after all, he is a former All-Star. But they haven't seen much of that All-Star caliber Santana since 2008. Nagging arm problems have robbed him of some of his fastball's velocity and some of his wicked slider's bite, which led to his abysmal 2009 campaign and his pedestrian (outside of his win total) 2010 season.
What many haven't noticed is that in 2011, Santana is creeping closer and closer to replicating the magic he had in 2008. His 1.16 WHIP is his second-best mark to date, his K/9 and BB/9 rates are both his best since 2008 and improvements over his career rates. Better yet, his 3.47 ERA is right on par with his xFIP of 3.58, suggesting that he isn't just getting by on strokes of luck. No, as we alll saw in his brilliant performance yesterday, that once dominant stuff he possessed in his early career is still very much alive and kicking in his right arm, even if it doesn't show up quite as often and that is why AL contenders should be crossing their fingers that they don't draw the Angels in the playoffs.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (57-48) @ Detroit Tigers (55-49)
Pitching Probables: LAA – Joel Pineiro (5-5, 4.61 ERA) DET – Brad Penny (7-7, 4.51 ERA)
Game Info: 1:05 PM PT; TV - Fox Sports West; Radio - KLAA 830 AM
So far the Angels have won 3 series in a row, let's see if they can come up with a 4th series against the Detroit Tigers. The pitching has been stellar as of late, but the offense? Not so much. They've failed to put up any more than 2 runs in the past three games during the Cleveland series, a series which came after the Angels dropped 17 runs on the Orioles in three games. I'll give the Angels the benefit of the doubt and chalk that up to bad luck on the Angels part, but if they manage a similar effort against the Detroit Tigers then I'll start to worry. As if I haven't been worrying about this offense the entire season.