Oakland Athletics (11-13) @ Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (14-10)
Pitching Probables: OAK – Tyson Ross (1-2, 4.82 ERA) LAA – Dan Haren (4-1, 1.46 ERA)
Game Info: 4:05 PM PT; TV - Fox Sports West/ESPN; Radio - KLAA 830 AM
Tonight the Angels get a real chance to show early season dominance in the AL West. We should all get together and thank our lucky stars the sweep is in the hands of Dan Haren.
It seems like it was just yesterday when Angel fans were worrying themselves sick over whether or not Peter Bourjos was going to be able to hit enough to keep his stellar glove in the lineup this season. Well, worry no more. With a slash line of .321/.356/.556, Bourjos has not only proven he can hit "enough," but proven that he is a real offensive weapon. The only problem now, and what a good problem it is to have, is for the Angels to figure out how to best utilize Bourjos' unique offensive talents.
The thing about Bourjos that made so many question his ability to hit at the big league level is that he has several flaws in his game. What we have seen of him this year though is that he can be so good at the things he does do well that he can more than offset those flaws. This puts Mike Scioscia in the delicate position of trying to get the most out of Speedy Petey's strengths without inadvertently exposing his weaknesses in the process.
Daily Links for the LA Angels including Weaver is both good and lucky, Pineiro aims to return on Saturday, Izturis not likely to play before Friday and much more...
The Monkey Says: This article drew the ire of Angel fans yesterday, but it really shouldn't. Neyer isn't saying that Weaver isn't good, he is simply pointing out that nobody is that good without a fair amount of luck. The real question is how much of Weaver's success is based on luck. I see no reason he can't continue to best his career averages as he really looks to be a much smarter pitcher even compared to last year. I can't find the link right now, but someone over at Halos Heaven pointed out how on Weaver's ten strikeouts last night, the velocities of the strikeout pitch were all over the map, showing how Weaver is beating guys by keeping them off-balance and guessing rather than dusting them with an "out" pitch like so many other pitchers.
The Monkey Says: Joel says he is ready to go but the Angel coaching staff is not going to sign off on his return until he has a clean between starts bullpen session. That seems like an easy hurdle to clear, so expect Pineiro back on Saturday which will likely spell an end to either Matt Palmer's time in the rotation for now, though they could choose to demote Chatwood and simply push Palmer back a few days into Chatwood's spot.
The Monkey Says: Ladies, get yourself checked out and Save the Boobies.
Maybe it is time to just hand the entire Angel lineup over to the youngsters? Once again, it was the first and second year players at the bottom of the lineup igniting a big offensive night for the Halos and I am starting to think that isn't just an anomaly.
We've seen this story before, but this time the cast of characters were a little bit different. Instead of Trumbo going off, Alexi Amarista took his place and made a very nice impression in his debut. However, the lion's share of the work was done by Hank Conger and Peter Bourjos who teamed up to score three runs and drive in three runs combined. Howie Kendrick and Torii Hunter chipped in a fair amount as well, but make no mistake, this night belonged to the kids.
With as old and broken down the middle of the lineup has looked, the bottom of the lineup has been the exact opposite. The youngsters are starting to give the Angels added dimensions to their offense that have been sorely lacking of late. Conger and Bourjos can bring the power. Bourjos and, for tonight at least, Amarista can bring the speed and clutch hitting. While it is a risk to rely on such young players to make such big contributions every night, games like this prove that it is a risk worth taking. Maybe not now, but soon, Mike Scioscia needs to give the kids more responsibility and put them in more prominent position to make contributions and shy away from his struggling veterans out of sheer loyalty.
Oakland Athletics (11-12) @ Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (13-10)
Pitching Probables: OAK – Brandon McCarthy (1-1, 2.10 ERA) LAA – Tyler Chatwood (1-1, 3.50 ERA)
Game Info: 7:05 PM PT; TV - Fox Sports Prime Ticket; Radio - KLAA 830 AM
Will the real Tyler Chatwood please stand up?
We've seen the kid look nervous but walk the tightrope to give the Angels a solid start. We've seen him look like a seasoned veteran and shutdown the opposition. We've seen him look like a shaky rookie with spotty command who was lucky to get through five innings. With Joel Pineiro due back as soon as this weekend, the pressure is finally on li'l Chatty to really show the Angel coaching staff what he is made of. Nobody expects a 21-year old to be a consistent force in a big league rotation, but the Halos need to at least determine if he really does deserve to stay in the majors. After his second start, I think it would have been an easy decision, but with the homers and walks in his last start, his hold on the fifth starter's job is starting to get tenuous.
The A's will be a great test for Chatwood as Oakland has a lineup full of guys who can work a walk (the nmiddle of the order in particular), so his command will have to be sharp. If it isn't, Tyler could rack up a large pitch count in a big hurry and be out of the game pretty early, even if he isn't giving up a lot of runs.
Congratulations Double-A competitors, you finally found a way to stop Mike Trout... rain.
Since we last saw our hero, he has only managed to get nine at-bats in three games, one of which was called after five innings. Everything else got rained out. The end result was Trout going 1-for-9 with a run scored in this last week. Do I really need to point out the irony in water slowing down a guy named Trout?
Oh well, I would worry about it too much until some enterprising baseball executive figures out a way to control the weather, Trout will reign supreme on the days that the weather cooperates.
That's it for this week, check back in next week to see what happens to our future hero. Same Trout Time. Same Trout Channel... err, blog.