July 2012

Game 104: Angels-Rangers …

Angels (56-47)

Mike Trout, CF
Torii Hunter, RF
Albert Pujols, 1B
Mark Trumbo, DH
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Alberto Callaspo, 3B
Vernon Wells, LF
Maicer Izturis, SS
Chris Iannetta, C

Pitching: RH Jered Weaver (13-1, 2.26 ERA)

Rangers (59-42)

Ian Kinsler, 2B
Elvis Andrus, SS
Adrian Beltre, 3B
Nelson Cruz, RF
Josh Hamilton, CF
Michael Young, DH
David Murphy, LF
Mike Napoli, C
Mitch Moreland, 1B

Pitching: LH Derek Holland (7-5, 4.74 ERA)

Some pregame notes …

  • The Trade Deadline came and went, and the Angels didn’t add another relief pitcher, though there’s always August. And that’s relevant because …
  • Lefty Scott Downs was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left shoulder strain he suffered during his Friday outing, with lefty Hisanori Takahashi being called up to replace him. Downs hopes to return in two weeks, but it could be at least three or four.
  • Dan Haren (stiffness in his right side) won’t start on Wednesday after all. Instead, he’ll start Sunday against the White Sox, with Garrett Richards taking the ball against the Rangers on Wednesday.
  • Haren, on the Rangers’ acquisition of Ryan Dempster: “I’m sure it’ll help their club, but I think we still like where we stand, and we like our chances that’s for sure.”
  • With an opposing lefty on the mound, Kendrys Morales isn’t in the starting lineup — despite becoming the third player in baseball history to hit two homers from the same side of the plate in the same inning on Monday. Here’s what Mike Scioscia said when I asked him: “I think that Kendrys form the right side is swinging the bat as well as we’ve seen him swing the bat, but I think for an important reason of keeping him fresh still, still getting back and used to playing every day after missing some time, and keeping other guys fresh at times, getting a chance where Trumbo to DH and get Vernon out there, I think that’s a lineup we’re going to continue to consider; getting Peter out there. And there are going to be times when Kendrys will hit against left-handed pitching. But I think right now, we’re certainly going to keep him fresh. It’s almost like a natural break you can get sometimes against lefties.”

Some Angels.com links from Monday …

Some AL West links …

And U.S. gymnastics captured the gold.

Alden

Question of the Day, 7/30 …

Why is Ervin Santana still in the rotation? — @ritchie07

Because Santana is making a lot of money, has a proven track record and, simply put, if he shows he can stick in the rotation, making Garrett Richards an insurance arm in the Minor Leagues, the Angels will be better and deeper for it. It’s easier to put Santana in the bullpen, or try to slip him through waivers (unlikely, I still think), as the season grows older. But right now, the Angels need to do their best to preserve that starting pitching depth, especially with Dan Haren (side) hurting once again.

Nonetheless, Santana’s leash is very short — as it should be. He’ll make his next scheduled start (though Mike Scioscia hasn’t decided if it’ll be under the same 15-out limit). And though five innings of three-run ball against the Rangers was considered a step forward, there’s no doubt the Angels believe Santana should be better than that. “There’s still upside there, and that’s what we need to search for,” Scioscia said. “We need him back where he was, and where he can be.”

Alden

Game 103: Angels-Rangers …

As expected, it’s over 100 degrees here in Arlington, which means the ball should be flying tonight. That could especially be the case with the struggling Roy Oswalt and Ervin Santana facing off. But then there’s the fact that the Angels haven’t scored a run in 23 straight innings and the Rangers are 0-for-their-last-29 with runners in scoring position. Something’s gotta give, right? Angels come into this four-game set five games back in the AL West and are 5-4 against the Rangers this season. 

Angels (55-47)

Mike Trout, LF
Torii Hunter, RF
Albert Pujols, 1B
Kendrys Morales, DH
Alberto Callaspo, 3B
Howie Kendirck, 2B
Maicer Izturis, SS
Peter Bourjos, CF
Bobby Wilson, C

Pitching: RH Santana (4-10, 6.00 ERA)

Rangers (59-41)

Ian Kinsler, 2B
Elvis Andrus, SS
Adrian Beltre, 3B
Nelson Cruz, RF
Josh Hamilton, CF
Michael Young, LF
Mike Napoli, C
Mitch Moreland, 1B

Pitching: RH Oswalt (3-1, 5.22 ERA)

Some pregame notes …

  • Back problems continue to plague Dan Haren, to the point where he may not make his next scheduled turn on Wednesday. Haren came out of his Friday start a little stiff, and though Mike Scioscia said the pain is “not connected” to the lower-back stiffness that landed him on the DL in early July (it’s a little higher), he may be pushed back at least a day or two, with Garrett Richards or Jerome Williams (both currently out of the rotation) taking his place. More should be on the site soon.
  • Mark Trumbo is out of the lineup with upper back spasms, suffered while taking batting practice on Sunday. He indicated that the move is mostly precautionary and should be available if needed.
  • Some good news: Trout is back, and says he feels perfectly fine after being scratched from Sunday’s lineup with a left knee contusion.
  • Erick Aybar took some ground balls and hit in the cage pregame. Scioscia says he could be ready to return for the series against the Athletics that begins early next week.

Some Angels.com links from Sunday …

Some AL West links …

And the Dolphins will look to pass more in the red zone this season.

Alden

Pujols, C.J. charity events set for Thursday …

The Angels’ two big free-agent signings of the offseason, Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson, will host their first big charity events since joining the Angels during Thursday’s off day. Pujols’ will be a golf event in the morning, Wilson’s will be a bowling outing later in the afternoon. Here’s more info …

PUJOLS will host his 10th Celebrity Golf Classic — and first on the West Coast — at Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. A field of 180 golfers is expected to attend, making up 36 groups of five, each of which will be paired with a celebrity (here’s a list of confirmed celebs). The shotgun start will take place at 10 a.m. PT, followed by a cocktail hour and dinner program, which will include a live and silent auction. All proceeds will benefit the Pujols Family Foundation, which provides assistance to orphans in the Dominican Republic as well as people suffering with Down syndrome.

C.J. will host his will host the fourth annual Throw Strikes Bowling Tournament to benefit Wilson’s Children’s Charities, the patients of the Hematology Clinic of CHOC Children’s and The Hemostasis and Thrombosis Center at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. The event will take place at 300 Anaheim, which is located on 321 West Katella Ave., and other Angels players are expected to attend. Festivities will include dinner, a raffle, bowling with prizes for top scores and Wilson serving as a deejay. A $50 donation allows entry to the event along with one free game of bowling and shoe rental. Tickets are available on Wilson’s website, leftylefty.com, and at the door the day of the event.

Alden

Question of the Day, 7/23 …

Hypothetically, what do you think the Angels would have to give to get a Shields/Garza type? — @MattPainter85

Yesterday, Angels GM Jerry Dipoto said pitching will no doubt be available before the Trade Deadline, as it is every July, but added: “You’re going to pay a premium for it.” How much of a premium? Well, if the Tigers-Marlins trade is any indication — with top pitching prospect Jacob Turner going to Miami in exchange for a rental in Anibal Sanchez and second baseman Omar Infante — than a big one. Pitching’s always expensive. But with two new CBA wrinkles (additional Wild Card and no Draft-pick compensation on rentals) it may be more expensive than ever this year.

There’s no doubt the Angels prefer to acquire a starter who’s under contract for more than just the next two months — rather than shelling out top prospects for a guy who may leave in the offseason and leave them with nothing. That’s why guys like James Shields (affordable club options in 2013 and ’14) and Matt Garza (not a free agent until after ’13) are intriguing.

What will it take to get them? That’s what everyone’s still trying to figure out. My guess, from the Angels perspective? I’m thinking one of their top young Major League-ready young players (Peter Bourjos or Garrett Richards) along with at least one highly-regarded low-level guy (John Hellweg? C.J. Cron? Jean Segura?). The Rays may probably want instant offense, too.

But, again, that’s a guess. Nothing more.

Another name to keep in mind: Josh Johnson (signed through 2013), since the Marlins seem to be sellers.

Alden

Game 97: Royals-Angels …

Royals (40-54)

Alex Gordon, LF
Alcides Escobar, SS
Lorenzo Cain, CF
Billy Butler, DH
Mike Moustakas, 3B
Yuniesky Betancourt, 2B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Eric Hosmer, 1B
Brayan Pena, C

Pitching: LH Bruce Chen (7-8, 5.57 ERA)

Angels (52-44)

Mike Trout, LF
Torii Hunter, RF
Albert Pujols, 1B
Mark Trumbo, DH
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Alberto Callaspo, 3B
Maicer Izturis, SS
Peter Bourjos, CF
Bobby Wilson, C

Pitching: LH C.J. Wilson (9-6, 2.82 ERA)

Some pregame notes …

  • Erick Aybar (right toe) was in a walking boot today. An MRI revealed a small hairline fracture, but he’s still day-to-day and will be re-evaluated tomorrow. The Angels had a long closed-door meeting earlier this afternoon, perhaps partly to talk about who to bring up in case Aybar needs to go on the DL.
  • Jerome Williams will basically be working as a long man out of the bullpen in the meantime, but manager Mike Scioscia continues to say that he has a chance to “earn a spot and get a spot back in the rotation.”
  • Pujols is batting .338 with 15 homers and 42 RBIs over his last 53 games, and has five homers in his last 10.
  • From our stats department: Trout is averaging .95 runs per game. Only two qualifying players in their age-20 season or younger have ever finished a season with a run-scoring rate that high — Alex Rodriguez (1996) and John McGraw (1893).
  • Ron Washington on Trout last night: “He’s not Willie Mays. He’s a pretty good player, but I think the comparisons have to stop. Let the kid play. When he’s been here five years, six years, then you can start doing that.” … Scioscia, essentially, agrees. Here’s what he said pregame … Wash is saying the same thing we’re saying. We’re saying, for a guy to reach some of the things that those guys in baseball immortals have done, it has to stand the test of time. When you talk about what is the kind of player Mike reminds you of, or the tool set, I think that’s where he’s getting compared to guys, not anything that’s being ordained as to where he’s going to end up. You’re getting a range of players, all Hall of Famers, that Mike’s getting compared to as far as his SKILL SET, not as far as what his production is. Where he’s going to be 10 years from now, 15 years, 20 year from now, that’s the test of time. And you’re only going to be in the same sentence with those guys when you finish your career and you put up the type of career that’s worthy to be with those guys.

Some Angels.com links from Sunday …

Some AL West links …

And the Heat and Thunder are likely to meet on Christmas Day.

Alden

Game 94: Rangers-Angels …

Rangers (55-36)

Ian Kinsler, 2B
Elvis Andrus, SS
Josh Hamilton, LF
Adrian Beltre, 3B
Michael Young, 1B
Nelson Cruz, RF
David Murphy, DH
Mike Napoli, C
Craig Gentry, CF

Pitching: LH Derek Holland (6-4, 4.57 ERA)

Angels (50-43)

Mike Trout, LF
Torii Hunter, RF
Albert Pujols, 1B
Mark Trumbo, DH
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Alberto Callaspo, 3B
Erick Aybar, SS
Peter Bourjos, CF
Bobby Wilson, C

Pitching: RH Jered Weaver (11-1, 2.26 ERA)

Some pregame notes …

  • Dan Haren (stiff lower back) threw a bullpen session on Friday and, barring a major setback, he’s ready to go for Sunday.
  • Chris Iannetta (right forearm strain) had a good workout on Friday and manager Mike Scioscia said he’s “definitely” on track to start a rehab assignment tomorrow. As for how long he’ll need? “Especially catching, the first time you squat, and it’s in a game, you’re going to feel it the next day, so you want to work through some of that stiffness. It’s going to take the better part of a week to see where Chris is and we’ll just see where it goes.”
  • Vernon Wells (right thumb) was cleared for his rehab assignment, but they’ll bring him along slowly. Scioscia previously said it could be 7-10 days. ““Vernon has some work to do. He’s been out for a while. He’s worked very hard, doing as much as he can without playing in a baseball game, but once you get into a baseball, just like that first game of Spring Training, you’re never ready for it until you play. Then you work some stiffness out.”
  • Many of you have asked why Hank Conger (.325/.376/.461 in Triple-A) isn’t up in the big leagues. So, I asked the skipper (and remember, John Hester can indeed be optioned). “I think Hank has made some improvements, and I think that long range, he’s an exciting prospect. I think that he was banged up, I want to say a couple weeks ago a little bit, but he’s bounced back and is continuing to improve. I’m sure at some point he’s going to push through that door and get himself into the big leagues. There are some things that are still a work in progress with Hank, and he’s going to work hard at it.” … Truth: It’s clear Scioscia just isn’t comfortable with Conger’s defense behind the plate.
  • Jordan Walden (right biceps strain) will be evaluated by Dr. Lewis Yocum tomorrow, in hopes of being cleared to throw.
  • Pujols has fouled a bunch of balls off his left foot, but — as you saw from the lineup — he’s good to go.
  • Scioscia would consider going with three catchers when Iannetta returns. He may need to, to work himself back in.

Some Angels.com links from Thursday …

  • Angels’ offense stifled again by a Tigers starter
  • Castro: For Angels, a strong finish is all that matters
  • Notebook, on the wait-and-see approach at the Deadline, Pujols’ foot, Iannetta and Wells rehab assignments, etc.
  • Preview, on the start of another big series against the Rangers

Some AL West links …

And for James Jones, there’s more to life than basketball.

Alden

MLB Network on Mike Trout …

During the weekend series in New York, MLB Network got an in-depth look at Mike Trout, interviewing players at Yankee Stadium, going back to his childhood home in Millville, N.J., and even talking to some of his old coaches. Here’s the feature, which ran earlier, in case you haven’t yet seen it …

Alden

Celebrist list confirmed for Pujols’ golf event

Albert Pujols‘ first major charity event with the Angels will take place Thursday, via his 10th annual celebrity golf tournament at the Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. The 18-hole shotgun start is at 10 a.m. PT and will be followed by a cocktail hour, dinner and an awards ceremony that includes a live auction. ESPN anchor Steve Levy will be the emcee.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Pujols Family Foundation, which provides assistance to children and young adults with down syndrome and tries to improve the standard of living and quality of life for kids in Pujols’ native Dominican Republic.

Here’s the list of those attending the golf tourney, courtesy of Pujols’ agency …

JON HAMM – Actor
MIKE PIAZZA – Former MLB Player, 12-time All Star
BENJAMIN BRATT – Actor
ROB RIGGLE – Actor
GEORGE LOPEZ – Comedian/Actor
ANTHONY ANDERSON – Actor
BOBBY DEEN – Celebrity Chef
DON CHEADLE – Actor
DENNIS HAYSBERT – Actor
JOHN C. MCGINLEY – Actor
CARMINE GIOVINAZZO – Actor
JOE MANTEGNA – Actor
CHEECH MARIN – Actor
JACK WAGNER – Actor
AMAURY NOLASCO – Actor
ALAN THICKE – Actor
JERRY DIPOTO – Los Angeles Angels General Manager
JOSE VIZCAINO – Former MLB Player
BOBBY BONILLA – Former MLB Player
JASON SEHORN – Former NFL Player
CURT MENEFEE – Host of NFL Sunday on Fox
ERVIN SANTANA – Los Angeles Angels Pitcher
JASON ISRINGHAUSEN – Los Angeles Angels Pitcher
JORDAN WALDEN – Los Angeles Angels Pitcher
ERNIE FRIERI – Los Angeles Angels Pitcher
LATROY HAWKINS – Los Angeles Angels Pitcher
JERED WEAVER – Los Angeles Angels Pitcher
ROD CAREW – MLB Hall of Famer
BOBBY WILSON – Los Angeles Angels Catcher
ERICK AYBAR – Los Angeles Angels Shortstop
SCOTT DOWNS – Los Angeles Angels Pitcher
CHUCK FINLEY – Former Los Angeles Angels Pitcher
JIM EDMONDS – Former Los Angeles Angels Outfielder
SHELDON SOURAY – Anaheim Ducks Hockey Player
JIM FOX – LA Kings Fox Sports TV Commentator
DARYL EVANS – LA Kings Fox Sports TV Reporter

ALSO: Later that Thursday, C.J. Wilson will host his will host the fourth annual Throw Strikes Bowling Tournament to benefit Wilson’s Children’s Charities, the patients of the Hematology Clinic of CHOC Children’s and The Hemostasis and Thrombosis Center at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. The event will take place at 300 Anaheim, which is located on 321 West Katella Ave., and other Angels players are expected to attend. Festivities will include dinner, a raffle, bowling with prizes for top scores and Wilson serving as a deejay. A $50 donation allows entry to the event along with one free game of bowling and shoe rental. Tickets are available on Wilson’s website, leftylefty.com, and at the door the day of the event.

Alden

Question of the Day, 7/19 …

Is there any hope for the Angels to improve offensively at 3B, either by the Trade Deadline or after this season? They have way too many similar-style hitters (Erick Aybar, Alberto Callaspo and Howie Kendrick) and could use another power threat in the lineup. — Jim B.; Belleville, Ill.

I don’t disagree with you, Jim. I just don’t see many major upgrades becoming available, especially not before the non-waiver Trade Deadline. One name that continues to be floated around is Chase Headley, the Padres’ switch-hitting third baseman who isn’t eligible for free agency until after the 2014 season and is reportedly being shopped. Headley isn’t a sexy name, but he’s a good ballplayer (solid defensively and has compiled a .269/.348/.393 slash line since 2009). An upgrade over Callaspo? Sure. A big upgrade? Not really, and definitely not the traditional power-hitting third baseman you mentioned. Since he’s under club control for 2 1/2 more seasons, the Padres reportedly want a lot for him. And with the Angels focusing on pitching, they’re not likely to even get in the early stages in talks for Headley. Not much else seems to be available in the trade market (unless names like Placido Polanco and — gulp!Chone Figgins sound good). As for this coming free-agent period? The big name (perhaps the only one) could be David Wright. But the Mets will do everything in their power to resign him.

Alden

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