Results tagged ‘ Albert Pujols ’
We don’t have the depth for a big trade come July. What, if anything, is going to save this team? – @angelfan91
Performing to expectations and staying healthy. That simple.
For as star-laden and expensive a team as this is, it’s not a club that can really absorb an inordinate amount of injuries. Their farm system is barren, and their bench looked pretty weak once Vernon Wells was dealt to the Yankees. Look no further than the three starts Tommy Hanson (restricted list) has missed. Each of those nights — especially the latest one — the opposing team has batted around in an inning, basically because the Angels are left with nowhere to turn for additional starting pitching help. There are some teams (Yankees?) that can withstand using the disabled list seven times in the first six weeks. The Angels, apparently, aren’t one of them.
More than that, though, guys are simply under performing, as this Baseball Prospectus article evidenced by deploying PECOTA projections. Joe Blanton (0-7, 6.46 ERA, 1.87 WHIP) has taken the brunt of the criticism. But just as crippling, if not more so, is the fact that the three big signings of the last two offseasons — Albert Pujols (.248/.328/.418), Josh Hamilton (.214/.264/.358) and C.J. Wilson (3.88 ERA, 1.54 WHIP) — are simply not living up to their track records. Add that to all those who have been on the DL since April 1 (Jered Weaver, Ryan Madson, Sean Burnett, Kevin Jepsen, Peter Bourjos, Erick Aybar) and you have a problem.
The good news: Three-quarters of the season remains.
I’ll be away from the team for a little while moving forward, while trying to juggle a bunch of other things I have going on. William Boor is your man for the rest of this homestand.
SP: RH Wade Davis (2-3, 5.86 ERA)
SP: RH Barry Enright (0-1, 11.37)
- There was thought Ryan Madson could join the Angels before the end of the week, after making his second and final rehab appearance for Class A Inland Empire on Wednesday or Thursday. That is no longer the case. The Angels prefer to slow down his rehab and have him pitch at Triple-A Salt Lake before being activated. This isn’t really a setback, though. Madson continues to feel good, having just the normal soreness pitchers go through, but he’d been going very aggressive in hopes of coming back as soon as possible — throwing off a mound with intensity every other day — and the Angels feel it’d be best if they slowed him down and ease him into the Majors. “I respect that,” Madson said. I’d expect Madson to start pitching in Triple-A by the end of the week. How long will he be there? Mike Scioscia said: “If everything goes the way we anticipate, not very long at all.” Madson threw out “a couple weeks.” Scioscia, when told that, said: “I don’t know if it’s going to take a couple weeks. It might or it might not. We want to make sure that he’s ready to go and his rehab sticks when it goes.”
- Earlier today, Angels owner Arte Moreno publicly backed Scioscia, saying there’s “zero” chance he’ll be dismissed. Sciosica’s reaction: “Arte has always been very supportive. Arte knows how hard I take the non-performance of this team and how we need to get there. It hits me as hard as it hits Arte and it hits Jerry [Dipoto], and I know Arte realizes that. We’re going to take this challenge and hopefully start moving forward and getting the wins that we need to get ourselves in the position we want to. That’s the bottom line is winning, and we’re going to work towards that.”
- Some other injury notes: Jered Weaver (broken left elbow) came out of his Tuesday bullpen session feeling fine and is still scheduled to throw an 80-pitch, up-and-down ‘pen (meaning 20 pitches, sit down, 20 pitches, sit down, and so on) on Friday. The next step after that would be a rehab assignment. … Sean Burnett (left forearm tightness) is expected to throw his first bullpen session on Thursday. … Peter Bourjos (left hamstring strain) has been riding the elliptical, playing catch, doing some aquatic exercises and getting in some lunges, but there’s still no date for when he can run on the field. … Kevin Jepsen (strained lat) was scheduled to throw his third bullpen session today. … Still no timetable for when Tommy Hanson (restricted list) will be back, but he has been throwing.
Well, there you have it.
FOXSports.com’s Jon Paul Morosi caught Arte Moreno at the Owners Meetings in New York and asked him about Mike Scioscia‘s oft-speculated-upon status as manager of the Angels. Moreno’s response: “Mike has zero problems, OK? This is his 14th year. Mike goes beyond what he does on the field. He’s a good person. He’s a good person in the community, a very good baseball guy. You don’t have to ask me. You just ask other managers, other baseball people.”
As for the job status of general manager Jerry Dipoto, Moreno told FOXSports.com: “We have had zero discussions on anything other than who is going to be healthy enough to play. Jerry’s been here a year and a half. There are a lot of underlying things we need to fix and adjust in the organization.”
What does all this mean?
Well, not much, really. Scioscia is under contract through 2018, as Morosi pointed out, and there’s no way his boss would ever go on record to say his job status is in jeopardy in the first place. If nothing else, though, it at least quells the outside speculation of whether or not he’ll be retained. And that can only help a manager do his job.
The big question is still what Moreno does, if anything, if the Angels fall short of the playoffs for a fourth straight season.
Right now, regardless of the Angels’ 15-24 record, it’s mid-May, there’s a whole lot of season left and it doesn’t seem very prudent to make a big staff change. As Albert Pujols pointed out, it’s on the players to perform up to their reputations.
“Right now,” Moreno told the site, “in Mike’s job, I have no questions about Mike.”
The Angels can’t get swept by the Astros, can they? We shall see …
SP: LH Jason Vargas (1-3, 3.72 ERA)
SP: RH Lucas Harrell (3-3, 5.03 ERA)
- Jered Weaver threw his first bullpen today (28 pitches) and felt really good. Mike Scioscia said he’ll need about four more, thrown with one day in between if Weaver continues to feel good, before venturing out on a rehab assignment.
- Ryan Madson threw 20 pitches in an intrasquad game in Arizona today and, as planned, will pitch there again on Saturday.
- If the Angels make the playoffs this year, they’ll become only the fourth team in history to do it despite starting off the season 11-22. Per Elias, the only other teams to start a season 11-22 or worse and play in the postseason were the 1914 Braves, the 1974 Pirates and the 1981 Royals. To be fair, though, there was no second wild card — or even first wild card — back then.
- The last time the Angels were 11 games below .500: May 22, 2006. They haven’t been 9 1/2 games back this early in a season since 2002 — when they were 9 1/2 games back on April 22, 10 1/2 games back on April 23 and (lo and behold!) World Series champs on Oct. 27.
- Eleven of the Angels’ 22 losses have come by two runs or less.
These are the Angels’ next 10 series (making up a stretch of 29 games): at Astros, at White Sox, vs. Royals, vs. White Sox, vs. Mariners, at Royals, at Dodgers, vs. Dodgers, vs. Astros, vs. Cubs. Only one of those teams is currently above .500 — and it’s the Royals. This would be the time to make up some serious ground on the hole they’ve dug themselves to start the season. Go 19-10 in that stretch, which they should, and suddenly they’re at .500. Continue to lose in that stretch, and things can start getting ugly.
SP: LH C.J. Wilson (3-0, 4.04 ERA)
SP: RH Jordan Lyles (0-0, 3.60 ERA)
- Jered Weaver (broken left elb0w) is scheduled to throw his first bullpen session on Thursday, which is when he can really start getting a gauge for how far along he is. Sunday marked four weeks since he landed on the DL with an injury that carried an estimated four-to-six-week recovery, but the Angels’ ace isn’t two weeks away from getting back, Angels manager Mike Scioscia confirmed. Weaver will need to ramp up some innings in extended spring in Arizona before getting back out there.
- Sean Burnett‘s visit with Dr. James Andrews revealed forearm inflammation. He took an anti-inflammatory shot that will keep him away from throwing for another week.
- Ryan Madson, however, perceivably took a step forward on Monday. He threw a bullpen, felt good, and wants to face hitters in extended spring training in Arizona as soon as Thursday. At that point, he hopes to face hitters every other day. His goal — though that can change, as it has before — is to be back with the Angels towards the end of next week.
- Conger is behind the plate for a fifth consecutive Wilson start, but Scioscia said it has more to do with Chris Iannetta struggling with some things defensively — not necessarily him wanting to pair Conger exclusively with Wilson. Here’s what the Angels’ skipper said: “First and foremost, we want him to get a little more of a comfort level behind the plate. He’s doing a good job, but it just doesn’t look like he’s as comfortable as he needs to be back there. On the offensive side, he hasn’t gotten a lot of hits to fall in, but that’s secondary to what our starting pitchers need especially.”
- Peter Bourjos isn’t with the team. He stayed back to rehab his strained left hamstring.
- Kevin Jepsen (strained lat) is playing catch, but has yet to get off a mound.
- In case you missed it, Mark Lowe was activated on Monday.
SP: RH Miguel Gonzalez (2-1, 4.60 ERA)
SP: LH Jason Vargas (0-3, 4.85)
- As you might have noticed, Callaspo was activated off the disabled prior to Friday’s game. But going down was Andrew Romine, not Luis Jimenez. Mike Scioscia likes having a power right-handed bat off the bench like Jimenez — it’s essentially the role Bill Hall was going to play, before he got hurt in Spring Training — and he feels Brendan Harris can be used as a utility infielder. A big question with this decision, however, is Harris’ defense. It’s not his strong suit. Offense is. Romine was a much more capable defender. And maybe Jimenez would’ve benefited from some more at-bats in the Minors to polish up his approach, which has led to a lot of strikeouts at this level.
- In tune with his new role, Jimenez was getting some work in left field pregame. Scioscia said right now he’s only comfortable using Jimenez there in an “emergency” situation, but perhaps that can change if he gets better at it.
- Garrett Richards is going back to the bullpen, with Jerome Williams taking his spot in the rotation on Sunday. The move makes sense on a couple of fronts. First and foremost, the Angels need a relief pitcher to bridge the gap to the later innings, and Richards can do that in what he said is “a primary role” in the back end. Williams has struggled as a starting pitcher in recent outings, but he’s been really good in long relief lately.
- Sean Burnett said today that he’s going to fly to Florida to see Dr. James Andrews on Monday morning. After that, he’ll fly to Houston to rejoin the team on their two-city trip. The lefty reliever, out since April 27 with left forearm irritation, didn’t sound very concerned. But it’s always frightening when pitchers see Dr. Andrews, so it’s definitely something worth monitoring.
- It looks like Scott Downs (pain in his right side) will avoid the DL. At least for now. He probably won’t be available Friday, but Scioscia is going to have him go through his normal pregame nonetheless.
- Mark Lowe (left neck strain) will pitch two innings for Class A Inland Empire on Sunday. He’s eligible to be activated that day, so that may be Lowe’s final outing before rejoining the team.
- Shortstop Tommy Field suffered a broken finger shortly after he was sent down on April 23. He’s on the 7-day Minor League DL and could miss a month.
The Angels’ 19-inning loss last night was a devastating one, but it was also quite memorable. It was the longest game in Angels history — A’s, too — and it witnessed several encouraging performances. Tommy Hanson pitched six innings of two-run ball with a heavy heart, Chris Iannetta squatted for 19 innings behind the plate, Mark Trumbo hit a 475-foot homer that was tied for the longest in the Majors this season, Albert Pujols had four hits, went deep twice and played the field despite having plantar fasciitis on his left foot, and Jerome Williams hurled six innings of one-run ball in relief.
Still, though, the Angels were in no mood to reminisce on Tuesday.
“I don’t feel any nostalgia towards it,” Trumbo said. “It’s all about winning, and we didn’t do it.”
SP: RH Garrett Richards (1-1, 3.65 ERA)
SP: RH Jarrod Parker (0-4, 8.10 ERA)
- The Angels officially placed Peter Bourjos on the disabled list today with a strained left hamstring, activating Aybar. Also, outfielder Scott Cousins had his contract purchased from Triple-A Salt Lake and Michael Roth was sent down. The Angels’ 40-man roster is back at 40, and the Angels are back to the traditional seven relievers and four-man bench — despite the fact seven relievers accounted for 12 2/3 innings the night before. “Really, we’re as banged up on the lineup side,” Mike Scioscia said.
- It looks like only Jerome Williams and Michael Kohn will be unavailable tonight. Ernesto Frieri is good to go, as are Barry Enright, Dane De La Rosa, Nick Maronde and Scott Downs.
- Luis Jimenez‘s bruised left shin is “a little tight,” Scioscia said, but he may be available to play defense. If the Angels get a lead late, don’t be surprised to see him sub in for Harris at third.
- Still no time frame on how long Bourjos’ hamstring will keep him out. Obviously, as a speed guy, he needs that to be 100 percent before returning.
- Ryan Madson is still not throwing.
- Jimenez has some experience in the outfield from winter ball, so that may be an option for him once Alberto Callaspo returns.
Tommy Hanson takes the mound today, in the opener of a three-game series, with a heavy heart, after spending six days on the bereavement list while dealing with the sudden death of his 24-year-old step-brother. The 26-year-old right-hander is happy to be back, joining his teammates and in some ways distracting himself from the sorrow that a loss in the family can cause.
“I think any time you’re doing something you have a passion for and you love, it’s therapeautic for all of us,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “Hopefully it’ll help Tommy get through some of the things he’s dealing with in his personal life and come out here and move forward.”
SP: Hanson (2-1, 4.24 ERA)
SP: RH Dan Straily (1-0, 2.70 ERA)
- Erick Aybar (bruised left heel) is slated to play for Triple-A Salt Lake today, while Alberto Callaspo (right calf strain) and Mark Lowe (left neck strain) will begin a rehab assignment with Class A Inland Empire on Tuesday. If all goes well, I’d expect Aybar and Callaspo to both be back for the weekend home series against the Orioles.
- Scioscia said he’d probably hit Aybar lower in the lineup initially, and was non-committal about whether he’d replace Bourjos in the leadoff spot.
- The Angels’ skipper has thought about putting Trumbo in the cleanup spot on a more frequent basis, instead of just against left-handed starters, but prefers to stay with that platoon for now — even though Hamilton continues to struggle and the Angels have seen seven straight right-handed starters (lefty Tommy Milone will start tomorrow).
- The 7 o’clock Angels games on Tuesday and Friday will be broadcast on KCOP.
When will the Halos start running again? — @K_Dodd3
A lot of you had this question, so I figured I’d address it. I wrote about their shockingly low stolen-base total earlier in the week, but it’s probably worth delving into a little further. The Angels are currently tied for 26th in the Majors with seven stolen bases, which is surprising because they have two of baseball’s fastest players in their lineup — Mike Trout (four steals) and Peter Bourjos (zero attemps) — and because Mike Scioscia‘s Angels teams have always been built on aggression.
The biggest reason for the low number, in my mind: Personnel. Simply put, when you have a lineup that’s capable of driving the ball, you’re less willing to sacrifice giving up an out on the bases. And the fact Bourjos and Trout are hitting right in front of Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton and Mark Trumbo is a big reason why Scioscia hasn’t sent them very often. First, he doesn’t want to risk an out with his big bats up. Second, he doesn’t want a successful stolen base to lead to pitchers walking Pujols — already with five intentional walks — because first base is open.
Now, that’s just an explanation. I’m not saying I agree with it. I’d like to see Trout and Bourjos get turned loose a little more often, shaking some things up since the offense isn’t really clicking just yet. But, you know, they don’t pay me to make those decisions.
** For some supplemental reading, check out this piece from FanGraphs on the stolen bases being down throughout baseball.
SP: LH C.J. Wilson (1-0, 4.13 ERA)
SP: RH Aaron Harang (0-2, 10.24 ERA)
- It’s been a week since Ryan Madson threw his last sim game in Anaheim, and another one is still not scheduled. He’s in Arizona still, rehabbing, but Mike Scioscia didn’t want to call his last-Friday sim game a setback. “He wasn’t set back for any other reason than normal rehab and trying to get over the final hump. That’s what rehab is. At times you’re going to take a step forward, at times you’re going to plateau. He’s certainly ready for the challenge of facing hitters.”
- Just a day for Hamilton, who’s at DH for the first time this season (and, of course, his Angels career.
- Speaking of DH … Erick Aybar did that in his second game of extended spring training in Arizona, but Scioscia said he also ran well and that his left heel “felt great” as the day went on. He’ll most likely play the field again on Saturday, but Scioscia was non-committal when asked if he’d be available in Oakland early next week.
- Pujols is tied with Giancarlo Stanton for the biggest drop of pitches seen inside the strike zone from 2012 to ’13 (h/t Fan Graphs). The interesting thing about that is Stanton has the likes of Greg Dobbs and Placido Polanco hitting behind him; Pujols has Hamilton — signed to a five-year, $125 million contract, but currently struggling.
- Wilson is 5-1 with a 2.11 ERA in his last seven starts against the Mariners.