Results tagged ‘ Blue Jays ’
The Angels, in case you missed it, had quite the turnover this offseason. I knew that. But it didn’t really hit me until today, when I decided to compile a list of all the guys who are on a new team this spring. Below are nine of them — with Jason Isringhausen still in limbo — to catch you up on how 2012 Angels look heading into 2013 …
RF Torii Hunter (DET)
Numbers: .207 BA (6-for-29), 1 HR, 2 RBI
SP Zack Greinke (LAD)
Numbers: 3.60 ERA (2 ER, 5 IP), 3 K, 1 BB
Notes: Greinke missed Sunday’s bullpen session with minor forearm tightness and missed Wednesday’s start because of the flu, but he had an impressive bullpen session on Friday. Earlier in the spring, Greinke went into his social-anxiety disorder and his decision to sign with the Dodgers.
SP Dan Haren (WAS)
Numbers: 0-1, 3.60 ERA (2 ER, 5 IP), 5 K, 1 BB
Notes: Haren felt “a lot of good stuff” came out of his last outing. Last year, he said, “I didn’t trust myself.” Haren was involved in a prank-call this spring. Somebody made Peter Bourjos‘ cell phone ring in a pre-workout meeting — he suspected Mark Trumbo or Jered Weaver, or both — and the person on the other end was Haren, who was put on speaker phone so he could briefly talk with all of his ex-teammates.
SP Ervin Santana (KCR)
Numbers: 1.80 ERA (1 ER, 5 IP), 6 K, 1 BB
Notes: At $13 million, Santana is the highest-paid player on the Royals this year. They’re counting on a bounceback year.
DH Kendrys Morales (SEA)
Numbers: .320 BA (8-for-25), 2 HR, 4 RBI
Notes: Now that he has a full season under his belt after that devastating ankle injury, Morales can finally just have a normal spring. That’s big, given that this is his walk year.
INF Maicer Izturis (TOR)
Numbers: .160 BA (4-for-25), 1 RBI
Notes: Not a good start for Izturis, since he’s going to be fighting for playing time.
RP Jordan Walden (ATL)
Numbers: 1 IP, 4 R (1 ER), 3 H, 0 SO, 0 BB
Notes: Walden hasn’t appeared in a game since Feb. 23 due to a bulging disk in his back. He received an epidural injection in Atlanta on Wednesday, and if he continues to progress, he could throw off a mound again this weekend.
RP LaTroy Hawkins (NYM)
Numbers: 1 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 1 SO, 0 BB
Notes: Hawkins is 40 years old and now, after signing a Minor League deal with the Mets this offseason, has a good chance to make an Opening Day roster with his 10th different team.
C Bobby Wilson (NYY)
Numbers: .167 BA (2-for-12)
Notes: Some of you may be surprised to see he’s even on the Yankees. Wilson was claimed off waivers by the Blue Jays early in the offseason, but was released in late November and signed with the Yankees on a Minor League deal a couple weeks later. He’ll be in Triple-A, but with not much talent in front of him — Austin Romine, Francisco Cervelli, Chris Stewart — perhaps he can win playing time.
I wrote recently about the Angels’ own prestigious “Big Three” of Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton — how they could potentially hold up historically and in this era.
But how do they hold up in 2013? There’s little debate that the Angels now have the most talented and celebrated lineup trio in baseball, giving them arguably the game’s most potent offense. But I was a little stunned that their 2012 stats didn’t show it.
In fact, when combining each of their OPS from 2012, the Angels’ trio ranked third, behind those of the Tigers and Reds. Below is the top 15, based on combined OPS of the top three current players in each lineup (minimum is 400 plate appearances) …
- Tigers (Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, Austin Jackson): 2.795
- Reds (Joey Votto, Ryan Ludwick, Jay Bruce): 2.759
- Angels (Trout, Pujols, Hamilton): 2.752
- Brewers (Ryan Braun, Aramis Ramirez, Corey Hart): 2.729
- Red Sox (David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Mike Napoli*): 2.635
- Blue Jays (Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Reyes, Melky Cabrera): 2.627
- Cardinals (Matt Holliday, Allen Craig, Yadier Molina): 2.627
- Rangers (Adrian Beltre, David Murphy, A.J. Pierzynski): 2.607
- Rockies (Carlos Gonzalez, Dexter Fowler, Tyler Colvin): 2.602
- Pirates (Andrew McCutchen, Garrett Jones, Pedro Alvarez): 2.569
- D-backs (Aaron Hill, Paul Goldschmidt, Jason Kubel): 2.565
- Yankees (Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira): 2.547
- Twins (Josh Willingham, Joe Mauer, Ryan Doumit): 2.532
- Giants (Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval, Brandon Belt): 2.527
- Dodgers (Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Adrian Gonzalez): 2.524
* Napoli’s deal still hasn’t been finalized.
** A special thanks to all of you for making this blog the 10th-most popular among MLB.com beat writers in 2012. You’re the whipped cream on my sundae.
The kid went to Mr. Owl to find out how many licks it takes to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop. (Big mistake.) We’ll go with Mr. History with our own inquiry.
Us: Mr. History, how many wins will it take to get the second Wild Card in the American League?
History: Let’s see … one, a-two-hoo, a-three … 88.
88. Or, more precisely, 88.24. From 1995 (the first year divisional play was actually put into practice) and 2011 (the last year before the new playoff format), that’s the average number of wins by the American League team that would’ve claimed the second Wild Card spot under this new system.
For the Angels, now a season-best 14 games over .500 while at 77-63, that means a mere 11-11 record the rest of the way. Totally do-able. But, of course, it’s not so simple. Every year, it’s different. And this year, the Orioles, Athletics and Rays — with combined payrolls of just under $200 million — have all surprised and don’t show signs of slowing down. But the Rays (tied with the Angels for third place in the AL Wild Card race) are on pace for 88 wins, the Orioles (one-game lead on the Angels for the second AL Wild Card spot) are on pace for 89 and the Athletics (2 1/2 games ahead of the Angels for the first AL Wild Card spot) are on pace for 90.
So perhaps that figure isn’t very far off.
The most wins by the team that would’ve claimed the second AL Wild Card spot over the previous 17 years is 93. For the Angels, that would mean a much more difficult 16-6 finish over their last 22 games (4 vs. OAK, 3 at KCR, 3 vs. TEX, 3 vs. CWS, 3 vs. SEA, 3 at TEX, 3 at SEA).
Here’s a year-by-year look at the above-mentioned …
2011: 90 (Red Sox)
2010: 89 (Red Sox)
2009: 87 (Rangers)
2008: 89 (Yankees)
2007: 88 (Mariners/Tigers)
2006: 90 (White Sox)
2005: 93 (Indians)
2004: 91 (Athletics)
2003: 93 (Mariners)
2002: 93 (Red Sox/Mariners)
2001: 85 (Twins)
2000: 90 (Indians)
1999: 87 (Athletics)
1998: 88 (Blue Jays)
1997: 84 (Angels)
1996: 85 (Mariners/White Sox/Red Sox)
1995: 78 (Angels)
With their 3-2 win over the Tigers on Sunday, the Angels — thanks in large part to a rotation that’s finally living up to its billing — have won six in a row, 11 of their last 12 and 15 of their last 18, after starting the second half at 14-22. Next up, they’ll face an A’s team they recently swept but is coming off its own sweep of the Mariners.
Here’s all you need to know about the pitching staff lately: During a just-completed 10-game road trip, the Angels’ offense averaged seven runs per game, notched double-digit hits seven times and totaled 23 homers … and still lost six of those games. That’s because, of course, the pitching was that bad. Angels pitchers combined to post a 6.78 ERA, giving up 72 runs (66 earned) and 21 homers in 87 2/3 innings during that trip.
The rotation posted a 5.07 mark, getting only four quality starts (two by Jered Weaver, one each by Dan Haren and Ervin Santana) and watching as C.J. Wilson and Zack Greinke combined to give up 24 runs (21 earned) in 22 1/3 innings. The bullpen was even worse, combining to post a 10.54 mark (or, 32 earned runs in 27 1/3 innings), losing five games and blowing five save chances.
Now, through the second half, the Angels rank ninth in the American League in ERA from their starters (4.78) and dead last — by a wide margin — in ERA from their relievers (6.65).
Houston, we have a problem.
Now, how do you fix it?
We’ll get the easy one out of the way first. You don’t do anything to fix the rotation. You simply expect proven commodities like Wilson and Greinke to figure it out, continue to lean on Weaver (15-1, 2.13 ERA, Cy Young favorite), get encouragement out of the recent outings of Haren (2.00 ERA last three starts) and Santana (five earned runs last 11 innings), and rest easy with Garrett Richards as a fall-back option.
There’s no reason why this rotation shouldn’t turn it around. (If it doesn’t, then I would hate to be pitching coach Mike Butcher.)
The bullpen situation is a lot more dire. It looked set, as it rolled through May and June with a collective 3.02 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP. But that was with Ernesto Frieri going on a ridiculous (unrealistic?) run and, most importantly, with Scott Downs healthy. You really notice just how thin this relief corps is when Downs isn’t there. Suddenly, you’re relying on two 39-year-olds (LaTroy Hawkins and Jason Isringhausen), one guy who was in Triple-A a little over a month ago (Kevin Jepsen), two guys who would be in Triple-A if not for injuries (David Carpenter and Hisanori Takahashi) and one guy very few had heard of before May (Frieri) to hold leads.
The optimists’ view: Downs and Jordan Walden are slated to start rehab assignments soon and should be back shortly thereafter, and this latest rough stretch is only an anomaly for a bullpen that put together eight really solid weeks.
The cynics’ view: Downs is rehabbing a shoulder strain, was hit around right before landing on the DL and there’s no telling how effective he’ll be upon returning; Walden hasn’t looked right all year; and general manager Jerry Dipoto has to do something to address this ‘pen.
The Angels’ first-year GM didn’t find the reliever market very appealing in July, however. Granted, this was before the road-trip meltdown, but nontheless, here’s what Dipoto told me just after the non-waiver Trade Deadline when asked whether Downs’ injury made addressing the bullpen an even greater priority in August: ”Not at all. You’re always open to any way that you can get better. Scotty’s been terrific for us all year, we don’t anticipate this being a long, drawn-out process, but like I said, you never know. And as a result, like I said all along, you remain as flexible as you can be. We’ll keep turning over the stones.”
Will gold show up under any of them?
Keep in mind: Now that the non-waiver Deadline has passed, deals involving players on the 40-man roster cannot be made unless the players already have cleared waivers. In other words, the player must be offered to the other teams in reverse order of the standings — with his own league first — and if he is claimed by someone, he cannot be traded. The club that placed the player on waivers can either withdraw the request and keep the player, or let the player go to the claiming team, which would then have the rights to the player.
I was personally shocked that ex-Royals lefty Jose Mijares slipped through 13 AL teams and landed with the Giants on Aug. 6, given his success and salary. Other names to keep in mind this month (and this is just a rough assumption): Darren Oliver (Blue Jays), Matt Reynolds (Rockies), Joe Thatcher (Padres, but out until mid-to-late August with knee tendinitis) and Wesley Wright (Astros) for lefties; Matt Belisle (Rockies), Rafael Betancourt (Rockies), Shawn Camp (Cubs) and Casey Janssen (Blue Jays) for righties.
Thing is, the Angels don’t have much flexibility on the payroll (especially not after taking on the pro-rated portion of Greinke’s expiring deal) or on the roster. Takahashi and Carpenter can be optioned, but that would be for when Walden and Downs are activated; adding someone extra before rosters expand would probably mean one of their out-of-options guys (Hawkins? Isringhausen? Jerome Williams?) are placed on waivers, since there’s no chance they option Frieri or Jepsen.
Perhaps that’s why the Angels’ front office is hesitant to add someone unless he’s a clear upgrade.
Question is: Is it too late to find that clear upgrade?
KANSAS CITY — Mark Trumbo impressed a lot of people with his Home Run Derby showing on Monday night, even though he was eliminated in a tiebreaker swing-off by Jose Bautista. Asked for his favorite of the 13 through the first two rounds, Trumbo narrowed it down to two — the one that landed on the roof of the Hall of Fame building beyond the left-field bleachers (measured at a conservative 428 feet); and the smoking line drive out to straightaway center (420).
“I’d say the one on top of the roof,” Trumbo said, before backtracking — “but the one to center was impressive. I think a lot of the guys really liked the line drive.”
Trumbo’s average distance per home run — 434 feet — was the longest among the competitors, including champion Prince Fielder. He started off slow each round, then got into a little bit of a rhythm towards the middle, but felt he could’ve done better.
“I felt like I never really got into a great rhythm,” Trumbo said. “It seemed like I’d hit one, make an out, and then have to take a few pitches. Ideally, the goal is to get into an extended rhythm, kind of like Prince did, and then rattle off a better total. My biggest thing was just to have fun with it. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. I wanted to get one. That was the advice — don’t get a goose egg.”
Trumbo’s favorite moment?
“[David Ortiz] pulled me aside before I left yesterday and that was really cool,” he said. “He was telling me it took him three or four times of doing it to really feel like he — not had it down, but had a chance. Things move very, very quickly when you’re out there. You can’t really simulate that.”
But C.J. Wilson, at least, can capture it.
As usual, Wilson was out there with his camera and estimated taking roughly 800 photos of the Derby participants. He’ll look over them when he has time in the next few days and print them out for Trumbo to keep.
“I had my brand-new camera out there, taking some cool images that I’ll process while we’re on the road in the next couple days and see if I can come up with some winners,” Wilson said. “It’s just fun. Jered [Weaver] and Mike [Trout] and I were out there just trying to hype him up and keep him motivated and have a good time. It’s a lot of pressure out there, when you’re the only guy batting for a couple minutes at a time in front of the fans.”
Trumbo’s roommate also TiVo’d it. But many of those in attendance won’t need reminders of the show Trumbo put on. Many were impressed.
“I know my Twitter following went way up,” Trumbo said with a smile.
“Any time I’m in something, I want to win. But I’m going to take away some really cool memories from it.”
Some other pre-All Star Game notes
- Asked about their friendship in a pregame presser, Trout joked of Bryce Harper: “We don’t like each other.” Bryce: “It’s like Bird and Magic. He’s Magic, I’m Bird.”
- Maybe more LeBron and Wade? “I hope I play with [Trout] one day,” Harper said. “I think him playing center field, me playing right field, as a one-two punch, I think that’d be fun.”
- Trout was asked who wins in a footrace between him and Peter Bourjos. His response: “I think Peter’s got me around the bases in an inside-the-parker, but home to first, we were talking about it the other day, I think I have him by a couple of steps.”
- Weaver was told he’ll pitch the fifth inning tonight. As for how it affects him for the second half? It’s just like a normal bullpen session.
- Trout and Trumbo are not really sure when they’ll get in. “I have all my gloves, as usual,” Trumbo said. C.J., of course, is sitting out due to a blister he doesn’t expect to impact his second half.
- Weaver on not being named the starter for the All-Star Game a second straight year, despite leading the Majors with a 1.96 ERA: “I told you guys, whatever happens, I’m just excited to be here, be a part of it. Obviously it would’ve been cool to start back-to-back years, but I’m just excited to be able to get out there and throw an inning and just be part of this whole experience. It’s fun. It’s great to hang out with all these guys and just see who they are as a person instead of just battling against him.”
- One guy Weaver was really excited to get to know a little better here: Adam Dunn. “He’s a funny character, man.”
Some Angels All-Star Game links …
- Not surprisingly, Trout the center of attention in KC
- Futures Game story, on Jean Segura and Ariel Pena
- Blister forces Wilson to sit out All-Star Game
Some intriguing All-Star Game stories …
- Richard Justice, on Harper and Trout
- Robinson Cano didn’t have a great HR Derby experience
- R.A. Dickey, David Wright not starting despite great halves
- The Rangers have an entire caravan at the All-Star Game
- All-Stars set for Royal treatment (get it?)
The lineups …
Carlos Gonzalez, DH (COL)
Melky Cabrera, CF (SFG)
Ryan Braun, LF (MIL)
Joey Votto, 1B (CIN)
Carlos Beltran, RF (StL)
Buster Posey, C (SFG)
Pablo Sandoval, 3B (SFG)
Dan Uggla, 2B (ATL)
Rafael Furcal, SS (StL)
SP: RH Matt Cain (SFG)
SP: RH Justin Verlander (DET)
Mike Trout, CF (.343 BA, .399 OBP, 23 SB)
Rookie of the Year? How about MVP? Trout has elevated himself to that level already.
Robinson Cano, 2B (.316 BA, 20 HR, 50 RBI)
Best second baseman in baseball. And it isn’t even close.
Miguel Cabrera, 3B (.323, 18 HR, 68 RBI)
Best hitter in the AL, in my mind, and better at third base than I thought he’d be.
Josh Hamilton, LF (.318 BA, 26 HR, 74 RBI)
Somebody’s going to give this guy an absurd amount of money this offseason.
Jose Bautista, RF (.911 OPS, 27 HR, 64 RBI)
As Mike Scioscia said in Toronto, “How is this guy only batting .240?” He’s as fun to watch hit as anyone.
David Ortiz, DH (.302 BA, 22 HR, 55 RBI)
Remember when we all thought he was finished?
Paul Konerko, 1B (.333 BA, 14 HR, 42 RBI)
Like fine wine, Konerko seems to get better with age.
Joe Mauer, C (.327 BA, .415 OBP, 38 RBI)
He’s only catching about half the time, but he’s healthy and back to being himself offensively. Huge sigh of relief for Twins.
Asdrubal Cabrera, SS (.370 OBP, 11 HR, 42 RBI)
As slick as there is with the glove and a great hitter.
SP: Justin Verlander (9 W, 2.58 ERA, 128 SO)
Weaver’s numbers are better, but the reigning MVP deserves to start one of these.
Andrew McCutchen, CF (.360 BA, 16 HR, 54 RBI)
Oh, and 14 steals. The guy does it all. An absolute freak.
Ryan Braun, LF (.309 BA, 23 HR, 59 RBI)
It was a rough offseason. Good to see him pick up right where he left off from his MVP year.
Joey Votto, 1B (.350 BA, 14 HR, 47 RBI)
Here’s all you need to know about how good a hitter Votto is: He’s hit ONE infield pop-up since ’09.
Giancarlo Stanton, DH (.364 OBP, 19 HR, 50 RBI)
Man, I sure hope he can compete in the Home Run Derby.
Carlos Gonzalez, RF (.340 BA, 17 HR, 58 RBI)
Like McCutchen, this guy does it all on the field.
David Wright, 3B (.350 BA, 10 HR, 55 RBI)
What a travesty that Pablo Sandoval is starting at third base over him.
Aaron Hill, 2B (.300 BA, 11 HR, 39 RBI)
Two cycles in one half? Yeah, he gets the nod.
Carlos Ruiz, C (.357 BA, 13 HR, 46 RBI)
Ruiz was always lost in those deep Phillies lineups. Not anymore. Without him, they have nothing this year.
Starlin Castro, SS (.291 BA, 40 RBI, 16 SB)
Tough year for NL shortstops. I’ll take the one with the most upside.
SP: R.A. Dickey (2.15 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 12 W)
Great story, great person, great season. I don’t care if he’s a knuckleballer. He deserves it.
*** I’ll be taking the Baltimore series off. Follow Joe McIntyre for Angels updates, and look for stuff on the Angels’ first half and the upcoming Trade Deadline very soon. I’ll catch up with y’all from KC.
One of Robinson Cano‘s first calls went to Albert Pujols.
The Yankees’ second baseman, serving as the captain for the American League in the State Farm Home Run Derby, wanted his good friend to join the team. And Pujols, who has competed in three of these HR Derby events, would’ve done it if he had been picked for the All-Star Game. But if not, he asked Cano if he would pick teammate Mark Trumbo, instead.
And so he did.
“I told Robbie to call him, because I thought he deserved it,” Pujols said in Spanish. “It’s great to have fresh faces in the Home Run Derby. He invited me, but I told him, ‘Robbie, to be honest, if I don’t get picked for the All-Star Game, I’m not going to do it, but I’d love it if you invited Trumbo,’ and he told me he’d do it.”
Pujols has pretty much been, well, Pujols for a while now, batting .325 with 11 homers and 34 RBIs over his last 42 games. But a dreadful April has given him a very un-Pujols-like .271 batting average and .789 OPS throughout the season, denying him a chance to play in the All-Star Game for only the third time (and second straight season) in his 12-year career.
This one would’ve been extra special, since it’s taking place in Kansas City, where Pujols essentially grew up in the United States.
Here’s what Pujols said about not getting in …
“It’s part of baseball. I feel like there are players that should be in the All-Star Game and aren’t. I mean, look at the season Edwin Encarnacion [of the Blue Jays] is having, and not even the players selected him – a guy who has 55 RBIs and is batting . with 22 homers. What else do you have to do to be an All-Star? And I’ve always said it – when I don’t deserve to go to an All-Star Game, I feel like I shouldn’t go.
“I was bad in April. If I would’ve had a good year, or just a good April, my numbers would’ve been right there for the All-Star Game. But it’s part of baseball. We’ll wait ‘til next year and try to do the best I can to be in the All-Star Game, because that’s an honor, to be around so many stars. And it’s very important in this game, since whoever wins gets home-field advantage for the World Series. But that’s part of baseball. It wasn’t the first time, and it won’t be the last time [I don’t make it]. It’s already been three times I don’t go. I’m blessed to have been able to go nine times.”
The Angels are well represented in the All-Star Game, with Trumbo, Mike Trout, C.J. Wilson and Jered Weaver going, and Ernesto Frieri being an option as a Final Vote candidate. Their biggest snub isn’t Pujols — it’s Scott Downs, the left-hander who has given up only one earned run in 26 innings this year.
But that’s the way it usually is for non-closer relievers — and Downs is in no way surprised he wasn’t chosen.
“It is what it is,” he said. “I have no control over it. It is what it is. You can’t really do anything about it. … It’s closers and starters. That’s the way it’s been for a long time. I don’t know what to say. I’m not mad, I’m not upset. All I can do is go out and do what I do. If it gets recognized, great. If it doesn’t, as long as I help the team out, that’s all that matters.”
Greetings from Toronto, where the Angels will look to build on a three-game winning streak, capture their 14th road victory in their last 15 games and (no doubt) drink milk out of a bag …
Pitching: RH Dan Haren (5-7, 4.24 ERA)
Blue Jays (38-37)
Pitching: LH Brett Cecil (1-0, 2.45 ERA)
Some pregame notes …
- Vernon Wells (thumb surgery) will get back into baseball activities next week, with the hope of going out on a rehab assignment shortly after the All-Star break. Where/when will he play when he gets healthy? “I can’t worry about that right now. I just have to focus on getting healthy.”
- Mike Scioscia hinted pregame that the Angels’ lack of depth at the Triple-A level could push Garrett Richards (able to be sent down) back to the Minor Leagues when Jerome Williams (out of options) is ready to return. Putting Williams in the ‘pen, he said, just sacrifices their starting-pitching depth even further.
- While going 13-1 in their last 14 road games, the Angels have outscored opponents, 81-37. This marks just the fourth time in club history that they’ve won 13 of 14 road games.
Some Angels links from Wednesday …
- Trout’s catch highlights victory over O’s
- Jeff Trout marvels at his son’s catch
- Richard Justice: Trout brings something special to Angels
- Notebook, on Bourjos adjusting to his role, Haren’s velocity and Chris Iannetta‘s progress
Some AL West links …
- David Murphy homers twice as Rangers win
- Eric Wedge seeking consistency from Brandon League
- Pair of homers propel A’s to series win
And the Heat might be thinking small in the upcoming Draft.
Heading into Wednesday night, the Angels had been without their best pitcher for nearly three weeks, had seen their No. 2 starter struggle uncharacteristically (by his standards) and had stomached a mystifying start from their No. 3 man.
And still their rotation had the lowest ERA in the American League.
The Angels have plenty of pitching depth on their big league roster. Enough so that they largely relied on it even while ace Jered Weaver missed time on the disabled list with a lower back strain. Now, after receiving six shutout innings from Weaver in his return, the Angels’ staff ERA sits at 3.51 — even with Dan Haren struggling through a 3.97 ERA and Ervin Santana sporting a 5.16 mark.
The No. 1 ERA in the AL: Weaver, at 2.40.
No. 2: C.J. Wilson, at 2.44.
Then there’s Garrett Richards, the young stud who has given up two earned runs in 21 innings and stayed on board after Jerome Williams was placed on the disabled list. And there’s Williams himself, who has pitched much better than his 4.45 mark would suggest, being one of the better No. 5 starters in baseball. When Williams returns (that’s unknown, but as scary as his shortness of breath on Monday night was, at least he’s not injured, per se), the Angels will have six capable starters, possibly all in the big leagues.
That’s big because the Angels have hardly nothing in the Minors. With David Pauley being claimed off waivers from the Blue Jays, and Brad Mills and Trevor Bell on the DL, the Triple-A Salt Lake Bees have had to use relievers like Juan Rincon in the rotation to fill the void.
It’s big because in this era, even the best clubs need big time help beyond their five starters to succeed. In fact, six of the last seven World Series champions needed at least 10 starts from six guys throughout the regular season, with the ’06 Cardinals (with Jason Isringhausen as their closer and Albert Pujols as their star) needing 13 from seven different pitchers. The only exception here was the ’09 Yankees, who went to a three-man staff in the playoffs and got through the regular season with CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Andy Pettitte and Joba Chamberlain as full-time starters. But even they needed at least six starts from four others.
Simply put, the cliche is true — you can never have too much quality starting pitching.
The Angels, at least, have a fair amount.
** From last night: Question of the Day, on Mark Trumbo or Mike Trout for Angels MVP.
Jered Weaver is activated off the DL today, looking to pick up right where he left off and give the Angels eight series wins over their last nine …
Pitching: RH Ryan Vogelsong (6-2, 2.29 ERA)
Pitching: RH Weaver (6-1, 2.61 ERA)
Some pregame notes …
- Jerome Williams was placed on the DL on Wednesday, with the breathing problems that caused him to go to the hospital after his Monday night start. With that, the Angels opened a spot on the roster for Weaver. Williams passed out in the Angels clubhouse after pitching against the Giants, likely due to an asthma attack. He’ll take it easy for now, and there’s no timeline for his return. More on the site soon.
- With Williams on the DL, Ervin Santana will start Saturday against the Dodgers and the young Garrett Richards will go Sunday. Dan Haren is the Friday starter.
- The Blue Jays claimed reliever David Pauley off waivers from the Angels.
- Scioscia was asked about the recent pine tar scandal between the Rays and Nationals. Scoiscia didn’t really have a problem with Davey Johnson bringing it up — which his former coach, Joe Maddon, took exception to — but said using pine tar is hardly an advantage for a pitcher. “Pine tar’s an accepted practice in baseball. And I don’t think hitters have much of an issue with it, especially when it’s cold or guys are really sweaty or it’s wet. It doesn’t change the flight of the ball, it’s in the rules, and obviously you have to abide by what’s in the rules. It’s like getting pulled over for going 66 mph in a 65 mph zone.”
Angels.com links from Tuesday …
- Offense finally busts out in support of shaky C.J. Wilson
- Notebook, on Williams, Richards’ mindset, Trumbo’s numbers and other stuff
- Preview, on Weaver’s return to the mound
- Question of the Day, on All-Star worthy Angels
Some AL West links …
- Roy Oswalt will make his Rangers debut on Friday
- The A’s expect to lose Bartolo Colon to the DL
- Charlie Furbush moving up Mariners’ bullpen ladder
And the Miami Heat are ONE WIN AWAY from championship glory.