Results tagged ‘ Cardinals ’
- At six hours and 32 minutes, it was the longest game in Angels history, surpassing the six-hour, six-minute game played on April 13, 1982 against the Mariners (20 innings).
- Innings-wise, it was the third-longest in Angels history. The Angels have played 20 innings twice, on the above-mentioned game against Seattle and July 9, 1971, against the A’s. That means two of the three 19-inning games in Angels history have been walk-off losses to the A’s.
- It was the longest MLB game since the Pirates beat the Cardinals, 6-3, in 19 innings on Aug. 19, 2012, in St. Louis; it was the longest AL game since the White Sox beat the Red Sox, 6-5, in 19 innings on July 9, 2006, in Chicago.
- The 18 runs scored were the fourth-most in 19-inning, Major League history.
- The two clubs used a combined 16 pitches (eight each) and threw a combined 597 pitches. The 297 pitches the Angels threw were the most since at least 1988.
- Howie Kendrick and Brendan Harris each went 2-for-9, becoming the second and third Angels players to log nine at-bats in a game. The first was Don Baylor, who went 5-for-9 on 4/13/82. It was the first game since 1993 to have three players (also Jed Lowrie) log nine at-bats in a game.
- Six different Angels pitchers allowed a run for the fifth time in team history, and first time since Sept. 30, 2000.
- Four players (Peter Bourjos, Luis Jimenez, Coco Crisp, Chris Young) exited early with injuries.
- Seven of the Angels’ nine position players went the full 19 innings, including catcher Chris Iannetta, who worked 18 2/3 innings behind the plate. The last American League catchers to be behind the plate for more than 18 innings in a game were A.J. Pierzynski and Jason Varitek in 2006, in a game between the White Sox and Red Sox that ended with one out in the bottom of the 19th.
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.
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)
Pitching: RH Jered Weaver (7-1, 2.40 ERA)
Pitching: RH Jason Hammel (8-2, 2.61 ERA)
Some pregame notes …
- The return of Chris Iannetta (forearm strain) continues to be delayed. He was shut down recently for the second time, had a contrast MRI last week (weeks after getting an MRI when the forearm first flared up) and won’t re-start throwing for a couple days. “He’s fine,” manager Mike Scioscia insisted. “You’re just ruling some things out, and he’ll be throwing out here in a couple days.”
- Rookie reliever David Carpenter has only appeared in two games since June 6, but Scioscia believes the difference in workload between his current role and one he’d have in the Minors (probably about 20 appearances when it’s all set and done) makes it more beneficial for him to stay in the Majors. “I think the experience he’s getting up here is going to be invaluable to him. Although he’s not the finished product, you can use the experience here and if you ever go back to the minor leagues or get an opportunity to pitch in a better role in the big leagues, you can use that as a platform to hopefully grow from.”
- In case you missed it from last night … With his fifth-inning homer last night, Pujols has now homered against every team except the Cardinals, and has hit one out in 34 big league stadiums (including the World Series).
- Aybar is riding a season-long 11-game hitting streak, the longest by an Angels player this year. His .321 BA in June tops all AL shortstops.
- Jerome Williams came out of his sim game fine and will throw a bullpen session tomorrow.
Some Angels.com links from Tuesday …
- Angels tee off at Camden Yards
- Notebook, on Trout’s homecoming, Trumbo’s HR Derby chances, Jerome’s sim game and Mickey Hatcher‘s new job
- Question of the Day, on Peter Bourjos
- Preview, on the Weaver-Hammel matchup
Some AL West links …
- Yu Darvish finishes strong, notches 10th win
- Kevin Millwood exits early with groin discomfort
- Bartolo Colon set for bullpen session
And in the end, LeBron James had the last laugh.
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.
The Angels (and their $155 million payroll) head into the opener of a seven-game homestand, the first of a three-game series against the Twins and the finale of an ugly April with the fourth-worst record in the Major Leagues and a nine-game deficit of the Rangers in the American League West, where they also trail the Mariners and Athletics each by 5 1/2 games — two teams whose combined payrolls are $137 million.
They went 1-5 in their recent road trip through St. Petersburg, Fla., and Cleveland, have dropped six of their last seven overall, have tied the worst record in franchise history to start a season (also in 1976) and will finish April having won back-to-back games only once. They haven’t done that in any single month since July 1998, and only three other times in their history, according to Stats LLC. They dropped six of their first seven series, with four of those losses coming against teams that finished no better than 15 games out of first place last season (the Royals, Twins, Athletics and Indians).
The rotation, at least, has begun to improve the way we would’ve all expected, posting a 2.62 ERA in the club’s last 13 games while going at least six innings in 12 of those. But the bullpen can’t hold any leads and the offense can’t score any numbers. Yeah, it’s still only April (barely), but the Angels have the look of a team that isn’t taking these early struggles lightly. They’ve released Bobby Abreu, called up Mike Trout, designated Rich Thompson for assignment, called up David Carpenter and replaced (at least temporarily) Jordan Walden with Scott Downs in the ninth inning.
The numbers (warning: some of this material may not be suitable for younger readers) …
- 0: That, of course, is the amount of home runs Albert Pujols has hit through his first 88 at-bats of the season, by far his longest stretch to start any campaign. He averaged 14.2 at-bats per home runs through his 11 seasons in St. Louis, and his career-high at-bat streak in one season is 105, done April 24 to May 22 of last year.
- 0: That’s the amount of multi-hit games Pujols has had since his three-double game of April 19. That’s a stretch of nine games, which saw him post a career-high streak of five consecutive starts without a hit and see his slash line drop from .296/.333/.426 to, now, .216/.266/.295.
- 10: The combined number of walks and RBIs for Pujols through his first 22 games (four RBIs, six walks), which is three less than the amount of strikeouts (13).
- 40.3: The percentage of pitches out of the strike zone that Pujols has swung at so far, which would easily represent a career high, according to FanGraphs.com. Prior to last year (31.8 percent), Pujols had never swung at more than 30 percent of pitches out of the zone in any given season. He’s batting .204 with two strikes and, perhaps more worrisome, 21 of his 94 plate appearances (or, 22.3 percent) have begun with an 0-2 count — perhaps a sign that he’s still feeling out all the new pitchers he’s facing, which brings us to …
- 14: The amount of starting pitchers Pujols faced for the first time this season (out of 22). Not an excuse, but probably part of the reason for his struggles — and those of the offense in general.
- 9: That’s the amount of runs the Angels scored in their just-completed road trip, which saw them average just over five hits per game and go a combined 4-for-30 with runners in scoring position.
- 4: The amount of times the Angels have been shutout.
- 1-12: The Angels’ record when scoring three runs or less.
- 23: The exact number of teams that are ahead of the Angels in terms of: runs per game (3.45), OPS (.642), slugging percentage (.352) and stolen bases (10).
- .230: The Angels’ batting average with runners in scoring position, good for 12th in the AL — ahead of only the division-rival A’s and Mariners.
- 6: The amount of losses the relievers have compiled, which is tied with the last-place Royals for first in the Majors. (What? You thought the bullpen was safe from this?)
- 1: The amount of save chances Walden had (within five appearances) before serving up the two-run, walk-off homer that stripped him of his job on Thursday — game No. 19.
- 1.49: The bullpen’s WHIP, which ranks 23rd in the Majors.
- 1.52: The bullpen’s strikeout-to-walk ratio, which is tied for second-to-last in the Majors (with a Marlins team of similar preseason hype).
Fun, right? …
Back on Dec. 13, 2007, a 32-year-old Alex Rodriguez signed a 10-year, $275 million contract extension with the Yankees. That contract is now the only one that trumps the one signed by Albert Pujols, which is for 10 years and $240 million and was signed about a month before his 32nd birthday.
The Angels hope to get a lot more bang for their buck than the Yankees seem to be getting.
A-Rod had a good game Friday, going 3-for-4 with a homer in New York’s 5-0 win, and is still among the best at his position. But he played in just 99 games last year and has been on a steady decline since winning his last MVP in ’07. Now, as he enters Year 5 of 10, A-Rod’s deal looks like one of the worst in baseball. The only major difference between the two contracts is that while Pujols’ is heavily back-loaded, A-Rod got most of his money up front (not sure that matters one way or the other, though).
Through the first seven games — and remember that it’s only seven games and he was bad throughout all of April before turning it around last year — Pujols is homerless while batting only .222 (6-for-27).
Pressure to live up to the contract?
“I can’t speak for Pujols or anyone else,” Rodriguez said. “I think overall, you come into a new city, big market, big expectations and big contract, and it’s natural for you to try to do a little bit too much.”
Prior to Friday’s series opener, Pujols admitted that may be the case.
“Probably; trying to do too much,” he said. “I mean, we’re human. I’m a human. Sometimes that’s going to happen, no matter how you prepare yourself. Sometimes you press a little bit and try to do too much. But I think after a week or two, everything is slowed down. Hopefully it doesn’t take that long.”
When A-Rod signed his most recent deal –which wound up being his second $200 million contract — that much money was basically an anomaly. But recently, the $200 million threshold has been broken by three first basemen — Pujols, Prince Fielder and, most recently, Joey Votto.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future,” Pujols said when asked of the three big contracts signed by first basemen. “All I can tell you right now is where we’re at and the contract that I signed. Take it one day at a time, and then take it 10 years from now and look at how good a contract it was.”
Leading up to Opening Day, I’ll roll out an All-Star team for each of the six divisions in baseball — that includes a manager, a starting nine (with a DH also for the National League), three starters and two relievers. One catch: Each team must have at least one representative, and the skipper doesn’t count. Feel free to submit your own lineups below. I’d love to see how yours differ.
Day 3: NL Central
Probably the most wide-open division in baseball (except you can probably count out the Astros).
Manager: Dusty Baker, CIN
Andrew McCutchen, CF (PIT)
Starlin Castro, SS (CHC)
Ryan Braun, LF (MIL)
Joey Votto, 1B (CIN)
Matt Holliday, RF (STL)
Aramis Ramirez, 3B (MIL)
Carlos Lee, DH (HOU)
Yadier Molina, C (STL)
Brandon Phillips, 2B (CIN)
Chris Carpenter, STL (if healthy)
Yovani Gallardo, MIL
Adam Wainwright, STL
Joel Hanrahan, PIT
John Axford, MIL
One of the most intriguing storylines in the American League West this season revolves around Albert Pujols and Yu Darvish — the two big-name free agents brought in by the two division rivals — meeting on the field for the very first time.
Pujols spent his previous 11 seasons in St. Louis before signing a 10-year, $240 million contract with the Angels. Darvish, meanwhile, spent his career in Japan before the Rangers committed about $110 million to bring insert him into their starting rotation.
But it turns out the two have already met.
“I actually just got an opportunity, believe it or not, to meet him on Thursday,” Pujols said at his press conference from Tempe Diablo Stadium on Monday. “I was working out in L.A. and he walked in and introduced himself. Really nice guy, really humble. Obviously he’s looking forward to it and he’s looking forward to the battle. He knows we’re in the same division. It’s going to be fun.”
Here’s some extra stuff from the 29-minute Pujols presser that didn’t make our coverage today (thanks to Paul Casella for passing a transcript along) …
On the importance of reporting to camp early: That’s nothing new. I always report early to Spring Training. That’s something that I’ve done since the first day I got invited to a big league camp. I think it’s really important for me to get outside and hit and run and pretty much be on your own program and focus on the things that you want. Next week, obviously, when everybody gets here, you’re not on your own program anymore. So just to get used to the weather and to get to know the guys a little better before we start next week.
On not being in St. Louis for the first time: You know what, I had a great time in the city of St. Louis. Obviously, 11 years, you don’t just flip that page and say, “Move on.” There were some great moments. I was able to accomplish two World Series, and that experience is something I want to bring to this city, to Anaheim, to this ballclub, and have hopefully better seasons than I had in St. Louis and hopefully more championships.
On all the newness: You know what, that’s something that everybody’s asking. … The game doesn’t change. When I got into the big leagues in 2001, I didn’t know anyone in the National League, so that’s how I’m going to take it. It’s a different league, but I came in in 2001 and didn’t know any pitchers around the league.With the technology and the scouting right now, you get some good feed and you’ll be able to ask guys questions and go by the scouting reports.
On whether he was able to enjoy his second World Series championship with St. Louis: You have to enjoy it. That’s what you play for. That’s what you dream, to be a champion, and I was able to be win two, so I’m blessed for that. You retire 10 years from now and that’s what you look back, this memory. Not the numbers, it’s how many World Series rings and to be able to raise that trophy at the end.
On being the face of the franchise and doing all the extracurricular stuff: First of all, I need to make sure that I prepare for my job — baseball. It’s something I don’t want to change, but I’ve been doing that in St. Louis, through my foundation and that’s something I’m going to bring to Anaheim and this organization. Just because I’m on a different ballclub, I’m not going to change who I am. God has given me some talent in the field and God blessed me with a great wife, great family, great foundation and I believe that’s part of the responsibility that I have, to give back. So I expect myself to be busy on and off the field whenever I get that time to work in the foundation.
On DH’ing a little bit down the road: I think that’s a great question to ask Mike [Scioscia], I don’t make those decisions. I’m a first baseman, and whenever I see myself in the lineup whether it’s at first, third, wherever he needs me. When he comes and asks me I’ll play whatever he asks me to play. I don’t make those decisions to be a DH. I’m ready to play every day, 162 games if I can, and just go out there and give my best.
On his early season struggles last year: I don’t want to blame any of that on my contract last year, my struggles in April and May, because I bounced back after the break to right where I wanted to be. Stuff like that you have to go through during the season to make you better. If everything looks beautiful and you have a great career without struggle, then you wouldn’t be able to enjoy this game. You have to struggle in this game.
And here’s what did make the coverage today …
* Pujols arrives, embraces new season and team
* Spencer, on the potential Albert-Kendrys combo
* Pujols should be driving force for Angels
* Scioscia has embarrassment of riches at Angels camp
* Walden adding a third pitch
At the very least, the Angels will make two appearances on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. They’ll probably make more, since the maximum amount of times teams are allowed to be on is five.
But in announcing part of its “Sunday Night Baseball Presented by Taco Bell” schedule on Wednesday, ESPN listed the Angels twice — when they play the Yankees at Yankee Stadium on April 15, and when they play the Rangers in Arlington on May 13. The Yankees and Rangers — which, in case you hadn’t heard, just added Yu Darvish — were listed three times in the recently released schedule, which covers only partly through July 15.
Former Red Sox manager Terry Francona will debut in the Sunday Night booth this year, ESPN wrote, alongside play-by-play commentator Dan Shulman and analyst Orel Hershiser.
ESPN still has a lot left to finalize its schedule. It’s still missing five Sundays between June 3 and July 1, and 11 Sundays between July 22 and Sept. 23. Talking to MLB.com in December, vice president of programming Mike Ryan said ESPN would look to maximize its Angels coverage because they fit their quota now that Albert Pujols is on board.
“Certainly, Albert takes the Angels to an entirely new level,” Ryan said. “We’re in the business of bringing Major League Baseball to a national audience. In order to do that, we need to have competitive teams – the Angels have been competitive. We generally have success with teams from a large market — and the Angels are from a large market, obviously. And then we look to, if we have those two factors, we then consider the marketable stars, the recogizable stars. And the Angels have been competitive, they’re in a big market and they have recognizable stars.”
Game selections for the remainder of the season will be made three weeks (for all remaining June and July games) or two weeks (for August and September) in advance.