Results tagged ‘ Felix Hernandez ’

Hamilton dealing with ‘sharp pain’ in chest area

Josh Hamilton is shut down again, this time with what the Angels’ outfielder described as “a sharp, stabbing pain” near his chest and right ribcage, underneath his armpit.

Hamilton first felt some pain in the area in the second round of early batting practice on Monday and continued to feel worse throughout Tuesday night, his first game back after missing 11 straight contests with stiffness around his right shoulder.

“As I played, as I ran, as I swung, it got worse and worse, to the point where it hurt to breathe,” Hamilton said. “It just felt like my shoulder blade and everything was pretty locked up.”

Hamilton wasn’t with his teammates when they clinched the American League West title on Wednesday. He had MRIs in the morning, all of which checked out fine, then left the team right around game time to see a chiropractor, having a 40-minute session at his office and then getting worked on again at Hamilton’s house later that night. Hamilton was still feeling pain on Thursday, but was going to try to throw.

Asked of his concern that this could prolong, and keep him out of the playoffs, Hamilton said: “You’re always concerned about it. If I woke up today and felt great, then I wouldn’t be concerned about it. I don’t know what to tell you as far as long-term, short-term or whatever, but the thing I’m going to do is whatever I need to do to get back on the field.”

Hamilton — batting .263 with 10 homers and 44 RBIs — has played in just one game over the last 14 days, and only nine games will remain before the AL Division Series after Thursday. The 33-year-old recently missed time with an injury that began in his right AC joint and spread to his trapezius muscle, prompting him to get three cortisone shots and a couple of trigger-point injections.

Asked if he considers Hamilton’s latest ailment is a setback, Angels manager Mike Scioscia said, simply, “I consider it something new.”

“Hopefully it’s a minor blip,” he added, “and we’ll see where we are in a day or two.”

  • Jered Weaver was scratched earlier today, with Wade LeBlanc taking his spot. Now, Weaver will start Saturday, the spot vacated by Matt Shoemaker and his left oblique strain, and then again on the last Friday of the regular season and then for Game 1 of the ALDS on Thursday, Oct. 2. So, Weaver’s next three starts will come on six days’ rest, five days’ rest and five days’ rest, respectively.
  • Shoemaker said his left oblique is “definitely better,” which marks the third straight day he’s said that. He’ll continue to get treatment these next few days and then see when he can pick up a ball again.
  • As expected, the Angels trotted out a Triple-A lineup against Felix Hernandez, with none of the regulars playing. After the party died down at Angel Stadium on Wednesday, the players went to Goat Hill Tavern in Costa Mesa, which shut down the bar after 2 a.m. and left it just for members of the Angels. Cabs were lined up outside to take guys home.
  • The Angels entered today with a three-game lead on the Orioles for the best record in baseball. Scioscia, on the importance of home-field advantage throughout the playoffs: “It’s important. We’re going to keep our edge and keep playing hard. But I don’t think it has importance of putting guys at risk for injury.”

Alden

Weaver scratched vs. Felix, LeBlanc to start …

One night after clinching the American League West title, the Angels scratched Jered Weaver from his Thursday start against Mariners ace Felix Hernandez, opting to go with left-hander Wade LeBlanc, instead.

The Angels also have an open spot on Saturday because Matt Shoemaker is nursing a strained left oblique. Weaver could presumably fill that spot, then start on five days’ rest in the last Friday of the regular season – against the Mariners at Safeco Field – and then be on five days’ rest again for Game 1 of the AL Division Series on Thursday, Oct. 2.

LeBlanc, 30, has gone 20-33 with a 4.60 ERA while accumulating 434 innings in the big leagues from 2008-14. With the Angels’ Triple-A affiliate this season, he posted a 4.43 ERA, a 1.45 WHIP and a 2.83 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 128 innings.

Alden

Trout has yet to figure out Scherzer …

Max ScherzerMike Trout has now faced Max Scherzer on 16 occasions, and he’s struck out 10 times.

The only pitchers who have struck out Trout more often are Mariners ace Felix Hernandez and Rangers ace Yu Darvish. Both have fanned him 11 times. But both are division rivals who face him a lot more frequently (Trout has 40 career plate appearances against Darvish and 52 against Hernandez), and Trout has actually hit them well (1.063 OPS against Hernandez, 1.076 OPS against Darvish).

After Thursday’s 4-2 loss against the Tigers, Trout is now 3-for-16 in his career against Scherzer (albeit with a home run). Among the 16 other pitchers who have faced him more than 15 times, only six (Joe Saunders, A.J. Griffin, Matt Harrison, Dallas Keuchel, Tommy Milone and Hisashi Iwakuma) have held the Angels’ phenom to a batting average below .290. And none have come anywhere close to striking him out as frequently as the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner.

The biggest reason, perhaps: Scherzer is as good as anyone at changing the eye level of hitters, and is particularly dominant in the upper half of the strike zone. Trout’s weakness comes in the upper half of the zone. And though Scherzer hasn’t necessarily attached Trout chest-high, the threat is always there, and it’s hard to hit his fastball-changeup combination when you can’t sit on a particular zone.

Scherzer’s response, when asked about his approach against Trout …

“Attack him. You have to go after him. I absolutely respect everything he does on a baseball field and what he does at the plate. But when you face really good hitters, the elite hitters, like that, you have to be even more aggressive with them. You have to go right after them and make your pitches. He’s hit a home run, he’s had success off me, but when I have success against him is when I take the aggressive approach with him.”

Alden

To catch A’s, Angels must overcome schedule …

Albert Pujols, Mike TroutThe Angels and A’s are each playing their 100th game tonight, and when the day began, Oakland’s lead in the American League West remained at two. The Angels have been one of baseball’s best teams for most of the season, currently sporting the second-best record in the Majors, but they have the misfortune of playing in a division with the best team. And of playing in an era when winning your division is crucial (nobody wants their season to be decided by a singular Wild Card game, especially if that game comes against Mariners ace Felix Hernandez).

So it goes without saying that the Angels’ goal is to catch the A’s, who only got stronger by adding Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to their rotation. To do that, they’ll have to continue to make up ground.

And they’ll have to overcome a far less favorable schedule.

Below is a categorical look at the remaining games for each team, starting Thursday. The first line is the amount of games each has against teams that would make the playoffs if the season ended today, the second is the amount of games against teams with records above .500, the third is the amount of home games left, and the fourth is the combined number of games above/below .500 from each of their remaining 62 opponents.*

The Angels and A’s play each other 10 more times — Aug. 22-24 in Oakland, Aug. 28-31 in Anaheim and Sept. 22-24 in Oakland, making up the second-to-last series of the regular season. The A’s lead the season series, 6-3.

Athletics

Playoffs: 19
Above-.500: 19
Home: 30
Combined: 246 games below .500

Angels

Playoffs: 28
Above-500: 29
Home: 28
Combined: 2 games below .500

* a few teams hadn’t finished their Wednesday games by the time I tallied this

Alden

Report Card: Starting rotation …

Jered Weaver, RH

2012: 20-5, 2.81 ERA, 188 2/3 IP, 142 SO, 45 BB
2007-11: 14-9, 3.40 ERA, 202 IP, 174 SO, 55 BB

In the end, Weaver’s 2012 may have paled in comparison to 2011, when he posted a career-low 2.41 ERA in a career-high 235 2/3 innings. But despite a short stint on the DL with lower back tightness, and some biceps tendinitis down the stretch, the 30-year-old right-hander put together another Cy Young-caliber performance in a year decorated with personal milestones. He threw his first no-hitter (against the Twins on May 2), notched his first 20-win season and surpassed 100 career victories. Most importantly, when the rotation struggled early in the second half, Weaver kept the Angels afloat by continuing to be the one constant. Mike Scioscia will point to that as the biggest reason why he should beat out the likes of Justin Verlander, David Price and Felix Hernandez for the Cy Young. We’ll see.

Grade: A

Zack Greinke, RH

2012 (overall): 15-5, 3.48 ERA, 212 1/3 IP, 200 SO, 54 BB
2008-11: 14-10, 3.37 ERA, 206 IP, 202 SO, 52 BB

Greinke ran into a little funk early in his tenure with the Angels, giving up 20 runs in his first 25 innings of August. But he got it together down the stretch, with a 2.04 ERA in his final eight starts of the season, and showed why he’ll be so highly coveted as a free agent this offseason. The Angels are hopeful that being with the organization for a couple months will give them an upper-hand this winter. It certainly won’t hurt, but they’ll have plenty of competition, most notably from the Rangers. He’s got great stuff, he fields his position well, and he’ll probably be worth a five-year deal around $120 million.

Grade: B

C.J. Wilson, LH

2012: 13-10, 3.83 ERA, 202 1/3 IP, 173 SO, 91 BB
2010-11: 16-8, 3.14 ERA, 214 IP, 188 SO, 84 BB

Wilson was as advertised in the first half, posting a 2.43 ERA en route to a second straight All-Star Game invite. But while pitching with bone spurs in his left elbow, which he recently fixed with arthroscopic surgery, the 31-year-old struggled through a 5.54 ERA in the second half. The most frustrating thing about Wilson is his walks, especially when handed a lead. Wilson walked 91 batters this year, fourth-most in the Majors and two off his career high in 2010. He also came up small in several important starts down the stretch. But he gets somewhat of a pass, considering the elbow discomfort he was nursing over the last couple of months.

Grade: C

Dan Haren, RH

2012: 12-13, 4.33 ERA, 176 2/3 IP, 142 SO, 38 BB
2005-11: 14-11, 3.49 ERA, 226 IP, 195 SO, 45 BB

Pretty stunning when you put Haren’s career averages right next to his 2012 season. This really was his only bad year, but with a $15.5 million club option for 2013, it couldn’t have come at a worse time. Haren had a fantastic spring, with a 2.05 ER, 25 strikeouts and two walks. Then, right before things got real, his lower back started barking, and he was never really the same since. Haren went on the DL for the first time in his career, lost another tick or two off his fastball, was getting pulled out of games before even hitting 90 pitches — a clear sign that Scioscia had lost trust in him — and most of the time took the mound with very little. But Haren did turn it around a bit towards the end, finishing the season with a 2.81 ERA in his last eight starts after he stopped trying to add velocity and focused on location. Was that an indication that Haren learned how to pitch with his limited repertoire and can be effective again? Perhaps. But he’s definitely not a $15 million pitcher anymore.

Grade: D+

Ervin Santana, RH

2012: 9-13, 5.16 ERA, 178 IP, 133 SO, 61 BB
2006-11: 12-10, 4.17 ERA, 194 IP, 156 SO, 61 BB

Like Haren, Santana pitched better towards the end of the year, with a 3.76 ERA in his last 11 starts. But by that point, the damage had been done. Santana had a 6.00 ERA when that stretch began, finished giving up a Major League-high 39 homers and had three starts in which he lasted less than three innings and gave up at least six runs. Two of them came in the same month (July) and the other was his final start of the season, when he gave up six runs in 2 2/3 innings in the second of a doubleheader in Texas on Sept. 30, all but mathematically eliminating the Angels from postseason contention. Considering his $13 million club option, that could very well have been the final start of his Angels career.

Grade: D-

Week 1: Infield.
Week 2: Outfield.

Alden

Game 155: Mariners-Angels …

This match-up sure doesn’t seem to favor the Angels on paper. C.J. Wilson is coming off an outing that saw him give up three runs and last 2 2/3 innings against the Rangers; Felix Hernandez is a clear Cy Young contender. But Wilson pitched six innings of one-run ball in his only start against the Mariners this year and the Angels, for some weird reason, have hit King Felix in 2012, scoring 15 runs in 20 1/3 innings against him.

Lineups, as the Angels look to build on a four-game winning streak and improve on a mark that has them two games back of the second Wild Card spot, with eight games left …

Mariners (72-82)

Dustin Ackley, 2B
Franklin Gutierrez, CF
Kyle Seager, 3B
Jesus Montero, DH
Justin Smoak, 1B
Miguel Olivo, C
Casper Wells, RF
Chone Figgins, LF
Brendan Ryan, SS

Pitching: RH Hernandez (13-8, 2.85 ERA)

Angels (85-69)

Mike Trout, CF
Torii Hunter, RF
Albert Pujols, DH
Kendrys Morales, 1B
Alberto Callaspo, 3B
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Erick Aybar, SS
Mark Trumbo, LF
Chris Iannetta, C

Pitching: LH Wilson (12-10, 3.82 ERA)

  • Trumbo showed some good signs on Tuesday, flying out to deep center field, getting robbed of a hit on a diving play by Ackley and lining out to right field. Mike Scioscia said he’s made a mechanical adjustments with his hands in order to have a shorter path to the ball and keep things simple. When you swing as hard as Mark does to try to elevate the ball, there’s a lot of moving parts, which can lead to hitters taking a step back and going to the fundamentals.
  • Scott Downs had some rare struggles on Tuesday, giving up three quick runs while recording only two outs in the seventh inning. Scioscia felt location, not stuff, was the issue. Asked if his stuff is the same since returning from the shoulder injury, Scioscia said: “I think now it is. I think when he first got back, there were some things we was working through and he was healthy but maybe wasn’t quite where he was. I think right now, he’s throwing the ball with the same crispness as we’ve seen at any time during the season.”
  • Callaspo is in no way a prototypical No. 5 hitter, but he’s started there in five of the last six games. “When Mark’s swinging it well, he’s a natural guy to hit fifth,” Scioscia said. “But right now, with the options that we have, I think Alberto’s going to work a tough at-bat, put the ball in play. he’s proved throughout the course of his career he can hit with guys in scoring position. When you combine Alberto, Howie and Erick, it gives you a good situational look through the middle of your lineup.”
  • Kevin Jepsen is available, even after throwing 1 1/3 innings last night. So is everybody else.
  • Jered Weaver is set to start Friday and Zack Greinke came out of his Tuesday start feeling fine. He’s slated to go Sunday, against Yu Darvish.

Alden

Game 118: Indians-Angels …

Looking to win their first series since July 25, the Angels will face Roberto Hernandez, the former Fausto Carmona, who was arrested for identity fraud in January and makes his first start of 2012 tonight — under a different name, and three years older than what was previously in his birth certificate.

“It’s bizarre. I mean, it’s just bizarre,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “But I’m sure his stuff will be the same as Hernandez as it was with Carmona –he’s got a really good arm, heavy sinker and when he’s getting that ball over the plate, he gets a lot of groundballs.”

Told he’s older now, by definition, Scioscia quipped: “So I guess he’s lost a little bit of his stuff, then, huh?”

Indians (54-63)

Jason Kipnis, 2B
Asdrubal Cabrera, DH
Shin-Soo Choo, RF
Carlos Santana, C
Michael Brantley, CF
Casey Kotchman, 1B
Brent Lillibridge, SS
Jack Hannahan, 3B
Ezequiel Cabrera, LF

Pitching: RH Roberto Hernandez (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

Angels (61-56)

Mike Trout, CF
Erick Aybar, SS
Torii Hunter, RF
Kendrys Morales, DH
Mark Trumbo, 1B
Alberto Callaspo, 3B
Vernon Wells, LF
Maicer Izturis, 2B
Chris Iannetta, C

Pitching: RH Ervin Santana (5-10, 5.82 ERA)

  • In case you hadn’t noticed, Albert Pujols isn’t in the lineup tonight. “Last night he was a little tired after the game,” Scioscia said. “I’m just trying to give his legs a recharge day, and hopefully he’ll be ready to go tomorrow. That’s what we anticipate.”
  • Scott Downs (left shoulder) felt good coming out of his sim game on Tuesday and is all set to do it again tomorrow. He’s not sure if it’ll be the final step, but he feels like it can be.
  • Trumbo, on three perfect games taking place in 2012 (and three additional no-hitters) now that Felix Hernandez got one: “I don’t know if there’s any explanation other than these guys have been that good. These are just flat-out quality arms. A perfect game is unbelievable, just everything that has to go into it. Not just not giving up a hit, but no walks, no errors. It helps that he has the kind of swing-and-miss pitches that he has. But credit to him, man, I know he’s flirted with it a couple of times before. It’s great that he got one, he’s a great guy, has always been pretty nice to me, and I’m happy for him.”
  • Scioscia, on Melky Cabrera‘s PED suspension: “It’s unfortunate. It’s a policy that’s there for a reason, it’s something that needs to be enforced, and I think that as well as Mellky has played, when you read something like this, it knocks the wind out of you. It’s very disappointing.”

Alden

Game 113: Mariners-Angels …

After a long, rough, 4-6 road trip, the Angels return home for a 10-game homestand against the Mariners, Indians and Rays. We use the term “critical” too much in this game, but you can call this stint just that for the Angels, considering they just came off a stretch in which they played 42 of 45 games against above-.500 teams and now play  Seattle and Cleveland — two teams with combined 103-122 records — over their next six. Problem: The first contest will pin them against Felix Hernandez, who’s 6-0 with a 1.41 ERA over his last 10 starts. A better-lately Ervin Santana, at least, will be navigating an offense that’s statistically the worst in the American League.

Mariners (51-62)

Dustin Ackley, 2B
Michael Saunders, CF
Jesus Montero, DH
John Jaso, C
Kyle Seager, 3B
Mike Carp, 1B
Casper Wells, LF
Eric Thames, RF
Brendan Ryan, SS

Pitching: RH Hernandez (10-5, 2.63 ERA)

Angels (59-53)

Mike Trout, CF
Torii Hunter, RF
Albert Pujols, 1B
Mark Trumbo, LF
Kendrys Morales, DH
Alberto Callaspo, 3B
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Erick Aybar, SS
Chris Iannetta, C

Pitching: RH Santana (5-10, 5.83)E

  • Scott Downs (strained left shoulder) continues to long toss without any next-day soreness, but there’s still no telling when he’ll get off a mound again. He hopes it’s within a week, but doesn’t know for sure. As for whether he’s concerned about being the same pitcher upon returning from a shoulder injury: “There’s nothing structurally wrong with the MRI. Now it’s just a matter of getting back out there and doing it — getting off the mound that first time, getting in a game that first time and getting those butterflies out of the way again. I don’t see any reoccurring issues that are going to pop up. As long as I don’t rush it, and try to do anything I’m not supposed to be doing, to get back any faster.”
  • Jordan Walden (neck soreness and right biceps strain) is slated to pitch in a rehab assignment for Triple-A Salt Lake on Saturday and Monday, and could rejoin the Angels’ needy bullpen shortly thereafter.
  • Bobby Wilson is off Twitter. He’s simply sick and tired of all the vitriol pointed in his direction through the social-networking device. The Angels’ backup catcher tweeted Thursday: I’m done with twitter. Try to be fan friendly and all I get is criticism. I wasn’t blessed with 5 tools. I worked hard to get here. So, @BW46 has been removed.
  • The Angels will celebrate the 10th anniversary of their 2002 World Series championship team next week, with several giveaways and events taking place, and most of the team scheduled to be on hand.
  • I know it’s been a long time since they played at Angel Stadium, but the Angels have been shutout in each of their last two home games and haven’t scored a run at home over their last 23 innings. That’s tied for the Major League lead, along with the Dodgers (June 28-30) and themselves (May2-5).

Opposing Twitter follow: Greg Johns.

Alden

Game 80: Angels-Indians …

Angels (44-35)

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

Pitching: RH Jered Weaver (8-1, 2.31 ERA)

Indians (40-38)

Shin-Soo Choo, RF
Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
Jason Kipnis, 2B
Michael Brantley, CF
Carlos Santana, C
Johnny Damon, DH
Casey Kotchman, 1B
Shelley Duncan, LF
Jack Hannahan, 3B

Pitching: Ubaldo Jimenez (7-6, 4.69 ERA)

Some pregame notes …

  • Mike Trout was a late scratch from the top of the Angels’ lineup. The 20-year-old outfielder jammed his right thumb while sliding into second base with a leadoff double in Sunday’s game against the Blue Jays and still felt some soreness while taking BP earlier today. No X-rays scheduled as of now. He’s listed day-to-day.
  • Jerome Williams had a rough outing in Triple-A on Sunday night, giving up six runs (five earned) on eight hits in two-plus innings. He exited after suffering what Mike Scioscia called a soft-tissue contusion in his right forearm. It felt better after icing it, and he’s slated to pitch again Friday.
  • Scioscia on Jordan Walden, who gave up a three-run homer in mop-up duty in Sunday’s ninth inning, and has given up a run in back-to-back outings: “The night where he gave up the one run [on Friday], he was throwing the ball very well … His stuff’s there, and the big picture, if you look at his last 10 outings, his stuff was really good. He’s thrown some better breaking balls. The breaking ball he threw to [Jose] Bautista was fantastic, at the end [on Sunday]. Commanding the ball was something that he had some trouble with yesterday, but overall, I think, he’s made a lot of strides, and yesterday was just a little setback.”
  • Chris Iannetta (right forearm strain) threw from 75-80 feet and felt good; he continues to progress towards a rehab outing.

Some Angels.com links from Sunday …

Some AL West links …

And Ronny Turiaf opted out of his contract with the Heat. I’ll miss his towel-waiving.

Alden

Game 68: Giants-Angels …

Very intriguing pitching matchup today, as the Angels look to make it three straight and put themselves to win their fourth straight series. In one corner, you have Matt Cain, fresh off hurling a perfect game against the Astros. In the other, you have Jerome Williams, whose trade from the Giants helped pave the way for Cain’s callup …

Giants (37-30)

Gregor Blanco, RF
Ryan Theriot, 2B
Melky Cabrera, LF
Buster Posey, C
Angel Pagan, CF
Pablo Sandoval, DH
Brandon Belt, 1B
Brandon Crawford, SS
Joaquin Arias, 3B

Pitching: RH Cain (8-2, 2.18 ERA)

Angels (36-31)

Mike Trout, CF
Torii Hunter, RF
Albert Pujols, 1B
Kendrys Morales, DH
Mark Trumbo, LF
Alberto Callaspo, 3B
Maicer Izturis, 2B
Erick Aybar, SS
Bobby Wilson, C

Pitching: RH Williams (6-4, 4.20 ERA)

Some pregame notes …

  • Jered Weaver (lower back) felt fine one day after a Sunday bullpen session and will get the ball on Wednesday, for the series finale against the D-backs in what will be his first start since May 28. Mike Scioscia said he’ll be on an 80-90 pitch limit. More on Angels.com soon.
  • Wilson (concussion) was activated off the disabled list, with the young Hank Conger being optioned. The Angels also called up infielder Andrew Romine and once again designated reliever David Pauley for assignment, giving them 12 pitchers and 13 position players once again.
  • Chris Iannetta (right wrist surgery) felt tightness in his forearm, which delayed his rehab assignment, but played catch again on Monday and continues to hit. Still, Scioscia said a rehab assignment is not imminent at this time.
  • Scott Downs (side) threw a bullpen session on Sunday and feels ready to go today.
  • The Angels enter tonight on a 21-inning scoreless stretch, allowing five hits over their last two games.
  • This, in case you don’t already know, marks the first time the Giants visit Angel Stadium since the 2002 World Series. It’s their first regular-season stop since 2000.
  • Scioscia, on the decision to option Conger: “It’s a tough decision, because I think Hank in some ways is ready for the challenge. And then in some other ways, there’s no doubt that he needs to work on some things for consistency that, for his long-term development, is going to be important to him. I think the bottom line is, Hank’s upside is very important to us in the organization, and right now, he needs to be playing every day to reach that upside. And I think at some point, he’ll be better prepared for the opportunity to come up here, and not only contribute, but the opportunity to come up here and win a job and get out there and catch every day.”

Some Angels links from Father’s Day …

Some AL West links …

And a big key to the Heat’s success has been Dwyane Wade learning to defer to LeBron James.

Alden

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