Results tagged ‘ Jordan Walden ’

As if the in-house issues weren’t bad enough …

Ervin SantanaThe baseball gods are doing the on-field equivalent of trolling the Angels right now. It’s not just that they’re 11-20, with Josh Hamilton slumping and every facet of their team — starting pitching, relief pitching, baserunning, defense, production — in a rut through the first five weeks of the season. It’s that so many of the players they’ve discarded recently are, well, thriving.

See for yourself …

RF Torii Hunter (offered little more than a $5 million base salary, plus incentives, this offseason before he inked a two-year, $26 million deal with the Tigers): .361/.406/.479 slash line through his first 27 games in the No. 2 spot for first-place Detroit.

LF Vernon Wells (dealt to the Yankees for the financial relief of getting under the Competitive Balance Tax payroll, with New York picking up $13.9 million of the $42 million owed to him over the next two seasons): .280/.339/.486 with six homers team while batting mostly third — yes, third — for an injury-riddled Yankees team that’s somehow six games over .500.

SP Ervin Santana (essentially given to the Royals because the Angels weren’t going to exercise his $13 million option for 2013): 3-1, 2.00 ERA with 31 strikeouts and five walks in 36 innings for a Kansas City team that — of course — is 17-11.

SS Jean Segura (traded alongside Ariel Pena and John Hellweg for Zack Greinke last July): .333/.380/.523, with a league-leading three triples and one very interesting sequence on the basepaths.

RP Jordan Walden (dealt straight up to the Braves for Tommy Hanson in November): 2.92 ERA, with 14 strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings.

RP LaTroy Hawkins (unsigned as a free agent): 2.77 ERA, 1.23 WHIP in 13 innings for the Mets.

SP Patrick Corbin (dealt — by then-Arizona interim GM Jerry Dipoto — to the Angels along with Tyler Skaggs, Rafael Rodriguez and Joe Saunders in exchange for Dan Haren in July 2010): 4-0, 1.85 ERA in six starts.

What does all this mean to the Angels? Well nothing, of course. In fact, in my mind, almost all of these moves were justified (you could certainly argue in favor of bringing Hunter back and using the additional funds on pitching). The fact anyone would take on that much for Wells was flat-out shocking; it made little sense to pay Santana $13 million for 2013 given how his 2012 season went; I’ll do Walden-for-Hanson any day of the week; the Greinke trade was a good one considering Dipoto didn’t have to give up Peter Bourjos and/or Garrett Richards, and he would’ve been applauded for it had they made the playoffs last year; and, well, there was little reason to give a 40-year-old Hawkins a guaranteed contract, or a likely shot at winning a bullpen spot, given the group the Angels had going into Spring Training.

But still …

Unrelated subject (well, sort of): Here’s a look at who’s shining, and who isn’t, in the Angels’ system so far …


INF Luis Rodriguez (AAA): .314/.344/.496, 4 HR, 24 RBI
RP Jeremy Berg (AAA): 1.65 ERA, 13 SO, 1 BB, 16 1/3 IP
SP Austin Wood (A+): 2.41 ERA, 4 GS, 17 SO, 9 BB, 18 2/3 IP


RP Mitch Stetter (AAA): 5.56 ERA, 11 1/3 IP, 12 SO, 10 BB
SP A.J. Schugel (AAA): 0-1, 6.21 ERA, 6 GS, 30 SO, 14 BB, 29 IP
OF Randal Grichuk (AA): .186/.262/.351, 2 HR, 7 RBI


Catching up with Angels of yesteryear …

Torii HunterThe 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

Notes: No surprises for Hunter this spring. He’ll play right field and bat second (Jim Leyland likes him there). His son, Darius McClinton-Hunter, was not indicted in the sexual-assault case.

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.


WAR: Angels have improved this offseason …

Jerry DipotoI’ve made the mistake of believing the Angels were done before. So when general manager Jerry Dipoto, speaking shortly after trading Kendrys Morales for Jason Vargas, says “in all likelihood” he’s done making major moves this offseason, I’m naturally skeptical. But, yeah, barring a low-risk addition or two to the bullpen, probably via Minor League deals, this essentially puts a bow on Dipoto’s offseason. Seriously this time.

In my opinion, it was a very successful one for the Angels’ second-year GM.

With a very similar payroll (about $160 million), and a ridiculously expensive free agent market, Dipoto was able to add yet another weapon to an already-dangerous lineup, greatly improve a thin bullpen and build more starting-pitching depth. (Here’s an updated depth chart.) Granted, the rotation is nowhere near as heralded as it was at the start of last season, but it is solid and a lot more payroll-efficient.

We could go on forever about whether or not it was better to sign Zack Greinke (six years, $147 million) or Josh Hamilton (five years, $125 million). Frankly, I’m not sure. Greinke’s risk is greater, in some ways, because he’s a pitcher and it’s an extra year. In a vacuum, and if we’re factoring out that sixth year, it comes down to whether you prefer Greinke and Morales or Hamilton and Vargas.

But you can’t analyze offseasons like that because they never play out in linear fashion. It’s like the butterfly effect; each move is dependent on the other. Skipping out on Greinke allowed Dipoto to get Joe Blanton and Sean Burnett, adding them to the additions of Tommy Hanson and Ryan Madson. Then he got Hamilton, which allowed him to then flip Morales for Vargas. Had he delved into a bidding war with the Rangers and Dodgers for Greinke, perhaps he would’ve been stuck with nothing (look at the Rangers right now).

Basically, the 2012 septet of Morales, Greinke, Dan Haren, Torii Hunter, Ervin Santana, Jordan Walden and LaTroy Hawkins is being replaced by the 2013 septet of Bourjos, Hamilton, Blanton, Vargas, Hanson, Madson and Burnett. If we’re going by Wins Above Replacement, as interpreted by, the Angels improved this offseason.

Here’s a look at each player’s WAR from this past season …


Hunter: 5.3
Greinke: 5.1
Morales: 1.8
Haren: 1.8
Walden: 0.5
Hawkins: minus-0.1
Santana: minus-0.9

Total: 13.5


Bourjos (from 2011): 4.5
Hamilton: 4.4
Blanton: 2.4
Madson (’11): 1.7
Burnett: 1.1
Hanson: 1.0
Vargas: 0.8

Total: 15.9


Is this the end of Frieri’s closing days? …

The Angels are closing in on a one-year agreement with Ryan Madson.

And if the deal does indeed get finalized (it can happen as early as Tuesday), you have to figure it’s so that Madson eventually becomes the closer. Recovery from Tommy John surgery may not have him ready by Opening Day, and he’ll probably need a tune-up before resuming the ninth inning (see: Nathan, Joe in 2011). But part of the appeal for Madson to sign this early, and take a low-base, high-incentive salary, is to close on a contending team. And surely the Angels sold him on that.

That would move Ernesto Frieri to the eighth inning, one year after being one of baseball’s biggest surprises.

Frieri was basically unhittable shortly after coming over from the Padres in early May, finishing the year with a 2.32 ERA, a .96 WHIP, 13.3 strikeouts per nine innings and 23 saves in 26 chances. But Madson was one of the game’s best late-inning relievers from 2008-11, posting a 2.86 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP while averaging 68 innings, 68 strikeouts and 18 walks per season. He has the better track record, is less prone to walks and went 32-for-34 in saves with the Phillies in 2011 (giving up only two homers despite pitching out of Citizens Bank Park).

So, that probably means Frieri is the setup man, with Kevin Jepsen in the seventh, Scott Downs as a floater and the likes of Nick Maronde, Jordan Walden, etc. filling out the ‘pen (though the offseason is still very young). Here’s what Jerry Dipoto told me early in the offseason about Frieri and his plans for the ninth. Appropriate on a day like today, methinks …

“We didn’t acquire Ernie with the idea that he was going to step in as our closer. We acquired him with the idea that he was going to help us get the last nine outs and he earned being the closer. That wasn’t the design. Obviously, if our staff remained unchanged, then he has a very good chance to be that guy again. But we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. Ernie had a fabulous year. It’s very easy to lose track with the two emotional losses versus Texas and Kansas City down towards the end how good this guy was all year. It was phenomenal how big an impact he made on our season and on our team. One thing I’m certain of is that Ernesto in 2012 was a huge advantage to us and we have every expectation that he’s going to be just as high an impact in 2013. But like the question I answered a year ago, we’ll go into the offseason with the idea that Ernie is our ninth-inning guy, and we’re going to try to craft a group in that bullpen that works, and however most effectively we can get those last nine outs, we’ll get them.” 


Report Card: Bullpen …

Ernesto Frieri, CL

2012: 2.32 ERA, 23-for-25 SV, 66 IP, 98 SO, 30 BB, .99 WHIP
2011: 2.71 ERA, 0-for-0 SV, 63 IP, 76 SO, 34 BB, 1.35 WHIP

Frieri was the bullpen’s savior when he came over unheralded from the Padres, utilizing a deceptive, JeredWeaver-on-steroids delivery and a funky fastball to navigate through the first half basically untouched, with no runs and 45 strikeouts in his first 26 1/3 innings with Anaheim. As the league got to know him a little bit, Frieri got hit around a little bit, most glaringly blowing two saves — and two Zack Greinke gems — in a five-day span in mid-September. In the future, he’ll have to work on his slider to off-set that fastball, and the Angels’ bullpen may be better off if he’s the eighth-inning man rather than the closer. But he still had a fantastic year and there’s no reason to believe he can’t put up those numbers again. His stuff is that electric.

Grade: A-

Scott Downs, SU

2012: 3.15 ERA, 9-for-12 SV, 45 2/3 IP, 32 SO, 17 BB, 1.31 WHIP
2006-11: 2.57 ERA, 3 SV, 61 IP, 50 SO, 20 BB, 1.17 WHIP

It wasn’t a typically dominant year for Downs, who’s now 36 and looked every bit his age in the second half, giving up 15 runs in 15 2/3 innings while suffering a few nicknack injuries throughout the year. Most concerning, of course, is the shoulder, which prompted him to miss 20 games in August. I’m told he didn’t have any sort of procedure on it this offseason, but it’ll be something to watch for a guy with the tenure of Downs, who’s a critical component of a thin Angels ‘pen. He’ll be in the final season of a three-year deal in 2013.

Grade: B-

Garrett Richards, MR

2012: 4.69 ERA, 30 G (9 GS), 71 IP, 47 SO, 34 BB, 1.56 WHIP

As much as manager Mike Scioscia may have wanted it to happen, Richards wasn’t really a great fit in the bullpen. The Angels put him there permanently after recalling him in late August, giving Richards several opportunities late in games. But he was rather hit and miss — mostly miss — with a 5.82 ERA in 17 innings. Next year, though, the 24-year-old right-hander will go back to starting, and you’d figure he’d have a set spot, considering his upside and the amount of holes Jerry Dipoto may have to fill in his rotation this offseason. In an ideal world, though, he’s the fifth starter in 2013.

Grade: C-

Kevin Jepsen, MR

2012: 3.02 ERA, 44 2/3 IP, 38 SO, 12 BB, 1.14 WHIP
2009-11: 4.76 ERA, 42 IP, 38 SO, 19 BB, 1.54 WHIP

The explosive Jepsen the Angels had in 2010, and the one they anticipated coming out of Spring Training, finally materialized when he returned from the Minors in July. In 40 appearances since then, the 28-year-old right-hander posted a 1.67 ERA in 37 2/3 innings, striking out 34 and walking 10. Now the Angels hope he’s here to stay.

Grade: B

Jordan Walden, MR

2012: 3.46 ERA, 1-for-2 SV, 39 IP, 48 SO, 18 BB, 1.36 WHIP
2011: 2.98 ERA, 32-for-42 SV, 60 1/3 IP, 67 SO, 26 BB, 1.24 WHIP

Walden was just never right in 2012. He lost his closer’s job after a walk-off homer in Tampa in late April, missed about six weeks with a neck and right biceps strain and his average fastball velocity dropped, from 97.5 to 96.3 mph. The 24-year-old right-hander talked about incorporating his changeup more and improving his slider, but if he can’t dial it up to triple-digits — like he did frequently in 2011 and hardly ever in 2012 — he can’t be successful.

Grade: C-

LaTroy Hawkins, MR

2012: 3.64 ERA, 1 SV, 42 IP, 23 SO, 13 BB, 1.38 WHIP
2000-11: 3.29 ERA, 7 SV, 62 IP, 45 SO, 19 BB, 1.27 WHIP

Hawkins, and the man who will follow, got a lot of criticism from fans this year because of what he didn’t do — help preserve leads by being a consistent force late in games. But frankly, that’s not really what he was expected to do. Dipoto identified the 39-year-old Hawkins early in the offseason, eventually signing him to a $3 million deal, not because he expected him to be a shutdown guy late in games but because he expected him to eat innings, throw strikes and guide the young guys. Hawkins did that for the most part, but he faded down the stretch and eventually lost Scioscia’s trust. He’ll head elsewhere this offseason, perhaps on a Minor League deal. The fact he was counted on so much says a lot about just how thin this bullpen was.

Grade: C-

Jason Isringhausen, MR

2012: 4.14 ERA, 0 SV, 45 2/3 IP, 31 SO, 19 BB, 1.38 WHIP
2000-11: 3.10 ERA, 26 SV, 55 IP, 50 SO, 23 BB, 1.22 WHIP

Izzy didn’t have much left in the tank while finishing out the year with the Mets last season, and he had hardly anything left throughout 2012 with the Angels. It showed, of course, as the 40-year-old, 16-year veteran gave up 10 runs in his last 10 2/3 innings and appeared in only four games in all of September. A couple of positives from Isringhausen this year: He stayed healthy, and considering the circumstances he came in under — signed late in Spring Training, on a Minor League contract, didn’t make the team until his opt-out deadline — he probably provided more than the Angels expected. The problem, as with Hawkins, is that Isringhausen was never supposed to be as important as he was at one point. He’ll probably retire this offseason. If he does, he noted that his final pitch struck out Michael Young. “Tough to beat that,” he said.

Grade: D+

Jerome Williams, LR

2012: 4.58 ERA, 32 G (15 GS), 137 2/3 IP, 98 SO, 35 BB, 1.26 WHIP

Williams was, in a word, serviceable. He began the season as the fifth starter, throwing a few clunkers (like seven runs in 5 2/3 innings vs. the Mariners on June 6) and a few gems (like a shutout against the Twins on May 1). Then — due in part to his asthma attack, Richards’ presence and the Greinke acquisition — he spent the rest of the season as a long reliever, which actually became a critical role considering that six-week stretch when the entire rotation seemed to go bad. Now, he’s heading into his second offseason of arbitration and is a non-tender candidate. Will the Angels bring him back? It’ll depend on what they do with the rest of their rotation.

Grade: C

Week 1: Infield.
Week 2: Outfield.
Week 3: Starters.


Game 154: Mariners-Angels …

Perhaps the Angels are, in a very small way, indeed in control of their own destiny. Yeah, they enter today two games back of the final playoff spot, with only nine games left and none of them against the teams ahead of them in the Wild Card race. But if they win out, they would at the very least be guaranteed a tie for the final playoff spot, because the A’s and Rangers play each other six more times (including tonight, in Texas) and the Angels have three remaining against the Rangers. (Thanks to Twitter follower @Monyett88 for passing that along). Now, of course, the likely scenario is that they don’t win out. That would give them a 12-game winning streak to end the season. Their longest winning streak of the year has been eight. So, in the end, they probably will need help. The Angels are 22-8 in their last 30 home games against the Mariners … 

Mariners (72-81)

Dustin Ackley, 2B
Franklin Gutierrez, CF
Kyle Seager, 3B
John Jaso, DH
Justin Smoak, 1B
Eric Thames, RF
Miguel Olivo, C
Trayvon Robinson, LF
Brendan Ryan, SS

Pitching: RH Erasmo Ramirez (1-2, 3.28 ERA)

Angels (84-69)

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

Pitching: RH Zack Greinke (5-2, 3.51 ERA)

  • Mike Scioscia opted to push Ervin Santana back for a second straight time this week. Dan Haren will pitch Thursday’s series finale, on normal rest, and Santana will pitch at Rangers Ballpark on Saturday, on seven days’ rest. The reason is two-fold: Santana has been pitcher pretty well and is seems he’d prefer to have him face the Rangers’ lineup; the extra rest will come in handy if Santana needs to be available out of the bullpen in the season’s final series.
  • Izturis is starting in place of Howie Kendrick against a right-handed starter once again, but Scioscia said it has more to do with today’s pitching match-up and isn’t any sort of long-term plan. “It’s a smaller sample size with this pitcher tonight,” Scioscia said, “but right now it looks like he’s really just doing a good job against righties. He’s pitching well against lefties, but there’s a little bit of a spread there.”
  • Asked why it appears Garrett Richards has jumped ex-closer Jordan Walden in the bullpen depth chart, Scioscia said: “In that area that they’re in right now, the depth isn’t as important as just the production. It’s not like you’re going to a guy in the sixth inning or whatever on a nightly basis. We’ve been able to get past that at times. Garrett’s been fresh and has really been bringing some good stuff into games, so he’s getting maybe a couple more of the looks than Jordan does. We definitely need Jordan, he’s got a big arm, and hopefully he’s going to bring that stuff into games that he’s shown he has.”
  • The only other active player, besides Pujols, with 10 or more triple-digit RBI seasons is Alex Rodriguez (14).
  • Trout is the fourth rookie in history since 1964 to reach 120-plus runs and is two runs shy of matching the Angels’ single-season record of 124 by Vladimir Guerrero in ’04.
  • The Angels announced one of their Class A affiliates will no longer reside in Cedar Rapids. For the next two years, it’ll be the Burlington Bees.


Question of the Day, 9/10 …

Where’s Jordan Walden? Hurt or just low on the totem pole? — @cheezitrain

This question came just before Walden made only his second appearance of the month on Monday, pitching a scoreless ninth inning in the eventual 3-1 loss. Crazy when you consider he began the year as the Angels’ closer. But Walden has been buried, in part because of his injury/struggles and in part because other guys have stepped up. If I were making power rankings of the Angels’ relievers, with regards to Mike Scioscia‘s usage, I’d list Walden seventh, behind Ernesto Frieri, Scott Downs, Kevin Jepsen, Garrett Richards, Nick Maronde and LaTroy Hawkins. But that can change.


Game 120: Rays-Angels …

OK, the Angels are going to score against the Rays at some point, right? I mean, they can’t be shutout again, can they? The Angels have been shutout three straight games against Tampa Bay — the latest being Thursday night, courtesy of David Price and Co. — and you can stretch it back to 32 innings if you go that route. Active hitters on the Angels’ roster are hitting .192 this season against Rays pitchers, which rank second in the Majors in ERA (3.29). Thanks to that, the Angels have lost nine of their last 10 against Joe Maddon’s crew …

Rays (64-54)

Desmond Jennings, LF
B.J. Upton, CF
Matt Joyce, RF
Evan Longoria, DH
Ben Zobrist, SS
Jeff Keppinger, 1B
Sean Rodriguez, 3B
Ryan Roberts, 2B
Jose Molina, C

Pitching: RH James Shields (10-7, 4.02 ERA)

Angels (62-57)

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

Pitching: RH Jered Weaver (15-2, 2.22 ERA)

  • Dan Haren (12 runs in seven innings during his last two starts) won’t necessarily be skipped; he’ll be pushed back.With the off day on Monday, manager Mike Scioscia has decided to move Haren back to Saturday, against the Tigers in Comerica Park. That would mean Ervin Santana goes on extended rest, but everyone else is on normal rest leading in and Haren gets eight days in between to work on his release point. “I think he is past the physical ailment,” Scioscia said. “This is a mechanical thing and it could’ve arisen from trying to make some adjustments in his delivery to get pitches in places when his back was bothering him.”
  • Scioscia said it’s too early to go to a four-man rotation, but that it is possible for September. “There’s no doubt that as we get into September, we’re going to have the option. I don’t think it’s going to happen the first of September, but definitely as we start to get into where that end point is … we’ll have the ability to adjust for matchups.”
  • Jordan Walden (neck, right biceps) is back with the team after hurling back-to-back 1-2-3 innings for Triple-A Salt Lake. He’ll throw a bullpen today in anticipation of getting activated shortly thereafter. My guess is he’ll be back Sunday. Scott Downs is looking very likely for Saturday.
  • Three shutouts against one team has happened only three other times in Angels history. This is the first time all three of those games took place at home.


Question of the Day, 8/16 …

What do they do with Dan Haren? — John M., Culver City, Calif.

First I’ll give you what Mike Scioscia told us after his latest dud …

“We look at this thing every day, and there are some options you would consider, and we’re going to continue to look at this over the next couple of days to see where we go. But Dan, pitching even just to what you would consider an average year, is very important for us. He doesn’t have to go out there and be Superman. He needs to pitch to just what we would expect him to do on a start-by-start basis, and we’re having a little inconsistency with that. We’re going to look at some things, obviously. Dan, he’s not taking this lightly, nobody’s taking this lightly, and he’s such a competitor that you just hope he’s going to find something that’s going to just give him a little better chance of going out there and putting pitches together.”

OK, so that didn’t explain much. There just aren’t a lot of answers right now. The Angels, at least, do have an off day on Monday. What they can do is skip Haren, give him some time to figure things out and temporarily go with a better option while he tries to. They can start Ervin Santana on five days’ rest on Tuesday, then Jered Weaver (Wednesday), C.J. Wilson (Thursday) and Zack Greinke (Friday) can go normal rest the rest of the way. Haren’s start would then come Saturday, which the Angels can fill with Jerome Williams if they’d like. Another option would be Garrett Richards, who threw seven shutout innings in that ballpark on July 17. But to bring him up, how do you make room? Jordan Walden and Scott Downs will most likely take the bullpen spots of Steven Geltz and Hisanori Takahashi. Once that happens, the only guys with options will be Kevin Jepsen and Ernesto Frieri, and you’re not sending those guys down. They can just DL Haren for a second time, but they keep saying his back doesn’t hurt.

A very long, drawn-out way of saying that the best solution is to skip Haren with Williams while he tries to figure it out. Will it work? Who knows. But it’s tough to justify him taking the mound right now.


Game 119: Rays-Angels …

And if the Angels win tonight, they’ll accomplish what Lou Brown calls a “winning streak” for the first time since taking four in a row way back on June 28. To do that, they’ll have to beat David Price (15-4, 2.50 ERA), and Dan Haren will have to bounce back from giving up seven runs (five earned) in 3 1/3 innings his last time out against an offense that just got a perfect game thrown against it. The Rays enter this four-game series 1 1/2 games ahead of the Angels for that final Wild Card spot.

Rays (63-54)

Desmond Jennings, LF
B.J. Upton, CF
Matt Joyce, RF
Evan Longoria, DH
Ben Zobrist, SS
Jeff Keppinger, 3B
Carlos Pena, 1B
Ryan Roberts, 2B
Jose Molina, C

Pitching: LH Price

Angels (62-56)

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

Pitching: RH Haren (8-9, 4.68 ERA)

  • Scott Downs (strained left shoulder) threw close to 20 pitches in a sim game today, with Jerry Dipoto and Mike Scioscia watching intently, and if all goes well in the next couple of days, he could be activated Saturday. “Scott did very well,” Scioscia said. “The stuff he showed out there in the sim game is definitely what he needs to pitch with in the Major Leagues. We’re going to see what he comes out with today and tomorrow, and hopefully activate him on Saturday.”
  • Jordan Walden is set to pitch in what could be his final rehab assignment for Triple-A Salt Lake tonight. “We’re going to see,” Scioscia said. “I think with Jordan, it definitely is going to be contingent on the evaluation of his outing and where he is. He struggled a little bit in his first outing. Last outing was much more along the lines of what we need. We’ll see how tonight goes.”
  • Umpire Greg Gibson, hit by Hunter’s cleat in the side of the face last night, told TMZ he suffered a broken nose in addition to the gash in his eye, but no head trauma. He holds no grudge against the Angels’ outfielder, calling him “one of the princes of the game.” Gibson required five stitches to close the wound near his eye, TMZ reported.


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