Results tagged ‘ Josh Willingham ’

Question of the Day, 7/3 …

Are the Cards the only team Albert Pujols hasn’t homered against? — @nolanrogers13

Indeed, they are. If he homers against them on Thursday, he’ll be one of seven active players to homer against all 30 current teams. The others, per the Elias Sports Bureau: Carlos Beltran, Adrian Beltre, Jason Giambi, Raul Ibanez, Lyle Overbay, Alfonso Soriano and Josh Willingham. Honestly, I’m surprised there are even that many.

Thing is, Pujols hasn’t so much as recorded a hit against his former team, let alone homered. He’s 0-for-7 with three strikeouts and a walk in the first two of a three-game series, and he’s got just two hits in his last 27 at-bats. Hitters always goes through ebbs and flows, though. That’s normal. And Pujols was getting hot just before it. What would be concerning is if the pain in his left foot (plantar fasciitis) or right knee (offseason surgery) have gotten worse, prompting a potential move to the disabled list.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia dismissed that postgame, saying: “I think physically he’s pretty much status quo. I don’t think anything’s deteriorating. I think he feels the same as just 10 days ago, when he was really starting to swing the bat well.”

Alden

Game 15: Angels-Twins …

UPDATE, 6:55 P.M. CT: So much for that. Game has been postponed …

——-

Lo and behold, they might actually get this game in! Forecasts previously called for a 100-percent chance — yes, 100 percent — of precipitation. But as of 5:45 p.m. CT, nothing had come down — though it’s awfully cold — and now they’re saying the Angels and Twins may be able to get this game in. Five innings, at least.

Angels (4-10)

angelslogo2J.B. Shuck, LF
Mike Trout, CF
Albert Pujols, DH
Josh Hamilton, RF
Mark Trumbo, 1B
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Chris Iannetta, C
Brendan Harris, SS
Luis Jimenez, 3B

SP: RH Tommy Hanson (1-1, 6.55 ERA)

Twins (6-7)

MIN3Brian Dozier, 2B
Joe Mauer, DH
Josh Willingham, LF
Justin Morneau, 1B
Ryan Doumit, C
Trevor Plouffe, 3B
Oswaldo Arcia, RF
Aaron Hicks, CF
Pedro Florimon, SS

SP: RH Vance Worley (0-2, 10.50 ERA)

  • Kevin Jepsen‘s MRI revealed the right-hander has a strained lat. He’ll be shut down for a week, then will be evaluated. The timeline on this type of injury is pretty scattered. It could be two weeks, it could be 10. He’ll have to complete all the hurdles individually — range of motion, activating the arm, throwing bullpens, etc.
  • Mike Scioscia, on choosing Shuck over Peter Bourjos at the leadoff spot for the second time this season: “There’s some matchup things. Peter’s going to play a lot, but especially right now, looking for a leadoff, I think J.B. has a history of some on-base and can match up and give us a look on a given day. But I think we’re going to try to keep as much continuity as we can, but I think it’s a good day for J.B. to get in there and get some things going early in the game.”
  • Outfielder Scott Cousins, designated for assignment over the weekend, has cleared waivers and been reassigned to Triple-A Salt Lake.
  • Baseball Prospectus had an interesting article today, clocking Pujols home to first. Basically, he’s running slower than ever. He was at 5.11 seconds on the final out of last night’s game, and was between 4.5 and 4.7 seconds just two years earlier. Here’s what Scioscia said when asked if Pujols can regain his normal gait: “It’s definitely something we’re shooting for. But 38-degree weather and the grind of a season doesn’t mesh right now for where he needs to be. Some things he’s managed throughout his career, he’s managed to rebound and move better at times. But right now, he’s giving us 100 percent of what he has.”

Alden

How Angels’ ‘Big 3′ stacks up in 2013 …

Josh Hamilton

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. 

Alden 

Game 32: Angels-Twins …

The Angels will look to finally get a run for poor Ervin Santana. They’ve been shutout in each of his last five starts, making him the first pitcher since at least 1974 to suffer such fate, according to STATS LLC …

Angels (13-18)

Mike Trout, CF
Alberto Callaspo, 3B
Albert Pujols, 1B
Kendrys Morales, DH
Torii Hunter, RF
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Vernon Wells, LF
Erick Aybar, SS
Bobby Wilson, C

Pitching: RH Santana (0-6, 5.59 ERA)

Twins (8-21)

Denard Span, CF
Brian Dozier, SS
Joe Mauer, 1B
Josh Willingham, LF
Ryan Doumit, DH
Danny Valencia, 3B
Erik Komatsu, RF
Drew Butera, C
Jamey Carroll, 2B

Pitching: RH Carl Pavano (2-2, 4.62 ERA)

Some pregame notes …

  • Scott Downs (left knee) is available today as closer, manager Mike Scioscia said.
  • Dan Haren said his lower back was feeling a little better today, after he struggled with it during last night’s start. He doesn’t expect to miss a start, as he said Tuesday night, but will take it easy today. The off day surely helps.
  • Scioscia on David Pauley, who had four shutout innings out of the bullpen on Tuesday: “It was very impressive. And I think what was more impressive was that he got into his game and you saw him pitch a little more, as his outing went on, he really pitched well. He threw some pretty good breaking balls, he’s got a good changeup and sinker, and I think the last couple innings, it was really reminiscent of what we saw him do in Seattle.”
  • The seven shutout through 31 games not only leads the Majors. It’s the most the Angels have ever had that early in a season. “I don’t know if there’s going to be a reason for everything, but it’s just that seven times this year we haven’t gotten it done like we need to,” Scioscia simply said.
  • Peter Bourjos has now started just twice in his last 11 games. More on that later.

Some Angels links from Tuesday …

Some AL West links …

And the Heat look to finish off the Knicks tonight.

Alden

Game 31: Angels-Twins …

It didn’t look very promising earlier, but the skies have opened up, the rain is gone and the field is dry. Looks like we’ll get this game in no problem (fingers crossed) …

Angels (13-17)

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

Pitching: RH Dan Haren (1-2, 3.43 ERA)

Twins (7-21)

Erik Komatsu, CF
Brian Dozier, SS
Joe Mauer, 1B
Josh Willingham, LF
Ryan Doumit, DH
Danny Valencia, 3B
Trevor Plouffe, RF
Drew Butera, C
Jamey Carroll, 2B

Pitching: LH Scott Diamond

Some pregame notes …

  • Scott Downs says he feels “very lucky,” after finding out that he only has a bruise in the back of his left knee and won’t have to go on the disabled list. Mike Scioscia said he could be available — as his closer — today or tomorrow. Huge sigh of relief for a bullpen that came in with the second-highest ERA in baseball.
  • The rotation for the Texas series is official, with C.J. Wilson getting the start in the opener on Friday, opposite Yu Darvish — the man the Rangers essentially chose to spend their money on instead. The staff had been throwing so well collectively (2.26 ERA in the last 17 games) that he didn’t want to change anything. Jerome Williams and Jered Weaver will follow.
  • Jered Weaver got his wish. He got to do David Letterman‘s Top 10 today. He was up here near the press box for about 30 minutes taping it. The subject was: “Top 10 Signs You’ll Never Throw A No-Hitter.” No. 1 was supposed to be: Because you play for the New York Mets.” But they changed it. For a sneak peek, click here.
  • Kendrys Morales is fine health-wise, by the way. Not in the lineup for a second straight day due to back-to-back opposing lefty starters. I’ll have more on that later.

Some Angels links from Monday …

Some AL West links …

And the Heat are kicking themselves for not closing out the Knicks in four. They should.

-- Alden

Reliving history: A look back at Jered’s no-no …

Yeah, it came against the Twins, who were shutout by Jerome Williams the night before, are missing Justin Morneau and are (record-wise) the worst team in baseball. But still. You have to be so dominant, and so much has to go right, in order to throw a no-hitter, and Jered Weaver had it all working on Wednesday night. It wasn’t just that he didn’t allow a hit. It was that nobody really came close and that he almost had a perfect game — if Chris Iannetta had held on to that second-inning strikeout, and if Josh Willingham’s bat had gone another inch forward on a strike-two half-swing in the seventh. 

Before we jump to the series opener against the Blue Jays, here’s a look back at last night … 

Weaver’s stuff

Weaver: “I wasn’t throwing 97 or 98 up there. It was pretty much the same poo-poo I’ve been throwing there all year. A lot of things have to go your way, and it happened tonight.”

Mike Scioscia: “He was just relentless with just repeating pitches. He was focused on just making pitches all the way through. Changed speeds well, pitched inside well. It was a terrific game.”

Howie Kendrick: “If you see his pitches, they’re either just off the plate or right there on the corner. That’s what makes him so special. He’s very deceptive with that delivery, kind of throws from across his body, and tonight, he was hitting those spots, getting guys looking on that front-door two-seamer, changeup was good, he was throwing his curveball for a strike, and I think those are things you need to do to win games and throw no-hitters.”

Denard Span: “He was doing everything. He kept us off-balance. He changed speeds. He’s definitely a different pitcher when he’s at home with the ball coming out of those rocks in center field. He had everything going tonight. So you have to tip your cap off to him.”

On the last out

Alexi Casilla: “I thought it was maybe off the wall or something like that.”

Torii Hunter: “When you hit it to me, it’s caught. That’s just the way it goes. When he hit it, I had to go get it. I was going to give it my all — run myself through the wall, knock myself out, be out 5-10 days, it didn’t matter. But he was going to have a no-hitter.”

Weaver: “He put a charge in it. But Spiderman was running stuff down. I wasn’t worried at all. Torii, he is who he is. He’s a nine-time Gold Glover, and I didn’t have any doubt that he was going to run that ball down.”

On where he stood when the game ended

Scioscia: “He might’ve been able to go two more innings with the way he felt and with the way he set things up.”

Weaver’s response to that: “I don’t know about that. I was about dead in the seventh, but was able to will the ball over the plate.”

On the thrill of the no-no

Weaver: “To have it happen at home, where I decided to stay, and to have these fans cheer me on, going out there in the ninth, it was pretty electric. Unbelievable night.”

C.J. Wilson: “This is the best pitching performance I’ve ever seen.”

Kendrick: “It’s phenomenal, man, I’m so happy to be a part of this. I’ve been playing with Weaver since he signed with the organization, and to be able to see him progress as a player and as a pitcher and become our ace guy, and be a bulldog on the mound, that’s what we need day in and day out. Hopefully that leads up to some more no-hitters.”

Dave Weaver, Jered’s father: “We just hugged the hell out of each other and said we loved each other. He was just so excited, so jubilant. It was a dream come true for him and for all of us.”

Stories & videos

Dream Weaver: Jered gets his no-no
Weaver’s night a family affair
Surprised? Mates knew this day was coming
MLB Notebook: Weaver a part of Halos lore
Angels’ 10th no-hitter comes 50 years after first
No-no could jumpstart Angels
Twins tip their cap to Weaver
Dave Weaver on his son
A blend of reax on the no-no
A look at the no-no

Game 25: Twins-Angels …

Twins (6-17)

Denard Span, CF
Alexi Casilla, 2B
Joe Mauer, DH
Josh Willingham, LF
Ryan Doumit, C
Chris Parmelee, 1B
Trevor Plouffe, 3B
Clete Thomas, RF
Jamey Carroll, SS

Pitching: RH Liam Hendriks (0-1, 6.89 ERA)

Angels (9-15)

Erick Aybar, SS
Vernon Wells, LF
Albert Pujols, 1B
Kendrys Morales, DH
Torii Hunter, RF
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Mark Trumbo, 3B
Chris Iannetta, C
Peter Bourjos, CF

Pitching: RH Jered Weaver (3-0, 2.02 ERA)

Some pregame notes …

  • Not the ideal lineup in terms of on-base percentage in front of Pujols today. Aybar and Wells have a combined (meaning, adding the two numbers up) OBP of .486. Pretty good for one player. Not so much for two. For Wells, it’s his first start in the 2-hole since 2007. Angels manager Mike Scioscia said he’s trying to get more power at the top, saying: “We’re kind of going caveman on this lineup, just trying to go big.”
  • Scioscia, on the confidence of winning back-to-back wins: “There was a little bit of frustration to our start, but that points to a team with confidence because I don’t think you’d have any frustration if you weren’t confident. But these guys know they can play better. It’s good to get a couple of wins, and hopefully we can carry that momentum moving forward.
  • Mike Trout ran a 3.53 from home to first base on a bunt single yesterday. Scioscia and third-base coach Dino Ebel each said that’s the fastest they’ve ever seen.
  • Bobby Cassevah, activated off the DL and optioned to Salt Lake recently, has given up five runs in nine Minor League innings, good for a 5.00 ERA, including three runs in Triple-A on April 21. Asked if Cassevah is close to rejoining the Angels, Scioscia said: “I think his game is close. We’ll see how things pans out, but I think his game is more in line with what we saw when he was up here. He had a ways to go. He was really set back and it takes guys time to work their way back into their stuff and their command and everything.”

Some Angels links from Tuesday …

Some AL West links …

And former Dolphins, and prominent Chargers, linebacker Junior Seau died today. Tragic news.

Alden

Game 24: Twins-Angels …

Twins (6-16)

Denard Span, CF
Alexi Casilla, 2B
Joe Mauer, DH
Josh Willingham, LF
Danny Valencia, 3B
Ryan Doumit, C
Chris Parmelee, 1B
Clete Thomas, RF
Jamey Carroll, SS

Pitching: LH Francisco Liriano (0-3, 11.02 ERA)

Angels (8-15)

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

Pitching: RH Jerome Williams (1-1, 5.51 ERA

Some pregame notes …

  • One day after Pujols was evidently peeved details of his involvement in a hitters’ meeting got out, he and Mickey Hatcher have moved on.
  • Peter Bourjos has started just one of the last five games and it may not get any better with Trout playing center field every day. When asked if a demotion to Triple-A has been discussed, manager Mike Scioscia said: “I think there’s a huge role for Peter on our club. If it’s not playing seven days a week, there’s going to be playing time for him here, and he definitely makes our team deeper. We’ll see how it progresses. Right now we want him to fit into our team and hopefully make us stronger.”
  • Scott Downs is available today after converting a four-out save last night.
  • As for what the dynamic between Downs and Jordan Walden is in the ninth right now, Scioscia said: “The bottom line is we need arms in the back end of our ‘pen holding leads, and it has to be more than Scott Downs. So, whether Jordan goes back to being closer, which his stuff plays really well in the closer’s role, or if Scott Downs just takes off and runs with it and becomes a closer and somebody like Jordan Walden becomes a setup [man], we need depth at the back end of our bullpen.” Scioscia didn’t dismiss the possibility of Downs remaining as closer, but said the ideal situation is for Walden to be closer and Downs to be able to match up in the seventh and eighth.
  • Kendrick has now been out of the 2 spot for back-to-back games, and it appears it’ll stay that way for a while. “I think right now, hitting in the 6 hole is really good for him because he’s going to get RBI opportunities,” Scioscia said.

Some Angels links from Monday …

Some AL West links …

And Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire will miss at least Game 3 against the Heat after punching a fire extinguisher.

Alden

Game 23: Twins-Angels …

The first of a battle between two struggling teams. One (the Angels) can’t hit, the other (the Twins) can’t pitch …

Twins (6-15)

Denard Span, CF
Jamey Carroll, SS
Josh Willingham, LF
Justin Morneau, DH
Danny Valencia, 3B
Ryan Doumit, C
Trevor Plouffe, RF
Chris Parmelee, 1B
Alexi Casilla, 2B

Pitching: RH Nick Blackburn (0-2, 7.53 ERA)

Angels (7-15)

Mike Trout, CF
Maicer Izturis, 3B
Albert Pujols, 1B
Kendrys Morales, DH
Torii Hunter, RF
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Vernon Wells, LF
Erick Aybar, SS
Chris Iannetta, C

Pitching: LH C.J. Wilson (2-2, 2.42 ERA)

Some pregame notes …

  • Jorge Cantu opted out of his Minor League deal and became a free agent.
  • This is the first game Kendrick has started out of the leadoff spot. He’s 4-for-24 in his last seven games.
  • The Angels held a hitters’ meeting pregame, after a six-game road trip that saw them go 1-5 and muster only nine runs. Mike Scioscia said he was mostly trying to relax his players. “I think the important thing for us is to keep this environment positive, keep the guys working towards a goal of not trying to do too much. Less is more, for sure, and we need these guys to just play their game, not try to be superhuman.”
  • Scioscia on Pujols: “The solution is for him to get comfortable in the batter’s box, and once he does, a lot of that other stuff will evaporate, in terms of learning the league and different ballparks and things like that. He’s too good a hitter not to figure this out.”
  • And Scioscia on Trout: “We expect Mike to come in and bring his talent on the Major Leauge field and do what he can do to his capabilities. If he does that, he’ll eventually be that dynamic player, but it doesn’t necessarily have to happen this week or next week or right now. His at-bats in Cleveland were good, he’s a very confident kid. He’s not a finished product, but he’s ready for the challenge. His makeup is off the charts, so I don’t think you’re going to see any blows to his confidence that are going to set him back.”

Some links from Sunday …

Some AL West links …

And the Heat took a 2-0 series lead over the Knicks. Lookin’ good.

Alden

Game 6: Angels-Twins …

Angels (2-3)

Maicer Izturis, SS
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Albert Pujols, 1B
Torii Hunter, RF
Mark Trumbo, DH
Vernon Wells, LF
Alberto Callaspo, 3B
Bobby Wilson, C
Peter Bourjos, CF
SP: RH Dan Haren (0-1, 8.44 ERA)

Twins (1-4)

Denard Span, CF
Jamey Carroll, SS
Joe Mauer, C
Jusitn Morneau, DH
Josh Willingham, LF
Chris Parmelee, 1B
Danny Valencia, 3B
Ben Revere, RF
Alexi Casilla, 2B
SP: LH Francisco Liriano (0-1, 11.25 ERA)

Some notes from this morning …

  • This is a scheduled day off for Kendrys Morales. He’ll probably play all three games in New York.
  • Mike Scioscia, on giving some at-bats to Izturis, who’s finally making his first start on Thursday: “At the beginning, the balance that I think is going to be difficult is trying to get guys to play, but also giving guys that you know are going to be your core players time to get chemistry. We’re getting Erick [Aybar] off today, we’ll probably give Howie [Kendrick] a day off in New York. … Some guys obviously haven’t hit stride in the box. But you also can’t let your bench depth evaporate. And that’s why it’s important for Izzy to get in there and it’s important for a lot of guys to stay close to playing. … You’re not going to need the depth in your roster, but you still want to keep in touch with it to keep guys fresh.”
  • Scioscia on Pujols, who comes in batting .222 with no homers (more on him later): “He’s been on a lot of pitches. Right now it’s just trying to get comfortable with some new environments of hitting in our ballpark, and then just the stadium here in Minnesota, get used to the hitting backgrounds, get used to the pitchers in our league. But he will find it, that’s for sure.”
  • A couple of unsurprising developments: Jerome Williams was officially named the fifth starter, and the roster spot will be created by sending down a position player (his name is Alexi Amarista).

Some links from Wednesday …

Some AL West links …

Big game coming up against the Bulls. Heat won’t panic.

Alden

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