Results tagged ‘ LaTroy Hawkins ’
The 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
The Angels, in case you missed it, had quite the turnover this offseason. I knew that. But it didn’t really hit me until today, when I decided to compile a list of all the guys who are on a new team this spring. Below are nine of them — with Jason Isringhausen still in limbo — to catch you up on how 2012 Angels look heading into 2013 …
RF Torii Hunter (DET)
Numbers: .207 BA (6-for-29), 1 HR, 2 RBI
SP Zack Greinke (LAD)
Numbers: 3.60 ERA (2 ER, 5 IP), 3 K, 1 BB
Notes: Greinke missed Sunday’s bullpen session with minor forearm tightness and missed Wednesday’s start because of the flu, but he had an impressive bullpen session on Friday. Earlier in the spring, Greinke went into his social-anxiety disorder and his decision to sign with the Dodgers.
SP Dan Haren (WAS)
Numbers: 0-1, 3.60 ERA (2 ER, 5 IP), 5 K, 1 BB
Notes: Haren felt “a lot of good stuff” came out of his last outing. Last year, he said, “I didn’t trust myself.” Haren was involved in a prank-call this spring. Somebody made Peter Bourjos‘ cell phone ring in a pre-workout meeting — he suspected Mark Trumbo or Jered Weaver, or both — and the person on the other end was Haren, who was put on speaker phone so he could briefly talk with all of his ex-teammates.
SP Ervin Santana (KCR)
Numbers: 1.80 ERA (1 ER, 5 IP), 6 K, 1 BB
Notes: At $13 million, Santana is the highest-paid player on the Royals this year. They’re counting on a bounceback year.
DH Kendrys Morales (SEA)
Numbers: .320 BA (8-for-25), 2 HR, 4 RBI
Notes: Now that he has a full season under his belt after that devastating ankle injury, Morales can finally just have a normal spring. That’s big, given that this is his walk year.
INF Maicer Izturis (TOR)
Numbers: .160 BA (4-for-25), 1 RBI
Notes: Not a good start for Izturis, since he’s going to be fighting for playing time.
RP Jordan Walden (ATL)
Numbers: 1 IP, 4 R (1 ER), 3 H, 0 SO, 0 BB
Notes: Walden hasn’t appeared in a game since Feb. 23 due to a bulging disk in his back. He received an epidural injection in Atlanta on Wednesday, and if he continues to progress, he could throw off a mound again this weekend.
RP LaTroy Hawkins (NYM)
Numbers: 1 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 1 SO, 0 BB
Notes: Hawkins is 40 years old and now, after signing a Minor League deal with the Mets this offseason, has a good chance to make an Opening Day roster with his 10th different team.
C Bobby Wilson (NYY)
Numbers: .167 BA (2-for-12)
Notes: Some of you may be surprised to see he’s even on the Yankees. Wilson was claimed off waivers by the Blue Jays early in the offseason, but was released in late November and signed with the Yankees on a Minor League deal a couple weeks later. He’ll be in Triple-A, but with not much talent in front of him — Austin Romine, Francisco Cervelli, Chris Stewart — perhaps he can win playing time.
I’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 FanGraphs.com, the Angels improved this offseason.
Here’s a look at each player’s WAR from this past season …
Bourjos (from 2011): 4.5
Madson (’11): 1.7
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, Jered-Weaver-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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Is there a list of Angels who have options and/or being lost to free agency? — @_Neat
I can give you one right here …
Free agents: SP Zack Greinke, OF Torii Hunter, INF Maicer Izturis, RP LaTroy Hawkins, RP Jason Isringhausen
Club options: SP Dan Haren ($15.5M; $3.5M buyout), SP Ervin Santana ($13M; $1M)
Mutual option: C Chris Iannetta ($5M; $250K buyout)
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.
Here’s all you need to know about the pitching staff lately: During a just-completed 10-game road trip, the Angels’ offense averaged seven runs per game, notched double-digit hits seven times and totaled 23 homers … and still lost six of those games. That’s because, of course, the pitching was that bad. Angels pitchers combined to post a 6.78 ERA, giving up 72 runs (66 earned) and 21 homers in 87 2/3 innings during that trip.
The rotation posted a 5.07 mark, getting only four quality starts (two by Jered Weaver, one each by Dan Haren and Ervin Santana) and watching as C.J. Wilson and Zack Greinke combined to give up 24 runs (21 earned) in 22 1/3 innings. The bullpen was even worse, combining to post a 10.54 mark (or, 32 earned runs in 27 1/3 innings), losing five games and blowing five save chances.
Now, through the second half, the Angels rank ninth in the American League in ERA from their starters (4.78) and dead last — by a wide margin — in ERA from their relievers (6.65).
Houston, we have a problem.
Now, how do you fix it?
We’ll get the easy one out of the way first. You don’t do anything to fix the rotation. You simply expect proven commodities like Wilson and Greinke to figure it out, continue to lean on Weaver (15-1, 2.13 ERA, Cy Young favorite), get encouragement out of the recent outings of Haren (2.00 ERA last three starts) and Santana (five earned runs last 11 innings), and rest easy with Garrett Richards as a fall-back option.
There’s no reason why this rotation shouldn’t turn it around. (If it doesn’t, then I would hate to be pitching coach Mike Butcher.)
The bullpen situation is a lot more dire. It looked set, as it rolled through May and June with a collective 3.02 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP. But that was with Ernesto Frieri going on a ridiculous (unrealistic?) run and, most importantly, with Scott Downs healthy. You really notice just how thin this relief corps is when Downs isn’t there. Suddenly, you’re relying on two 39-year-olds (LaTroy Hawkins and Jason Isringhausen), one guy who was in Triple-A a little over a month ago (Kevin Jepsen), two guys who would be in Triple-A if not for injuries (David Carpenter and Hisanori Takahashi) and one guy very few had heard of before May (Frieri) to hold leads.
The optimists’ view: Downs and Jordan Walden are slated to start rehab assignments soon and should be back shortly thereafter, and this latest rough stretch is only an anomaly for a bullpen that put together eight really solid weeks.
The cynics’ view: Downs is rehabbing a shoulder strain, was hit around right before landing on the DL and there’s no telling how effective he’ll be upon returning; Walden hasn’t looked right all year; and general manager Jerry Dipoto has to do something to address this ‘pen.
The Angels’ first-year GM didn’t find the reliever market very appealing in July, however. Granted, this was before the road-trip meltdown, but nontheless, here’s what Dipoto told me just after the non-waiver Trade Deadline when asked whether Downs’ injury made addressing the bullpen an even greater priority in August: ”Not at all. You’re always open to any way that you can get better. Scotty’s been terrific for us all year, we don’t anticipate this being a long, drawn-out process, but like I said, you never know. And as a result, like I said all along, you remain as flexible as you can be. We’ll keep turning over the stones.”
Will gold show up under any of them?
Keep in mind: Now that the non-waiver Deadline has passed, deals involving players on the 40-man roster cannot be made unless the players already have cleared waivers. In other words, the player must be offered to the other teams in reverse order of the standings — with his own league first — and if he is claimed by someone, he cannot be traded. The club that placed the player on waivers can either withdraw the request and keep the player, or let the player go to the claiming team, which would then have the rights to the player.
I was personally shocked that ex-Royals lefty Jose Mijares slipped through 13 AL teams and landed with the Giants on Aug. 6, given his success and salary. Other names to keep in mind this month (and this is just a rough assumption): Darren Oliver (Blue Jays), Matt Reynolds (Rockies), Joe Thatcher (Padres, but out until mid-to-late August with knee tendinitis) and Wesley Wright (Astros) for lefties; Matt Belisle (Rockies), Rafael Betancourt (Rockies), Shawn Camp (Cubs) and Casey Janssen (Blue Jays) for righties.
Thing is, the Angels don’t have much flexibility on the payroll (especially not after taking on the pro-rated portion of Greinke’s expiring deal) or on the roster. Takahashi and Carpenter can be optioned, but that would be for when Walden and Downs are activated; adding someone extra before rosters expand would probably mean one of their out-of-options guys (Hawkins? Isringhausen? Jerome Williams?) are placed on waivers, since there’s no chance they option Frieri or Jepsen.
Perhaps that’s why the Angels’ front office is hesitant to add someone unless he’s a clear upgrade.
Question is: Is it too late to find that clear upgrade?
Don’t forget to send me your Angels questions at email@example.com for inclusion in tomorrow’s Inbox. Include your first name, last initial and hometown …
Pitching: RH Hector Noesi (2-6, 5.51 ERA)
Pitching: RH Jerome Williams (6-2, 3.68 ERA)
Some pregame notes …
- The Angels completed their Draft on Wednesday, and if the last name of pick No. 1107 has a familiar ring to it, there’s reason. That would be Kenneth Hatcher, the nephew (son of the brother) of former Angels hitting coach Mickey Hatcher. Kenneth was actually taken by the club in 2010 as a third baseman, but was moved to the bullpen. He’s a project since he hasn’t spent too many years pitching, but the Angels feel they have a shot at developing him into a bullpen arm. “We drafted him a couple of years ago when he was down in junior college, and we’d seen him throw a bullpen, and we liked his size and the way his arm worked and his arm strength,” scouting Ric Wilson said. … “He played there for two years, and I always had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to get him in the system as a pitcher.”
- The Angels are making some progress on the injury front. Jered Weaver (lower back) had his most intense throwing session yet, tossing from 250-300 feet, and could be less than a week away from a bullpen session. Chris Iannetta (right wrist) threw to bases, has been hitting for a little less than a week and could get in a rehab assignment this weekend. And LaTroy Hawkins (right pinkie) is slated for what could be his final rehab tune-up at Triple-A on Thursday.
- Mike Scioscia was asked if Ervin Santana could slide into the bullpen if Garrett Richards continues to pitch well and Ervin continues to struggle. Here’s what he said: “We’re not contemplating anything like that. It’s great to have that depth in the rotation, it’s great to see what Garrett did. Ervin is a guy that we’re counting very heavily on and have a lot of confidence that he’s going to pitch more to his ability than what we saw maybe the last couple of starts. That’s where we’re at right now. Your rotation certainly evolves at certain points in the season, but right now we’re not contemplating anything but getting Ervin back on track and hopefully Garrett contributing when he’s getting the ball.”
Some Angels.com links from Tuesday …
- Trumbo dominates at the plate; Richards makes a statement
- Pujols fifth in initial ASG voting
- Notebook, on Conger’s call-up, Bobby Wilson‘s concussion, Kendrick’s struggles and plenty more
- Angels go the college route on Day 2 of Draft
- After wait, Angels get a right-hander they believe is a ‘bulldog’
Some AL West links …
- Josh Hamilton declines to be HR Derby captain
- Felix Hernandez was initially supposed to start today
- A’s excited about talent, balance of Draft haul
And, um, in case you hadn’t noticed, things aren’t looking so hot for my Heat right now.
Pitching: RH Blake Beavan (3-4, 4.72 ERA)
Pitching: RH Garrett Richards (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
Some pregame notes …
- Bobby Wilson was placed on the 7-day concussion DL today, after getting hit by a foul tip there on Monday night, and Conger was called up. Wilson was still feeling a bit woozy and felt the club was just being cautious because he suffered a concussion earlier in the year in Minnesota, and during a home-plate collision with Mark Teixeira in 2010. Wilson expects to be back after the seven days are up, but you never know with these things.
- The Angels drafted 13 players on Day 2, with 12 of them being collegiate guys. Here’s a look at all of them.
- Iconic Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda suffered a mild heart attack today, but is said to be resting comfortably and could be released Wednesday. Here’s what Mike Scioscia said: “Naturally we’re concerned any time you get news like that, but I think all the reports are that he’s resting comfortably and hopefully this will be a little blip in the radar, and he’ll get back out here, relax, and get out to ballgames.”
- Conger was called up and inserted right into the lineup. Some of it had to do with a familiarity with Richards, but mostly because of his left-handed bat. “Hank, he feels good, he caught enough down there to get back where he needs to be,” Scioscia said. “With Bobby out, we’re going to need someone to share the load with John and Hank’s ready for it.”
- The Angels limited Richards’ repertoire to just the fastball, changeup and slider when he came up to the big leagues down the stretch last year. But Scioscia feels he’s come far enough with his curveball to be able to use all four pitches tonight.
- LaTroy Hawkins (pinkie) has been transferred from Class A to Triple-A. Plan is for him to pitch today and Thursday and join the Angels in Colorado on Friday.
- Jered Weaver (lower back), who continues to long toss, probably won’t need to go on a rehab assignment. Chris Iannetta (wrist) will, though.
- Howie Kendrick (.251/.280/.367) is out of the lineup today. Pretty much a mental day. “Obviously he’s not swinging the bat to his potential,” Scioscia said. “I think he’s caught in between a little bit. At times he’s out in front, at times he’s missing some fastballs he should hit. Howie’s just a terrific hitter in the box, and right now he’s searching for some things and we need him.”
It’s only a three-game winning streak, and they’re still 6 1/2 games back in the AL West, but the baseball world is suddenly talking about an Angels resurgence and wondering if they’ll make the playoffs. That was our Question of the Day on MLB.com, and it was a topic grazed by the folks at ESPN plenty today …
Pitching: RH Ervin Santana (2-6, 4.22 ERA)
Pitcing: RH Blake Beavan (2-4, 4.46 ERA)
Some pregame notes …
- Still no exact return date for Torii Hunter. My prediction is that he comes back at some point in the Monday-Wednesday Yankees series, but call that an educated guess.
- LaTroy Hawkins (pinkie) threw off a mound for the first time today. Mike Scioscia isn’t sure if he’ll need to go on a rehab assignment once he’s ready.
- Scioscia, on Pujols: “I think he feels a little more comfortable about how he feels in the batter’s box. Hopefully that’s going to lead to some of the things we saw last night. I like the way he’s playing baseball. Just a little thing like the stolen base or the way he’s playing defense. I think he’s getting more involved in that end of it, and hopefully he’ll just getting into that groove on the field.”
- Angels pitchers have allowed just one run in their last 33 innings. The starting staff hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in nine of its last 10 game; over their last seven games, the staff has a 1.80 ERA. The bullpen’s ERA over the last 10 games: 0.89.
- Ernesto Frieri‘s 19 strikeouts in his first 8 2/3 innings with the Angels sets a new team record. Jordan Walden and Frankie Rodriguez each had 17 in that span, but Frankie gave up six hits and Walden gave up seven. Frieri hasn’t given up any.
- Since his call-up on April 28, Trout ranks in the Top 5 among Major League rookies in batting average (.312; 2nd), runs (17; T-1st), doubles (6; T-4th), homers (4; T-3rd), RBI (12; 3rd), OBP (.377; 2nd) and slugging (.527; 2nd).
- Outfielder Nate McLouth was DFA’d by the Pirates today, but I’m told there isn’t any real interest on the Angels end.
- Reliever David Pauley cleared waivers and has been reassigned to Triple-A Salt Lake.
Angels links from Thursday …
- Milestone night in 3rd straight win, as Pujols hits No. 450 and Dan Haren gets K No. 1,500
- Notebook, on the functionality of the back end of the ‘pen, Trout’s return to Safeco & Andrew Romine‘s return
- Haren makes Angels history
- Is Pujols finally ‘locked in’?
- Class A player hits for cycle
- Preview, on Santana-Beavan matchup
Some AL West links …
- Rangers Inbox, on Feliz’s status and other stuff
- Brandon Inge hoping for a Monday return
- Blasphemy! Dustin Ackley not playing on his bobblehead night (perhaps he should console with Bourjos)
And, thanks to another dominant performance by their dynamic duo, the Heat have advanced to the ECF’s.