Results tagged ‘ Michael Young ’

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, 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.

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.

Alden

Game 150: Rangers-Angels …

Well, the A’s already won, beating the Tigers, 12-2, to salvage the series and put the Angels an even four games out of the second Wild Card spot entering play today. But the Rangers are without Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre once again. Then again, it surely didn’t hurt them last night.

UPDATE: Beltre talked his way in and is indeed in. Here’s the new lineup …

Rangers (88-60)

Ian Kinsler, 2B
Elvis Andrus, SS
Michael Young, 3B
Adrian Beltre, DH
Nelson Cruz, RF
David Murphy, LF
Geovany Soto, C
Mitch Moreland, 1B
Craig Gentry, CF

Pitching: RH Yu Darvish (15-9, 4.02 ERA)

Angels (81-68)

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

Pitching: RH Zack Greinke (5-2, 3.78 ERA)

  • C.J. Wilson and Mike Scioscia had yet another “strategy meeting” on Thursday afternoon, a few hours after he gave up three runs and walked three in a 66-pitch, 2 2/3-inning outing. Scioscia didn’t want to go into details, saying only that they’re trying to “get his best stuff out there on the field” and that they “have a lot of confidence in what he can do” and just “try to refine some simple things.” Wilson will stay in the rotation. Asked if it was about game plan or execution, Scioscia said: “I think it is all intertwined. I think if you’re trying to execute things that aren’t things that you’re doing comfortably, at a certain time, then maybe you have to make some simple adjustments. Now, when he’s pitched some great baseball, part of what his talent is is to be able to do so much with the baseball. Hopefully he’s going to get comfortable and eventually get back to that. You can’t overstate how much we need our starters to do what they’re capable of, and that’s important.”
  • Scioscia, on taking Jerome Williams out after 4 1/3 innings last night: “There are a number of reasons for the decision. We had some matchups coming up that we were looking at. I thought Jerome pitched great baseball and got us to a certain point, and obviously was an important part of keeping us in that game. But he went 4 1/3 innings and hasn’t been stretched out past that point for a long time. We didn’t feel there was a need to stretch him, and going to the eighth inning, we had some arms that we felt were going to go out there and hold the deficit and unfortunately it didn’t happen.”
  • Peter Bourjos has been dealing with an intestinal problem the last couple of days, hindering his availability for “anything significant,” Scioscia said. Of course, it’s not like he would’ve been given the opportunity to do anything of significance regardless.
  • Scioscia won’t get into the politics of the AL MVP, but he will say one thing for sure: “Torii Hunter should win the Gold Glove,” he volunteered today. “No doubt. There’s some good right fielders. [Josh] Reddick is good, obviously, [Jeff] Francouer. But to see what Torii has brought on range, and what he’s done on the first and third, there aren’t many guys better. There aren’t many guys in my time in baseball that I’ve seen do what Torii does.

Alden

Game 149: Rangers-Angels …

The game hasn’t even started yet, but it feels like the Angels already have the lead. That’s because things aren’t looking very good on the Rangers side this afternoon. Not only are Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre not in the lineup, they’re not even present at the ballpark right now. Hamilton keeps having vision problems, related to the sinus infection that knocked him out of Tuesday’s game, and Beltre has some intestinal problems that have him at home. It’s very likely that neither could play in tomorrow’s series finale, either …

Rangers (87-60)

Ian Kinsler, 2B
Elvis Andrus, SS
Michael Young, 3B
Nelson Cruz, RF
David Murphy, LF
Mike Napoli, DH
Geovany Soto, C
Craig Gentry, CF
Mitch Moreland, 1B

Pitching: LH Derek Holland (10-6, 4.50 ERA)

Angels (81-67)

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

Pitching: LH C.J. Wilson (12-9, 3.73 ERA)

  • Pujols, as you’ve noticed, is back with the team after spending Tuesday in Kansas City to be with his wife and newborn. Everything went well with the pregnancy; it was just hospital policy that his wife stay an extra day, and Pujols wanted to make sure he was there for her. “I think everyone knows that after God, family is the most important thing. I wanted to be with the team, but I put family before anything. Anyone who knows me knows that’s the most important thing. It’s a blessing to play baseball every day, but when it comes to family, I put that first.”
  • Jim Leyland recently said he’d be “shocked” if the AL MVP didn’t go to Miguel Cabrera, who’s darn close to a Triple Crown with only two weeks remaining. Mike Scioscia isn’t as committal, saying: “There’s so many things. Miguel Cabrera being so close to a Triple Crown. He has that team in a pennant race. Mike Trout plays a premium defensive position every day and brings presence out there that is incredible. What he’s done as a leadoff hitter and the amount of runs he’s scored, the stolen bases – there’s so many things for each guy. Each guy is having an extraordinary season.
  • Ervin Santana, dealing with some soreness tightness, is feeling fine now and is set to start on Friday against the White Sox. He’ll be followed by Dan Haren and Jered Weaver, respectively.
  • Speaking of Weaver, who notched his 100th career win on Tuesday — his career winning percentage of .662 (100-51) is tops in Angels history.

Alden

Game 148: Rangers-Angels …

Angels manager Mike Scioscia will often tell you that he doesn’t look at the standings. “Our focus is in-house,” is one of his favorite cliches. But with 15 games left, a three-game deficit of the Orioles for the second American League Wild Card spot, and no head-to-head games remaining against the teams in front of them (unless you coutn the Rangers, which they have basically no shot at catching), Scioscia can’t say that anymore. “There’s a time it’s relevant [to look at the standings] and there’s a time it’s not relevant,” he said. “It’s relevant now.” …

Rangers (80-67)

Ian Kinsler, 2B
Elvis Andrus, SS
Josh Hamilton, CF
Adrian Beltre, DH
Nelson Cruz, RF
Michael Young, 3B
Daniel Murphy, LF
Mike Napoli, C
Mitch Moreland, 1B

Pitching: RH Ryan Dempster (6-1, 4.11 ERA)

Angels (80-67)

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

Pitching: RH Jered Weaver (17-4, 2.74 ERA)

  • If you didn’t notice, Albert Pujols isn’t with the team. He stayed back in Kansas City to be with his wife, who had the couple’s fifth child in the wee hours of Sunday morning. “There’s no doubt Albert is where he needs to be, no doubt,” Scioscia said. “I’m speaking for myself. You can ask other people in our organization, but I’m sure we’re all on the same page with that.”
  • Maicer Izturis (left ribs) swung a bat in Kansas City on Sunday, took part in pregame activities and the belief is that he’ll be available off the bench today.
  • C.J. Wilson is the Angels’ nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award.
  • Trout will be on the cover of the next issue of ESPN The Magazine, which hits newsstands Friday.
  • Weaver enters tonight one wiin shy of matching his career-high for wins in a season (18) and reaching 100 for his career. In 13 career starts against the Rangers at Angel Stadium, he’s 8-0 with a 2.16 ERA.

Alden

Game 106: Rangers-Angels (Dempster vs. CJ) …

The Angels meet the Rangers’ counter punch tonight, in a sense. Ryan Dempster, acquired at the final minute before Tuesday’s non-waiver Trade Deadline, takes the bump after spending his first 15 seasons in the National League (and last eight with the Cubs). Albert Pujols, coming off back-to-back multi-homer games for the first time in his career, surely is familiar — and successful. In 67 career plate appearances against Dempster, Pujols has a .327/.433/.782 slash line.

“Dempster is a veteran, he knows what he wants to do, he’s very creative with how he pitches,” his Thursday opponent, C.J. Wilson, said. “He’s a control guy, throws any pitch at any count, that kind of thing. Some of the guys in here have faced him. Albert has faced him a ton of times. Albert’s got good numbers off him, so hopefully he can do something cool against him.”

Does it make Texas’ rotation better than that of the Angels?

Rangers’ rotation now: Matt Harrison, Yu Darvish, Derek Holland, Dempster and Scott Feldman, with Alexi Ogando as insurance. 

Angels’ rotation: Jered Weaver, Zack Greinke, Dan Haren, Wilson and Ervin Santana, with Garrett Richards as insurance.

“They’ve been looking for help like most teams are,” Haren said. “He’s a solid pitcher. I’m sure it’ll help their club. But I think we still like where we stand. We like our chances, that’s for sure.”

On to the lineups …

Angels (57-48)

Mike Trout, CF
Torii Hunter, RF
Albert Pujols, 1B
Mark Trumbo, LF
Kendrys Morales, DH
Alberto Callaspo, 3B
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Andrew Romine, SS
Bobby Wilson, C

Pitching: LH C.J. Wilson (9-7, 2.88 ERA)

Rangers (60-43)

Ian Kinsler, DH
Elvis Andrus, SS
Josh Hamilton, LF
Adrian Beltre, 3B
Nelson Cruz, RF
Michael Young, 2B
Geovany Soto, C
Mike Olt, 1B
Craig Gentry, CF

Pitching: RH Ryan Dempster (0-0, -.– ERA)

Some pregame notes …

  • Richards was optioned, with David Carpenter coming up
  • Trout was named AL Player of the Month and, for the third straight time, Rookie of the Month. (Weaver, however, got beat out by Jason Vargas for Rookie of the Month.)
  • Back to the pinch-running situation. Mike Scioscia revealed pregame Thursday that Kendrick was bothered by a calf injury yesterday, which is why he didn’t start. Asked if that was the reason he didn’t pinch-run him for Morales, Scioscia said, “It was part of the equation, yes. But I think when push came to shove, if we were down a run, we would’ve looked at some other things.” Vernon Wells, of course, would’ve been an option regardless. Kendrick told reporters (I wasn’t there) that his calf was actually fine.
  • Still no clarity on Scott Downs (strained left shoulder). Scioscia says it’ll take a week for them to get clearer indication. They’re waiting for the swelling to go down. This could take a while.

Some Angels.com links from Wednesday …

  • Angels stunned, drop heartbreaker to Rangers
  • Notebook, on August plans, the Greinke extension, Trout’s ties to Rickey Henderson, injury updates, etc.
  • Preview, on the CJ-Dempster matchup

Some AL West links …

And Ryan Tannehill joined the first team.

Alden

Game 105: Angels-Rangers …

Angels (57-47)

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

Pitching: RH Garrett Richards (3-2, 3.91 ERA)

Rangers (59-43)

Ian Kinsler, 2B
Elvis Andrus, SS
Josh Hamilton, CF
Adrian Beltre, DH
Nelson Cruz, RF
Michael Young, 3B
David Murphy, LF
Mike Napoli, C
Mitch Moreland, 1B

Pitching: RH Yu Darvish (11-7, 4.05 ERA)

Some pregame notes …

  • It was about 106 degrees when I got to the ballpark this afternoon (yes, even hotter than yesterday). The Angels hit outside, but their pregame was limited, and Richards will probably do his pregame bullpen session inside, just like Jered Weaver did on Tuesday.
  • No further clarity about Scott Downs (strained left shoulder). The medical team will be huddling up today to determine the best course of action, but surgery is not being considered. “I haven’t heard it ruled in,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “That didn’t come up.” “I think Downs feels really good at his prognosis,” Scioscia added.
  • Erick Aybar (fractured right toe) took BP on the field for the first time on Wednesday and moved laterally while fielding ground balls. He’s on track to return Monday.
  • Jordan Walden (neck and right biceps) backed his throwing up to about 130 feet and said it “went well,” but isn’t sure when he can throw a bullpen session. He’ll probably need to go on a rehab assignment when he’s ready.
  • Dan Haren (right side) will throw a bullpen session tomorrow.

Alden

Game 104: Angels-Rangers …

Angels (56-47)

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

Pitching: RH Jered Weaver (13-1, 2.26 ERA)

Rangers (59-42)

Ian Kinsler, 2B
Elvis Andrus, SS
Adrian Beltre, 3B
Nelson Cruz, RF
Josh Hamilton, CF
Michael Young, DH
David Murphy, LF
Mike Napoli, C
Mitch Moreland, 1B

Pitching: LH Derek Holland (7-5, 4.74 ERA)

Some pregame notes …

  • The Trade Deadline came and went, and the Angels didn’t add another relief pitcher, though there’s always August. And that’s relevant because …
  • Lefty Scott Downs was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left shoulder strain he suffered during his Friday outing, with lefty Hisanori Takahashi being called up to replace him. Downs hopes to return in two weeks, but it could be at least three or four.
  • Dan Haren (stiffness in his right side) won’t start on Wednesday after all. Instead, he’ll start Sunday against the White Sox, with Garrett Richards taking the ball against the Rangers on Wednesday.
  • Haren, on the Rangers’ acquisition of Ryan Dempster: “I’m sure it’ll help their club, but I think we still like where we stand, and we like our chances that’s for sure.”
  • With an opposing lefty on the mound, Kendrys Morales isn’t in the starting lineup — despite becoming the third player in baseball history to hit two homers from the same side of the plate in the same inning on Monday. Here’s what Mike Scioscia said when I asked him: “I think that Kendrys form the right side is swinging the bat as well as we’ve seen him swing the bat, but I think for an important reason of keeping him fresh still, still getting back and used to playing every day after missing some time, and keeping other guys fresh at times, getting a chance where Trumbo to DH and get Vernon out there, I think that’s a lineup we’re going to continue to consider; getting Peter out there. And there are going to be times when Kendrys will hit against left-handed pitching. But I think right now, we’re certainly going to keep him fresh. It’s almost like a natural break you can get sometimes against lefties.”

Some Angels.com links from Monday …

Some AL West links …

And U.S. gymnastics captured the gold.

Alden

Game 103: Angels-Rangers …

As expected, it’s over 100 degrees here in Arlington, which means the ball should be flying tonight. That could especially be the case with the struggling Roy Oswalt and Ervin Santana facing off. But then there’s the fact that the Angels haven’t scored a run in 23 straight innings and the Rangers are 0-for-their-last-29 with runners in scoring position. Something’s gotta give, right? Angels come into this four-game set five games back in the AL West and are 5-4 against the Rangers this season. 

Angels (55-47)

Mike Trout, LF
Torii Hunter, RF
Albert Pujols, 1B
Kendrys Morales, DH
Alberto Callaspo, 3B
Howie Kendirck, 2B
Maicer Izturis, SS
Peter Bourjos, CF
Bobby Wilson, C

Pitching: RH Santana (4-10, 6.00 ERA)

Rangers (59-41)

Ian Kinsler, 2B
Elvis Andrus, SS
Adrian Beltre, 3B
Nelson Cruz, RF
Josh Hamilton, CF
Michael Young, LF
Mike Napoli, C
Mitch Moreland, 1B

Pitching: RH Oswalt (3-1, 5.22 ERA)

Some pregame notes …

  • Back problems continue to plague Dan Haren, to the point where he may not make his next scheduled turn on Wednesday. Haren came out of his Friday start a little stiff, and though Mike Scioscia said the pain is “not connected” to the lower-back stiffness that landed him on the DL in early July (it’s a little higher), he may be pushed back at least a day or two, with Garrett Richards or Jerome Williams (both currently out of the rotation) taking his place. More should be on the site soon.
  • Mark Trumbo is out of the lineup with upper back spasms, suffered while taking batting practice on Sunday. He indicated that the move is mostly precautionary and should be available if needed.
  • Some good news: Trout is back, and says he feels perfectly fine after being scratched from Sunday’s lineup with a left knee contusion.
  • Erick Aybar took some ground balls and hit in the cage pregame. Scioscia says he could be ready to return for the series against the Athletics that begins early next week.

Some Angels.com links from Sunday …

Some AL West links …

And the Dolphins will look to pass more in the red zone this season.

Alden

Game 53: Rangers-Angels …

May is over for the Angels. It finished 18-11, just one win shy of the club record for that month, and June fittingly begins with a series against the team they’re chasing …

Rangers (31-20)

Ian Kinsler, 2B
Elvis Andrus, SS
Josh Hamilton, CF
Adrian Beltre, 3B
Michael Young, DH
David Murphy, LF
Nelson Cruz, RF
Mike Napoli, C
Mitch Moreland, 1B

Pitching: RH Colby Lewis (4-3, 3.58 ERA)

Angels (26-26)

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

Pitching: RH Jerome Williams (5-2, 3.81 ERA)

Some pregame notes …

  • Rangers president Nolan Ryan, interestingly enough, will throw out the first pitch tonight and get a ring for being in the Angels Hall of Fame. “He’s earned that right,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “He was important, with what he did in the early years of this Angels organization and anything you want to talk about.”
  • Ernesto Frieri is the first pitcher in Major League history to make 12 consecutive hit-less appearances to begin his tenure with a particular team, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Since at least 1921, Frieri is the first Major League pitcher with 25-plus strikeouts and no earned runs in his first 12-plus innings with a new club, according to Stats LLC. Frieri, Jordan Walden and Scott Downs have combined to give up just one earned run over their last 33 innings (good for a 0.27 ERA).
  • Williams is 7-0 with a 1.74 ERA in seven career starts at Angel Stadium.
  • The Angels have dropped six of their last seven to the Rangers, including 10 of the last 13 games in Texas. From 2005-08, the Angels held a 48-28 edge over Texas. From 2009-12, the Rangers lead the series 35-25.
  • Pujols’ 24 RBIs in May ranked second in the AL only to Hamilton (32).

Some Angels links from the Thursday off-day …

Some AL West links …

And the drama resumes in Boston tonight.

Alden

CJ on the Rangers, Darvish & flipping the page …

C.J. Wilson has a pretty marquee matchup coming up Friday, when he returns to the ballpark he called home for the last seven years, faces the teammates he went to two straight World Series with and goes toe-to-toe the man his old club essentially chose to spend money on instead of him.

Below are some highlights of what Wilson (pictured left) told reporters about the matchup from Minneapolis. He mostly downplayed the emotions of returning to Texas and facing Yu Darvish. But he did say he expects to get booed, confirmed that the only formal offer he ever got from the Rangers was a three-year deal just a few days before Opening Day 2011, stated that he doesn’t blame the Rangers’ front office for moving in a different direction and recalled a time when he told GM Jon Daniels on a bus that he needed to make sure young guys like Derek Holland and Elvis Andrus were taken care of. 

Here goes …

On the upcoming matchup with his old ‘mates: “Obviously, when you change teams within the division, at some point you’re going to play your old team, and they’ve won the division the past two years because they’re great hitters. So that’s the objective for me, to prevent the other team from scoring runs. I have a tall task.”

On what could be an emotional Friday: “I think the biggest thing will just be that we’ll be playing in front of a huge crowd in a stadium that’s relatively hostile to our team – and I’m sure will be fairly hostile to me. I think a lot of people will boo me and stuff. It’s happened before in other stadiums, as well. Hey, some of them booed while I was there when I was a reliever, you know. The main objective is just focusing on the baseball aspect of it and preparing to get their guys out.”

On following the Rangers’ hot start: “Well, it’s on T.V. every day. ‘Oh, they can hit? I didn’t know that. They’re good hitters? Oh yeah.’ They were always good hitters. I knew that. I played with them for so many years. I know them really well.”

On facing Darvish: “I think it’s interesting, obviously, that we both kind of slotted into the rotation the way we did, that that’s the way it lines up. But it’s not the National League, so I don’t have to face him. I would be very prepared for his repertoire of fastballs and curveballs and splitters. He throws a lot of those to left-handed hitters, so I would be focusing on that if it were the National League, but it’s not. My job is to focus on facing Nelson and Michael Young and Josh Hamilton. Who I pitch against means nothing.”

On switching teams: “I’ve had a lot of time to practice different scenarios in baseball. High school – I transferred high schools. Junior college – I transferred to college. Minor leagues. Major leagues. Teammates are now opponents. Opponents are now teammates. There’s a lot of different stuff that goes along with it. But we’re just uniforms pitching against uniforms for a lot of fans. For me, it’s a much more academic pursuit than an emotional pursuit if that makes any sense. I study it, try to find a weakness, try to pitch to that weakness and then try to win the game.”

On his conversation with Daniels the night of Dec. 8: “Jon Daniels called me the night before I signed and was like, ‘Is there anything I can do to tell you not to sign with the Angels?’ I kind of laughed. I was like, ‘Well, you could make me a contract offer.’ It’s pretty simple.”

On whether he feels the Rangers wasted his time this offseason: “All I’ll say is that I had a really good relationship with a lot of guys, front office, coaches. Obviously, in any organization there’s going to be some people that maybe you don’t interact with as much. … But what it comes down to at the end of the day is you have to do what’s right for you. They moved the way they did because that’s the way Jon Daniels, Nolan Ryan and the ownership group wanted to go. There’s nothing wrong with that. You can never begrudge over changing directions. There’s nothing wrong with that. They have a young core of players that they want to lock up – Elvis Andrus, Neftali [Feliz], Derek, those guys. And I sat down on a bus before a game with Jon Daniels and told him, ‘Whatever happens, you have to sign Derek, you have to sign Elvis, you have to make those guys feel comfortable and make them feel like part of the future.’ And I told him that because it has nothing to do with me, it has to do with those guys, and I like those guys. At the end of the day, I’m not going to begrudge anybody for what they did or didn’t do. That quote ["the Rangers wasted my time"] was taken a little bit out of context in that I could’ve signed with the Angels right away, with how hard they were pursuing me. That’s kind of what it was all about, because I was like, ‘Whoa, they want me more than anybody else, so I’ll just go with them right now.’ That could’ve happened in November, but it didn’t because my agent and I were talking about it. There was some sort of conversation in regards to, ‘Well the Rangers want to meet with us and do this and that,’ and it just never materialized in that sense. It’s not a waste of my time baseball-wise.”

On his time in Texas: “I had a lot of fun. That was a great team. We had more fun playing baseball the last two years with that team than any team I’ve ever played on, even junior college. … The guys are great, the guys are fun, and that’s why people love watching them. Adrian Beltre’s head-touch thing, the deer and the antlers, and I was a big part of that. I enjoyed that. So it was fun living that, and I’m trying to bring that over here, that fun, extroverted thing. So I learned a lot. But there was never a case of me wanting to leave or anything like that. So I just want that to be clear.”

On staying in touch with his old teammates: “Some guys, yeah, but that’s a two-way street. I have five years with these guys, trying to get to know [Mark] Trumbo and [Peter] BourjosColby Lewis I’ve known since 1999, we exchange text messages, but for the most part, we’re trying to beat those guys, therefore, our wins come at their expense and their wins come at our expense. That’s why you play, to win. So that’s a very weird grey area for a lot of guys.”

On how his old team’s hot start, and his new team’s slow one: “The guys are loose and they play good baseball. There are a lot of teams that have got off to hot starts. We’ve gotten off to a pretty poor start because we were out of sync. Some games are pitching wasn’t good, some games our hitting wasn’t good, some games we did both of those and played bad defense. If you fire on all cylinders, it doesn’t really matter what your roster consists of, you’re going to win the game. If we play the way we have been, we have a lot better chance of winning than we did in the first 10 games of the season.”

And, finally, on his impressions of Darvish: “He’s on TV every time he pitches. He’s tall. Has a really tight uniform. He’s a right-handed guy with 95-mph fastball, couple different breaking balls, like A.J. Burnett a couple years ago stuff-wise, he’s 6-foot-5, tall, lanky, long arm, hip turn, from a scout standpoint, that’s what you see, though he’s got two extra pitches. But like I said, I don’t bat off him. If I did, I know exactly what I’d be looking for, but I don’t talk about that. It’s none of your business.”

Some Angels.com links …

Alden

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