Results tagged ‘ Peter Bourjos ’
Josh Hamilton made eight outs in five plate appearances on Tuesday, dropping his batting average to .213, and was showered by boos from his home fans. They were loud, too. Louder than when he was a visiting Rangers player, and louder than at any point during this nightmarish season – and he’s been booed a lot this season.
Asked about it Wednesday, prior to a game in which he was dropped from second to seventh in the batting order, Hamilton said: “I can’t blame them.”
But there’s a segment of the Angels fan base that doesn’t believe Hamilton cares enough – and that’s where he disagrees.
“I’m not going to break my bat or do stuff like that on the field because you have kids watching,” Hamilton said. “If they don’t think I care, then they’re mistaken, because it hurts me more than it hurts anybody not to be performing. I’ve done it for years against the Angels, and now I’m a part of the Angels and I want to do it for the Angels. I’m just going to keep doing the best I can.”
Hamilton’s best is nowhere near good enough yet. Mike Scioscia has given him four days off to clear his head. He’s moved him from fourth to fifth, from fifth to second and now, from second to seventh – a spot he hasn’t hit in since 2009. And Hamilton himself has tried reverting to the past, trying to summon the simpler approach from 2008-09 and the pregame routine from 2010.
Nothing has worked. Through his first 69 games with the Angels, Hamilton holds a .213/.269/.388 slash line, with 10 homers, 24 RBIs and a .657 OPS that ranks 113th among Major League qualifiers.
He’s been positive all year, picking out small victories within each plate appearance that he hopes can help him take steps forward.
But the longer the season goes on, the harder that becomes.
“When you’re struggling and you stay in that spot when you feel like you’ve done about anything you can to get out of it, the confidence starts to waver some,” Hamilton said. “Guys have been great, encouraging, things like that – coaching staff, everybody.”
Scioscia’s latest lineup change put Peter Bourjos back in the leadoff spot and dropped Mike Trout to second, where the Angels’ skipper prefers he hit. It came on a day an opposing lefty – Joe Saunders – was on the mound, but it sounds like Hamilton will also bat seventh against righties.
“I think it’s going to be good for him to not worry about hitting in the middle of the lineup – just go down there and play baseball for a little bit and find his stroke,” Scioscia said.
“There’s no doubt that there are confidence issues with every player, there’s always frustration that every player feels, and it’s very clear right now, that as this season has progressed, and it’s taken more and more time for Josh to get comfortable in the batter’s box, that we need to do something to alleviate a little pressure.”
Hamilton provided some positive signs on Monday, going 2-for-5 with a long two-run homer. But there have been a lot of those days, almost all of which have been followed up by another bad performance. The latest was three groundball double plays and two strikeouts.
One step forward, two steps back.
“That’s the baffling part,” Hamilton said. “In the past, it’s either clicked at some point or you get a couple bloop hits and you kind of start moving in that direction. It goes back to the biggest thing, which is just being confident. And it’s tough to do when you’re not being successful.”
Josh Hamilton, sporting a .657 OPS and coming off making eight outs in five plate appearances, was dropped from second to seventh in Mike Scioscia‘s batting order for Wednesday’s game against the Mariners. That puts Peter Bourjos back at the leadoff spot and moves Mike Trout back down to second.
The Mariners are trotting out a lefty in former Angels pitcher Joe Saunders, and Hamilton has a .149/.175/.189 slash line against lefties this year (.237/.304/.469 against righties). Is it a one-time thing, because of the lefty-lefty matchup? Or is this Hamilton’s new, semi-permanent home? We’ll find out later, when Scioscia meets with the media.
In hopes of jump-starting Hamilton, Scioscia batted him second, between Mike Trout and Albert Pujols, prior to the split doubleheader at Fenway Park on June 8. In nine games there, he batted .190/.227/.429. He went 2-for-5 with a homer on Monday, then went 0-for-5 and grounded into three double plays on Tuesday. In 77 career plate appearances batting seventh — no starts there since ’09 — he’s batting .333/.390/.478.
Through his first 69 games with the Angels, Hamilton is batting .213/.269/.388, with 10 homers and 24 RBIs. His OPS ranks 131st among qualifiers.
Here’s the full Angels lineup …
Albert Pujols, DH
Mark Trumbo, 1B
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Alberto Callaspo, 3B
Chris Iannetta, C
Erick Aybar, SS
SP: C.J. Wilson (5-5, 3.90 ERA)
Yes, the Angels — 10 games below .500, 12 games back in the AL West, 9 1/2 games back of the final Wild Card spot — haven’t had much luck with injuries this season, particularly with their highest-paid player (Albert Pujols) and the two guys they were counting on to turn their bullpen around (Ryan Madson and Sean Burnett). You know who has been hit with more injuries? The Yankees team they’ll now face. I mean, just look at their lineup. And yet, they kept on rolling, while the Angels are in need of an amazing run to get back in the race.
“A lot of the things we see are very tangible, a lot of the things we see are reversible,” Mike Scioscia continues to say. “That has to be our goal, to get these guys out there playing consistent baseball and bringing the talent on the field, because we have the potential to have a terrific team.”
SP: LH Andy Pettitte (5-3, 3.82 ERA)
Pitching: LH C.J. Wilson (4-5, 4.05 ERA)
- Starting rotation-wise, we know Tommy Hanson and Jered Weaver are starting the other two games in this series, respectively. And now, we know Jason Vargas will start Monday, with the order resetting again on Wednesday and Thursday. Who’s starting on Tuesday? That’s a decision that will perceivably come down to Joe Blanton and Jerome Williams, and Scioscia didn’t reveal anything on Friday. “Let’s get through this weekend,” he said. You have to figure, that if Blanton were starting Tuesday, he’d simply be listed as the starter by the team. The fact he isn’t makes me believe it’s going to be Williams, as long as he isn’t needed out of the bullpen in some crazy long game (like the 18-inning game the Yankees played against the A’s last night). Just an educated guess, though.
- Robert Coello, placed on the disabled list with what the team called right shoulder inflammation, will be shut down from throwing for a minimum of four weeks. Coello’s elbow is also hurting.
- The Angels will honor Mariano Rivera on Saturday.
- The Angels have signed 34 of their 39 Draft picks. Among those remaining are their first selection, lefty Hunter Green, who was taken in the second round.
- Sicoscia, on his biggest takeaway from his time with Wells: “He worked very hard at the game. You could tell that his non-performance is something he did not take in stride. I mean he felt it. And whether he had a rough day the night before, he came out with a positive frame of mind and said, ‘I’m going to help us win today.’ Maybe fans don’t see that side of him, but he didn’t take it easy when he was struggling, and he knows that he’s a better player than what he showed when he played with us.”
- Wells, by the way, has cooled off considerably since his hot start. Over his last 40 games, he has a .182/.209/.284 slash line. He comes in batting .229/.274/.386, with 10 homers and 26 RBIs.
Intermittent showers continue here in Baltimore. There’s been a flew let-ups, including at the time of this publishing (5:41 p.m. ET), but the tarp was still on the field and dark clouds are hovering over the stadium. If they bag it, look for a split doubleheader tomorrow. Thing is, weather doesn’t look great then, either. …
SP: RH Jered Weaver (1-1, 3.13 ERA)
SP: RH Freddy Garcia (2-3, 4.70 ERA)
- Sean Burnett is not with the team today. He’s in Birmingham, Ala., seeing Dr. James Andrews because his left elbow has yet to heal. When Burnett originally went on the disabled list on May 28, he was expected back in two weeks. Tomorrow, it’ll be two weeks. And he’s made no real progress. Angels manager Mike Scioscia wouldn’t speculate on the chances that Burnett will go under the knife again. He’ll wait for the results.
- Trout estimates to having about 200 friends and family members today in Baltimore, which is about a two-hour drive from his roots in Millville, N.J. This, of course, is the scene of his memorable catch on a would-be J.J. Hardy homer. A picture of it hangs in the basement of his parents’ house.
- Oh, in case you missed it, Trout, as expected, is back in left field now that Bourjos is back. Scioscia was asked specifically what makes Bourjos a better defensive center fielder than Trout (he is, ever-so-slightly). His response: “I think it’s the whole picture. I think you have to look at the whole outfield. Peter gives you a unique dimension in center field and allows you to be stronger on the wings, where they can do more things. We can do things as far as what our spray charts show. Mike does give you that same element in center, but in the big picture, I think it works out better with Peter in center right now and Mike and Josh at his wings. I don’t know if it’s just looking at what Peter does in center, but just the whole defensive outfield.”
- The Angels designated little-used infielder Chris Nelson for assignment in order to make room on the roster for Bourjos.
What do you see happening with J.B. Shuck when Peter Bourjos comes back? He has been really good in my book. — @GareGare84
Shuck has been fantastic, more than the Angels could’ve imagined, but he’ll go back to the bench once Bourjos is activated (perhaps as soon as late this week). He’ll continue to be valuable, though. You saw late tonight the importance of having an outfielder off the bench, when Howie Kendrick played left field in the eighth and Mark Trumbo went there in the ninth, eliminating the designated hitter. Not only that, Shuck (.278/.323/.348) is a great guy to have off the bench. He can run, plays solid defense, and he has a short, lefty swing that’s ideal for pinch-hitting. The Angels were lucky to pick him up off the scrap heap.
Just before Thursday’s off-day, and an ensuing six-game road trip through Boston and Baltimore, the Angels — fresh off being swept in a four-game series by the Astros — will host a two-game series against the Cubs, who are making their second ever visit to Angel Stadium and first since 2004.
About a month ago, I identified this as a crucial 29-game stretch, with only seven games (vs. the Royals) coming against teams that were sub-.500 at the time. The Angels are currently 14-13 in that stretch, which ends once they arrive in Boston. Not bad, but certainly not what they needed after the slow start.
“What we need to do is get into our game,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “I think that our guys, as we were talking a week ago, we had a lot of things moving forward that were important to us, and some of them just evaporated for us. We need to get back in our game, and I think that everybody in the clubhouse is on board with that. We know what we have to do on the field, and we know what we have to execute. We just have to do a little better job of it.”
SP: Jered Weaver (1-1, 3.71 ERA)
- Hamilton — who drew a ninth-inning, pinch-hit walk despite falling behind 0-2 last night — came out for early batting practice on Tuesday. He talked yesterday about getting back to his pregame routine from 2010.
- Asked if starting Pujols at first base today was because he felt good or simply becuase he needs to stay acclimated with the position, Scioscia said: “I think it’s both. We’re using the DH with Albert both for preventative measures, and also if it’s needed where you want to keep him swinging in the batter’s box the way he needs to. There’s also that aspect of when he feels good, you definitely want him playing first base.”
- Garrett Richards‘ left ankle is feeling better, and he’s available tonight.
- Angels pitchers haven’t allowed a walk in consecutive games, marking the first time that’s happened since July 2011. Joe Blanton hasn’t issued a walk in his last three starts.
- Peter Bourjos will DH for Class A Inland Empire tonight and is expected to play center field for them on Wednesday. Scioscia wants him to play in Triple-A before returning to the big leagues.
- Right-hander Cam Bedrosian (1.80 ERA, .193 BAA), outfielder Zach Borenstein (1.085 OPS, .356 BA) and outfielder Randal Grichuck (.980 FLG %, 46 PO) were named Minor League Pitcher, Player and Defender of the Month, respectively.
- Weaver is 8-0 with a 1.94 ERA in his last 12 interleague starts.
SP: LH Erik Bedard (0-2, 5.32 ERA)
SP: RH Joe Blanton (1-8, 5.94 ERA)
- Josh Hamilton, in case you hadn’t noticed, has the day off today. He isn’t hurt. Angels manager Mike Scioscia wanted to give him a “a recharge day” (and the fact their facing a lefty made this a good opportunity). Hamilton probably won’t be available to pinch-hit, either. It’s only expected to be for one day. “We need him to get into his game, and I think we’ve been trying to grind it and get him there and it’s just not quite getting far enough where we’d want him to. And so we’re going to take a day, take that half-step back and get him to take two steps forward.”
- Garrett Richards, who left Sunday’s game with a mild left ankle sprain, “feels a little better today,” Scioscia said. They’re not sure if he’ll be available tonight, though.
- Scott Downs will get in a game either today or tomorrow. He hasn’t pitched in a game in eight days, mainly because he’s the only lefty currently in the ‘pen and Scioscia wants to make sure he gets the most out of him.
- Ryan Madson played catch today, but he still has a ways to go before hopping back up on a bullpen. Yep.
- Peter Bourjos will start in center field for Class A Inland Empire on Monday night, as expected.
- A bunch of content on the site already from earlier today, on Trout topping AL outfielders in All-Star votes, Jason Vargas winning AL Pitcher of the Month, a look at the upcoming Draft, and the reason why the Angels haven’t played to their potential.
The reason is very, very simple: They’re still waiting for Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton to get going.
The starting pitching (particularly Jason Vargas) has been much better. The bullpen (minus Ryan Madson) has some depth again. Mike Trout (.327/.409/.664 in May) has rounded into form. And several guys (Jered Weaver, Tommy Hanson, Kevin Jepsen, Sean Burnett, Peter Bourjos) have either made their way back or are seemingly on the brink.
But Pujols and Hamilton still haven’t hit full stride just yet. There have been times — Pujols’ four-hit, two-homer, 19-inning game on April 29; Hamilton’s four-hit game on April 22 — when you thought, “OK, here it comes.” And then they just go back to being, well, quite average.
When will it finally happen? And when it does — if it does — will it be too late?
Right now, neither Pujols (105th) nor Hamilton (141st) even rank in the top 100 in OPS in the Majors through the team’s first 57 games.
Pujols, with a .248/.320/.416 slash line, isn’t healthy. The plantar faciitis in his left foot and his surgically repaired right knee have prompted him to start 28 of his 55 starts at designated hitter and forced him out of the lineup on Friday. It’s a testament to his toughness that he’s even out there, frankly. But it’s hard to drive the ball with much force when your lower body ails like that, and we’re seeing it.
Hamilton, .216/.277/.380,can’t use injuries as an excuse. He just isn’t right; hasn’t been since the start of the season. He’s already struck out 61 times –on pace for a career-high 173 — and has yet to establish any sort of consistent rhythm.
You can lament the starting pitching acquisitions the Angels didn’t make, or pray Madson’s elbow fully heals, or even curse Mike Scioscia. But this is a team built around Pujols and Hamilton, the two big-ticket signings that brought with them championship aspirations.
Without them at their best, the Angels will go nowhere.
“Those two guys are critical for us,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “We’re seeing Albert hopefully start to get more comfortable. As his base, when he hits, feels stronger, you’re going to see him get where he needs to be. And Josh is really important to what we need to do. You have to keep playing ball, though. We just won eight in a row without those guys doing what they can do, so it’s not that your whole season is contingent on what those two guys can do. But they are really important to us, no doubt about that.”
Below is a statistical comparison between the Angels in April and May. As you’ll notice, it’s just the offense that basically stayed the same …
April: 5.26 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, 1.62 SO/BB, 5.73 IP/GS
May: 3.85 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 2.63 SO/BB, 6.13 IP/GS
April: 4.26 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 1.88 SO/BB, 3-8 SV
May: 3.97 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 2.30 SO/BB, 11-12 SV
April: .262/.321/.402/.723, 4.27 R/G, .92 HR/G, 10-16 SB
May: .259/.326/.443/.769, 4.69 R/G, 1.28 HR/G, 13-23 SB
April: .81 E/G
May: .48 E/G
Times using the DL
Here’s a quick look at who’s hot, and who’s not, in the Minor Leagues …
1B/OF Brad Hawpe (AAA): .303/.336/.422, 6 HR, 26 RBI
1B C.J. Cron (AA): .314/.356/.479, 5 HR, 30 RBI
SP Mark Sappington (A+): 5-2, 3.97 ERA, 12 GS
SP A.J. Schugel (AAA): 2-4, 7.46 ERA, 12 GS
3B Kaleb Cowart (AA): .218/.283/.330, 3 HR, 14 RBI
RP Nick Maronde (AA): 5.12 ERA, 1.71 WHIP, 14 G
We don’t have the depth for a big trade come July. What, if anything, is going to save this team? – @angelfan91
Performing to expectations and staying healthy. That simple.
For as star-laden and expensive a team as this is, it’s not a club that can really absorb an inordinate amount of injuries. Their farm system is barren, and their bench looked pretty weak once Vernon Wells was dealt to the Yankees. Look no further than the three starts Tommy Hanson (restricted list) has missed. Each of those nights — especially the latest one — the opposing team has batted around in an inning, basically because the Angels are left with nowhere to turn for additional starting pitching help. There are some teams (Yankees?) that can withstand using the disabled list seven times in the first six weeks. The Angels, apparently, aren’t one of them.
More than that, though, guys are simply under performing, as this Baseball Prospectus article evidenced by deploying PECOTA projections. Joe Blanton (0-7, 6.46 ERA, 1.87 WHIP) has taken the brunt of the criticism. But just as crippling, if not more so, is the fact that the three big signings of the last two offseasons — Albert Pujols (.248/.328/.418), Josh Hamilton (.214/.264/.358) and C.J. Wilson (3.88 ERA, 1.54 WHIP) — are simply not living up to their track records. Add that to all those who have been on the DL since April 1 (Jered Weaver, Ryan Madson, Sean Burnett, Kevin Jepsen, Peter Bourjos, Erick Aybar) and you have a problem.
The good news: Three-quarters of the season remains.
I’ll be away from the team for a little while moving forward, while trying to juggle a bunch of other things I have going on. William Boor is your man for the rest of this homestand.
SP: RH Wade Davis (2-3, 5.86 ERA)
SP: RH Barry Enright (0-1, 11.37)
- There was thought Ryan Madson could join the Angels before the end of the week, after making his second and final rehab appearance for Class A Inland Empire on Wednesday or Thursday. That is no longer the case. The Angels prefer to slow down his rehab and have him pitch at Triple-A Salt Lake before being activated. This isn’t really a setback, though. Madson continues to feel good, having just the normal soreness pitchers go through, but he’d been going very aggressive in hopes of coming back as soon as possible — throwing off a mound with intensity every other day — and the Angels feel it’d be best if they slowed him down and ease him into the Majors. “I respect that,” Madson said. I’d expect Madson to start pitching in Triple-A by the end of the week. How long will he be there? Mike Scioscia said: “If everything goes the way we anticipate, not very long at all.” Madson threw out “a couple weeks.” Scioscia, when told that, said: “I don’t know if it’s going to take a couple weeks. It might or it might not. We want to make sure that he’s ready to go and his rehab sticks when it goes.”
- Earlier today, Angels owner Arte Moreno publicly backed Scioscia, saying there’s “zero” chance he’ll be dismissed. Sciosica’s reaction: “Arte has always been very supportive. Arte knows how hard I take the non-performance of this team and how we need to get there. It hits me as hard as it hits Arte and it hits Jerry [Dipoto], and I know Arte realizes that. We’re going to take this challenge and hopefully start moving forward and getting the wins that we need to get ourselves in the position we want to. That’s the bottom line is winning, and we’re going to work towards that.”
- Some other injury notes: Jered Weaver (broken left elbow) came out of his Tuesday bullpen session feeling fine and is still scheduled to throw an 80-pitch, up-and-down ‘pen (meaning 20 pitches, sit down, 20 pitches, sit down, and so on) on Friday. The next step after that would be a rehab assignment. … Sean Burnett (left forearm tightness) is expected to throw his first bullpen session on Thursday. … Peter Bourjos (left hamstring strain) has been riding the elliptical, playing catch, doing some aquatic exercises and getting in some lunges, but there’s still no date for when he can run on the field. … Kevin Jepsen (strained lat) was scheduled to throw his third bullpen session today. … Still no timetable for when Tommy Hanson (restricted list) will be back, but he has been throwing.