The Angels and Dodgers are fighting hard to win the hearts and minds of Southern California baseball fans. Spending cash and engaging in a non-stop war of one-upmanship. Who will prevail in the end?
The Week That Was
Meaningless Spring Training Record: 10-20
Smallest Of Small Sample Sizes Regular Season Record: 1-0
Meaningless Spring Training Record: 13-20
Smallest Of Small Sample Sizes Regular Season Record: 1-0
Box Score Of The Week
LAA – Jason Vargas: 3/29 vs. LAD — 1.2 IP, 8 ER, 2 BB, 3 K
Vargas closed out a mildly disheartening, yet mostly unimportant Spring Training with the Halos (7.54 ERA, 30 H, .316 BAA, 7 BB, 18 K) by getting absolutely lit up in the second game of the Freeway Series. The eight earned runs he surrendered were punctuated by an A.J. Ellis grand slam and littered with a ton of pitches that Dodgers hitters squared up and crushed. He wasn’t fooling anyone … at all, and if we were to worry about poor Spring Training stats and poor final outings of Spring Training we’d be shoveling Tums into our faces and washing it down with Maalox before every Vargas start. We’re not doing that. Yet.
LAD – Clayton Kershaw: 4/1 vs. SFG — 9 IP, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K
Kershaw was a monster in his Opening Day start, throwing a 94-pitch, complete game shutout against the defending World Series champs and hitting a solo jack (the first of his career) to break a scoreless tie in the bottom of the eighth inning. He couldn’t have been much better, and probably should have marched straight from the mound to Stan Kasten’s office and brought up that $200 million contract extension he’s on his way to getting.
AL & NL West Standings Update
LAA – 1-0 (T-1st)
LAD – 1-0 (T-1st)
Headline Of The Week
In the future, we’ll reserve this spot for a brief dissection of some questionable local journalism.
T.J. Simers seems to have put his trolling on hold following a health scare, but it’ll be interesting to see whether he’ll recoup and get back to poking, prodding and stirring the shit as usual.
And unfortunately, Bill Plaschke is still deeply ensconced in basketball and has yet to pollute the LA Times’ Sports section with 500-to-800 word stories of overly dramatic one-sentence “paragraphs” about baseball and baseball-related nonsense, but it’s a long season.
We’ll get there.
And when we do?
Quote Of The Week (From Either Side)
From Marcia C. Smith of the OC Register’s, “Angels’ Trout Accepts Repeate Mandate” on 3/28
On the expectations following his stellar rookie season.
“It’s crazy,” said Trout, trying to keep things as basic as his buzzcut. “I’m just going to play baseball, try to keep having fun.”
For all of the extraordinary things Trout does on the field to make us all forget that he’s only 21-years-old, he’s very 21-years-old in his interviews. He leans on age-old baseball cliches and pulls heavily from Dealing With The Media: A Handbook For Baseball Players (which is not a real book as far as I know, but wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if it were). His answers to most questions feature “playing baseball”, “playing ‘the game’”, “playing hard”, “trying to score runs” and “having fun” or some variance on that theme. Sure, all of these things are very important, but they’re also completely obvious, and not all that far removed from “I need to remember to take my bat to the plate with me”. And because it’s Mike Trout, we’ll let it slide.
Buster Olney to Clayton Kershaw after his stellar performance and first career HR on Monday:
“Did you know it was gone when you hit it?”
“Uh … I have no idea what that feels like.”
Seemingly honest and mostly endearing. Also: Probably a lie*.
*He hit a homerun in Spring Training four years ago.
DERP Of The Week
If you were to picture that face and that running form in a XXL Blizzard Entertainment tee and cargo shorts, replace the cheering crowd in the background with a GameStop storefront and switched those gloves from the “batting” variety to the “fingerless mesh” type, they’d make much more sense than they do in this picture … attached to an elite athlete who basically beat the Giants singlehandedly.
On the 20-to-80 scouting scale, I’d place a 40 on this. One game is an awfully small sample size for DERP too. We’ll strike gold in due time.
SciosciaFace Of The Week
What caused this version of SciosciaFace?
- His starting pitcher is getting squeezed by Angel Hernandez.
- He just watched another Josh Hamilton one-pitch AB.
- His bench coach Rob Piccolo just told him that the team was unable to secure Fazoli’s for the postgame spread.
- His attempt to “blow off a little steam” in his baseball pants produced a warmer and more viscous return that he’d hoped, and he’s assessing the result.
- Nothing. Nothing at all.
Who Controls The Future
The Angels head to Arlington this weekend to take on Ron Washington’s Texas Rangers for a three-game set.
On Friday night, Vargas will try to bounce back from his aforementioned start against the Dodgers last week, while the Rangers will counter with Derek Holland and his mustache.
A brief note about mustaches, and Holland’s mustache in particular: As a 38-year-old with a follicularly challenged facial region, I envy those who are able to grow a legitimate ‘stache. I’d love to be able to grow a Don Mattingly pushbroom, a Corky Miller handlebar, or the old John Axford musketeer duster. Sadly, I cannot. I know this because I’ve tried (and failed). I know this because I’ve tried and friends and loved ones have told me it’s a bad look. And I know this because I’ve tried and friends and loved ones have told me it’s a bad look and I live in a house with several mirrors and waking up and seeing myself look like a complete idiot/pederast every morning as I brushed my teeth drove the point home. Hard. It just doesn’t work. At all. It looks like I took super glue and a pile of leaving from a barber shop floor and hastily fashioned a disguise.
Holland has been proudly sporting his lip wisps for couple of years now. But maybe he lives in a house with no mirrors, or has no friends or loved ones (willing to tell him to clean it up), or perhaps he actually fashioned a disguise out of super glue and detritus from a barber shop.
Saturday will feature the Halos debut of Tommy Hanson and his declining fastball velocity against Matt Harrison, who struggled in his first outing of 2013 against
every blogger’s favorite team the Houston Astros on Opening Night and gave up 5 ER, 6 H, walked three and punched out nine in 5.2 IP.
And Sunday will showcase a pair of frontrunners for the AL Cy Young Award, as Jered Weaver takes on Yu Darvish on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. Darvish fared well in six starts against the Halos last season, posting a 2.67 ERA, 1.226 WHIP and .204 BAA in 38.1 IP. Weaver labored early on in his Opening Day start, throwing 63 pitches through the first three innings, but settled down to finish with 2 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K on 95 pitches through 6 IP.
Los Doyers will play host to the Pittsburgh Pirates in their newly revamped home at Chavez Ravine. Unfortunately, Pittsburgh will be without MLB’s most celebrated exemplar of DERP, as he opens the season on the DL with shoulder inflammation, but those of us who are fascinated by feats of the face will still have an early season Clint Hurdle Facial Hue Status to rely on for entertainment. Oh, and also baseball.
Friday marks Zack Greinke’s debut in the Dodgers gorgeous home whites. The Pirates will counter with JLOLnathan Sanchez. He, of the 8.07 ERA and three different mailing addresses in the last calendar year. Prediction: There’s no way in hell that this series opener doesn’t end badly for the Buccos.
Kershaw (1-0) will try to match his stellar Opening Day performance on Saturday as he faces lefty Jeff Locke, and the two clubs will close out the homestand on Sunday with Hyun-Jin Ryu vs. A.J. Burnett (0-1).