The Week That Was
2013 Record That Caused The
Interminably Frustrating Glorious Rebirth of Scioscialism*: 4-9
The 12 Tenets of Socialism
- Change the lineup everyday. If you ain’t fiddlin’ with stuff, you ain’t tryin’.
- With a runner on first or second and less than two outs, bunt. Always. Bunt.
- No, but seriously. LET’S BUNT. A lot.
- Applaud “productive outs”. Give ‘em away. You’ve only got 27, but … here, have some.
- Go first-to-third on a base hit, runner speed be damned. This is not a suggestion. All singles are created equal, you grab that extra 90 feet OR ELSE.
- Always take the extra base. (Even when it’s not available, and even when you’re slow, and especially if you’re Albert Pujols and you run like your ankles have been fused.)
- Let an immobile Pujols play first base whenever he “feels good”, because having an able-bodied, athletic first baseman like Mark Trumbo would make too much sense.
- Steal bases with two outs, regardless of who’s at the dish. JUST DO IT. (NIKE™)
- Employ #runnyball whenever possible.
- Mound visits. You’ve got two per pitcher per inning. Might as well use all of them. Every time.
- Lean heavily on righty-righty/lefty-lefty matchups, even when the stats disagree.
- Stare longingly at the vast expanses of these glorious baseball diamonds that the baseball gods hath graced us with.
* This list is a work in progress, and I’d welcome your additions in the comments.
The Angels signed Joe Blanton as an affordable “innings eater” this offseason, and while three starts is hardly enough of a sample to call the signing a success or failure, it’s certainly not off to the best start. Blanton is neither eating innings (14.2 IP total), nor being affordable (8.59 ERA, 2.05 WHIP, 6 HR, 4 BB, 8 K for $6.5 MM this season), and it’s especially troubling in when he’s the No. 2 starter in a unstable and unproductive rotation that will be without ace Jered Weaver for the next four weeks or so. When you couple the current instability in the starting rotation (5.72 ERA) with the BLOLpen being overworked and largely ineffective, the offense can’t afford to have any bad days … and they’re having plenty of them (T-12th in RS in the AL).
2013 Record That Is Middling, Yet Somewhat Encouraging To Dodgers Fans For Whatever Reason: 7-6
Eesh. What a week. Zack Greinke gets mauled, maimed and broken to the point where he’s on the shelf for two months because Carlos Quentin is a plate-crowding, diving-in-on-pitches meathead with an axe to grind, who decided to obliterate Greinke’s frame by doing this after getting hit by a 3-2 fastball in a 2-1 ball game …
Greinke is a delicate flower, a fragile bird, and not the kind of guy who should give away 50 lbs to a beast that he’s about to go head-to-head with. Unfortunately, that’s the way it turned out, and he’s looking at being on the shelf for eight weeks if not more, while Carlos Quentin spends the next 8 games on the bench before he can get back into diving into pitches to hit .250 and post a 1.1 rWAR. Stay hot, Carlos.
As someone who firmly believes that “solving problems” by fighting is incredibly stupid, I would, however, like to give props to Greinke for going straight for Quentin’s junk once he was locked up. That’s a solid tactic for someone who is clearly overmatched in a fight, but it would appear that Greinke misjudged the girth of Quentin’s rig and ended up with a handful of zipper instead.
Box Score Of The Week
LAA – Josh Hamilton: 4/14 vs. HOU — 3-for-4, 3 RBI, 1 R, HR, 3B
As I mentioned in Week 2, Hamilton is mercurial. He’s bound to have his 7-for-39 stretches with very few extra-base hits and then break out with a run of freakish production. Maybe this is that? Hopefully this is that.
LAD – Josh Beckett: 4/14 vs. AZD — 8.1 IP, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K
Despite the loss, Beckett had his best outing in nearly two years on Sunday. With Greinke out, a quite operational Beckett could go a long way in bolstering the Dodgers rotation. LHP Chris Capuano is set to fill in for Greinke in the rotation, and while that might be better than (former options) Aaron Harangutan or AngryTed Lily, it’s uh … Chris Capuano.
AL & NL West Standings Update
LAA – 4-9 (T-5th)
Tied for last place with the AstrLOLs. Just how Arte and Co. drew it up, right? Right? Hello?!
LAD – 7-6 (3rd)
$220 MM doesn’t buy what it used to.
Headline Of The Week
“Opening night full of nightmares”
(Note: If T.J. Simers is the godfather of trolls, Jeff Miller is his dim-witted sidekick who stands beside him and spouts “Yeah, yeah … what he said.” A Magna Cum Laude graduate of Troll So Hard University)
In which we lure readers of the OC Register to break the paywall and pony up for drivel.
ANAHEIM – The weather was perfect, the stadium crowded and the feeling undefeated.
Everything Tuesday evening at Angel Stadium shouted “Happy Opening Night!”
And then, in the true tradition of Halo baseball, the home team threw out the ceremonial first glitch.
Pitch rhymes with glitch. Get it?
Jered Weaver’s arm is in a sling. And even though it’s not the one he pitches baseballs with, a broken elbow is a broken elbow.
Four to six weeks.
Single sentence paragraphs.
Are full of impact.
“Today,” General Manager Jerry Dipoto admitted, “is not my favorite day.”
Only then did the game start.
‘Tis true. Dipoto kicked four-year-old Herman Perkins (who was scheduled to yell Play Ball!” into a microphone in front of the 11,000 fans who bothered to show up before the first pitch at Angel Stadium) in the mouth, grabbed the fallen mic and bellowed “Today is not my favorite day.” The game began and a sparsely-attended stadium silently wept.
The game began.
In losing to Oakland, 9-5, the Angels displayed a remarkably inefficient offense and the rare ability to overcome a four-run deficit only to fall behind again by four runs.
It’s one game. Let’s sound the death knell and write a column about it.
C.J. Wilson had a nightmarish first 10 batters and Josh Hamilton a home debut that threatened to weigh on him like an anchor strapped across his shoulders. Reliever Kevin Jepsen was handed the game in the seventh and, by the time he was done, the ballpark was hemorrhaging much of its announced sellout crowd.
This was undoubtedly the beginning of the end, my friends. A 162-game season done in by a loss in the sixth game of the season. Packi it in, folks. We’re done here.
One particular patron, however, decided to stay. As the A’s were putting together a five-run rally in the seventh, he stood among the second-level seats down the right-field line, reached out toward the field with both hands and extended his middle fingers.
Notable? Eh. Drunk? Probably.
The birds of prey circling overhead on opening night? It’s true.
And when a general manager who has been permitted to build a $148 million roster – a general manager whose team is favored to win the American League West, just for starters – doesn’t list the opener among his personal favorites, you know this is not the freshest of fresh starts.
Then again, these are the Angels, who, even before playing a single home game, had managed to tumble into fourth place in the West.
After six games. SIX. In a 162-game season.
After the way they opened last April, it appears the Angels are trying to become the Boys of Bummer.
Anyone who wasn’t alarmed by Hamilton’s 1-for-20 start on the road either has the sort of memory that’s dangerously short or the sort of patience that’s dangerously long.
Or the knowledge that small sample sizes with arbitrary endpoints are piles of bullshit that should probably be avoided when writing a doomsday column.
Yes, baseball is a marathon not a sprint.
It’s really neither. It’s a baseball season. It’s weird and unpredictable. Especially after six games.
But a marathon is much shorter when the runner stays upright the whole way. The Angels covered the first 20 games last season on their knees and, by the time they hit any kind of stride, it was too late to matter.
BREAKING: Running is easier to do when you do it with your feet. Clumsy metaphors are good for nothing.
[SNIPPED: Far too many words about the first inning of a baseball game in April.]
Hamilton would leave two more runners on in the third inning and the bases loaded again in the fourth, meaning, in only three at-bats, he stranded more people than were marooned on Gilligan’s Island.
It’s 2013. Here’s a Gilligan’s Island joke.
It doesn’t take a skipper or a professor to figure out that the Angels are paying Hamilton $125 million to produce more than just bad jokes about old sitcoms.
You produced that joke, Jeff Miller. You did it.
A sacrifice fly in the sixth (along with a spectacular diving catch defensively) salvaged at least something for Hamilton.
But, in the end, the Angels were seen limping away, defeated in their home opener, their bullpen bloodied and one of their arms in a sling.
The end. The end? That’s really the end?
BONUS: T.J. Simers has taken time out from his busy schedule of trolling the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers to grace us all with a wonderfully misguided Angels troll that is just … well, just look at this. (I’ll spare you the breakdown, because we’re already far too deep into this column and the Internet is a huge place with so many great things to see/read/watch and you’re a busy person and I respect that.)
Quote Of The Week (From Either Side)
“What’s his name … Chris Carter didn’t swing the bat for two complete at-bats against me. I was just like … ‘I’m throwin’ you fastballs? Like … Swing it! You know what I mean? You’re … 6’4”, 240? What are you doing? You’re gonna walk and steal second? Come on. Swing the bat. Ya know? I get a little amped up sometimes. Today’s one of those days, after the walkoff last night. And, uh … I just felt like we need as much energy and uh … fire as we can have. It’s what the team needs.”
The filter. There isn’t one.
See you on Monday in Los Angeles: twitter.com/Dodgers/status…
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) April 12, 2013
This was retweeted over 12k times, and is a glowing example that the Dodgers new PR department is not above trolling.
DERP Of The Week
There’s some plus-DERP here, but I’m gonna go on a tangent* if you’ll allow me to.
*We spoke about mustaches briefly in Week 1, and while Derek Holland’s fauxstache was most certainly a crime against mustaches in general, I’m almost more offended by the lack of mustaches in MLB. I’m not saying that we should have more Joba Chamberlains, or Clay Zavadas or Ian Desmonds. I’m wondering why so many MLB players are so mustache-averse when they decide grow a beard or goatee. It’s mind-boggling. There is an absurd number of chinstrap beards, bro-tees and soul patches in baseball. All of them, sans mustache. It’s almost like hipsters and and MLB players met at Facial HairFest, couldn’t come to a compromise and were like … “F**k it. You guys take the mustaches and we’ll take the beards and goats and HAVE FUN WITH YOUR STUPID BICYCLES AND NICHE COFFEE SHOPS AND LAME ASS F-ING JORTS, DORKS.”
Maybe I’m weird, but a beard without a mustache attached to it is kinda like growing a beard and shaving just the right (or left) side of it off. It’s just vertical instead of horizontal.
SciosciaFace Of The Week
What caused this version of SciosciaFace?
- His team just lost to the Houston Astros to fall to 2-8.
- He just watched Josh Hamilton forget how many outs there were in a clutch situation.
- He just ran ANOTHER baserunner into an out. #runnyball
- He unleashed a hot one, reached deep into the seat of his pearly white home uni pants and is assessing the damage via the smell test.
- Nothing. Nothing at all.
Who Controls The Future
If the Halos manage to survive the freezing temperatures in Minnesota (which will undoubtedly be yet another reminder that having an open-air stadium in Antarctica in April is probably the worst idea ever) they’ll immediately head back to the west coast to host the reigning AL Champion Detroit Tigers, former OC fan favorite/media darling Torii Hunter and the guy who stole the MVP Award from Mike Trout.
Tonight, 4/16: Vargas (0-1) vs. Hernandez (0-0)
Wednesday, 4/17: Hanson (1-1) vs. Worley (0-2)
Thursday, 4/18: 40+ adult men in a charter plane who are cursing Minneapolis and dying to get back to 80º April weather in Orange County.
Friday, 4/19: Richards (2-0) vs. Sanchez (0-0)
Saturday, 4/20: FOX Game Of The Week featuring (lots of walks) Wilson (1-0) vs. Porcello (0-1)
Sunday, 4/21: Blanton (0-3) vs. Fister (2-0)
After Wednesday night’s game against the Padres, the Dodgers will leave the friendly confines of Chavez Ravine and book it to the eastern seaboard to take on Adam Jones, Chris Davis and the Orioles for a weekend set.
Tonight, 4/16: Capuano (0-0) vs. Marquis (0-1)
Wednesday, 4/17: Kershaw (2-0) vs. Ross (0-1)
Thursday, 4/18: Excessive air travel, aggressive iPad fingering, reluctant hotel lurking and oh boy we’re in Baltimore. Have you heard of The Wire? You’re gonna. Often.
Friday, 4/19: Ryu (2-1) vs. Hammel (2-1)
Saturday, 4/20: WEED … err, Beckett (0-2) vs. Chen (0-1)
Sunday, 4/21: Billingsley (1-0) vs. Arrieta (0-0)