The Week That Was
Third Week Record That’s Not Exactly How They Drew It Up: 7-11
Third Week Record That’s Also Not Exactly How They Drew It Up: 8-10
Southern California’s Burgeoning Pissing Contest: The Leader In The Clubhouse
The Angels. Despite their disappointing 4-10 start, their a 10-0 thrashing of the Tigers (including a nine-run first inning) on Saturday and a 13-inning walkoff win to complete the sweep against the reigning American League champs has to have Halo fans abuzz. April momentum has been foreign in Anaheim over the past two seasons, and while a three-game win streak is hardly enough of a sample, it appears that the Angels might have their swagger back. It’s evident on the field, in the dugout and in the clubhouse. If they could just get Josh Hamilton to break out of his early-season funk … and oh, gosh … the #AngelsBLOLpen just resurfaced and handed a winnable game to the Rangers on Monday night. Nevermind. Momentum, shmomentum.
The Dodgers have been absolutely miserable offensively, were handed a three-game sweep at the hands of the (then 2-10) Padres, and snapped a six-game skid by stealing one of three games against the Orioles over the weekend. Matt Kemp has scuffled in his return from offseason shoulder surgery and was benched last Wednesday due to poor “body language”, but he showed signs of improvement over the weekend. Despite his recent resurgence, Kemp’s early-season struggles and the team’s inability to hit with runners in scoring position, saddled by a left side of the infield (Luis Cruz and Justin Sellers) that is hitting .130 and injuries to Hanley Ramirez, Greinke, Chad Billingsley and Chris Capuano have left the big budget Dodgers in scrambling just three weeks into the 2013 season. (It’s still awfully early though.)
Also: While this is super cool if you’re Adrian Gonzalez and/or his family, or if you’re the San Diego Padres (a mostly shitty team) circa 2010 …
It’s not the coolest thing when you spent $220MM on your team and yeah … that.
Box Score Of The Week
LAA – Mark Trumbo: 4/21 vs. DET — 1-for-4, 2 BB, R, K, HR, GWRBI
Trumbo has hit each of the Angels’ last four walkoff homeruns, and his most recent came at a time when the team was grinding out an extra-inning win over the Tigers. Bombs like that have a tendency to stabilize a club’s rudder, improve clubhouse chemistry and instill confidence with one swing of the bat. His walkoff blast in August of 2011 snapped a five-game losing streak and propelled the Angels to win seven of their next eight games. Sunday’s blast could prove to be just the kick in the ass that the Halos needed.
LAD – Mat Kemp: 4/21 vs. BAL — 3-for-5, R, RBI, SB
Is this it? Could this be the breakout that the Dodgers (and 99% of fantasy baseball owners who drafted Kemp in the first round) were hoping for? Uh, no. This is just Kemp going 6-for-his-last-13, notching 3 SB & grabbing a RBI in three games, and while Kemp has been a shadow of his former self, it’s maybe … maaaaybe a reason for both parties to rejoice. I’m not sure that a 30/30 season is in the cards, but if Kemp can battle his way to a 20+ HR, 40+ SB (because his legs seem to be fine) season, I think both parties can walk away fairly happy. That sound you hear is neither of us holding our breaths.
AL & NL West Standings Update
LAA – 7-11 (3rd)
LAD – 8-10 (4th)
Headline Of The Week
From Jeff Miller of the OC Register (again) on 4/20.
In which we poop on a guy for not doing the improbable, and shove a word turd deep into the bowels of the history bowl.
For everything Mike Trout did last season – And he did everything, didn’t he? Most things twice, at least – he never had done this:
Hit a grand slam.
Amazing, no? Rookie of the Year winner. MVP candidate. One cape away from being a super hero. And no grand slams?
Coming into the game on Saturday, Trout had a total of 14 career plate appearances with the bases loaded. So yeah, no grand slams. It’s perfectly reasonable, but let’s make that the lede.
Trout’s career first capped an opening-inning rally that produced nine runs and made the rest of the afternoon here as predictable as a television rerun.
Speaking of which, this game against Detroit, as part of Fox’s regional coverage, had a larger TV audience than normal, meaning that, after only one inning, analyst Eric Karros likely was reduced to telling stories about Tommy Lasorda’s greatest buffet performances.
Over the course of eight innings, that’s a lot of tummy-troubling recollections and, let’s be honest, gastrointestinal memories typically aren’t joyous ones.
I watched about 97% of the game on Saturday and don’t recall being aurally fisted by Karros’ recollections of Lasorda’s eating habit and subsequent gastrointestinal gymnastics*. What I did hear, was play-by-play guy Justin Kutcher call Mark Trumbo, “Mike”. Twice. Then he called Luis Jimenez, “Kendrick” on a swunt down the third base line. And to top off FOX’s stellar coverage, dugout gnome Ken Rosenthal called Jered Weaver, “Jeff” during a hit. Stay with it, fellas.
*This could be a result of my ability to block out awful color commentary. (see: McCarver, Tim)
His most recent grand slam had come in 2011 in Double-A against the Frisco RoughRiders, who, unlike the Tigers, weren’t the defending American League champions.
Big, if true.
So, on a day when we arrived armed to rip the Angels for another lousy start to the season, they instead started like the next AL champs.
“They forced me to delete a pre-written 1,500-word ramble of factless negativity.”
“Put up nine runs in the first, the energy is going to be pretty high,” said pitcher Garrett Richards, who received the sort of unyielding support usually provided only by things like jockstraps.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia loves to talk about hitters “passing the baton,” likening a rally to a well-coordinated, group foot race.
Or, for those of you who speak English, “a relay”.
Here are some fun facts about the first: The Angels finished with 10 hits and batted .769. Their runners who scored traveled 3,240 feet or more than six-tenths of a mile. Porcello’s ERA for the day was 120.90
More fun facts about the first: Jim Leyland smoked two packs of Marlboro Reds in the tunnel to the clubhouse. Jhonny Peralta exhibited the range of a flagpole. Brendan Harris’ RBI bloop single would have been a homerun in most Little League parks. Rick Porcello nearly facepalmed himself to death after being pulled from the game.
More fun facts about Tigers: I’ll just leave this here.
That must be some kind of record, huh?
Porcello’s performance was at the very least historic. The last time a Tigers pitcher allowed nine earned runs in less than an inning the game featured a relief appearance by Satchel Paige.
Yes, Satchel freaking Paige.
The year was 1951, back when baseball – and everything else – happened in black and white. Detroit’s Hank Borowy faced nine St. Louis Browns – St. Louis Browns! – that day and each of them scored. The Tigers lost, 20-9, and, five appearances later, Borowy’s career was over.
Old Hank hasn’t said much since that day at Sportman’s Park, his silence aided by the fact he died nearly a decade ago.
Well, that’s unnecessarily morbid.
And on that uplifting note …
Quote Of The Week (From Either Side)
From Alden Gonzalez’s “Do the Angels have (need) team chemistry?” on 4/19 for MLB.com.
“The reality is, every team has leaders — plural,” Wilson said. “… It’s never been just one guy. This isn’t basketball. You don’t just pass it to one guy and just let him steal the show. That’s not how it works.”
I goofed on Wilson a bit last week for his lack of a filter in his quote about Chris Carter, but truth be told, for every “Whoa, I wish he would have kept that thought/quote in-house” quote we get from him, we get an equal number of poignant, insightful quotes from the Angels lefty. He’s a very cerebral player and has no problem stating his/his team’s state of affairs with as much candor as anyone in the league.
He’s spot-on here. To my knowledge and experience (from playing college ball), you need a handful of leaders in the clubhouse. You need a vocal leader. You need quiet “leads by example” guy. You need a guy who can provide a little levity and keep people loose. And you need people to buy into that. I think the Angels have all of that, or at least they’re getting close to having all of that. While I appreciated what Hunter brought to the team as much as anyone, I’m not sure that losing him is something that this year’s Angels squad can’t move past.
From Steve Dilbeck’s “Padres’ Tom Garfinkel apologizes for remarks about Zack Greinke” on 4/18 for the Los Angeles Times.
From Tom Garfinkel, president and chief executive of the San Diego Padres, on Zack Greinke following the Dodgers vs. Padres brawl last week.
“He threw at him on purpose, OK?” Garfinkel told a gathering estimated to be between 40 and 50. “That’s what happened. They can say 3-and-2 count, 2-1 game, no one does that. Zack Greinke is a different kind of guy. Anyone seen ‘Rain Man’? He’s a very smart guy.”
I understand the desire to stick up for “your guy” after a dust up, but the crack at autism is totally uncalled for. It’s no secret that Greinke has battled mental health issues (anxiety, not autism) during his MLB career, and he’s been far more open about it than anyone would ever expect. For Garfinkel to knock him, even in front of a “private” gathering is careless and in incredibly poor taste. If there’s a mental health issue to be addressed here, maybe it’s the steakheadedness of his overly aggro left fielder.
DERP Of The Week
Harrison FLOLrd (AKA Han Solo, Indiana Jones, Rick Deckard, etc.)
LOS ANGELES, CA – APRIL 15: Actor Harrison Ford, who plays Branch Rickey in the Jackie Robinson biography movie 42, throws out the first pitch before the game between the San Diego Padres and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
ALL OF OUR HEROES ARE DEAD.
SciosciaFace Of The Week
What caused this version of SciosciaFace?
a) The Angels were 4-10 and had Tommy Hanson on the hill against the defending AL Champion Tigers.
b) After a hearty, spicy and savory dinner, sometimes you’ll gamble and try to push one out in stealth-mode the next day. You’ll deftly attempt to exorcise a turdghost from your colon’s attic. But sometimes you gamble and lose. This is the moment right after you go all-in on black and come up brown.
c) The Angels just took the field to Train’s “Calling All Angels” for the umpteenth time.
e) Nothing. Nothing at all.
Who Controls The Future
Tuesday, 4/23: Vargas (0-2) vs. Ogando (2-1)
Wednesday, 4/24: TBA vs. Darvish (3-1)
Then, they’ll shoot up the west coast for a seven-game roadie that starts with a four-game set in the “friendlier” confines of Safeco Field against the Seattle Mariners.
Thursday, 4/25: Richards (1-0) vs. Maurer (1-2)
Friday, 4/26: Wilson (1-0) vs. The Harangutan (0-1)
Saturday, 4/27: Blanton (0-3) vs. Hernandez (1-2)
Sunday, 4/28: Vargas (0-2) vs. Iwakuma (2-0)
The Dodgers will try to bounce back from a brutal week as they head to Queens to take on the New York Mets.
Tuesday, 4/23: Kershaw (2-2) vs. Niese (2-1)
Wednesday, 4/24: Lilly (0-0) vs. Matt Motherf**king Harvey (4-0)
Thursday, 4/25: Ryu (2-1) vs. Hefner (0-2)
(But seriously, Matt Harvey. What a monster.)
Thursday night, Los Doyers will reluctantly strap on a brutal cross country flight and head home to kick off a six-game homestand with a three-game weekend set against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Friday, 4/26: Beckett (0-2) vs. Burgos (0-0)
Saturday, 4/27: Fife (0-0) vs. Peralta (0-1)
Sunday, 4/28: Kershaw (2-2) vs. Lohse (0-1)
Until next week … Keep it up Internet, you’re doing a great job.