The Week That Was
I’m instituting a bit of a change in protocol here, as I feel that it might be wiser to look at what the two teams have done since we last spoke, rather than posting the overall records that I’ve been redundantly typing into the “AL & NL West Standing Update” section below. Like I said when we started this epic journey, we’ll hone this thing as we go.
We have a $142.1MM payroll and whoa, hey … this isn’t what we paid for: 2-5
Southern California’s Burgeoning Pissing Contest: The Leader In The Clubhouse
The Dodgers, although calling either of these teams a leader of anything is a seems to be far too much praise given their middling-to-poor production at this point. (See: Tired cliches—”summer school valedictorian”, et al.) I’d ramble a bit here, but since TL;DR exists and the Internet is a vast expanse of tubes and things, yeah.
And then, as I was about to file this wordmess, the baseball gods decided to shove a bunch of weirdness in SoCal’s direction..
Los Doyers got their collective ass handed to them in Monday night’s series opener against the Rockies. Ted Lilly and Josh Wall combined to surrender 12 runs in through the first five innings and killed whatever momentum the boys in blue might have had coming into the series. The debacle ended with Dodgers INF/OF/GRIT Skip Schumaker on the mound (He touched 90 mph!) and the Dodgers limped away with a 12-2 loss.
The Angels played an interminable 19 inning, 6 ½ hour clustertastrophe that that was just sooooo Angels. They squandered a quality start from Tommy Hanson (6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, BB, 6 K), erased a solid offensive performance that had them up 7-2 heading into the 8th, blew another “quality start” (Jerome Williams: 6 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K), lost Peter Bourjos and Luis Jimenez to leg injuries, couldn’t close the door in the 15th after Brett Anderson tried to give them the game by walking in a run, and gave up a walkoff bomb to Brandon Moss at two in the goddamned morning.
If that felt like a run-on sentence just imagine what the game was like.
Box Score Of The Week
That bomb. Holy crap, that bomb. It went 475 feet, per ESPN’s Home Run Tracker.
Via Mark Gubicza, Angels color commentator: “This baseball is hit as far as I’ve ever seen a baseball hit.”
(Note: Josh Hamilton went 0-for-8 with three strikeouts on Monday night, dropping his OPS by 46 points in the process. I’m having a tough time remembering whether I’ve seen such a phenomenally talented player look so lost at the plate.)
LAD – Clayton Kershaw: 4/28 vs. MIL — 8 IP, 4 H, 0 BB, 12 K
After back-to-back subpar starts, Kershaw bounced back with a ridiculous outing against the Brewers on Sunday at Chavez Ravine. He faced three batters over the minimum, retired 18 straight, and threw 78 of his 117 pitches for strikes on the way to pick up his third win of the season. He hasn’t allowed more than three runs in any of his last 18 starts (a streak which dates back to July of last year), and in a season that has seen the Dodgers use nine different starting pitchers in 24 games, his consistency has been a stabilizing force for a team that hasn’t won more than two games in a row since sweeping the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first week of the season.
(Note: I was very tempted to make Josh Wall’s [2 IP, 8 H, 7 R, 2 BB, K] line on Monday night the Box Score Of The Week for the Dodgers, but I kinda thought it might be better to keep it positive for the Leader In The Clubhouse.)
(Also: Josh WLOL)
AL & NL West Standings Update
LAA – 9-16 (4th)
LAD – 12-13 (4th)
Headline Of The Week
From Ron Sylvester of the OC Register on 4/25.
When you go out to the ball game in Southern California, chances are you’ll be able to afford more than peanuts and Cracker Jacks.
The Angels and the Dodgers offer two of the best deals in the major leagues, featuring big-payroll players without gouging the fans’ wallets, according to an analysis by the website BuzzFeed. [Emphasis, mine.]
A reputable source, best known for their viral content and slideshows. (Bleacher Report for people who don’t care about sports, basically.)
The site compared the level of talent with the cost to fans and found that the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Dodgers and the Angels provide the best value. The Dodgers were lauded for affordable ticket prices, the Angels for cheap beer.
The Angels might have cheap beer, but they also sport the second-highest ticket price hike (a 23.4 increase/$27.54 average seat) in Major League Baseball this season, per The St. Louis Business Journal. So, while you can get lubed on watered-down, crappy domestic brews, you’re getting gouged on what you’re actually paying for … subpar production on the field.
“I think it’s good, if it can get the fans here and keep them coming back,” said Brian King, 27, of Rancho Santa Margarita, sipping a beer before Wednesday night’s Angels home game against the Texas Rangers.
No word on whether King was later seen carrying eight souvenir beer cups on his way to getting a DUI on State College Drive.
When Arte Moreno bought the Angels a decade ago, he promised to drop beer prices. At $4.50 for 14 ounces, it’s still among the best buy in the majors, says the Brookstone Beer Price Report. Beer averages 32 cents per ounce at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Only the Arizona Diamondbacks are cheaper at 29 cents an ounce.
You get what you pay for.
center>[snip]Some local fans see ways to improve, however.
“I think they could have a lot more selection of food,” said Miley Nathanson, 34, of Orange.
This. A thousand times. This.
(Next up: A minor rant)
One of the greatest perks of being a touring musician over the past decades-plus has been getting an opportunity to see baseball games in stadiums other than the Big A. While the Angel Stadium will always feel like a second home for me (and be the stage for a number of memories [good and bad] over the years), I’ve had my mind blown by the concessions (and sightlines, for what it’s worth) in other parks around the country.
Aside from the food offered in the Diamond Club (which I’m guessing very few, if any of us can afford), the food at the Big A is almost entirely awful. When lists like this come out every year, the foodstuffs offered at Angel Stadium are nowhere to be found. One of their big additions a year or two ago was a KC BBQ dog (served by someone with maybe five teeth), that was gastrointestinal disaster that left my fiancé hugging a toilet for a day. Maybe I’m finicky, and maybe our collective intestinal constitution is a not as resilient as it should be, but damn … I’ll take the concessions available at Wrigley, Comerica, Safeco, or what I’ve heard and read about other top-tier parks in a goddamn heartbeat over the food that is offered at the Big A. And I’ll pay for it. Gladly.
Where were we? Oh, yeah. CHEAP SWILL!!!
The $4.50 for beers at Angels’ games will buy the smallest cup of domestic brew. Fans can spend $7.75, or $9 for larger drinks and $10 to $12 for a premium craft beers. But even that compares well to the $6 to $10 patrons will spend at the Catch, a nearby sports bar on Katella Avenue.
You can drink beer anywhere. If you’re looking for value per beer, it’s never, ever gonna happen at a baseball game. You either suck it up and buy a shitty overpriced beer (or a semi-decent overpriced better beer) at a baseball game, or you don’t. A TON of people who watch baseball (and watch baseball fanatically) don’t give a single shit about crappy beer or replacement-level beer or its price. These people care about (BREAKING NEWS) baseball, and the quality of it. And that’s exactly why the ticket price hike sucks. You’re raising the price on the thing that people (true baseball fans) should/would/might actually care about. The ability to see a baseball game in real life.
If you want to get shithoused and watch baseball, stay home. Buy yourself a case of something great, enjoy your couch, save the money you would have blown on horrible food and beer, save yourself the money it would cost you to get a cab home, save yourself the time and frustration that waiting in line for said beer and food would cost and save yourself the embarrassment that being a belligerent asshole in a public place might burn into your psyche going forward.
Quote Of The Week (From Either Side)
From Jeff Fletcher’s “Angels bats quiet in loss to Seattle” on 4/28 for the OC Register.
Albert Pujols—who has been dogged for weeks with questions from beat writers about the plantar fasciitis his ailing left foot—to Fletcher following the Angels 3-2 loss to the Mariners last Sunday.
“Can we just stop talking about my foot?” he said. “It’s not about my foot. I mean, I’m playing, so as long as I keep playing, why are we talking about it?”
- No. Actually, we can’t stop talking about his foot, because we shouldn’t stop talking about his foot. It’s clearly affecting his play, and more specifically, his baserunning. Sam Miller of Baseball Prospectus broke down Pujols’ glacial pace down the first base line in a great piece that he posted on Monday. The evidence is damning. When a guy’s balls-to-the-wall 90 is registering 5+ seconds, there’s a problem. And when a guy was mired in a 3-for-33 slump over his past nine games going into Monday night, maybe that left foot (his plant foot, which can and likely is weakening his front side and limiting the output from his lower half) is an issue worthy of a few questions from beat writers.
- That’s exactly why we’re talking about it.
- He two bombs and went 4-for-8 with three runs scored and three RBI on Monday night, so I’ll just shut my fat, uninformed face right now.
From Magic Johnson’s twitter feed following the Dodgers 2-0 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on 4/28. A 2-0 win, in which Kershaw did exactly what earned him the “Box Score of the Week” above, and Carl Crawford accounted for both Dodgers runs by hitting two solo homers.
Dodger Nation: Kershaw’s 12 strikeouts and Crawford’s 2 HR’s were key in the @dodgers win over the Brewers.
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) April 29, 2013
(Note: Magic Johnson is my favorite basketball player of all time and space and he was a childhood hero of mine, but some heroes with mind-numbingly dull twitter accounts are not above reproach.)
DERP Of The Week
LOS ANGELES, CA – APRIL 26: Inept infielDERPs Nick Punto #7 and Justin Sellers #28 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate are viciously attacked by bees after both score on a two run double by Adrian Gonzalez to give the Dodgers the lead in the seventh inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Dodger Stadium. After screaming and flailing his arms like a madman, Punto escaped the angry swarm by sliding headfirst into first base. Sellers attempted to ward off his winged attackers by swinging at them, but his inability to make solid contact (or any contact at all) with moving objects left him covered in bee stings.
SciosciaFace Of The Week
What caused this version of SciosciaFace?
- The Angels BLOLpen has poised itself to blow another lead.
- He just tried to use the phone to the bullpen to call Olive Garden and place an order. Angels bullpen coach Steve Soliz answered and told him the only lackluster noodles he could find were hanging from the bodies of his relief pitchers.
- He just farted a pitch perfect rendition of the first bar of “Taps” and isn’t ready to commit to exuberance or shame.
- He’s having fever dreams about former Halos catcher Jeff Mathis.
- Nothing. Nothing at all.
Bonus SciosciaFace Of The Week
Who Controls The Future
The Angels will finish up what has been a mostly disappointing road trip by heading to the East Bay to play in a tarp-lined toilet against the A’s (15-12) who have claimed six of their 14 wins over the last-place Houston Astros.
After the getaway game on Wednesday in “The House That Al Davis Fucked Up” (although it’s arguable that the Coliseum was mostly poop-like before Al Davis began hip-thrusting said pile of concrete) the Halos will head home to “The House That Arte Moreno Will More Than Likely Abandon In 2016” to take on the Baltimore Orioles (15-11) in a four-game set.
Saturday, 5/4: Tommy Hanson (2-1) vs. Zach Britton (0-0) — FOX Game of the Week
Sunday, 5/5: Richards (1-1) vs. Jason Hammel (3-1)
The Dodgers wrap up a three-game series against the NL West-leading Colorado Rockies (16-10, who are probably still in the process of thawing out from their last homestand in freezing conditions).
Thursday, 5/2: Los Doyers schlep it up the coast to AT&T Park to take on San Francisco (14-12) Giants, who just snapped a five-game skid.
Friday, 5/3: Clayton Kershaw* (3-2) vs. Barry Zito (3-1)
*Kershaw was placed on bereavement leave on Monday, and this start is unlikely, as he’ll miss anywhere from three-to-seven games, per MLB rules.
Sunday, 5/5: (2-2) vs. (0-1) — ESPN’s Game of the Week
Until next week … Keep it mediocre and apathetic, SoCal. You guys are doing a gre— . Meh, whatever.