The Week That Was
LAA – 2-5
LAD – 3-4
Southern California’s Burgeoning Pissing Contest: The Leader In The Clubhouse
Even though the two teams have almost identical records, the Dodgers have the clear edge this week. And it’s all because of Puigmania. (More on Puig later.) The Angels haven’t been able to build any momentum because they can’t manage to stay out of their own way, and it seems like Angels fans are beginning to realize that there’s a hole being dug that might be too deep to dig out of, just like it was last season.
Box Score Of The Week
LAA – Joe Blanton: 6/9 vs. BOS – 5 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 3 HR allowed on 95 pitches.
A 1-10 record shouldn’t mean much, because I think most (or all) of us can agree that pitcher wins are not a valuable way of evaluating a pitcher’s performance. Thirteen mostly horrible outings probably should mean a lot. Blanton, who was a surprisingly early signing by Jerry Dipoto last offseason has been almost entirely awful. Not only is he not “eating innings” (which was the big selling point following the signing), but he’s not even logging quality starts. He’s averaging ~5 innings per start, and for the most part, those five innings per start have been pretty shitty (5.87 ERA, 1.630 WHIP, and 15 HR allowed).
I’m not sure how dumping Jerome Williams back into the bullpen helps the struggling staff at all (considering how effective he’s been as a starter – posting a 2.14 ERA in his last five starts), but apparently, that’s the plan here. They’ll roll with Blanton, roll with Hanson, fail, facepalm themselves to death, define insanity and stumble their way through the first half (or all) of the season. Stay with it, Halos.
Here’s where I have trouble with the move: Getting quality starts helps you avoid having to rely on your crappy bullpen to get several outs. Moving your second-best starter (for now, anyway) to the bullpen because he has “bullpen experience” or whatever, reduces him to a mop-up role (because Williams rarely pitches out of the ‘pen in high-leverage situations). So, in essence, what you’re doing is putting a majority of a finite number of outs (27, in most cases) in the hands of a bullpen that has proven itself to be mostly unreliable and using said second-best starter in games that have already been decided. That makes sense. O__o
And ugh … that we’re even talking about Jerome Williams being a key part of this rotation right now just makes me cringe.
LAD – Yasiel Puig: Uh …all of them?
What an unbelievable first week in the bigs. The guy who was deemed too raw to handle the game at its highest level (at least this early in his career), has handled his debut like a man playing tee ball against five year olds. Sure, he’s still raw as hell – evidenced perfectly by this ill-advised and potentially catastrophic face plant through first base (The Punto. It’s infectious.)
He’s done it all this week. He’s hit bombs, thrown out above-average runners as they try to go first-to-third, squared balls up and hit them all over the yard, and spawned baseball-themed grindcore bands for fuck’s sake. His performance earned him NL Player of the Week honors and it’s been an absolute pleasure to see. His ABs are must-watch TV. Unfortunately, it’s not helping the Dodgers out much, because most of the rest of them suck and/or are hurt. Per Mike Petriello (of the fantastic Dodgers blog Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness):
Yasiel Puig has a .483 OBP in his first 7 games. That’s great. His only four runs scored have come on his own dingers. That’s… less great.
— Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) June 9, 2013
Slow your roll, Dodgers fans. One man alone cannot right this ship.
AL & NL West Standings Update
LAA – 27-37 (3rd place, and 11.5 games behind the league-leading Texas Rangers)
LAD – 27-36 (LAST place and 8.5 games behind the first place Arizona Diamondbacks)
Headline Of The Week
“Angels order fan to take paper bag off his head ” from Bill Shaikin’s column for the LA Times on 6/5.
Henry Bouldin could not bear to watch the Angels, not after the team was swept by the lowly Houston Astros.
So, as he sat behind home plate for Tuesday’s game against the Chicago Cubs, the Angels fan wore a paper bag over his head.
An excessive, cliche and uncomfortable way to “enjoy” a game, but … Bravo, Mr. Bouldin.
Until the seventh inning, that is, when the Angels ordered him to take it off.
“Security just showed up out of nowhere,” Bouldin said Wednesday. “They said you can’t wear anything over your head.”
That indeed is the Angels’ policy, team spokesman Tim Mead said. During last week’s series against the Dodgers, Mead said security officials asked a fan dressed in a monkey suit to remove his monkey mask.
Except for when it’s a part of a dopey promo giveaway like “set the Guinness World Record for largest gathering of people wearing costume masks”.
Bouldin said he had worn the paper bag on and off during the game and suspected the Angels might have acted only after he — and the bag — had appeared on TV.
Mead said the Angels spotted the bag on stadium security cameras and would have asked Bouldin to remove the bag even if he were not sitting within range of television cameras. For safety’s sake, Mead said, the Angels want to be able to make a facial identification of any fan if necessary.
Like they could have when he wasn’t wearing the bag.
Bouldin referred to the Angels’ payroll when he wrote on the bag: “$127 million + all I got was this bag. Go Angels?” But Mead said that was not why the Angels demanded he remove the bag.
“If it had said, ‘Go Angels,’ it would have been the same thing,” Mead said.
Quotes Of The Week
From Mike DiGiovanna’s “Blanton is a well-below average Joe in Angels’ 10-5 loss to Boston” for the LA Times on 6/9.
Blanton, on whether his next start would be a crucial one:
“I don’t have anything to prove.”
Eh, probably not the wisest choice of words. If you’ve been as bad as Blanton has, you’d think that maybe, maybe there’d be a bit of accountability somewhere in the answer to that query. Nope.
I back a guy having confidence in his ability, but when that ability seems to have diminished (or vanished completely), you’d hope that there would be mention of the process (or processes) he’s going through to right the ship, but this is the polar opposite of that, and it probably means that things are gonna get worse before they get better.
From Bill Shaikin’s “They said it: Quotes from the world baseball” for the LA Times on 6/8.
A.J. Ellis, on Puig’s ridiculous first few days in the big leagues:
“Know I’m on DL with oblique strain but that Puig throw made my arm hurt. I’ll see doc tomorrow. What a debut.”
—A.J. Ellis of the Dodgers, on Twitter, after right fielder Yasiel Puig had two hits in his major league debut Monday, then threw out a runner at first base to end the game.
“Know I’m on DL with oblique strain but watching speed those Puig HRs left stadium made my neck hurt. I’ll see doc tomorrow. #whataplayer”
—Ellis, after Puig hit two home runs Tuesday, in his second major league game.
“Know I’m on DL with oblique strain but watching Puig’s slam had me question my sense of reality. I’ll see our team therapist tomorrow.”
—Ellis, after Puig hit a grand slam Thursday, in his fourth major league game.
DERP Of The Week: Nick PuntLOL
INVISIBLE CHAISE LOUNGE
Bonus Whatever The Hell Is Going On Here Of The Week
SciosciaFace Of The Week
The rare face palm/hat off combination!
What caused this version of SciosciaFace?
- You’ve gotta “take your hat off” to those guys.
- Sometimes you’ve gotta “tip your cap” (to the other team).
- And sometimes you’ve gotta palm the shit out of your face because …
- So much talent. So few wins to show for it.
- Nothing. Nothing at all.
MattinglyFace Of The Week
Matt-O-Lantern status: Feb 2.
Even a player who has Dodgers fans happier than a Puig in shit can’t stop the slow decay of Donnie Baseball. And running Brandon League out as the team’s closer more often than not (the bullpen blew its 13th save of 2013 on Monday night – which ties them with the Cubs for the most in baseball) is just madness, and cannot bode well for MattinglyFace. Neither can perpetually ridiculous lineup construction and substitution patterns, but … for the sake of this column, it’s golden.
Who Controls The Future
The Angels …
- Tuesday, 6/11: Jason Vargas (5-3) vs. Miguel Gonzalez (3-2)
- Wednesday, 6/12: Jerome Williams (4-2) vs. Jason Hammel (7-4)
- Thursday, 6/13: TRAVEL
Then, the Halos will play host to the New York Yankees over the weekend, which means that Angel Stadium will be inundated with impossibly douchey New York transplants, bandwagoners and/or complete and utter poseurs in Yankees gear who seem hell-bent on causing a ruckus amongst an otherwise passive fan base. There are always fights in the crowd. There are always fan ejections. And there are always Yankees fans in attendance who have totally lost (or choose to ignore) the common courtesy of being a pleasant guest in a visiting yard.
- Friday, 6/14: Tommy Hanson (3-2) vs. Andy Pettitte (5-3)
- Saturday, 6/15: C.J. Wilson (4-5) vs. David Phelps (4-3)
- Sunday, 6/16: Joe Blanton (1-10) vs. C.C. Sabathia (6-4)
And the Dodgers will finish up what is almost certain to be a disastrous three-game set against the NL West-leading Diamondbacks, before heading to what is arguably the most gorgeous park in Major League Baseball, PNC Park, for a weekend series against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
- Tuesday, 6/11: Zack Greinke (2-1) vs. Ian Kennedy (3-4)
- Wednesday, 6/12: Hyun-Jin Ryu (6-2) vs. Patrick Corbin (9-0)
- Thursday, 6/13: TRAVEL
- Friday, 6/14: Stephen Fife (1-0) vs. A.J. Burnett (4-6)
- Saturday, 6/15: Ted Lilly (0-2) vs. Jeff Locke (5-1)
- Sunday, 6/16: Clayton Kershaw (5-4) vs. Gerritt Cole (0-0)
Until we meet again …