Apr 11, 2013; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia (14) pulls starting pitcher Jason Vargas (60) in the sixth inning of the game against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
As Steve said yesterday, it’s important not to panic over small sample sizes. The Angels lost again last night as they were swept by the Oakland A’s in their first home series of the season. They now sit at 2-7—one of the worst starts in franchise history.
There is still a lot of season left and a lot of things the Angels front office can do to improve the evident holes on the roster.
Still, things are a bit of a mess right now. Jered Weaver’s going to be out for over a month and C.J. Wilson and the rest of the pitching staff has looked mighty shaky in the early going. Joe Blanton and Jason Vargas—although capable pitchers—are not the type of arms you want to have to rely on in any meaningful way.
But as Steve pointed out, the bad luck—and that’s really what it is—that the Angels’ lineup has experienced so far will balance out eventually. Josh Hamilton is struggling now, but given his hacky approach, he’s prone to slumps like this. Once he gets locked in, he’s maybe more capable than anyone on the team of putting up inhuman numbers for long stretches of time.
Mike Trout has yet to really turn it on, but are we really worried about him? He’ll be fine. Pujols has been scalding the ball all over the field and so has Howie Kendrick, picking up right where he left off in the spring.
The pitching is a legitimate worry, don’t get me wrong, and things may get worse before they get better, but the Angels have the resources to make small improvements as the year goes on. Once Weaver returns, they should be able to hold opposing teams down enough in order to let their offense win them some games.
The American League West is one of the toughest divisions in baseball with the Rangers and A’s looking very good in the early going, but there’s always the Mariners and Astros to beat up on.
Of course, Mike Scioscia has fallen trap to small sample sizes. Last night, he dropped Trout from the leadoff spot to the number two spot in favour of Alberto Callaspo. Now, lineup construction means relatively little in the grand scheme of things, but Trout is the best hitter on the team and getting him as many at-bats as possible should be priority number one. There’s no planet on which Alberto Callaspo should be hitting ahead of him—and I actually quite like Callaspo as a player.
Last night’s 8-1 loss was an ugly one, but the Angels are scuffling all over right now and the A’s are hitting on all cylinders. I’m not saying ignore the problems with this team, just maybe let a little more of the season play out before diving headfirst off the bandwagon.
Enjoy some links, ease your stress:
Speaking of Callaspo, he did actually have to leave the game last night with a calf injury. It doesn’t appear serious, but with Erick Aybar already missing time with a bruised heel, this one could really test the Angels’ depth. Neither player is expected to hit the DL, but with an already over-taxed bullpen, it may not be possible to make a corresponding roster move to call up an additional infielder. If it isn’t, the Angels will go with Andrew Romine at short and Brendan Harris at third, but in that instance there will be no one remaining on the bench behind them [Alden Gonzalez, MLB.com].
There was some drama in Southern California baseball last night. In case you live under a rock, Dodgers’ pitcher Zack Greinke had his collarbone broken when he was charged by Padres’ outfielder Carlos Quentin in the sixth inning of last night’s game. Quentin was hit by a 3-2 pitch in a one-run game with nobody on base, yet took exception to the beaning and went after Greinke. The wealthy Dodgers pitcher is now expected to miss up to six weeks and Quentin faces a suspension. The altercation spilled over into the bowels of PETCO Park after the game as well as Dodgers’ outfielder Matt Kemp found Quentin in the tunnel of the stadium and had more words with him.
Quentin’s actions were utterly inexcusable and he could now face a long suspension. The two teams meet at Dodger Stadium for a three-game series starting on Monday. File that one under ‘can’t miss’ [Dylan Hernandez, LA Times].
More on the Angels struggles and why maybe we shouldn’t panic just yet [Drew Fairservice, Getting Blanked].
Nothing to do with the Angels, but Cubs’ owner Tom Ricketts received an interesting package the other day [Houston Mitchell, LA Times].
How long will it be before Scioscia gets fired? [Rev Halofan, Halos Heaven].
Maybe we all just need a little optimism [Ryan Falla, Monkey with a Halo].
At least the Angels are about the play the Astros. Nothing’s better at curing what ails you.