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Monday, August 02, 2004

Pickoff Moves

Tell Us Another Story, Tito Carlos

An old team, a farm system virtually devoid of talent, and facing a division with arguably the best rotation in the majors (okay, when they're healthy) in the Cubs. Sure Beltran's staying in Houston next year.

Angels 3, Mariners 2

You know your offense has stalled when the lead story is touting Robb Quinlan. Not to disparage his fine month at the plate -- far from it, good performance should be shouted to the heavens. But where's everyone else? Where's Vlad, for instance, or Jose Guillen? Heck, where's .257-hitting Kennedy, or .242-hitting Jose Molina? Urg. Quinlan is rapidly turning into this year's Jeff DaVanon (who himself is recovering from back spasms). It's great, but I'd rather have some wins.

Speaking of which, the Angels won yesterday, though not convincingly. I fear for games against actual contenders... like the A's ... and the Twins. But despite my desire to start throwing small appliances while watching them, the Angels are now only 2.5 games back in the division. It's not enough to make me think they're for real, not yet -- for that to happen, they'd have to spend some time at the top of the division. But the fat lady hasn't sung yet, and if that's not a 180, call it more like a 120: I've turned around some, but I still think this team's got too many failings to win the division. On the other hand, on August 2, 2003, the Angels were 53-56, 13 games back of first-place Seattle, and in third place. Now, we're 57-48, 2.5 games back, but still in third place. What a difference a few games -- and a much weaker AL West -- makes.

Recap

Climb That Hill

Koyie Hill is now the Snakes' starting catcher. Good luck, Koyie, except when you're playing us, of course. Update: now on the D'Backs' website, too.

Gonzo, Gonzo

Speaking of the Snakes, Luis Gonzalez has decided to hang 'em up for the season, undergoing his long-awaited Tommy John surgery. For position players, this is less stressful than for pitchers, but suffice to say he won't be back 'til next year.

Dirty Laundry

Cardinals reliever Steve Kline thinks Eric Gagné's cap is the dirtiest in baseball. But don't worry, Eric's got a good reason for it:
"My hat size is right between sizes," Gagne explains. "And I have trouble finding hats that fit with my glasses. So I get a hat one-half size too big, then I shrink it down. That's why it gets stained. If I use a big one, the glasses don't fit right. And once I get the hat just right, I don't want to change it because it's a hassle. Then it gets dirty.

"But I've got my reasons."

Dodgerstrology

Last month was the month of Gagné, according to the 2004 Dodgers calendar. According to ancient baseball wisdom, this month brings sustained excellence under extreme pressure. August is the month of Brown, a month of duality: fragility with the hope of success. With Penny and Choi ascendant, will the Dodgers continue their winning ways? Or is Penny merely a day-old fish, and Choi just a bok short?

Two Guesses Who Their New Closer Is

Armando Benitez is on the 15-day DL due to right elbow inflammation. Nobody's said anything, but I bet Mota's gonna get his big chance to be a closer real soon now.

Claire's Letter To Paulie

Fred Claire writes an open letter to Paul Lo Duca. Paulie's callup was Fred's last official act as Dodgers GM before being fired by Fox. Something I did not know: Eddie Bane scouted him. I don't feel so bad about Bane after learning that.

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