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Monday, July 17, 2006

Better Lucky Than Good: Angels 10, Indians 5

On a night when Jeff Weaver gave up six earned runs over four innings to the formerly hapless Braves (including a grand slam), you begin to see the celestial wheels turning. Yes, you hear yourself thinking, Dustin Moseley is a great pitcher — for AAA. Yet the former first-round draft pick got himself an unlikely win, thanks to a terrible outing by Jake Westbrook. How else to explain it? The Angels' attack, while lately on the beam, hasn't really defeated any truly great pitching; name, if you can, a top-drawer starter they've knocked off. Okay, I'll give you "King" Felix, but he hasn't been right all year. They missed Kazmir. Zito... well, he's been good. Walk year good.

So Moseley was horrible. Ten hits, two strikeouts, and no walks, at least, but a ton of 3-2 counts and you got the feeling that, had the Angels made the unfortunate decision to leave him up, he would have gotten clobbered by the very next team to face him. Heck, the next batter probably woulda hit a five-run homer off'n him.

Maicer Izturis, according to the broadcast, had never had a four-hit game, so bully for him. Napoli... hm. 0-3. I guess I expect more, even though he walked and reached on an error, and later scored a run. But Kendry brought his average all the way up to .246, no mean feat for a guy rolling around the Mendoza line just a few days ago. And of course, homers from O-Cab and — gasp! — Anderson.

Tomorrow, the Tribe faces a lefty in Joe Saunders, and they allegedly don't hit lefties well. Heck, the Angels could be in first place tomorrow. Well, we all have our dreams. Moseley, who scampers back down to Salt Lake, dreams of another start. What else is he to do?

ESPN BoxRecap


Comments:
Man, another thoroughly negative report for the Angels' 12th victory of their last 13 games...a victory that saw terrific situational hitting, seventeen hits, and solid bullpen work.

And for a kid facing one of the top three or four offenses in the Majors (an offense that has embarrased a number of veteran pitchers), and unexpectedly so...a kid who lasted twice as long and gave up half as many runs as Ervin 'Magic' Santana did against the same team in his premiere...a kid who outdueled Westbrook, bad night or no...you sure lay it on thick. I mean talk about patronizing: "scamper back"? The guy isn't a field mouse, and as I recall, you never played pro ball. You write about it, and well I might add. But skills are only half the econtribution. Have some tact!

Actually, tact isn't the word. Over the past weekend, I took in a showing of I'm Your Man, the new Leonard Cohen doc, and at one point in the film he had a terrific moment of reflective humility when he thought back with regret about an interview he gave in which he decoded his song "Chelsea Hotel", revealing that the celeb giving him 'head on the unmade bed' was in fact Janis Joplin. He didn't need to do it, but he was a jivin' youth and wanted to strut in print. Looking back, he said, "I can't believe I could've been that...um..ungallant."

And that's the word. Ungallant. Like Cohen, you have your own modest talent...you don't need to crucify. Moseley's no elite prospect, but you have no idea really if he would be "clobbered" next go-around or not, and you hardly need to roast him for a difficult balancing act that still kept us in the game. Be gallant, man, be gallant.
 
I recall Leonard Cohen telling the WHOLE AUDIENCE at the Wiltern Theater it was about Joplin...

In addition to Zito, the Angels faced and defeated Kazmir in June. Earlier this season, the Angels beat Kenny Rogers and Justin Verlander of the elite pitchers, lost to Halladay and Contreras, and are 1-1 against Felix.

But BFD if they miss every ace and waltz to the playoffs, why does the luck of the draw amplify your (less-and-less reasonable) negativity?
 
i for one appreciate Rob's critiques. if you just want to hear the "7 in a row, 12 of 13, offensive juggernaut", you can always listen to Hud.

The Times also pointed out Moseley's line: 10 hits/5 innings. twice. Kudoos for Rob for pointing out some of the additional details like K/BB.
 
I wouldn't expend four grafs criticizing if I didn't "appreciate Rob's critiques". If K/BBs are enough to rubify your glasses, then notice Rob also links to the boxscore at the outset. In fact, he's saving the nuance for the darker rhetorical turn.

Consider, Napoli has 4 HRs in his last ten games, he was on base three of four times his last game, adding a two run blast to his honor. Yet here in this post we pause with paternal disappointment to sigh over unmet expectations. Another reading of 'a scanner darkly' I guess.

With all this apply grace floating in these days for Angels fans from Baseball's Avalon, I can only put such chary niggling down to accidents of manner, not madness. What else am I to do?
 
So I'm ungallant for pointing out that he barely got out of the fifth inning with all his teeth intact, or that he constantly got into three-ball counts, or that he was forever working with men on base, gave up a ten hits for a brain-numbing 2.00 WHIP, and only had one 1-2-3 inning? Good grief, how fawning do I have to be to please you people?! It wasn't an impressive performance, and this same allegedly terrifying offense couldn't score but two runs in a game against Carlos Silva, a 6.75 ERA pitcher. And as for this, Rev --

But BFD if they miss every ace and waltz to the playoffs, why does the luck of the draw amplify your (less-and-less reasonable) negativity?

Well, maybe it's because they're not a good offense!

I take your criticisms under advisement but I still disagree with them.
 
And as for Napoli -- well, Keeerist, sorry to be disappointed that he's turning into Rob Deer behind the dish, just like he was in the minors. For a while, he looked like a Hall of Famer.
 
Still Rob, it was the kid's debut and good offense or no, he was able to hang in there long enough to give the Angels a fighting chance. The offense, meanwhile, held up its end of the bargain by making sure Moseley had a lead. The first four batters that faced Santana hit for the cycle, and they were on the same Indian team. By any mark other than this year (where guys like Liriano, Verlander, and Weaver have made spectacular debuts), Moseley had a successful debut.
 
Moseley stayed in and hung around long enough to keep the Angels in the game, 'tis true.

He also left the game with a 7.20 ERA.
 
He also left the game with no walks allowed and a win.
 
Josh said...

He also left the game with no walks allowed and a win.

Well, yeah, but he was really hittable. Luckily Westbrook had a rough night or Moseley wouldn't have left with a win, but that is beside the point.

The point is that Rob pointed out that Moseley isn't a top-tier prospect, had a really tough night against a solid offensive team that hasn't been hitting that well this week.

Geez, what do you guys want? Him to fawn over every win regardless of the individual performances that occur in that game? You are all right, he was every bit as impressive as Weaver was in his MLB debut - he got the win, right Josh? Of course not! We all could SEE that Moseley - with the 88 MPH fastball and rolling curveball - wasn't going to dominate anyone. Rob just pointed that out in print.

What Rob does very well is look at the team objectively. When guys are great, he tells us, when there are red flags - like Escobar's dropping K-rate - he tells us that too. It is the information that helps us to better understand the product we see on the field. Rah-Rah stuff has its place, but even though this team is .5 games out of first right now, they aren't a finished product. There are things to work on and sorry, but Dustin Moseley isn't an answer to any question regarding starting rotation depth and all Rob was doing was pointing that out. Saunders might be a different story - in a Jaime Moyer way...we'll see.
 
Moseley stayed in and hung around long enough to keep the Angels in the game, 'tis true.

Which is exactly what they asked him to do. Which is more than can be said for Jake Westbrook, who's no Cy Young candidate, but at least an average major league pitcher. But anyway, I think we should give him at least two times through the league before we bury him.

The Angels' attack, while lately on the beam, hasn't really defeated any truly great pitching; name, if you can, a top-drawer starter they've knocked off.

How many top-drawer starters are there in the league? Or rather, how many top-drawer starters are there that couldn't easily be dismissed from some reason. Beckett, Halladay, Kazmir, Bonderman, Verlander, Santana, Liriano, Contreras, Zito, Hernandez, Mussina? That's about it. Maybe Buehrle, but he's sucked lately. So basically, there's about a 1 in 6 chance of facing an elite starter on any given day. And lo and behold, they've faced about two in their last 13 games. So what's your point?

No one is asking you to call something impressive that you don't think is impressive. But there's a medium. He did exactly what is in the realm of expectations for a kid making his first major league start against an excellent hitting team. Why go out of your way make it sound worse than it was?
 
Napoli... hm. 0-3. I guess I expect more, even though he walked and reached on an error, and later scored a run.

You do realize that hitters don't get hits every single game, right?
 
Keeerist, sorry to be disappointed that he's turning into Rob Deer behind the dish, just like he was in the minors.

I'm sorry, this comment is just sheer nonsense.

Napoli is hitting .282, with an OBP of .412 and a team-leading .996 OPS. His OPS over the past seven games is 1.084, and over the month of July .944.

You're jocking your own narrative. Rob Deer's OPS never inched over .850 until his ninth season in the Majors. The comparison couldn't be more inapt at this point.
 
Re Westbrook: there aren't a ton of "top-drawer" starters in the league, and there are at least two that the Angels can't face because they wear Halo red.
 
and this same allegedly terrifying offense couldn't score but two runs in a game against Carlos Silva, a 6.75 ERA pitcher.

Yet they managed to emasculate Francisco Liriano, dealing him one of only two losses this season. Liriano lasted five innings as well, giving up five runs and three home runs.

Honesty with the data demands balance, Rob.
 
Maxwell -- maybe I'm hyperventilating. If so, hurray for the Angels, because Napoli is something far, far better than anything anybody had hoped for. But as with Weaver, I watch every whisper of decline nervously...
 
I'll lay off, because I appreciate caution in any case. But allow players a soft night or three. Going 0-3 with a walk is not a "whisper of decline". It's natural small window variation.
 
And likewise, even if Napoli follows with a 3-5 night with a walk and 2HR, it doesn't mean it's time to start casting his HOF plaque just yet.
 

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