Saturday, August 04, 2007
"This Much Daily Hysteria"
- Ervin Santana turned into a AAAA pitcher at exactly the wrong time. He's now down in AAA working out his problems, but his inconsistency with Salt Lake isn't making him look like he'll be with the team barring a September callup.
- Bartolo Colon gave his last full measure. He's almost certainly done for the year and possibly his career, making the Angels' rotation is suspect in two places.
- Dubious use of Casey Kotchman. Mike Scioscia's unwillingness to bring in Casey Kotchman against lefties definitely burned him last night. Kotch is hitting .304/.377/.391 against lefties this year, making the platoon with Robb Quinlan (.259/.304/.400) of dubious value.
It occurred to me that maybe Scioscia is platooning him of late because he doesn't need to face lefties; after all, Kotch still came back from a concussion only a month or so ago. That's not a particularly compelling argument, though, despite the fact that Kotch has been hitting .230/.269/.330 in 100 AB since then. Here's a brief summary of how he's done against pitchers of both hands and all the hits he's had since returning from the DL:
It took Kotchman just under a week to get his first hit after coming back, a homer off Baltimore starter Jeremy Guthrie. But Scioscia didn't give him that many opportunities to see lefties early on, his first coming against Jamie Walker on June 29. He didn't get his first hit against a lefty until July 13 on a hit against Texas reliever Ron Mahay, a walkoff single that plated Gary Matthews from third.
2007-06-25: kca vs ana R John Thomson Ground Out R John Thomson Ground Out R John Thomson Fly Out R Octavio Dotel Ground Out 2007-06-26: kca vs ana R Gil Meche Strikeout R Gil Meche Ground Out R Gil Meche Ground Out R Joel Peralta Line Out 2007-06-27: kca vs ana R David Riske Pop Out 2007-06-29: ana @ bal R Steve Trachsel Ground Out R Rob Bell Fly Out R Rob Bell Line Out L Jamie Walker Ground Out R Chris Ray Fly Out 2007-06-30: ana @ bal L Brian Burres Ground Out L Brian Burres Ground Out L Brian Burres Fly Out R Paul Shuey Strikeout 2007-07-01: ana @ bal R Jeremy Guthrie Line Out R Jeremy Guthrie hr R Jeremy Guthrie Strikeout 2007-07-03: ana @ tex R Kevin Millwood 1b R Kevin Millwood Line Out R Kevin Millwood Ground Out R Frank Francisco Pop Out 2007-07-04: ana @ tex R Jamey Wright Strikeout R Jamey Wright Ground Out L C.J. Wilson Ground Out 2007-07-05: ana @ tex R Robinson Tejeda Strikeout R Robinson Tejeda Ground Out R Robinson Tejeda bb L Ron Mahay Ground Out 2007-07-06: ana @ nya R Scott Proctor Strikeout 2007-07-07: ana @ nya R Roger Clemens Ground Out R Roger Clemens Ground Out R Roger Clemens Strikeout R Mariano Rivera Bunt Ground Out R Luis Vizcaino 1b 2007-07-08: ana @ nya R Chien-Ming Wang Strikeout R Chien-Ming Wang Ground Out R Chien-Ming Wang Fly Out L Ron Villone Fly Out 2007-07-13: tex vs ana R Kevin Millwood Ground Out R Kevin Millwood Ground Out R Kevin Millwood Ground Out L Ron Mahay 1b 2007-07-14: tex vs ana R Kameron Loe Strikeout R Kameron Loe 1b R Willie Eyre Pop Out L C.J. Wilson Ground Out 2007-07-15: tex vs ana R Brandon McCarthy Strikeout R Brandon McCarthy 1b R Brandon McCarthy Ground Out L Ron Mahay bb L C.J. Wilson Line Out 2007-07-17: ana @ tba R James Shields bb R James Shields 1b R James Shields Ground Out 2007-07-19: ana @ tba R Andy Sonnanstine 2b R Andy Sonnanstine Ground Out R Andy Sonnanstine Fly Out R Brian Stokes Ground Out 2007-07-20: ana @ min R Carlos Silva Ground Out R Carlos Silva Ground Out R Carlos Silva Fly Out L Dennys Reyes bb 2007-07-21: ana @ min R Boof Bonser Ground Out R Boof Bonser Ground Out R Boof Bonser Ground Out R Joe Nathan Pop Out 2007-07-22: ana @ min R Matt Garza bb R Matt Garza Ground Out R Matt Garza 1b L Dennys Reyes Fly Out R Ramon Ortiz 2b 2007-07-23: oak vs ana R Chad Gaudin Strikeout R Chad Gaudin Fly Out R Kiko Calero Ground Out R Huston Street 1b 2007-07-24: oak vs ana R Santiago Casilla 1b 2007-07-25: oak vs ana R Joe Blanton Ground Out R Joe Blanton 2b R Joe Blanton 1b R Andrew Brown Strikeout L Joe Kennedy 1b 2007-07-27: det vs ana R Chad Durbin 2b 2007-07-28: det vs ana R Jason Grilli 2b L Tim Byrdak Bunt Ground Out 2007-07-29: det vs ana R Jeremy Bonderman Fly Out R Jeremy Bonderman Ground Out R Chad Durbin Ground Out L Macay McBride 1b L Bobby Seay 2b 2007-07-30: ana @ sea R Miguel Batista Ground Out R Miguel Batista Ground Out R Miguel Batista Fly Out R J.J. Putz Fly Out 2007-07-31: ana @ sea R Jeff Weaver bb R Jeff Weaver Ground Out L Ryan Rowland-Smith Pop Out L Ryan Rowland-Smith 1b R Mark Lowe Pop Out 2007-08-01: ana @ sea R Felix Hernandez Ground Out R Felix Hernandez Fly Out R Felix Hernandez Strikeout R J.J. Putz 1b L George Sherrill Bunt Ground Out 2007-08-02: ana @ oak R Chad Gaudin Ground Out R Chad Gaudin 1b R Chad Gaudin Ground Out L Joe Kennedy 2b vs LHP: 19 AB, 6 H, 0.316/0.381/0.421 vs RHP: 86 AB, 17 H, 0.198/0.233/0.291
Kotchman's line against righties during this time mostly reflects his recovery from the concussion, so it's not especially interesting. But he's getting hits off of guys who have done at least decent jobs against lefties, in particular, Joe Kennedy, who's devolved into a LOOGY type; left-handed batters are hitting a scant .203 against him this year, as is Ron Mahay (.250 BAA). The point is that while Scioscia may have had a reason to leave Kotchman out against tough lefties in the past, that time looks like it's over with.
- The usual problems with the bullpen. Scot Shields implosion yesterday merely highlighted the gradual erosion of the Angels' bullpen. Shields is a career 0-7 with a 5.59 ERA at Oakland, but here's the worse news: 0-3 and 15.12 ERA at Fenway.
- Losing a crucial road series to the team's closest rival. The Angels had an opportunity to put the Mariners away with this last road series, and blew it.
- It only gets harder from here. Losing that series looks more critical with each game they lose to the likes of the sub-.500 Athletics, because the Angels' strength of schedule against the rest of the way is tougher (.509) than the Mariners' (.502). A lot of that is due to the fact that the Angels have two sets to go before they're done with the Red Sox, including one on the road later this month. The Sox have just owned the Angels lately, and with the Halos' pitching badly depleted (great time to lose your command, Santana), well, the results are likely to be ugly.
Update: Adjusted Kotchman's at-bat list to make it chronological by game to emphasize when he appeared rather than who he appeared against.
I'll remind you that Vlad just hit four HRs in two days, and we've finally replaced crap on a stick with at least one back-of-the-rotation pitcher that can win games, and a fifth no worse than the dark magic that preceded him.
I bet if we just lost the game outright you wouldn't be ascending into these Bjork-like hysterics. Look, it was a disappointing loss, but only because of the surprise of Vlad's second longball. I'm a diabetic too. I know how these moods go. Can I suggest some lean red meat and spinach?
Totally true. Meanwhile, defying your predictable pessimism, Santana was sent down, and Saunders has been great, meaning we are now better as a result.
Bartolo Colon gave his last full measure.
And now we're better because he's gone.
making the platoon with Robb Quinlan (.259/.304/.400) of dubious value.
Only if A) you believe Casey's 50 PAs this year against lefties is more indicative than Robb's 400+ for his career, B) are content to have a 1Bman on a powerless team with a .087 ISO while a .141 ISO sits, and C) think bench players should rot.
The usual problems with the bullpen
Scot Shields pitching bad is the "usual problems with the bullpen"? That's literally insane.
Rob, you don't take *any* positive Angels news seriously. Which makes it hard to take your analysis seriously, except as entertainment. Let's hear more about how Vladdy's "just old," and Napoli can't hit major league pitching, and Lackey's hurt, and Jered's just like Jeff, and Shields is terrible, and Saunders has an awful FB/GB ratio in AAA, and god knows what else.
I'll repeat it again -- any time you want to lay down cold hard cash, Angels vs. Mariners, 2007, I'll happily back up a truck to my bank account.
1. "Vlad wasn't right" last Sunday - and now?
2. Shields was nails for 2-3 months - then a bad outing, which basically was a bit of a freak as it was with two out and a Quinlan flub was a chief contributor.
3. "And 2 dubious starters?" - haven't the Angel won something like 16 of 21 when Mighty Joe Young started? Is he one of dubious starters?
4. and no matter what, Santana's back up Aug 31st.
i appreciate your critical analytical even skeptical look - but today's "Daily hysteria" tag is appropriately titled.
as for me, the club's in first and still the best of the division and one of the top 4 in the league - i'm pretty sure i'm be at the Big A in mid October, along with Ervin, Vlad's 30+-hr season, and Shields with a sub 3.00 ERA.
As to the bullpen, by the way: the Angels have the 9th worst bullpen ERA in the league... Shields has generally done his job, but his reliability is suspect -- or did you miss his 3.00 ERA?
Christ, Matt, they're not even beating the sub-.500 teams.
Nice try. Really. But I've never said anything particularly positive about Moseley. It's that just about *any* lump of flesh will be better than what Colon pitched like after April.
Vlad's slumps keep getting longer as he ages -- is this some kind of a surprise?
I'll be happy to see your supporting data. Meanwhile, Vladdy's OPS+ -- just after this terrible "slump" you refer to -- is 158, which would be the third-best of his career and best since 2002. Old old old!
But were there ever any indications that Kotchman couldn't hit lefties in the minors? I don't think so, or if there were, I don't recall reading them... are you arguing that his recent hot streak against lefties (actually better than his numbers against righties for reasons discussed above) is an illusion? If so, why (aside from the sample size issue)?
Your game of move-the-goalposts and same-to-you-but-more-of-it really is charming. However.
Quinlan mashes lefties for his career much better than we have any expectation that Kotchman will at this stage of his career. If I was Scioscia, I'd let Casey hit against everyone when he's smokin' hot, then platoon with Q when he cools off, and find spots for Q against lefties elsewhere.
As for Shields' "suspect" reliability, I'm pretty confident 90% of baseball would love to exchange the "reliability" of their set-up man for Shields'. A 3.00 ERA -- which, of course, he has after the worst game of his season -- is not bad at all.
Christ, Matt, they're not even beating the sub-.500 teams.
Baseball is a game of failure. We have the second-best record in baseball, four good starters, and Napoli & Kendrick coming back.
It must hurt when you get called on your doublethink.
And I'm more than happy to admit when I'm wrong, instead of forever changing the subject then whining about being called names. When the point of the discussion is truth, then truth can never hurt.
I'm not going to call you names, Rob, but that's a tad opportunistic, given Shields had an ERA of 2.24 coming into yesterday's game. No thinking man is going to assess Shields' reliability on his ERA, so give your (brighter than average) loyal audience here the benefit of honest argumentation, lest this become some teen scream pissing coliseum a la the MLB forums. Any metric that can swing 33% in the course of a single appearance ain't terribly descriptive.
Scot Shields ranks first in the AL in holds, and he's on pace for the most in any season for him thusfar. His WHIP and BAA are below career norms, and in 50 appearances this season, he's not given up ERs in 42 of them.
While reading us the obituaries, at least throw in the headlines as well. Gracias.
Implying that Kotchman can't hit lefties, for one.
1) You say that the Quinlan platoon is of "dubious value" because of this year's sample size of their performance against lefties.
2) I point out that this can only be "dubious" if you value Casey's 50 PAs this year over Robb's 400+ over his career -- which have produced a .310/.352/.510 line -- and then point out that even within your favorable-to-Casey sample size, Quinlan has much more isolated power, a commodity this team needs in spades.
3) You ask me whether I am "arguing" that Kotchman's "recent hot streak against lefties" is "an illusion," and "if so, why (aside from the sample size issue)?"
4) I decline your efforts to move the goalposts -- i.e., changing the parameters of what we were talking about -- and instead reinforce my point, which is "Quinlan mashes lefties for his career much better than we have any expectation that Kotchman will at this stage of his career."
5) You accuse me, falsely, and as your only evidence of my purported "double-think," of "Implying that Kotchman can't hit lefties."
Seriously, Rob, read that chronology slowly, then ask yourself why the very same people who enjoy your website are genuinely puzzled by your behavior.
See how easy it is to make an utterly valid point without making shit up about people and acting like an ass?
Honestly, what I suspect happens is that the Angels take some middle ground, giving Kotch more chances against lefties, but continuing to leave Quinlan in for most circumstances. They very well might let him go at the end of the season depending on what Kotchman shows himself capable of doing, unless they're still thinking about using McPherson at third base. The Angels have better, younger options in the outfield, and they're probably thinking about Aybar as the team's backup to Izturis in the infield though his bat leaves a lot to be desired, no matter the handedness of the pitcher.