Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Weaver Cruises, Then Collapses: Mariners 9, Angels 6Undone by another fielding miscue of his own, which recalled his earlier odd loss against the Dodgers, Jered Weaver actually was very good through five innings but collapsed after an infield single somehow got him to lose focus. I didn't see it, being that I was at Dodger Stadium last night, but Weaver's presence on the mound bugs me a lot the way he throws approximately 3,772 pitches in each at-bat, with 3,769 of them being fouls, so it's likely just as well I missed this game.
And yet, Kevin Jepsen took the loss, his first major league decision. It don't seem fair.
The good news: more longball power from Mike Napoli, a gift dinger from Gary Matthews, Jr., and Howie Kendrick going 2-for-3 in a brief "rehab" appearance.
The Angels' five-game winning streak ended, while the Mariners staved off being a 100-loss team for another day.
- AL East, Wild Card: Despite beating Toronto 3-1, the Yankees were eliminated from the postseason thanks to a pair of wins by the Rays (sweeping a doubleheader against the Orioles 5-2 and 7-5 in Baltimore) and a 5-4 win by Boston over Cleveland. Boston has now clinched a postseason spot with their win.
- AL Central: The Twins kept their postseason hopes alive with a 9-3 drubbing of the Chisox. Javier Vazquez took the loss, going four innings and giving up five runs. Ozzie Guillen called Vazquez out yesterday for his inability to pitch well when the heat is on, leading to the interesting question of why Ozzie started him), too.
- NL East, Wild Card: The Phillies lost 3-2 to the Braves, with Casey Kotchman's solo homer providing the margin of victory. The Brewers came back from an early 3-2 deficit and beat the Pirates 7-5. The Mets beat the Cubs 6-2, eliminating the Cardinals and Marlins from the postseason. Per Bob Timmermann, the Astros will now have to win out all their remaining five games and get help from the Cubs (who must beat the Mets) to stay in the Wild Card race.
Billy Beane Looks Up At The AngelsVia HH, a nice post-Moneyball piece on the real model franchise in the AL West:
What must disturb Beane is that the Angels, unlike such wildly fluctuating entities as Detroit, Colorado or Houston, aren't going away. They easily could be the runaway favorite in the AL West for the next 10 years.San Francisco Chronicle author Bruce Jenkins later calls Scioscia "the best manager in baseball", and lauds his running game that mocks the A's style, which is to "seek out players fit for a patient, station-to-station offense that runs dry, too often, in the absence of legitimate power." Of course, the other side of the fence is that the Angels' offense can be shut down by junkballers who get the Angels hackers to bounce out to an infielder in the absence of legitimate power. Hitting the ball hard is still king.
In terms of management, no team can match the Angels' combination of Arte Moreno, the wealthy and beloved owner; Tony Reagins, the aggressive general manager (and one of baseball's few African Americans holding an upper-level job), and manager Mike Scioscia.