Friday, October 03, 2008
Roll Over! Play Dead! Red Sox 7, Angels 5
- Ervin Santana should have gotten the loss for this game for giving up four in the first. That he did not was testament to the tenacity of the Angels offense, which managed to tie the game, one lousy run at a time until the eighth. I was screaming hell at Santana just about continuously in the first, and the lady in front of me and a couple seats over was getting, uh, concerned.
- Francisco Rodriguez just lost about $2M a year on whatever deal he was going to get in the offseason thanks to that two-run bomb to J.D. Drew. Seriously, Frankie, if you can't come up big against the Red Sox, you get what you deserve. The Wilpons will pay top dollar, and who knows, in the National League hitters might actually foul off the cookies he hands his postseason opponents like clockwork. Good riddance.
- Likewise, Teixeira is gone to the Yankees. Too bad he's the only player on the team with a modicum of plate discipline.
- Howie Kendrick... the "batting title waiting to happen" has become the "certain strikeout with men on base and two out". Sure, he didn't have much time to get ready, but really ... he looked like he was losing it before he went down the second time. The Golden Sombrero! He's on my watch list.
Update: Seitz has more on this. If I gave a damn about Sunday, I would reiterate his call to bench Howie, but he's right: Howie also didn't bother to show up for a stolen base in the eighth. Pure, obvious, and Just Not There.
- On a related note, Chone Figgins — 0-for-the-series otherwise — got a leadoff triple in what is all but certain to be the Angels' only extra-base-hit of the postseason.
- I'm seriously thinking about not renewing my season tickets. I don't use half of them and when they get to the postseason, they roll over and die. This is just an obscenity. Seriously, guys, just take the draft picks for Tex and K-Fraud and rebuild.
Oh yeah. And fire Mickey Hatcher. Seriously.
They have developed an extremely balanced team, without any obvious weakness.
They have very few bad contracts eating up lots of good dollars.
They have been able to develop a more balanced array of prospects, with more complete skill sets.
Barring a serious miracle (not that it's impossible...but certainly improbable), the end of the 2008 season is probably just a game or two away. After that, there will be people calling for Arte Moreno to reprise the role of Gene Autry in the old days and sign whomever...but obviously, that'll be a bad idea: not even Yankees and their oodles of dollars can't handle as many bad contracts as they have. On the other hand, as things stand, I think, the Angels can play in the same league as the Red Sox--and rather than scrap the current team and go into a total rebuilding mode, it should be possible to retool smartly in the short term, perhaps seriously, but not so much to not to be competitive. (after all, this is AL West) But we'd need to manage things smart.
Some bold steps might be necessary (for example, I think it might not be a bad idea to not pick up Vlad Guerrero's option). Next year's lineup might need to be totally different from this year's, but a fairly quick turnaround should not be impossible.
This offseason has sadly been about pitching and the Angels' sudden lack thereof.
The Angels' bullpen is a problem. It will be worse next year.
For some reason or other, though, that has been an organization wide problem--but then again, we seem to suffer from inexplicable inability to develop hitters with any ability other than hitting singles. In the medium-to-long term, a serious reexamination of the farm system and player development philosophy should be in order, as well as better scouting--both prospects to be drafted and those who can be traded for.
In the short-term, though, I have to confess to drawing a blank--sign an expensive free agent, and we'll almost certainly wind up with another Speier (speaking of the bullpen). We should have enough to muddle through and be competitive for a few years--provided that we'd have to settle for some disappointing finishes. If the management manages to use the resources efficiently, we should be solidly good in no more than a few years.
The Angels probably can win the division next year, though it won't be nearly as easy, but if things break wrong, it might not even be possible thanks to the Mickey Hatcher school of offense.
Sign Tex- he's the most talented ball player i've ever seen in an Angel uniform, and yes, that inbcludes Nolan Ryan - can't fathom why any one would wana to get rid of him. He's worth every penny.
And of course your bring Vlad back - that's another no-brainer.
I don't know what to say about HK - he's basically costing us this series. I didn't see Rev's Blame of the Game today, and know there's a lot of venom directed at Frankie, but in my mind HK gets the Blame of the Game for the 2nd straight time. I'm afraid we are stuck with him at 2nd and hope he can turn it around starting Sunday.
Macier is missed.
we lost last night because of two bad pitches and luck of clutch hitting, but we are competitive and just aren't getting the breaks.
i'm glad to see them play in Fenway Sunday, honestly. I think we have a better chance there to reverse the momentum than in Anaheim at this point.
ANd henry, we've run our franchise damn well this decade too. I still believe for the next 15 years< i'd rather have HK of Pedroia at 2nd - but i'd really like to see it start NOW.
The future remains unseen, but this year at least, the unfortunate truth remains that Elsbury and Pedroia have been substantially better than Kendrick and Aybar--the rookies/near rookies on both teams. Given that, to the extent he's been playing, Kendrick has been mostly a no-power hacker, I'm getting a bit pessimistic.
Teixeira is probably going to be the toughest decision: he is the most balanced player in Angels uniform now. But being too dependent on any one player--however good he might be--and committing too much resource to him alone is the path to a mismanaged franchise. The key to the 2002 squad was that nobody in the lineup was an easy out--not that there was one really good player that towered over others. That is also why the current Bosox lineup is so dangerous--and why we stranted godawful number of baserunners.
Of course, that's a lot easier said than done: is Figgins an automatic out? is Napoli? Well, they had been playing as if they are in the playoffs, but we know that they "really aren't" and that's really the frustrating part. But depth provides potential solution to these problems: You are probably right that not having Izturis is bigger than it might seem. Having three startable middle infielders (or, generally, decent mix-and-match bats off the bench to spell the bottom of the order batters) gives a bit of insurance, to make sure that the bottom of the order don't make outs too automatically.
In terms of FA strategy, I think, the solution should be exactly the opposite of what people seem to be thinking. The starting pitching is ok or better: assuming Escobar makes it back (I'm not counting on this....), we should have 5 better than average (or better) starters. But the bullpen is looking thin and the bench needs good solid hitters who can sub for whoever is not hitting. In the short term, we don't need Sabbathia or whoever: we need good role players.
Of course, in the long term, perhaps we might consider AAA team outside PCL? (is it even allowed?) or...do whatever is necessary to quit being hacktastic.
Yes, at this point Pedroia has out played HK. But I'm gonna stick with HK for another two years before i hand over the AL 2nd base all-star the next decade to Boston. I'm hoping HK is just rusty for now, and his problems have been due to inconsistent play due to injuries. yes, the proof is on the diamond, and no one is talking HK as an MVP candidate.
And i've stated before Sabathia should be targetted - you can't have too much pitching and Escobar won't be ready to start the season.
i still think we have a championship club right now, but have failed bercause HK has not played to his potential.
If we had built a more balanced team--both in personnel and in skill sets--I'd wager that we wouldn't be having this exchange now. The bottom line, both our exp last few years and the A's experience when they were competitive, is that one dimensional teams have trouble winning championships--even if the dimensions may differ. Patience and three run homer didn't work for the A's--by itself anyways--and hacking the ball for a bunch of singles doesn't work for us either. The management has to focus on better balance.