Sunday, April 05, 2009
Pickoff Moves, Tapping My Foot Impatiently For Opening Day Edition
Last Waltz Before The Big Dance: Angels 5, Padres 4Two shocking things: Kelvim Escobar pitching at all, and not only that, being damned effective. Sean O'Sullivan pitching three and a third innings of one-run ball despite seven hits.
Something else shocking: Robb Quinlan's halfway-up-the-left-field-foul-pole home run. He's had five in spring training, and there's no reason to think it will continue.
Isn't he a truant? Who the hell invited Eddie "Braces" McKiernan? And how did he end up with a 1.69 ERA in spring training? (And don't the umpires have to suppress an itch to card him every time he takes the mound?)
Winner, Big Gulp Award: Another horrifying inning by alleged closer Brian Fuentes. In theory, the big news with him is the steady improvement in his BB/9 numbers over the course of the last five seasons, but I have a feeling — and this mainly comes from watching him in opposition to the Dodgers — that he's actually been pretty good numerically should be enough to quell the roiling feelings of dread his 8.22 spring ERA inspires.
Thanks Kid, Now Here's Your Ticket To Salt Lake Awards: Bobby Wilson for his walkoff hit; Eddie McKiernan for his surprisingly good spring pitching; and most of all, Brandon Wood, who will get an extended look at the first injury, meaning most likely Erick Aybar or Chone Figgins.
Final Tuneup: Brewers 7, Dodgers 4I would have thought the Dodgers would have been able to hold on to a 4-0 lead after five, but with the competition levels so wildly varied and random, it's hard to say. The Brewers pretty much knocked Ramon Troncoso and Eric Threets around in late innings, throwing the Dodgers for the loss.
Interesting odd telecast moment: At no time did the camera linger on Juan Pierre after he threw any caught ball back to the infield. I wonder if this isn't to spare him or Ned Colletti embarrassment.
Nice To See That's Working Award: Clayton Kershaw went three hitless innings.
Baseball-Reference Switches To The New FormatAn' it's all purdy.
Angels, Dodgers Roster Cuts
- Angels: catchers Bobby Wilson and Ryan Budde; infielders Brandon Wood, Sean Rodriguez, and Matt Brown; and OF Reggie Willits. (Isn't this Willits' last option year?)
Jason Bulger made the 25-man as the last player.
- Dodgers: James McDonald, as expected, has been named the team's fifth starter. "The Dodgers sent shortstop Chin-lung Hu, pitcher Eric Stults, catcher A.J. Ellis and outfielders Jason Repko and Xavier Paul to Triple-A Albuquerque. And in a surprise move, they assigned non-roster invitee Jeff Weaver to Triple-A and retained left-hander Will Ohman, who was expected to receive work in the Minors before being called up." The Dodgers have yet to announce their 25-man roster.
LAT Angels, Dodgers PreviewsAngels:
How about a hitter like Teixeira?Dodgers:
"That's my point," Hunter said. "Big bats aren't always the answer. If something is missing, please tell me, because we had the big bat last year, and we didn't win it all.
"The chicks-dig-the-long-ball era is over. You want athletes, guys who can play and stay healthy, and that's what we have."
Outstanding defense has been an Angels hallmark in recent years, but this team does not appear as good. Only three regulars, Hunter, shortstop Erick Aybar and Figgins, are potential game-changers on defense.
The last time the Angels had a subpar defensive team? In 2006, the only year they failed to make the playoffs since 2004.
Ramirez will turn 37 next month but looks as if he's trying to do everything he can to sustain the excitement that reverberated through Chavez Ravine last year, showing no signs that his inability to get the four-year, $100-million contract he wanted had turned him back into the malcontent who forced the Boston Red Sox to trade him.
If Kuo or Wade goes down, the Dodgers could be in serious trouble. There isn't enough talent on this roster to replace them.
What they do have are four solid starters. But, as is the case with the bullpen, there are concerns about health and the lack of quality experienced arms behind them.
Ramirez alone can't make up for the expected shortcomings of the pitching staff, making it necessary that the group of Martin and Co. continue to make strides.
Look for the Dodgers to try to trade for a player in his walk year from a non-contender trying to unload a salary. Erik Bedard, a known Torre favorite, and Jarrod Washburn of the Seattle Mariners are possibilities. A more expensive option could be Roy Halladay of Toronto, who is under contract for 2010 for $15.75 million.
He outplayed Wood this Spring, won the Fred Haney award, and was the last cut.
They really need to let them both play, but on the other hand, it's going to be tight with Oakland this year and they can't afford to break them, especially when Figgy is rolling along.