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Friday, April 24, 2009

Pickoff Moves

UTK Quicky

From today's UTK:
Darren Oliver (5 DXL)
It's bad enough that Oliver is penciled in as a starter. It's worse when he can't even take the ball. It's been that kind of season for the Angels, unfortunately. Oliver is suffering from stiffness in his pitching shoulder, which I guess is better than most expected from him considering where he was just a few years ago. With Ervin Santana and John Lackey still away for awhile, the Angels are trying to patch through with guys like Oliver. Without him, they're down deep into the ninth and 10th slots of their rotation. Nick Adenhart's death hangs over all of this, and while the quick fix would be to sign Mark Mulder or Pedro Martinez, I'm wondering if there might not be a more creative solution. Could a fantasy-style "pitch-and-ditch" strategy work (and could Salt Lake keep playing if the big-league club tried it?) Could a bullpen game be worked into the rotation? The next few weeks will be interesting to watch, since no manager has more job security than Mike Scioscia.
See below on that subject...

Brandon Wood Watch, Day 3, But This Time A Win: Angels 10, Tigers 5

Let's get something straight: there's no good reason to keep Brandon Wood out of the lineup even though the Halos finally won their ... sixth game. It was a fairly ordinary game up until the seventh — save, of course, for Matt Palmer's season debut, a heartwarming story whose happy conclusion willl no doubt will get him additional playing time, given the alternatives. I didn't see the early innings, but if the nearby reports of his deer-in-the-headlights first were correct, Palmer at least settled down and gave the Angels far more innings than they had any right to expect.

Figgins dropped a brilliant and unexpected bunt in the seventh, an event which garnered a lot of attention, but the inning's real spark came from the leadoff hit by Gary Matthews, Jr. and Howard (no more Howie — I believe that's the way he wants it now) Kendrick's reach on Adam Everett's misplay at short; things really started getting out of control for the Tigers when Jeff Mathis got an infield single followed by a two-base error (so it was recorded, anyway, though Mathis ended up at second) on Brandon Inge's wild throw.

The next inning was one of extreme frustration for me; Scioscia let Palmer load the bases with nobody out. Now, never mind that it was clear he didn't have anything after walking the second batter he faced (pinch-hitter Jeff Larish); Scioscia felt it was more important to keep the bullpen out of the game as long as possible. Maybe so, but given the shaky nature of the starter on the mound, it's a six of one, half a dozen of the other situation.

Luckily, the Angels wrestled a win out of it. It just bugs me to think they'll need a five-run lead to win a ballgame because of the leakiness of the bullpen.

Yahoo boxAngels recap

Dodgers Salvage A Shutout Win: Dodgers 2, Astros 0

Really a great game, with tight pitching all the way through, for both sides; Wandy Rodriguez, who looks godawful on the road, limited the Dodgers to a pair of runs, but Chad Billingsley was better than that, allowing only three hits through 7.1 IP. While Jonathan Broxton had a nervous eighth and ninth that included a hit batter, the Stros weren't able to get any traction and that was that.

Yahoo boxDodgers recap

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The only thing that bothers me about the Wood situation is that it's coming on the heels of him missing time for the funerals. So he plays four games, misses four games, plays a couple games, and sits for three more. He needs to be in a lineup somewhere, especially this early in the season.

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