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Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Pickoff Moves

A Fourth Of July Worth Remembering: Angels 5, Tigers 1

The Angels bid adieu happily if perhaps a bit wistfully to interleague play. They took four of six from crosstown rivals the Dodgers, though despite my misgivings and the apparent at-large misgivings of Dodger fans overall, Chavez Ravine matches still outdrew those at Angels Stadium, 127,852 to 126,021. The difference is quite small, but still says something about the durability of that contract with the fans.

So, back to the American League for the balance of the season, and to the out-of-division opponent of the moment, the Detroit Tigers. The headline on this game was principally about bookended Torii Hunter and Vernon Wells solo homers (in the first and eighth innings respectively), which leads me to recalling a piece I can't now put a finger to in which Wells vowed that his post-injury numbers would be far better than his early struggles. And just so: he's hitting .264/.280/.549 since his return; while you like the slugging average, the on-base-percentage is disturbingly low, even for someone who can knock the ball over the fence. By contrast, Garret Anderson, whom I and others have slagged for his inability to take a walk, never posted an OBP under .308 as an Angel, averaging .324 for his Halo career. Still, it represents a sizable improvement for Wells to be contributing, and for now, he has postponed the day when Tony Reagins will have to walk the plank, and Arte will cut him loose as an expensive failed experiment.

(Incidentally, an alert reader noticed that the Blue Jays pulled the plug on one of the returns for Wells, designating Juan Rivera for assignment on Saturday. The move worked out pretty well for Toronto, as callup Travis Snider shattered John Lackey and the Red Sox, going 3-for-5 with two RBIs. My Sawx-loving Facebook friends are now well past disgust and into talk of DFAing Lackey, who has a grand total of four quality starts all year, out of 13 attempts. The talking heads on MLB Network's Quick Pitch program last night were saying his 7.47 ERA is in historic company in terms of pitchers being given the most rope and still coming up short. As upset as I was at the time that he was allowed to leave, the injury risk had to also be there, and I must say I'm glad someone else has to deal with that. Now, about Vernon Wells ... Rivera still has a higher OPS+. Embarrassing.)

Have I mentioned the Angels are tied for first place in the division? No?

ESPN BoxAngels recap

Frank Goes After Bud: Discoveryrama!

Not too surprising, given Frank's decreasing lack of options. And who knows but that other teams are run this badly (I have always imagined it at least a possibility) but that Frank's case, being more heavily leveraged, merely came a-cropper first. I plan on pouring a nice glass of pinot grigio and enjoying the show from a distance.

Roster Moves

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Arguably, the attendance figures (a difference of only 600 fans per game) show the relative strength of the Angels as a draw, given that the Dodgers overall average attendance is lower than the Angels'. Think of it this way: more Angels fans were drawn to Dodger Stadium, than Dodger fans to the Big A.
You are correct, sir: the Angels are outdrawing the Dodgers, 1,636,546 to 1,607,623, and this despite the fact that the Dodgers have had more home games (44 vs. 42 for the Halos)!

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