Today is Arte Moreno’s Birthday! As is Mark Gubicza’s. And my Dad’s. They would want a win with their cake but alas that didn’t happen. Just sour grapes all around.
Patrick Sandoval has yet to get his first win as an Angel. He was up versus Clayton Kershaw today, and he needed to be perfect. He wasn’t. The leadoff man got on base nearly every inning and while he did make it to the 7th inning, giving up a home run to Bellinger isn’t a winning formula.
Not that the defense helped. Bobbles plagued the infield all game, and runs scored due to errors and failed double play opportunities. Sandoval left the game down 4-1 with the only offense being two walks and a home run by Anthony Rendon vs. Kershaw.
Jacob Barnes relived Sandoval in the 7th after the latter gave up a leadoff double. the thirty year old relief pitcher did little reliving as a run scored anyway. Giving Kershaw a 5-1 lead with so few pitches into the 7th is just too easy for him.
Yet the Angels decided to make it even easier for Kershaw as the bullpen gave up even more runs in the 8th. Bellinger learning to hit Angels lefty pitching is not a good sign as he went yard twice in the game.
In fact it was too easy. Kershaw ended up getting pulled and didn’t pitch in the 8th despite not even reaching 90 pitches. The 7-1 lead was handed to one of the best bullpens in MLB. To the Angels credit they did score 3 off them.
But hey, at least it wasn’t a shutout. Angels face the Dodgers two more times this weekend with Andrew Heaney facing Walker Buehler tomorrow and Julio Teheran vs. Dustin May on Sunday.
This will explain the Llama in Arte’s office in the morning.
Upton not in lineup. I’m like….
The eighth inning of this contest highlighted one of the most frustrating things about the modern game. With no outs and Pujols on first base, Upton works a 2-2 count, and then Baez lays a lazy change up, straight as an arrow well into the upper away quadrant of the strike zone, and Upton just watches it and turns to walk back into the dugout having been struck out.
The next batter is Stassi, and he works a full count, but on the seventh pitch of the AB, Baez floats an 85 MPH change up that almost catches the heart of the strike zone, and he does the same thing as Upton. Maddon needs to bring back the two-strike approach to the Angel offense. Taking a strikeout because you were expecting a fastball or because the pitch wasn’t in the exact location you had set your sights on is costing the Angels wins.
And a few batters later, Tommy La Stella proves my point. Floro is pitching now, and he gets a quick 0-2 count on La Stella. The next pitch is a change up, in the corner of strike zone, and why not — that has been working great to get the Angel batters out so far, but does La Stella just watch the ball float by him and take the third out of the inning? No, he flings his bat at the pitch and gets weak contact, but just enough to bounce the ball through the infield for a single that scores Albert and Adell and sends Fletch to third base.
If Maddon would insist that his players learn how to bunt in case a situation calls for it, learn how to hit the opposite way to beat a shift or execute a hit-and-run, and use a two-strike approach to avoid unnecessary strikeouts, the Angels offense would win more games for us.
I sort of agree with you on the two strike thing. This is all about approach, . Even if one is more or less a guess hitter, that approach can be changed with two strikes (just look to put the balk in play as opposed to “driving” it)and thus cut way down on strikeouts. It would cut down on the types of AB’s you described.
On the other hand, the Angels lead the AL in HR’s, and that is almost always accompanied by high K rates of your batters. You pretty much can’t have one without the other.
This game and this season showed why even with Anthony Rendon and Dylan Bundy that this isn’t a very good team. Mike Trout, David Fletcher and ?………….for the 2010’s decade. Sorry Billy Eppler has way too many whiffs as our GM than HR’s. Two third’s of the Dodgers OF is two All-Stars who were later round finds ( Cody Bellinger, and Mookie Betts ). This organization hasn’t had a good player like that since Mike Napoli ( 17th round 2000 ).
Kershaw with a Quality start and the dodgers Offense and people are losing it. I expected this as a loss. Angels will be in the playoffs and that is all that matters.
They have a shot because of the 2020 Covid19 abbreviated season…….but you have to admit that if this was a regular non coronavirus 162 game season we’d be in a lot of trouble. Dylan Bundy notwithstanding the off season was yet a again a pitching bereft of talent ( these guys suck ). BTW for those of us who keep score on scouting and player development only one starter in our infield is homegrown ( David Fletcher )…….everybody else came from elsewhere. This series against the Dodgers and also the A’s and the two Texas teams exposed are awful glaring weakness there. I’m of the opinion is hopefully “Quirky Joe” is the only guy in the room Arte will listen to and quit being a cheapskate.
Lol what. This team is nowhere near going to the playoffs. There might be no way they avoid the cellar of the AL. Definitely in the hunt for last in the AL West. This is how Arte/Eppler get a free pass. This is a very bad team with 3 good players. But Rendon cost the team a few games already with bad defense and all those RBI opportunities the first week. This team buried itself with the opening week
Agree. The first week of the season is crucial; even more so in a shortened season.
I appreciate your optimism, but they just aren’t very good
So – I’m going to say it. My least favorite player on this team by FAR is Upton. Wasted at bat after wasted at bat. The worst part about it is the guy has skills. But he has put those away and is collecting a paycheck. Bench him. He does less harm that way.
Get Goodwin in RF, and play Adell in LF. Every AB Adell gets is serving a purpose in his development. Continuing to pencil in Upton defies logic.
I actually thought Sandoval pitched quite well tonight against an elite offensive team. Two of those runs were due to Rendon’s flub on an otherwise textbook double play. Another was the result of an unconsistent and pinched strike zone.
Thought Sandoval made some excellent pitches, and was quite efficient through six. Better defense and blue affording him Kershaw’s strike zone…he probably would have gotten through seven with 2 ERs.
He was very surprising and nearly had a quality start. Was not what I expected.
I too felt that the strike zone was lop-sided in Kershaws favor
I agree – Sandoval looked good. He was actually throwing the FB a few ticks higher than I remember previously.
Imagine getting paid to tweet the most obvious shit to thousands of people.
I wonder if it eats at him that everyone knows he’s a hack.
I don’t mind this one. Eppler needs to be fired yesterday and there needs to be some kind of freaking overhaul. This is a joke. I’m so mad at how shitty this team is. Done after 20 games. In 5 years Eppler can’t even create an average team around Trout.
Things like this will keep coming as long as the Angels keep wasting Trout
He’s Captain Obvious. I’m fine with him posting hack pieces like this as it’s nothing more than getting us another step closer to the post-Eppler era.
What is the one quality required to be an Angels fan?
The misery of having to suffer through lousy Angel seasons is actually not so bad if you were around in 2002 and got to cross “watch your favorite sports team win a championship” off of your bucket list.
Yeah. We’ll always have 2002.
True. But it is kind of pathetic as a fan to keep referencing something that happened twenty years ago to make yourself feel better when your team has sucked for quite awhile.
We need to be more demanding as a fanbase and stop saying “Boy, wasn’t it great in 2002.” It is counterproductive.
I don’t know what’s worse: Tommy La Stela’s defense, Max Stassi’s pitch-framing, or Albert Pujols.
Upton is way worsier because he is only 32! Dude plays way below his skill level. However, as a result of his potential, gets to play despite his -1 WAR. He is still considered in his ‘prime’ by age but seems to have packed it in to count his money. I see no commitment to excellence, no heart – just a guy who actually can play the game but doesn’t care too. I hate players like that. Give me 50 hard working overachievers (like Fletch) instead of a guy with mad skills who underachieves because he doesn’t care to put in the daily work. Angels always seem to have a big underachiever that puts a huge hole in the lineup.
Just to finalize the point, this is what Justin is capable of when he cares (like in a contract year):
“Upton, 30, is coming off a career season in which he batted .273 with a .901 OPS, 35 home runs and 109 RBIs in 152 games between the Tigers and the Angels.”
What tangible evidence is there to show that Justin Upton doesn’t care? It’s not that he’s lackadaisical, he’s just…bad, and on-field body language can be the result of failing to perform. 2019 was the lowest avg exit velocity for him (87.2 mph) since Statcast begun tracking and prior to 2019, he’d never had a wRC+ below average since his rookie season 13 years ago. The last two seasons have seen him strike out easily the most of his career.
We saw him frustrated in the dugout talking to Trout after a missed fly ball a couple games back, and pressing at the plate. If anything, I’d argue that he’s trying to do too much, putting unnecessary stress on himself and contributing to holding him back.
I’m sure he ‘cares’ in the literal meaning of the word. No one likes to flail. But does he care enough to put in thousands of extra reps, commit to getting better and work harder than anyone else? I don’t think he cares to that extent because if he did we would see the results – unless he is done (which I doubt at 32).
Baseball is a tough game. The great players get there due to hard work no matter what their skill level. No one works harder than Trout (except maybe Fletch) in the cage and towards improving his defense. A guy like Upton making $25m a season should take the attitude ‘no one is going to outwork me’. He should lead by example.
So does Upton emotionally ‘care’ meaning he would rather succeed than not – sure. But does he CARE to the extent that he will work harder and do everything it takes to succeed in this tough league? I see no evidence of that.
“But does he CARE to the extent that he will work harder and do everything it takes to succeed in this tough league? I see no evidence of that.”
Of course you don’t see evidence of that, because you can’t. None of us can see that without inside intel and it feels irresponsible to speculate on that without facts.
I’m saying that if in fact he does those things and attempts to work harder than anyone else – then put a fork in him cause he’s done. That could be a reality- his career could in fact be over. You cited statistics that arguably support that.
My premise is that it would be unusual for a 32 year old with the raw talent Upton has to become absolutely futile. And therefore my theory is that he is not working as hard as he needs to in order to maximize his chances at success. I’ve been fortunate enough to witness on a couple of occasions the pregame work that Fletch, Goodwin, Trout and Simmons put in daily in the underground cage. They each push each other and take swing after swing after swing.
Maybe Upton does that work at other times. Maybe he does in fact work hard. But I suspect he is not working as hard as he could to maximize his performance. Why do I say that? Because he is wildly skilled and yet he has sucked for enough time that it’s not a slump. This is a baseball player who is either (1) done or (2) not working hard enough off the field. It’s really one or the other. Baseball is a sport that does not allow for a player to succeed on talent alone. So much work goes into success on the field.
A 32 year old with tons of raw talent and some significant success in the league doesn’t typically just fall apart. It’s usually about not working hard enough in the offseason or off the field. $120 million can do that to a person. So that is the basis of my theory. Is it speculation? Maybe. I’d call it more circumstantial evidence.
So – I’d say the circumstantial evidence leads to one of two conclusions: (1) Upton is done or (2) he’s not working hard enough in the offseason and off the field.
Over the last 80 games, he has played to a -2 WAR.
Projecting out his play this year over a full season would result in a historically awful -8 WAR.
He’s been 3 times worse than Pujols from a WAR perspective.
It’s truly amazing how bad he has been.
Kike Hernandez’s mustache.
What bothers me so much about this team is the lack of heart or urgency they have. The season is basically over and nobody cares. Maddon hasn’t even tried a gimmick. Nobody is fired up on the dugout. Every team is in the same situation of losing time and having no fans. Teams that are supposed to be good are good and the bad teams are bad. We barely have significant injuries. Simmons was average and Ohtani was clearly not ready to pitch. I’m not even sad I’m more angry at how lazy the whole org is.
Arte is getting exactly what he deserves on his bday.
The fans on the other hand? Well, we should expect it by now.
Arte got a shit-burger for dinner?
In a shortened season, with 4 wild card spots, and the improvements we appeared to make this offseason, I’m genuinely shocked by how quickly we’re out of the playoff race.
I agree with this. I can only think it’s due to injuries and a brutal schedule. There are 4 or 5 games that could easily have been won and that would have made all the difference.
BIG weaknesses are Upton, Thais, Ward and Adell. Those at bats are being wasted. Next are Pujol’s and LaStella who are brutally inconsistent and unreliable. Add in a mediocre bullpen. That’s why the team is where it is.