The Angels schedule in May was just brutal. Both World Series contestants from last year, a road trip through Houston and Boston, and a squeezed in double header on what was supposed to be the lone off day of a home stand.
What the butt kicking the Angels took in May did was drop our odds of making the playoffs to 10%. So while the season isn’t done yet, a quick turnaround needs to happen.
The good news is that the schedule in June is much more manageable. Will the Angels take advantage of the next few weeks or are they simply going to butter the cup?
Want a little inside info? Well you might have noticed David Fletcher heating up quite a bit this last week. In talking with a close source of mine, the infielder’s hip had really been bothering him for some time but he is the ultimate gamer and tried to play through it. David got some solid treatment the first few games of the previous home stand and the hip started feeling much better between treatment and rest. We can expect to see the Fletch we all know and love from this point forward.
We are just over two weeks into the 6-8 week recovery time for Mike Trout who shed his walking boot yesterday.
It’s been awhile since we had some Trout porn. Here’s Hunter Pence explaining why he considers Trout to be the GOAT.
Coming hard for Trout’s annual MVP love is Shohei Ohtani. As much as he’s the story in MLB he may not be getting as much love as he deserves.
ESPN lists Shohei as the best thing in baseball last May.
And Shohei’s greatness poses a bit of a problem for the coaching staff in monitoring the rest of both Ohtani and the rest of the guys in the rotation.
Forbes steals from us, so let’s link them. In the search for comparable players to Ohtani there’s only one name: Babe Ruth.
My little rant here: Babe Ruth played in the weakest era in baseball history. I appreciate him for growing the game, but the average player in his day wouldn’t crack a AA roster today. If Ohtani is a unicorn in today’s game, with integration, worldwide talent, and proper minor leagues to develop that talent, he’d be an absolute monster playing in Ruth’s day.
But, speaking of Ruth, he is a titanic figure in baseball and one of his baseball cards sold for $6 million.
What if the Angels don’t go on a hot streak during this softer schedule? Well we look to the farm. Amazingly most of TT’s studs are pitchers. Pitching is definitely well ahead of hitting in the minors but we’re three weeks in. Hitters should be finding their timing. The longer this holds up, the more real it becomes.
Kyle Tyler even won Pitcher of the Week in AA. Tyler comes from a Big 12 school and features three solid pitches. The Trash Pandas definitely have an intriguing rotation to follow.
Of course the big name on the farm is Jo Adell. When will he be ready for the big stage?
In that same link there’s news that Dylan Bundy has been dealing with a foot injury that might be affecting his location.
Fangraphs takes a look at home run rates by ballpark. There’s some interesting data on the average exit velocity change at Angels Stadium this year vs. 2019 considering the new ball is supposedly deadened.
Alex Yarbough pitched a complete game for Tampa Bay, the first time in 731 games the Rays had a complete game.
If an on field collision isn’t a big enough injury risk, how about a scuffle in the dugout? Things are getting a little nutty in SD.
Mariners centerfielder Kyle Lewis will undergo surgery and might not be back this year.
So, is it just my imagination, or has The Athletic stopped covering the Angels?
SB Nation has upped their coverage of the team, so that’s been nice
Yes, ever since Fabian Ardaya became the Dodgers beat writer, they have not replaced him yet.
I absolutely love The Athletic and think that some of their best work is in the hockey and soccer domains, not to mention the cool concept pieces they have for all different sports, but I’m not going to lie, it’s extremely disappointing.
I cancelled my subscription. This was a slap in the face of all Angel fans. Unfortunately my Subscription doesn’t expire until February of 2022 so i really showed them.
Thanks, H.T. I was wondering about that. If it weren’t for the Trojan football coverage, I’d cancel them right now.
Pretty much. Sucks.
Still have solid boxing coverage and some old school Steelers guys but I’m disappointed.
meanwhile, in SLC news, Adell was 3 for 5 last night with a single, a double, and a triple. His average is still too low, in the .250s and he does that silly stutter step approaching third base on his HRs. The good news is he’s done that often. Marsh hasn’t been playing, either due to injury or a .183 batting average. New Q still has a 0.00 Triple A ERA but walked 3 in his inning and a third last night. Stefanic is still hitting but, I see, it’s all singles.
and it’s got to be weird for Butera to be playing at that level at age 37. Same sort of thing for Jon Jay.
Looks like Adell and Marsh are the two youngest Bees. Oh, I missed this yesterday. Bemboom down, CRod up.
Stefanic David Fletcher 2.0?
…To stop striking out in over one third of your AB’s Jo
Keep raising that trade value Adell!
It looks like, after a couple innings of Duggar, we get to face Hector Santiago. Shohei versus the curse of the lefty.
but you have to look at human evolution and training. If Ruth played today he’d be 6’6”, all muscle, and with today’s ball would hit 90 HRs. Those “AA” hitters of that day would be similarly better and would, in fact, be major leaguers now. Well….some of them. As mentioned, we have no limits on who can play so, at a guess, half of them would be up, half would be in the minors.
Jesse Owens could run 100 meters in 10.2 seconds. That has been beaten by high schoolers. Are you going to say Jesse Owens would be beaten by kids? If he’d been born into this era he’d be bigger, stronger, train differently and likely record Bolt-like times.
And go backwards, too. Today’s players, if born way back then, would be smaller, have to work in the winter at odd jobs, they wouldn’t be training during the off-season, only getting into shape at spring training.
For sure an integrated, open MLB in the 20s would have been stronger. On the other hand, with football and basketball being so popular with kids now, fewer are following a baseball career. It could be argued that today’s brand is the weakest it’s been in the last 50 years. We see and comment on a lack of fundamentals.
I’d dock the numbers from the 20s and 30s a little because of the color barrier but if you look at some of the white stars of the early 40s like Musial and Williams their stats hardly change post 1947. I figure Ruth would have been like that if baseball had been open in his day.
Single Best Work you have written, read it twice so I could think clearly about what you wrote and I totally agree.
I’ve been telling my father this for decades, he never listened. Going to read him your post today, to bad he’s now losing his hearing.
Sports equipment, look at the shoes they wore! Pharmaceuticals both legal and illegal.
Nutrition could be lumped into training, Sports medicine, for longevity and optimal physical abilities. Technology, video, training equipment, the Trevor Bauer affect. Improvement in Travel.
I disagree with the idea that today’s game is the weakest. Even though the number of MLB teams has almost doubled for the pre-1960 era (can you believe he Angels have been I the AL for half it’s existence?!?) and many American kids don’t play baseball, I think international growth plus shear population growth makes it more likely better players are playing now. USA is more than doubled its population to over 330 million and countries that play a lot of baseball doubles that figure again.
Not sure why auto correct changes “its” to “it’s”—that makes it auto incorrect instead
Ummmmmm ice cream sandwich
Mint, Chocolate, Cappuccino or the Original Vanilla?
Definitely. We’ve doubled our population and added talent from baseball playing countries around the world.
That talent is then sifted through layer after layer of amateur and minor leagues to ensure the absolute best reach MLB.
It’s night and day better that it was a century ago.
You definitely hit on one possibility. With access to modern training and development, Ruth might be just as good in today’s competition as he was compared to his colleagues back then.
On the other hand, based on other aspects of his reputation, he might also have been another Josh Hamilton minus the child abuse.
Yes, he only had hot dogs and alcohol to contend with.
The path to the majors is dramatically harder now. Guys in Ruth’s age didn’t have to fight through 5 layers of minor leagues. Or even one. A tryout and a good training camp and you were in.
The best college programs were Ivy League and the best players went to more lucrative Wall Street jobs. So it’s not like MLB was attracting the best talent then.
The median talent level was the lowest ever. As was the floor. The fact about a quarter of them were replaced once integration took root proves a quarter of them weren’t MLB caliber.
The median and floor levels rose dramatically in the 50s due to integration and established feeder clubs.
Here is my summary of the Angels problems:
1. Getting home a runner from 3B with less than 2 outs is an adventure and usually a failure;
2. Angels pitching does not know the definition of a shut-down inning. How many times does the team score runs only to see runs surrendered in the next frame?;
3. The Angels in general cannot seem to hit lefties;
4. The Angels turn pitchers they have not seen into Cy-Rookies.
These 4 basic problems lead to inconsistency and the inability to put together a long winning streak. In all honesty, I don’t understand it – particularly #s 1 and 2 as they seem to come from a pack of focus, drive and determination. This team is talented enough to overcome these if they really wanted to. But I just don’t see that fire.
Personally, I don’t think it is a lack of fire. On the pitching side, particularly #2, I see a lack of an organizational philosophy that colors our approach.
It is too bad that things with Callaway turned out the way they did because his pitching philosophy WOULD have helped our staff.
We walk WAY too many guys, and consequently when our pitchers do give up HR’s they are usually 2 run or 3 run HR’s. Of course most of our HR’s are solo shots because our opponents are smart enough not to walk our hitters (unless it is an intentional walk).
It is hard to win a game when you surrender even one 3 run HR. We saw that last night.
I don’t usually get angry if our pitcher gives up a solo HR, especially if he is challenging the hitter with his best pitch. We don’t do that often enough.
What I HATE is walking guys, especially leading off an inning.
Yes – walks are a huge problem and fall squarely into #2 on the list. But isn’t walking a batter related to a loss of focus? If you’re an MLB pitcher, you know how to throw strikes and you practice your mechanics daily. So falling behind 2-0 and 3-1 consistently seems to me potentially related to the brain rather than ability level.
Have to disagree with this. Too many current MLB pitchers don’t know how to throw strikes! The total emphasis on “velocity” and “spinning the ball” is the curse of pitching. Just as “three true outcomes” has debased the art of hitting.
So you don’t think an MLB pitcher can generally throw a strike when he wants to. For example- while warming up in the bullpen- you don’t think they are throwing strikes? If they weren’t, the bullpen coach wouldn’t let them in the game.
Game conditions are like any stressful situation. You need to be focused but also calm. I keep coming back to the lack of focus as the culprit. For example- how many times have we seen Angel pitchers lose focus after the first two outs in an inning and then walk a batter extending the inning resulting in higher pitch counts and two out rallies. That is an issue of lack of focus in my opinion.
To my earlier point, this is where coaching comes in. With a pitching coach who constantly preaches challenging hitters and throwing strikes I think that problem gets alot better.
Clearly Wise is not doing that. In fact, I am not sure what he is doing at all.
`yes. Coaching is a big part of this. Agree.
So Wise is really unwise?
To play devil’s advocate re foreign substances, teams have already decided that velocity and spin are king. They’re going to keep going after these guys. What if all banning foreign substances (for real) does is make pitchers more wild, thus putting hitters at risk? Think Genesis Cabrera-Bryce Harper
hey Manfred! Here’s something for you to actually do!
I know I’ve seen pitchers pick something off their uniform and toss it while walking back to the dugout…I’m positive I saw Bundy do it on camera over a month ago. Could have been anything, could be a piece of dried nasal mucus or me not seeing the complete act tossing something from their mouth. With only 1 camera angle and cutting to a commercial, you don’t know what you’re seeing.
Would be great news if we found out, for whatever reason the Angels don’t do this. Would explain our suckage….
Lack of control? Maybe they will need to throw 93 or 94, instead of 97, 96 with less spin.
Yes in an ideal world. But do you think teams will go for that? I doubt it. They’ll go for the 97+ and hope that they “find” control somehow.
Same thing with the juiced ball. MLB dejuiced it in the hope that hitters would stop trying for home runs. No, hitters are trying just the same, only fly balls aren’t leaving the yard at the same rate.
I have a small worry the same will be true with this foreign substances stuff.
Are teams pushing this (of course they know)? My guess 100% by individual pitchers / pitching staffs. Obviously we had an issue with a past Angels employee running a “pitching aid” business in our clubhouse. Again, who knew and what would be very interesting.
The vast majority are participating in some form of cheating in all high level sports. That includes pharmaceuticals. The players are always ahead of the detectors and testing.
Everyone complains about Boston fans, but I wonder which other team fans do people like? I find when the Angels play just about anyone, I do not care for the opposing fans.
Living in SF, for example, during the WS, I found the Beat LA chants and brawls whenever they saw an Angels fan through their drunk eyes to be loathsome. I kept myself safe by not wearing Angels colors and not cheering our teams success. I did step in to help Tim Salmons sister and small children when she was being bothered by Frisco’s finest. I have never returned to that stadium.
Oakland’s fans are less violent but the goofy banging on drums and single individuals audibly repeating the same lame thing over and over to be extremely annoying. Fortunately, their games are sparsely attended, so there’s that. I feel sorry for them having to attend games in that joke of a stadium but sorry for us they field better teams with no resources.
Skewed priorities, sure, but I think the common theme you’ll find in all these stadium kerfuffles is alcohol, in my opinion.
Interesting that airlines are feeling the need to ban alcohol on flights now because it fuels so much incivility.
Liquid-courage/stupidity. I rarely drink anymore, a beer here and there is about it, and I am definitely not a tee-totaler, but the amateurs that cannot consume alcohol without becoming an idiot ruin the whole thing for everyone else.
My town’s NY-Penn league stadium was the only park that did not have beer sales. Now we have no MILB A team, and instead a college league like Cape Cod. And they started selling beer, perhaps too late?
News flash: Other team’s fans hate Angels fans, a lot.
Why? are they saying we don’t lose with dignity?
There’s a segment of the population that just lashes out at the Rally Thong.
It’s jealousy, obviously.
Alcohol is a huge part of the problem but certain fan bases are just insufferable. Boston, Philly, and a considerable segment of LA.
Thing is, I have a few dear friends who are black. I love their sons like nephews. I’ve taken them to Angels games, Dodgers games, we’re heading to SD. I know I might run into a drunk idiot. Might.
But there’s no way I’d take them to Boston. We’d definitely run into drunk idiots and we’ll like hear N bombs thrown our way.
I’m short, bad behavior happens everywhere to some degree but with Boston it is the rule, not the exception.
Angels always look crappy, regardless of how bad the teams are they play against. The latest evidence is last nights game. Canning reinforced the idea there is literally no starting pitching aside from our All Star DH, and we need a total rebuild once the current owner, GM, and manager are gone. Unfortunately, this won’t happen in my lifetime or Mike Trouts career. Otherwise, the future looks bright.
Shohei has been in a bit of a slump the last 2+ weeks. Been striking out at home games Ive been to a lot recently too. He’s still amazing, just cooled down right now.
I hear you. At least he’s above league average, unlike the rest.
So you’re the reason for the slump. I knew it!
12 games against good teams (above .500), 11 against crappy teams (below .500) and 3 against the nearly .500 Royals. If they can’t gain some ground this month, stick a fork in them.
Wife is having surgery this morning in Boston so I’m finally doing the Fenway Park tour in about 25 mins. Should be neat.
How fun (not the surgery), enjoy!
It’s also seems like a lot longer than just over two weeks for Trouts injury… as in its been
Best wishes for your wife.
I did the Fenway tour when I was in bahstun. Great time. Chance to see the ballpark without all the massholes.
I rocked my Torii Hunter jersey, knowing how much the Fenway crowd loves black players.
I actually like the ballpark. It is the people who populate it that I despise.
Preferable to BoSox fans
Stadium full of feral swine is preferable.
Ballpark is fine. Seats facing the wrong direction, weird. Fans, pretty dumb around where I was sitting. None seemed to be paying much attention, and the common subject of conversations was when do we leave. Is it too soon? Don’t whant to leave too late.
There was an almost fight between a dad and his kids, “Sit down dad, or we will leave you here.” And some local punks that seemed to have gotten into the game for free in the later innings, and moved up to the lower seats. The were cussing up a storm on the phone calling friends over to sit in good seats. Just terrible, and they pissed off the dad so much he tried to grab one of them, but his kids were all cool about it, and made him calm down.
All in that respectful Boston twang.
My wife was closer, and I asked her to change seats with me. She refused. She knew I would have tag teamed with the dad, and tapped some punks out.
At first I thought you wrote “My Wife was a closer” So I have to ask: Can She Pitch?
They love em like we do here. After all, Garret Anderson (who last time I saw him is not white) is the very definition here of… lazy. Stereotype much?
Being GA is a style. I wouldn’t call it lazy or necessarily negative. Erstad had a way of playing that made the every day fan like him a bit more, because he played like they wanted to play. GA was efficient and consistent.
Any frustration someone might express over his style of play has to be rooted someone else.
Lazy has been applied to any and every minority race through the years.
I don’t know that You’re right that He’s probably still is not White. But I’m just too G.A. to check
It’s a joke. MSM and others would comment that he didn’t hustle on the field, when we all knew he just didn’t need to make too much of an effort to get things done.
When you’re that good, everything looks effortless
Exactly. GA was smooth, cool. He made the plays but he didn’t look like he was all out.
Perhaps the MSM was falling into a stereotype (every black guy is athletic, every whitey is a grinder) but here’s it’s a joke mocking the MSM.