LA Angels Weekend News Crash: What’s Going On?

If you know me in real life you know how much I adore Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” album which turned 50 last month. Beautiful, poignant, relevant to this day, this album has been on my turntable more times than I can count, including as I type this. Theme for the week set, thanks to Marvin.

What’s going on with the Angels? The team has won 11 of the last 16 games to pull within 2 games of .500 and 5.5 games back of a Wild Card.

Last week I said they needed to show us something and they reeled off a 5-2 record. That increased our playoff odds nearly 50%, from 10% to 15% Cue the Jim Carry meme.

7 of the next 10 games are against bottom feeders in Arizona and Detroit. If ever there was a time to make a charge it is now. Hopefully they don’t go full Buttercup.

Of course all of this damage is being done without the help of Mike Trout who is happy with his progress but unsure of his timeline.

Talk about an embarrassment of riches. Mike Trout goes down and we STILL get to watch the best baseball player in the world. I was there Tuesday to watch Ohtani’s longest ever HR live and he’ll take the mound tonight. His walk rate as a pitcher has improved dramatically which could be bad news for the rest of the league.

While Ohtani is walking fewer guys than ever, Alex Cobb is striking out hitters at a higher rate than usual. Is that sustainable? If you don’t have The Athletic, the answer is probably.

Jose Iglesias has looked good at the plate and on defense lately. I’m starting to warm to the idea of extending him for a couple of years and focusing on pitching next off season.

To me this team is night and day different with Max Stassi behind the dish. He came back with a vengeance this week.

What’s going on around baseball? One topic is dominating conversation: sticky stuff.

Fangraphs does its usual excellent work showing how spin rate increases are screwing over hitters. It is crazy to think that the average MLB pitcher now has a spin rate that would be considered elite just three years ago.

If you missed SI’s article from last week, which was linked earlier this week, make sure you read it. That’s the longform piece for this week.

Hitters have mental libraries built up over thousands of pitches seen. When they see a pitch they have about a blink of the eye to decide to swing and where. When that pitch now dips or cuts an extra inch the hitter is screwed.

Just like with steroids the problem is widespread but there are obvious faces. Two of them saw significant drops in spin rate last week after MLB threatened a crackdown. Josh Donaldson doesn’t think that’s a coincidence, and neither do most fans.

Gerrit Cole couldn’t have done a worse job of answering questions about his use of the junk. He then went full Yankee and blamed the scrutiny on the jersey he wears. Don’t forget fellow Yankee Corey Kluber was named by former Angels clubhouse attendant Brian Harkins as a customer of his sticky mix.

Uber douche Trevor Bauer says he wants a level playing field when it comes to enforcement of any new crackdown. In short, he cheated massively to get his new contract and wants his numbers to come to Earth at the same rate relative to his peers so he’s set up for his next one.

Ultimately baseball needs to do something and there are a wide variety of options available: complete ban, pine tar rag near the mound, MLB approved goop, etc. Personally I think a complete ban on stickiness would be so drastic that guys would cheat and nobody would call each other out. MLB approved goop would lead to guys brining whatever they currently use out and saying it is the approved stuff. Give me an out in the open source of tackiness with a complete ban on anything located on the players. I’ll take the pine tar rag near the mound and a quick ejection for anything else found on a player or ball.

Talk about setting himself up, Alex Cobb says it is unfair for pitchers to use the sticky stuff and that he knows pitchers who have elevated their careers doing it. You have to assume a statement like this is made by a guy with no skeletons in his closet or it can really come back to bite.

Taking the brunt of all the sticky stuff are the D’back’s hitting coaches, including former Angels hitting coach Eric Hinske.

What’s Going On down of the farm?

Make sure to catch Turk’s Teeth’s recap each week. Some interesting arms might be emerging. It posts each Monday and will be pinned to the front page for two days.

Hope you enjoy the links. Please post anything I missed down below.

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Twebur
Trusted Member
7 days ago

One of Jerry’s Kids.

“Keynan Middleton’s optioning is at least a mild surprise to me, since I didn’t actually realize he had options remaining. That said, he has had two rough outings in a row, failing to record an out in Anaheim in a non-save opportunity and then yielding a two-run bomb to Detroit on Wednesday. Ordinarily, one wouldn’t think a couple of poor outings would banish a man to Tacoma when he’s otherwise been a stable and veteran presence in the bullpen, so the automatic suspicion is that the Mariners see something else troubling here that they want him to work through in a less pressure-filled situation.”

https://www.lookoutlanding.com/2021/6/11/22530124/mariners-activate-justin-dunn-kendall-graveman-option-keynan-middleton-dfa-yacksel-rios

Last edited 7 days ago by Twebur
Mas_Angeles
Member
7 days ago

In honor of ManBearFred and a new Netflix series, I humbly submit that other version of “What’s goin’ on”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZ5LpwO-An4

Eric_in_Portland
Super Member
7 days ago

is that ad part of the screen grab or did we pick up a sponsor?

Eric_in_Portland
Super Member
7 days ago
Reply to  Jeff Joiner

ok, thanks. But I, for one, would not object if we *did* get sponsorship.

Eric_in_Portland
Super Member
7 days ago

CBS Sports has a pointless mock draft that suggests we’d pick a toolsy high school shortstop at #9. Why? Because in the past we’ve drafted toolsy players. This is the new regime though. Perry’s gonna go for pitching!!!! I hope.

Eric_in_Portland
Super Member
7 days ago
Reply to  Jeff Joiner

Kumar Rocker had a great outing today, 7 2/3, 3 hits, no runs, 11 Ks. Too bad we’re 9th and not 5th or so.

DMAGZ13
Trusted Member
7 days ago

This team has to real off another 7-3 stretch to complete a first run to reset the season. At some point any playoff team needs at least one monster run and the play .500 ball. But since our Angels basically fell like potatoes after the first week, then they need at least 2 major runs to even consider contention.

In a best case scenarios they could be like 3-4 games above .500 at the ASB and like 4 games out of a WC

But most likely they are a couple games under .500 and Perry doesn’t sell off his assets

Last edited 7 days ago by DMAGZ13
nishiogawakun
Trusted Member
8 days ago

I may be wrong, but I honestly feel that they should go back to the way the rule is currently written. No sticky stuff. Let’s play ball!

Eric_in_Portland
Super Member
7 days ago
Reply to  Jeff Joiner

it’s like the spitball in the early part of the 20th century.

Fansince1971
Super Member
8 days ago

First 1/3 of 2021 there have been 6 no-hitters. To me that’s the equivalent of the 50 HR mark being crushed routinely in the early 2000s. You just knew something fishy was up.

eyespy
Super Member
8 days ago

All of them no-hitters made the luster of the feat fade, so ManBearFred is making it look like he is doing something. Memo in the clubhouse? Maybe a few of the lesser guys get caught(Just like PED’s), hmm? Pitchers stop using the goop until they do again, in the postseason.

Fansince1971
Super Member
8 days ago

Great write up Jeff by the way.

GrandpaBaseball
Trusted Member
8 days ago

Have a great day and enjoy your weekend.  😄   👍 

Marcotor
Member
7 days ago

GB the OCR had an interesting article that included a former Angel few but us oldsters will remember. Roger Repoz. Linkie: These Orange County guys help neighbors hang American flags

GrandpaBaseball
Trusted Member
8 days ago

Now that the rest of Baseball has picked up the phone and listened to my message that this starting staff should be worthy of some praise the fact they may lead us to the playoffs is being heard.

Sit down for this, Hean Dog has a winning record and add to that Canning, Ohtani and Cobb along with it may be that Sandoval and Bundy may have pitching figured out we don’t look so bad. Inglesias has turned the corner. CRod has re-entered the picture too.

The offense is staring to be consistent and the fielding in the outfield is a huge improvement that even JUp has joined in the fun.

We all know that Fletcher is the glue for the infield, I am waiting for him to turn the corner and really take off with the bat and get his average back to over .300. I know he is capable of this.

Rendon is in a slump and is not playing like a player that is earning 35 million a season. Is it his injuries? I would most certainly like to believe that is the issue so I will go along with it as I patiently wait for the turn around with the rest of you.

Stassi is either on a roll or is putting together his career year or both. It truly appears that he is also enjoying himself and having a good time which we have not seen before. Perry might just have put a winning team together after all.

The win streak that I have written about may not include consecutive wins like I hoped, but is capable of .700 ball for 3 week time and that could be enough until MDTR . (Trouty’s return)

Fansince1971
Super Member
8 days ago

Grandpa- I like the optimism but am personally going to temper it with a wait-and-see approach. The team has to play really solid baseball over the next 10 and cannot tread water or lose ground against Arizona and Detroit. If they can take advantage and go something like 7-3 or 8-2 over the next 10, that would start getting me excited. The problem is we have seen this team underperform in this situation in the past. I’m hoping this year will be different but I’m not going to get psyched up quite yet.

Fansince1971
Super Member
8 days ago

Mercy Mercy Me – that Max Stassi seems to be a difference maker. He couldn’t hit his way out of a paper bag when Eppler traded for him. We all thought he was the 2nd coming of Jeff Mathis. So what happened? Whatever it is, I like it!

Last edited 8 days ago by Fansince1971
Fansince1971
Super Member
8 days ago
Reply to  Jeff Joiner

Do we need to give a little nod to Eppler who was directly responsible for Stassi and Ohtani? Don’t get me wrong, his ability to find pitching and his drafts were highly questionable. But I believe in giving credit where credit is due. I think Rivas and Uceta, who went to Houston for Stassi, are out of baseball.

Last edited 8 days ago by Fansince1971
steelgolf
Trusted Member
7 days ago
Reply to  Fansince1971

Yeah, Stassi has turned something on this season that he hasn’t in the past. I was against him as he was a no bat catcher who wasn’t known as the greatest at throwing out runners. When he first came here he was still the Stassi that had no bat. I have no idea who he worked with during the off season, but they seem to have fixed something, even if it was mental.

Fansince1971
Super Member
7 days ago
Reply to  Jeff Joiner

I look forward to reading that!

toad2065
Member
7 days ago
Reply to  Fansince1971

He’s been great. However, relying on him for long-term performance may lead to disappointment. A Catcher with history of concussions seems very vulnerable. Meanwhile, I will enjoy Mad Max.

GrandpaBaseball
Trusted Member
8 days ago

I may not receive the same enjoyment from Marvin Gaye as you I still want to know the answer as you to What’s going on? I heard it through the Grapevine that we got lucky with finding a new pitching coach. Now that would be an extension worth offering.

red floyd
Super Member
8 days ago

All I know is that with our newfound confidence, Let’s Get it On!

Twebur
Trusted Member
7 days ago

Matt Wise, Mercy Mercy Me, our pitching ain’t what used to be…..
https://youtu.be/tffzUtPlD4E

WallyChuckChili
Super Member
7 days ago
Reply to  Twebur

Can’t wait till Trout gets back

Can I Get a Witness

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