April 2012

6-14, World Series déjà vu from 2002?

There is not a lot to say tonight, the Angels lost again. The Angels now have an identical record as they did in 2002 when they won the World Series. With a couple of key differences, they have much more talent than they did in 2002 mainly Albert Pujols, Torii Hunter, and Mark Trumbo among others.

Heads are starting to roll; Bobby Abreu was released by the Angels today, and Mike Trout was called up to take his place. The 38-year-old two-time All-Star had been relegated to part-time duty and was batting .208 in 24 at-bats. He is a lifetime .293 hitter with 2,389 hits, 557 doubles, 284 home runs, 1,330 RBI and 393 stolen bases. He has played for Houston, Philadelphia, the Yankees and the Angels.

With a call up of Mike Trout, Peter Bourjos seems to be the odd man out. As I mentioned in my previous entry, with Trout the Angels don’t lose anything defensively; and they gain a better bat. If Trout bats lead-off in the position it might be the spark that Angels need to turn their season around.

-ICE

Seven Is Definitely Not Heaven (2012): The Sleeping Giant

It feels like déjà vu all over again, sometime in 2010 I wrote a blog entry entitled “Seven Is Definitely Not Heaven.” At the time that I wrote the entry the Angels were seven games back of the Texas Rangers. Since history has repeated itself, and the Angels are 7 1/2 back of the Rangers once again I felt that reusing the title was appropriate.

The key difference is that when the Angels have struggled, it’s been easy for bandwagon and diehard Angels’ fans alike to call for the Angels to make transactions for talented players. Now we have those talented players, and we are still struggling. Angels’ fans are very frustrated. As am I; however, most true diehard fans like myself are willing to have the patience for this team to come together. Bandwagon fans are calling “Angel Talk” screaming, yelling, ranting, and throwing tantrums at Terry Smith as if he had control of the roster or if he had a say on how to make the Angels better.

Hello? Does anybody remember the Angels in the 1980s? Or 2001 when the Angels finished roughly 41 games out of first place? I am frankly tired of these bandwagon fans complaining about how bad the Angels are, Albert Pujols is getting used to a new league, he came from the National League remember that; it’s going to take time to get used to how a whole new slew of American League pitchers pitch in certain situations.

What the Angels need is an infusion of energy. I agree with Terry Smith maybe it’s time to call up Mike Trout to take the place of a slumping Peter Bourjos in the outfield both players possess similar speed hence the Angels would not be losing anything defensively and in turn infuse the lineup where the player in Trout that has a better average this season, he is hitting over. 400 and he may be just what the Angels need to turn things around.

In addition maybe switching the rotation would help infuse the pitching staff with the energy that they need to turn things around as well. If Santana and Wilson flip their spots in the rotation it would give the Angels a one, two, three knockout punch with Weaver, Haren, Wilson, and Santana; perhaps even bring in Garrett Richards to replace Jerome Williams in the rotation.

The Angels have the talent, they just need to figure out who goes where and get a chess pieces in place. It’s only a matter of time before the sleeping giant awakens.

-ICE

A Chameleon with a Halo

After a short hiatus, I am back I wanted to post sooner but I didn’t have access to a computer, much less voice recognition software. I went home and I was able to catch the Angels game last Tuesday which was Albert Pujols bubblehead day. I’m fascinated by the freefall this team has taken. They have all the talent in the world yet they are an astounding seven games behind the Texas Rangers and the seller of the American League West. As of today before tonight’s game two against the Baltimore Orioles the Angels are five and nine. This is clearly not the expectation that Angels’ fans had for this team especially with the acquisition of both C. J. Wilson and Albert Pujols.

Unlike some Angels’ fans, I am not ready to walk off the plank or jump off the ledge. I think that is what separates diehard fans like myself and the bandwagon fans. I remember when this team was unbelievably bad. Fans like myself just learned to get used to it. Much like the Chicago Cubs’ fans have gotten used to their beloved “Cubbies” losing. Rather than suggesting a major overhaul, or suggesting that Mike Scioscia, Mickey Hatcher, or Mike Butcher is a problem. I will examine what is happening in my eyes, the beautiful thing is that my observations can be easily implemented.

Yes, the bullpen is a problem especially when it collapses in the late innings however, that wouldn’t be an issue if the Angels could get men on base. I think the Angels need to first settle on the lineup they’ve had numerous minor changes in these first 14 games they need to play to their talents, something that in my opinion they haven’t been doing. First, they need to utilize their speed with players like Erick Aybar, Maicer Izturis, Peter Bourjos, and let us not forget the “Prince Fish” Mike Trout in the minor leagues. It is my strong belief that the Angels must mix and match, put the speedsters in the lineup early by maybe bunting for a base hit more often (more often than one may think) and get themselves on base, and once they are on they have to be a bit more aggressive on the base paths they should attempt more steals regardless of weather they will be thrown out or not. That way it keeps the opposing pitcher off balance knowing that the speedsters are going to run and risk it all win or lose. In turn, this unbalanced opposing pitcher is more likely to make mistakes in the strike zone allowing the power hitters to take advantage the power hitters like Pujols, Trumbo, Morales, Hunter, and Wells to do what they do best.

Speaking of Mark Trumbo, the Angels need to find a way to utilize him in the everyday lineup the Angels are where they are right now because Trumbo was not in the lineup for most of those losses, for that matter most games this season. They need to also find a way to utilize Jorge Cantú since there is an opt out clause in his contract if he is not in the major leagues by May 1, 2012. The Angels should call him up to see how he can contribute to this offense and defense; especially with a losing record and especially since he wasn’t on the opening day roster. I’m genuinely shocked to find that the Angels are not utilizing him more since he had an above average preseason.

This team is too talented to have a record they have, and they simply need to put the right pieces in the right places and not allow themselves to be defined as a one-dimensional team such as a power team, a speed team, or a small ball team. They need to be a metaphorical chameleon and keep the other teams around the major leagues off balance. They are losing because the Angels have become too predictable other teams already know what to expect. This communion must have a halo.

-ICE

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