May 2013

The Angels Took Poseidon’s Trident and Replaced It with a Broom

Here is a recipe, collect the Seattle Mariners, mix them together with the Kansas City Royals, add a sweep of both teams; what do you get? The Greek God Poseidon with a broom instead of a trident. It feels so much better to write when the Angels are doing well than vice versa. The Halos enjoyed an eight-game winning streak along with a sweep of two teams. During the streak, they outscored their opponents 59-20, and Mike Trout hit for the cycle on May 21, 2013; the youngest player to do so in American League history.

I mentioned in my last entry that the Angels needed to win both series, with the way that they were playing at that time I did not anticipate a sweep by any stretch of the imagination. This is definitely a step in the right direction, the question becomes, are the Angels back on the winning track? I believe so, granted they lost to the Dodgers 8-7 yesterday, and are currently losing to the Dodgers 3-0 as I am writing this. This is however to be expected, one cannot expect the Angels to win every game, as long as they sustain and continue to improve their current productivity.

They have an eight-game home stand coming up. They continue the Freeway Series with the Dodgers, then the Astros, and finally the Cubs. By my estimation, if the way they are playing at the moment continues, they should do pretty well during this stretch, optimistically all three facets are coming together, the hitting, the pitching including the bullpen, and their defensive play. This is the kind of talent that everyone around Major League Baseball knew they had, the question becomes can they sustain their current level of play? That has yet to be seen, but for now I am simply enjoying their current success. Go Angels!

-ICE
Related Articles: http://angels.mlblogs.com/2013/05/20/ar-wars-red-matter-and-blue-anti-matter-collide

Star Wars: Red Matter and Blue Anti-Matter Collide

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There is one enormous drawback to the baseball realignment that occurred this year. The elimination of two Freeway Series games that both Angels’ fans and Dodgers’ fans look forward to every year. What makes this year so special? This is indeed a type of Star Wars in the sense that both teams have a roster full of “stars” whether it is Albert Pujols, Mike Trout, Mark Trumbo, Jered Weaver, C. J. Wilson, Josh Hamilton, or Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Adrián González, Carl Crawford, Matt Kemp, and Andre Ethier.

I am not overlooking the Seattle Mariners by any means, after all, they are a division rival, and one must not forget about the Kansas City Royals However. it’s a given that the Angels must take those series’, so there really is nothing to talk about.

May 27-May 30, 2013 that is the length of this year’s war between the crosstown rivals, it is shorter than usual this year, however the intensity still there. It is my believe that the Angels versus Dodgers game atmosphere is unmatched because of the teams'” proximity to each other and the intertwined histories.

What makes this year unique is that neither team is doing very well record wise, and if they expect to get back on track, both teams need the series very badly, this year especially there is an element of pride attached to a series that wasn’t there before with such intensity. Throw the records at the window, the atmosphere this year should be especially electric.

It would be too easy to talk about lineup changes that the Angels need to make to improve, or the fact that they need to improve their pitching; or that they are a miserable 4-13 in series this year. This is the Angels versus the Dodgers, oil and water, matter and anti-matter the combustible elements in each respective ballpark during this period is unmatched. This is the place where the red Star and the blue Star collide to create a massive black hole, nothing survives, this is indeed war; this is Star Wars! I for one will be making the trip and I hope to catch at the very least one of the two games played at Angel Stadium. Let the yearly war for the Southern California section of Interstate 5 begin!

-ICE

Keep the “Trum-Bombs” Coming

Mark Trumbo, the “Trum-bomber” has launched the home run bomb in six of the last nine games; this is the sole positive that the Angels have this season. I know that in an earlier entry I mentioned that the team had tuned out Angels’ manager Mike Scioscia. However, I’m beginning to think that the problem is not Mike Scioscia, but Jerry Dipoto; the Angels’ General Manager, he was quoted on May 8, 2013 in the Los Angeles Times:

“There is no move to make,” “Our best talent, our best team, is here. There really isn’t a quick fix, a magic bullet, a singular player move you can make that would turn things around. The best thing we can do is show up today and play hard.”

Mr. DiPoto, lifelong Angels’ fans like myself, and especially season-ticket holders who spend their hard-earned money on this team deserve a better explanation than that. Yes, there is no quick solution, on the other hand, at least own and admit your mistakes.

Mistake number one: Ryan Madson, a player coming off arguably risky Tommy John surgery, He yet has to play an inning for the Angels; at times these players don’t really recover, yet you decided to give him a contract.

Mistake number two: you used money that was earmarked for re-singing Zack Greinke, to sign Josh Hamilton, instead of using that money to upgrade pitching which includes the bullpen. This is an area of need that the Angels have had for the last two years, yet, you do-nothing of meaning to improve this glaring weakness.

Mistake number three (which is closely related to mistake number two): you traded Kendrys Morales, a power hitter whom the Angels’ farm system developed, for an average pitcher Jason Vargas. A smart move would have been to keep Morales and go after a few above average pitchers using the money that was earmarked. What you did is replace Morales with Hamilton, a player who may have more name recognition but can’t hit the inside fastball which was one of my concerns when you gave him a contract.

Mistake number four: Joe Blanton: 0-6, a pitcher that clearly does not fit in the Angels’ system. The Halos’ offensive production is negated by the poor pitching performance of the entire pitching staff, a pitching staff, which you are ultimately responsible for putting together. Please remind me why you decided not to re-sign Dan Haren? Picking up his option is a better decision than signing Joe Blanton. Haren may not be the player he used to be, but he sure a better player than Joe Blanton at this point.

The Halos have the talent that they need to succeed, but it needs to be managed better, the front office needs to make better decisions. Until then, for the foreseeable future let’s keep the “Trum-bombs” coming.

-ICE

Related Articles: http://angels.mlblogs.com/2013/05/05/the-angels-use-the-home-run-boom-to-dodge-the-broom
http://angels.mlblogs.com/2013/04/12/stomper-mercilessly-stomps-out-the-rally-monkey-then-swept-him-away
http://angels.mlblogs.com/2013/02/13/i-dont-want-peanuts-or-crackerjacks-give-me-the-baseball-glove-and-the-baseball-bat
http://angels.mlblogs.com/2012/12/21/the-halo-is-removed-the-cuban-missile-is-disarmed-and-moved
http://angels.mlblogs.com/2012/12/13/josh-hamilton-trades-in-his-cowboy-hat-for-a-halo

The Angels Use the Home Run Boom to Dodge the Broom

The Angels avoided the sweep by the Oakland Athletics with the Home Run ball. As unbelievable as it may seem the Angels are off to an even worse start than they were last year. Many, including myself didn’t believe that was possible. What’s wrong? It starts with the Angels’ pitching, both the starting rotation and bullpen. The Halos can’t hold a lead. Their team ERA is currently 4.91 this is the source of the Angels inability to succeed at this point of the season. Despite 19 runs scored in the series including seven Home Runs by the Angels’ offense.

Sure, the Angels have a plethora of players on the disabled list, but it’s not like this team hasn’t been competitive. The pitching staff at the very least should be able to take advantage of the offensive production and keep afloat during games. Hanson and Blanton have been especially disappointing.

Given the circumstances how do the Angels stay afloat? Well, aside from the fact that they need to get better pitching which is very difficult to do right now, since their farm system is relatively dry. I believe they can offset the pitching staff’s poor performance by increasing base-running pressure that historically has been the Angels’ trademark. Mike Trout needs to return to the lead-off spot, that will allow him to steal bases more often. the Angels can put pressure on the base paths, that in turn puts the opposing pitcher on his toes, consequently making it more likely for the pitcher to make a mistake thus, increasing the likelihood of pitching mistakes which the offense can then take advantage of in order to offset the pitching staff’s shortcomings; essentially temporarily creating defense by creating offensive production and pressure. The Angels are simply not taking advantage of their speed right now, which is unfortunate.

I’m sure Arturo Moreno is quite frustrated, I also share his frustration. The lone bright spot is Mark Trumbo who homered in all three games in the Oakland series and two of four games played against the Baltimore Orioles.

The Angels are waiting for their players to come off the disabled list, the question then becomes can the Angels contend once they are at full strength? Unless Josh Hamilton improves his overall performance and the Angels do something major to improve the overall pitching performance, given the way this team is currently constructed; the answer is unfortunately no.

The proof? The Angels have played 10 series so far, and only won 2; they are 2-8 in series this season. They swept the Detroit Tigers and won two out of three against the Houston Astros.

It is my hope that the Angels find themselves, compete and contend to their potential and ability, one thing remains true no, matter what happens; I will always be a diehard Angels’ fanatic. There will be brighter days ahead. Go Angels!

-ICE

I Got Fitted for a Bee Stinger to Complement the Halo

Although this website is designed as a forum to discuss my beloved Angels, from time to time I will post an entry that is not directly about the Angels however it is somehow related to the Angels. This is one such entry, on Sunday, April 28th I attended my first minor league game. I never thought that I would ever see a minor-league game in my lifetime, since I grew up in very close proximity to Angel Stadium, I always thought that my exposure would be limited to Major League Baseball.

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My move to Sacramento changed that however, I was able to go see the minor-league Angels, also known as. The Salt Lake Bees, for the Salt Lake Bees versus The Sacramento River Cats at Raley Field. I must say that Triple-A baseball feels different, yet it feels the same. One gets the feel that one is in a major league ballpark environment while at the same time it takes place in a very intimate setting.

This parK has very unique features, one of which is Homerun Hill, one can purchase tickets to sit in this area beyond the right-field wall. What makes this very unique is that there are no bleachers in right field like you would find in a major league ballpark., The fans bring blankets and enjoy the game as if they were having a picnic. An individual who calls himself “Mike on the Mic” entertains the fans in Homerun Hill by using T-shirt cannons and holding contests on the field between innings.

The entertainment also has a major league feel to it. The two things that are most memorable were “The Heads of State” and “Cats’ Cab. The Heads of State is similar to the United States Presidents used by the Washington Nationals and like the Nationals the heads of state or composed of former Governors of California. The Governors include: Ronald Reagan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Gray Davis. Similar to the Nationals, one Governor never wins, Gray Davis, known to the fans as “Wrong Way Gray” because he always starts the race by going the wrong way.. I can appreciate the political satire. You see, California is primarily a blue state with a few exceptions, however California’s Governors are primarily Republican with the exception of Governor Jerry Brown and Governor Gray Davis; referring to Governor Davis as “Wrong Way Gray” is funny because it probably refers to the only Governor in California history to be recalled; as a blue voter myself, I can appreciate the satire. This is just my theory of course, but it makes total sense given California’s history and legacy.

“The Cats’ Cab” is a parody of the Discovery Channel’s “Cash Cab” where a River Cats’ fan is asked a trivia question about the River Cats, in this particular instance the fan got the question right, garnering the approval of the crowd.

This Triple-A game was a lot of fun. Even though the Bees lost 7-2 to the River Cats. Although it was disappointing I can’t say it wasn’t fun. Yes indeed, I was fitted for a Bee Stinger to complement my Halo. I definitely plan to make another appearance supporting the Salt Lake Bees.

-ICE

Related Articles: http://angels.mlblogs.com/2013/04/22/the-angels-are-starting-to-create-a-buzz-just-as-i-acquire-my-bee-wings/

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