Results tagged ‘ American League Cy Young Award ’

Happy “Halo”days!

After a long involuntary absence, The Angels’ Ace is back on the pitching mound ready to throw more fireballs. The motherboard of my laptop went out. So I have been unable to write for a couple of months now, months of agony, it’s very difficult to program another computer to recognize voice recognition now that my motherboard is repaired and I am back in business!

Given that the flash player produces snow on the MLBblogs website this time of year. I decided to write a holiday themed post, I will be discussing Halo gifts received (awards) and the Halo gifts exchanged (trades) then I will discuss my letter to Santa Claus hopefully there will be gifts waiting for me under the Angels tree this year.

“This is so exciting, which gift shall I open First?”

Let me start with the obvious one, congratulations to Mike Trout for winning the 2014 American League Most Valuable Player award. After two years straight of being a runner-up for this award he finally gets it. I guess the third time is the charm.

Speaking of runner-ups congratulations to Matt Shumaker for being the American League Rookie of the Year runner-up, the committee did well in considering him. If it wasn’t for his performance, I don’t know what the result of this past season would have been. He saved the Angels’ season, and his contribution was definitely a critical one which allowed the Halos’ to claim the best record in Major League Baseball this past year.

If Garrett Richards’ season had not ended early, I believe he was a strong contender for the American League Cy Young Award.

Gifts Exchanged

The Winter Meetings for the Angels was largely uneventful in comparison to years past. Although none of their transactions were headline grabbers, I do want to concentrate on one transaction in particular, more specifically the Howie Kendrick trade to the Dodgers. The truth is I’ve never been in love with Kendrick’s bat, in fact my friend Shaun jokingly teases me saying that Kendrick is my favorite player. I’ve told him on numerous occasions that I simply want an upgrade at second base, especially during the postseason when Kendrick seems to leave his bat at home. However, I’ve always respected Kendrick’s defense, the Angels now have a gaping hole at second base defensively. I honestly think that Grant Green is definitely not the long-term answer.

Another transaction that I find intriguing is the acquisition of Matt Joyce from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for Kevin Jepsen the long-time reliever that was drafted by the Angels. I think Joyce can contribute immediately to the Angels’ organization and make the Halos better. What does this mean for C. J. Cron? Only time will tell.

Dear Santa,

Now for the wish list, of course Max Scherzer and James Shields are at the top of the list, but it’s unlikely that the Angels can make a run at either one. This team has been plagued with a history of bad contracts in recent years, another long-term contract is not what this team needs.

Part of the Christmas spirit is to be selfless, so Santa please give Josh Hamilton a hitting instructor for Christmas since he is far removed from his MVP season with the Texas Rangers.

Santa, I would like Jason Grilli, and Gordon Beckham back in an Angels’ uniform. They were the motor of this team this past season, and these two players would be good for the overall competitive spirit of the club.

The ultimate wish would be a World Series trophy this year, this is the one gift that all Angels’ fans can enjoy. This also would be the best way to spread holiday cheer that would last a lifetime. Happy “Halo”days!

-ICE

An Extraordinary Win, An Extraordinary Loss

Following sports is like riding a roller coaster, a fan experiences indescribable highs and unbearable lows. This is the beauty and the curse of sports, the promise of what can be, and disappointment of what could have been. This is especially true in baseball, the excitement of a pennant race is like no other feeling that any other sport can produce.

The team with the best record in baseball, the Angels, increased their lead on the Oakland Athletics to 1 1/2 games. The Halos’ record now stands at 75-50, the promise is alive and well however it took a major blow today, with the loss of Garrett Richards. He suffered a left knee injury during the second inning of today’s game. Richards had to be carted off the field in a stretcher; and although the exact extent of his knee injury is not known as of yet, it is speculated that he will miss the remainder of the season.

Richards was in the middle of producing a spectacular season, his pitching performances were being talked about among the best in baseball, He was making a very strong case for the Cy Young Award in the American League. He was one of the most pleasant surprises of the entire season. Hopefully Richards can completely recover from his injury and return to display the dominance that he was showing the season in the future.

The loss of Richards further diminished an already thin starting rotation, Skaggs is already out with an elbow injury and won’t return until the 2016 season due to Tommy John surgery. C. J. Wilson is also struggling since his return from injury. It will be interesting to see where the Angels go from here.

Pitching does win championships, believe it or not, I do see some silver lining in all this chaos. Yes, the loss of Richards is devastating, there is no doubt about that. However Richards only has an impact on the game once every five days, it’s time for the offense to be the run producing machine that we all know it can be, as well as it is time for the rest of the pitching staff whether they are in the majors or the minors to step up. Now that we have a stronger bullpen compared to the past bullpens that the Angels have had in recent years, I really do not think that’s an unreasonable expectation. The September call ups are crucial to resolving this unexpected situation. This could have been much worse, we could have lost a position player that impacts the game every day.

The Angels have the best record in baseball, they are atop of the American League West, they Halos are being called upon to prove that none of these regular season accolades matter, they must rise above the adversity and the unfortunate situation and prove that they actually have the heart of a champion.

-ICE

Brooms Sweep the White Sox into the Heavenly Hamper

The hunt for red October continues, the Angels swept the Chicago White Sox with a 4-2 victory. Jared Weaver was a masterful, winning his American league-leading 19th game of the season, on his way hopefully to a 2012 Cy Young Award.

The Angels potentially can collect their fair share of hardware, Jared Weaver in my opinion is the leading candidate for this Cy Young Award, and Mike Trout is a surefire American League Rookie of the Year. His numbers are so astronomical the season, that it’s hard to imagine anyone else in the American League claiming that award and depending on how the Angels finish and if they make the playoffs, Mike Trout may be in the running for the American League Most Viable Player Award. He may be able to add an American League Gold Glove based on his spectacular play in Center Field this year.

It’s late September, and as I mentioned before it will be an uphill battle for the Angels to be able to punch your ticket into the postseason party. With nine games left play, the Angels find themselves 3 1/2 games back of the first Wild Card position and 2 1/2 games back of the second Wild Card position. With only one game separating the Oakland A’s and the Baltimore Orioles.

The A’s start a four-game series with the Texas Rangers tomorrow while the Angels have their last off day of the season. Strangely enough the rivalry that I’ve been craving for all year, the Angels versus the A’s is indirectly happening. I reluctantly find myself rooting for the Texas Rangers to defeat the A’s to knock them out at wild-card contention and allow the Angels to replace the A’s or the Orioles in one of two Wild Card spots. See the Angels in the playoffs is sweet but to deny the A’s a playoff berth would be even sweeter.

I’m also reluctantly willing to concede the AL West to the Texas Rangers if that allows the Angels to punch their ticket into the postseason. After all, the only thing needed to be eligible to win a World Series is to be invited to the party.

However the Angels are treading in dangerous waters, let us suppose a Texas Rangers clinch too early, they may decide to rest their players for the postseason, since even if the A’s are somehow able to surpass the Rangers and when the American League West. The Rangers are already guaranteed at least a Wild Card berth since at this point they would virtually have to lose all the games on the remaining schedule to be left out.

Another interesting scenario arises in my mind, let us suppose although unlikely, that the Orioles somehow have a monumental collapse and somehow drop out of contention for the American League Wild Card. One would be left with three teams from the American League West fighting for an invitation to the playoffs.

All this predicated of course on the Angels winning the vast majority of their remaining games. Although this is very difficult I have faith that they can do it. I truly believe that they can somehow punched their ticket, and once invited, I sincerely believe that they have the talent and the firepower to win their second World Series in franchise history. It’ll be exciting to see if the postseason includes a Halo.

-ICE

Halos, Elephants, Cowboys, Sailors, and Comets? I Personally Prefer a Rattlesnake over the Comet

The off-season brings about intrigue to a franchise; the Angels’ organization is no exception. There is a lot of uncertainty yet great anticipation of what was what is, and what can be. It’s also the time of year that my entries become less analytical and more based on my fan enthusiasm. This is where reflection, anticipation, and expectation converge.

I believe angels made a statement this past season, although they were eliminated from postseason participation this year, they were still able to make an impact. Jared Weaver was the runner-up to a 2011 American League CY Young Award, and Mark Trumbo was a runner up for the American League Rookie of the Year Award. Clearly this demonstrated to me that the Angels have the talent to be a championship caliber team they just lack if you pieces that need to be in place to reinforce an already talented team full of potential.

Potential is not always good, the team has to be developed said potential, in order to accomplish that. They must be crafty in the way they approach the transactions both made in the off-season and during the season. Angels’ General Manager, Jerry Dipoto was quoted in the Los Angeles Times as saying that free agency was not the only option; the team has the option of improving and solidifying itself via trade as well. Let’s think about that for a second, on the one hand, I agree with him the Angels must stay away from bad contracts. Then why go after C. J. Wilson? The 31-year-old left-hander wants a six-year contract; let’s do the math this multimillion dollar contract would end when he is 36 years old. Isn’t that the essence of a bad contract?

If one is going to risk that much money why not go after Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder? At least in Pujols’ this case one is taking a similar risk but I think a reward would be much more likely. In the 2011 World Series, Wilson was a lackluster player who seemed to crumble under the bright lights of the fall classic. As opposed to Pujols who seemed to shine especially in game three and tied Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson for the most home runs in one game. Wilson reminds me a bit of Chone Figgins. Who is a great player during the regular season, but seems to wither away during the playoffs.

The winds of change are apparent in Major League Baseball, in the way of division realignment, it seems to be a done deal; the Houston Astros are coming to the American League West. Giving all divisions in Major League Baseball five teams.

I myself would rather see the Arizona Diamondbacks transfer over to the American League West simply because that would keep all the teams in the Pacific time zone; the Angels, the Athletics, and the Mariners, from traveling to time zones to face a division opponent, and the Rangers would go to the Pacific time zone something that they’re already accustomed to doing with the other three teams in division. This move would keep the American League West strong by adding a quality Baseball team like the Diamondbacks, and not give them the East Coast pundits one more reason to downgrade the quality of baseball in the American League West. Let’s face it, the Astros don’t really help the American West solidified itself as a strong division, and with the exception of the Texas Rangers that he wasn’t Astros don’t really mean much, nor are they as strong attendance draw for the rest of the American League West. From a financial standpoint it doesn’t make sense to bring in a weak team into the division. I’m certainly not opposed to bringing a fifth franchise into the American League West. I do believe in balance, however let us bring in the team that strengthens the division while at the same time makes geographical sense, and does not put one team at an advantage over the other three teams in the division.

-ICE

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