Results tagged ‘ Earned Run Average ’

The Flickering Halo

It is often said that baseball is a marathon, not a sprint; others say, you can’t win it in April, but you can lose it in April. One describes patience, while the other describes focus and urgency. I believe, that there is a balance between the two perspectives, however patience can only be afforded during the first month and a half of the season in order not to rely on other teams collapsing the second half of the season and thus, a given team is able to control their own playoff destiny.

Through 58 games, the Angels are 29-29 an even .500, with the 59th game in progress. They are 4 1/2 games back of the surprising Houston Astros, in the American League West, Houston is a team that seems to be leaving orbit and coming back to earth, the Astros have lost six straight.

The Halo is flickering, sometimes it is very bright, as evident by a sweep of the Detroit Tigers at Angel Stadium, and sometimes the Halo is completely dark, as the Angels were swept by the Yankees in New York. The Halos also lost two out of three games to The Tampa Bay Rays. The series with the Rays was sandwiched in between the two appearances of the broom.

Why is a team that is so talented on paper only .500? Some site the lack of production from the offense since all but two of the combined 32 home runs between Albert Pujols and Mike Trout have been solo home runs.

While that is absolutely true, I would point to something else, if one juxtaposes the runs scored versus runs allowed, one sees the issue. So far this season, coming into today’s game, the Angels as a team have scored 233 runs; the Angels pitching staff as a whole has allowed 232 runs this includes unearned runs. This is a net difference of only +1 run. To me, this explains a lot, the Angels don’t need to add another bat they simply need to shore up their pitching and defense. It doesn’t really matter if this team can average 25 runs a game if the opponent can score 26. A big bat wouldn’t make much of a difference.

What can be done? Barring a major successful blockbuster trade, not much can be done. However, the Angels do have Andrew Heaney in the farm system, he is currently in AAA with the Salt Lake City Bees. He has a 6-2 record with a 4.39 Earned Run Average, he might not be ready for the majors just yet, but he is an option to improve the pitching staff.

There are 102 games left in the season, including the game in progress, and while that is true that baseball is a marathon, the Angels need to get themselves within striking distance of leadership of the division very soon.

-ICE

The Beautiful Glow of the Fire Lit Halo

The Halo is on fire, indeed glowing beautifully. The Angels find themselves 3 1/2 games back of the Oakland Athletics; however, that’s not the story. The Angels have stayed pretty close to the A’s throughout the season. The story lies in how they have kept up with them.

The Angels have the second-best record in all of Major League Baseball, second only to the team they are chasing. They do have the best home record in all of Major League Baseball with an impressive 32-15 record, this record includes three home sweeps and an 11 game home winning streak, along with 27 come from behind wins. It is extraordinary how they’ve been able to keep up with the A’s and not be able to overtake them yet.

Part of their success is attributed to Garrett Richards who possesses a 10-2 record and a 2.71 Earned Run Average in 18 starts for the Angels. It’s amazing how someone can be this good and still not make it to this year’s All-Star game, for that matter it’s amazing that a team can be this good and only have two representatives so far in The Midsummer Classic.

The sports networks often cite the American League East as a class of baseball. It is actually the American League West. The top two records in all of baseball reside in the American League West. It may be the West Coast bias, it may be that the American League East just happens to have two of the most storied franchises in baseball in the Yankees and the Red Sox. That certainly isn’t the case this year, and once the Texas Rangers recover from this year’s injury plagued season, the AL West may continue its dominance over baseball next year.

Yes, the dog fights of the summer are here. Pull out your popcorn, it should be a good division race between the Angels and Athletics. Can the monkey keep the rally going and blaze past Stomper? I truly believe that the Halos will. As baseball fans, let’s sit back and take in all the sights and sounds of the best division in all of baseball.

-ICE

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

The Angels No Longer Have a Need for Wishing Wells

The Angels no longer have a need for wishing wells, as in wishing that Vernon Wells improves. Wells was sent to the New York Yankees today. In exchange, the Angels received two low-level prospects in 21-year-old outfielder Exicardo Cayones (.228 with 15 RBIs in Class A last year) and 24-year-old lefty Kramer Sneed (0-7 with a 5.37 ERA).

The Yankees will pay $13.9 million dollars of the $42 million dollars owed to Wells over the next two years. That may not seem like much given the size of the contract however, if one takes a moment to think about it the Angels now have $13.9 million dollars to spend on a player that will produce, at this point, preferably a pitcher; additionally this now opens up a roster spot for someone who is better equipped to help the Angels. Additionally, the two minor leaguers/prospects will help replenish the Halos’ farm system.

I wish Vernon Wells well in his future endeavors, sometimes a change of scenery can help a player return to form. The dimensions at Yankee Stadium should help improve his offensive production especially to right-field. Thank you Yankees, for the two prospects and the $13.9 million dollar gift.

-ICE

Some Connections Run Deep

This is going to be an interesting entry; I am so used to writing about the team that I absolutely love; so I’m not really a custom to writing about myself in the process. At least for this entry I’m going to have to do a little bit of both. You see, the reason I write is not for myself since I live, eat, and breathe Angels Baseball. There is no reason why I would write about facts that I already know, unless I was going to share them. I love writing because it keeps my mind sharp and improves my communication skills with every entry. It has been my philosophy that when one stops learning, one stops growing and that one never grow old until one stops learning. I guess writing for this blog keeps me young and the sense that it forces me to learn the facts, and it forces me to organize my thoughts and be able to express my love for this team to people that otherwise may not be exposed.

To that end, I decided to pitch myself for the Jumbo MLBlogs, mainly to increase my readership and motivate myself to keep writing about the team that I love. Why am I an Angels’ fan? The answer is pretty simple, I’ve been connected to the team since I was a small child, I remember watching the Angels since I was about four years old, at that age I did not know the intricacies of this beautiful game, for me, it was about watching somebody pitched the ball and see the other person hit the ball. Watching a ball making contact with the bat was the most exciting thing in the world, for a four-year-old, everything seems exciting; but there was something about hearing that crack of the bat that made it special. I remember passing Angel Stadium on the 57 freeway on our way back home from visiting my aunt who lived in Pomona. As I grew older I always dreamed about seeing a live game but because of my father’s work schedule, he was almost always working the second shift it was nearly impossible for me to go since most of the games were at night.

That changed however, when I was nine, I was selected the official ambassador for the United Cerebral Palsy Association. (UCP) part of my duties was to show up at various charity events, as part of my official duties, I was to be featured in A poster for the United Cerebral Palsy telethon, “Weekend with the Stars” at the time, and I didn’t really know what that meant. The UCP representative asked me who my favorite sports team was, and an late 1980s saying that my favorite team was the Angels was not a very popular for various reasons, one, the Angels were not very good back then. Two, it was the middle of Fernando mania so everybody liked the Dodgers. Three, it was also the middle of the Showtime era of the Los Angeles Lakers so the most popular answer would’ve probably been these two teams. Of course I was nine I had never seen Dodger Stadium or the Great Western Forum, so when I answered the California Angels the representative was taken back, she asked me, “wouldn’t you like to meet Magic Johnson?” I responded as confident as a nine-year-old boy could be, “not really”; they scrambled to make arrangements with the then California Angels.

Later that year my first experience at Angel Stadium was actually on the field in uniform, how many Angels’ fans can say that? I touched the field before I ever sat in the stands, and I also got to meet Hall of Famer Don Sutton. It was then that I felt an even stronger connection with the team, I had never been in a major league baseball ballpark, much less on the field. To this day this is one of my fondest childhood memories. When does someone become much more than a fan? For me, it was definitely on that day. While in college I had the honor of meeting the current Angels’ owner Arturo Moreno. The Angels are much more than just a Major League Baseball team to me. They are part of my childhood, and in a sense, forever part of my life.

Isaac López & Donald Howard Sutton 2

Arturo Moreno and  Isaac Lopez

Now on to business, it’s the second half of the season; many would argue including myself that this is when the real season begins. The Angels are only two games behind the Rangers in the American League West. Ervin Santana has just come off pitching a No-Hitter, the Halos lead the American League in team Earned Run Average, it’s a beautiful time of year, will be Angels make any moves before the July 31 deadline? I sincerely hope so, however they must stay away from the rental players, unless they can find someone who is truly interested in staying with the Angels long-term. It is my belief that after the smoke clears they will overtake Texas and win the American League West Championship. The Angels organization must be willing to solidify the team, not necessarily to deal with the Rangers; as I feel that the team we have now, if they are able to play to their potential, can beat Texas, I’m specifically talking about having the ability to beat the New York Yankees, the Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Phillies, and the San Francisco Giants. Let it not forgotten that the Giants have made a splash by being able to acquire Carlos Beltrán from the New York Metropolitans.

Yes, indeed the season has now really begun season has begun, the sports dream of a young Angels’ fan has been fulfilled, and the expectations of the heavenly halo universe hang in the balance.
-Isaac “ICE” L. The Angels’ Ace

No Career Wins in Cleveland, No Problem, No-Hitter for Ervin Santana

It’s great to have something positive to write about, not only is a positive, but also historical. Ervin Santana pitched a no-hitter, the first no-hitter in 21 years for the Angels yesterday, and it couldn’t have come at a better time, the Angels are only two games behind the Texas Rangers. The Angels lead the American League in team ERA. Santana has claimed a spot in already stellar rotation in as it could be seen whether he is able to solidify his position in the rotation.

 

Santana who debuted for the Angels in Cleveland,he has not won Cleveland in his career, making yesterday’s accomplishment that much more astonishing. The strength of rotation is especially important since the Angels are 12th in the American League in runs scored.

 

There’s so much I can say, but sometimes less is more, this is one of those entries that I must step back and Let the annals of history speak for itself, for me, this is another notch in my belt as an Angels fan, I have witnessed my first no-hitter by my favorite team as an adult. That in itself is awesome. Angels’ fans, bask in the moment we have witnessed baseball history.

 

-ICE

The New York Yankees Do Not Fear Any Major League Baseball Team… Well, Except the Angels

The Angels continued their winning ways against the New York Yankees beating them on Friday three runs to two. Jared Weaver had a stellar performance, and the Yankees can’t seem to find a way to beat the Angels. The Angels are the only team in Major League Baseball to hold an all-time winning record against the Yankees, and for some reason the Angels always seem to do well against them. I sincerely hope that we continue to do so, however, the Angels should not define their season on whether or not they were able to beat what some people refer to as “the evil empire.” Saturday night the Angels were edged three runs to two on, Sunday they were beaten five runs to three.


Although the Angels have a stellar rotation with pitchers like Jared Weaver, Dan Haren, Joel Piñeiro, among others is currently in the top four rotations in baseball when it comes to team earned run average, I’m a little concerned about various aspects of the offense such as taken advantage of game situations which are in the Halos’ favor more specifically their inability to score runs when given the opportunity. In Friday night’s game alone they left 15 men on base. That just will not get the job done. Base running mistakes are creating unnecessary outs. Another key aspect is situational hitting. The Angels seem to have forgotten what that is, a good example of this would be the last few at-bats of Torii Hunter over the last couple of games. I’m not trying to criticize him in fact he is one of my favorite players of all time. However his batting technique definitely needs some tweaking; he needs to shorten his swing a little bit and put the ball into play and trust his teammates to bring him in. Instead, over the last few games he has tried to put the Angels ahead by attempting to hit the ball using a Home Run swing, opposing pitchers now adapt to this swing of his and are now by starting to throw unhittable balls.

 

 I just wanted to highlight as what I as an Angels’ fan can be corrected rather quickly, in order to keep us from falling further behind the Texas Rangers in the American League West. When the series started with the New York Yankees, the Angels were only 1  1/2 games behind the Texas Rangers we have now fallen to 4 1/2 games behind the Texas Rangers. I would definitely consider this a mini free fall, but it is one that can be stopped relatively easily.

 

In my 29 years as an Angels’ fan, this year I attended my first Boston Red Sox game,  and my first New York Yankees game ever. I have already described the Boston experience in an earlier entry, now it’s the Yankees turn.

 

Unlike the Red Sox series, the Yankees series felt like a true home game which is the way it should feel when you’re home. I didn’t feel outnumbered this time. It was more like both teams were evenly represented and equally as loud. But just as I mentioned in the Red Sox series, I can’t help but wonder who truly has a connection to the New York area. I met Derek, who actually is from the Bronx and cheers for his team with a passion. He is a transplanted Yankee fan, who works in Southern California. He was a very nice man and I must say that I had a lot of fun meeting him.

 


Overall, I must say the Yankees’ game made me yearn for the start of the second half of Inter-League Play, especially when the Angels play against the cross town Los Angeles Dodgers. I definitely plan to go to a Angels-Yankees series again very soon.

 

This was definitely a tough series against the New York Yankees especially since the Cleveland Indians were unable to keep the Texas Rangers from exploding and opening a wider lead in the division. Where were the impressive, unstoppable, Indians this past series with the Rangers?

 

 That’s the beauty of baseball, the Angels will have to take the attitude of an old adage, “if you want something done, you have to do it yourself.” Go Angels!


-ICE

Lack of Power Is Causing the Golden Halo to Flicker

[ updated May 30, 2011 9:38 PM ]

The American League West has the distinction of having all four of their teams lead in that category over the lowest team Earned Run Average in all of Major League Baseball number one through number four. The starting rotation for each of these teams is nothing to sneeze at. The offense however, at least for the Angels is a different story.

 

Over the last few days Angels’ broadcasters and fans alike, have been highlighting the lack of Angels’ offense. And I can’t really say I disagree even with the offense of explosion that allowed them to defeat the Kansas City Royals by a final score of 10-8 today, I would have to say that the increase in offensive production is more due to the weather conditions of today’s game rather than a sudden discovery of an offensive groove.

 

I am not for a minute taking away the Home Runs launched by Mark Trumbo, Peter Bourjos or the two Home Runs by Torii Hunter, who also was able to score his 1000th Run Batted in of his career. The Angels lack power not because they don’t have it, but because they haven’t discovered how to use it properly. Power in the lineup is something that develops naturally over time, it’s something that naturally happens. If one swings for the fences in every at-bat of eventually that player is going to over extend themselves and become tired and ineffective. Even with the signing of Russell Branyan who was designated for assignment by the Arizona Diamondbacks but Angels total resolve the power outage at the Halo power plant.

Angels’ fans have pointed out on Angel talk that the Angels or in need of making a major trade or transaction, some callers were asking for reasonable trades, while some proposals by fans border on the ridiculous. I would venture to say these are fantasy owners that know nothing about the game of baseball.

 

Although I tend to agree that the Angels need power why not look for the answer within the organization? For example somebody like Mike Trout? Some would argue that he is not ready for the big leagues, I would argue on the other hand, that he is, keeping him in the minor leagues for two long may have a detrimental effect on his career, Brandon Wood is a prime example that I believe that the Angels kept Wood in the minor leagues too long and that may have hindered his development. Wood was eventually designated for assignment about a month ago.

 

There is a lot of money coming off Angels’ payroll next year perhaps they will be able to re-sign Jared Weaver to a long-term contract and keep their spectacular starting pitching rotation intact, and possibly pursue a power bat.

 

I think the issue is that a lot of Angels’ fans want to win now and don’t really see or care about their long-term welfare of this fabulous organization. I think it is best determine the direction that this team is going before we start talking about who were going to sign or trade for.

 

It’s still a long season and we all have yet to see where the Angels end up. I will tell you this much we are in a much better position this year than at the same point last season. Last year everything was falling apart, the Angels were free-falling in the standings and every facet of the game went wrong. Today all we have to complain about is the lack of power and lack of performance of some pictures in the bullpen. Like I said before, the power will naturally come, although we are lacking power we are still in the mix to contend for the American League West title. At this point in the season as an Angels’ fan what more can one ask for?

 

 

-ICE

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