Results tagged ‘ Oakland ’

Opening Day 2018 is a Week Away

The buzz of the crowd, the music playing in the loudspeakers in the stadium, feeling the spring wind swirling around, the art on the grass, the sound of the ball hitting a leather glove, the crack of the bat as it makes contact with the baseball, the scoreboard, and the beautiful site of The Big A. These are all the sights and sounds of opening day that a diehard Angels’ fan looks forward to every year.

 

We are officially a week away from opening day. The Halos’ off-season roster additions are showing a lot of promise, while others are adjusting to a new culture, and league. As a fan, I am excited as to what the new season may bring.

 

Shohei Otani is still adjusting to American baseball, he’s billed as a two-way player and in my opinion he shows promise in both aspects of his game. I strongly believe he can be a two-way player; however, he is having trouble adjusting to the American pitchers. With a few adjustments I believe his hitting ability will come with time. There are some arguments that he should start the season in the minor leagues, ordinarily I would agree, however, because he is a two-way player; his pitching is needed in the Angels’ rotation especially given the injury history of our pitching staff over the last few years. I am confident that Shohei Otani’s ability to pitch is needed much more than his hitting at this point, I like the addition of Ian Kinsler, his experience in the infield will be an asset to the Angels, giving the Angels lineup and the team a more potent punch.

 

Chris Carter is a non roster invitee at this point; I sincerely hope he makes the opening day roster. He’s hitting for an average of .306 in 36 at-bats versus Luis Valbuena who’s hitting for an average of .225 in 40 at bats this spring, there is no logical reason why Chris Carter should not be part of the opening day roster. I believe that Luis Valbuena should be the backup to Chris Carter especially since Albert Pujols will be playing more first base this year due to sharing the designated hitter position with Shohei Otani. Zack Cozart is a wonderful addition to the Angels’ offense he is hitting .342 this spring which is a refreshing update to the third base position.

 

All these new additions along with the sustained excellence of Mike Trout, Kole Calhoun, and Justin Upton among others, combined with the overall health of our pitching staff, with the addition of Shohei Otani, it should be an interesting season for this wonderful team. I’m truly looking forward to opening day against the Athletics in Oakland on March 29.

 

-ICE

Stomper Is Ahead of the Rally Monkey on the Score Cards

Baseball is a lot like boxing, the longer a fight goes, the later rounds become exponentially important. The American League West division race is much like a boxing match, especially the second half of the season where less than half the games are left. I mentioned in a previous entry a strong start coming out of the All-Star break would be especially important for the Angels. I said that numbers now matter.

The Angels started off strong by taking two of three from the Oakland A’s, the Halos needed to sweep the A’s in Anaheim and in Oakland in my opinion, in order to make any sort of meaningful progress in the division race. After losing ground by dropping the last game of the series against the A’s at Angel Stadium, then the Angels dropped two out of three against the Minnesota Twins. To add to the problem, the Angels have lost two out of four in the current series against Oakland at the Oakland Coliseum. The best they can hope for is a series split by winning tomorrow’s game.

Yes, baseball can be like a boxing match at times, it is quite possible that the Angels will receive a knockout blow by possibly losing Albert Pujols for the rest of the season due to his ongoing condition of plantar fasciitis. He left Oakland and returned to Southern California in order for doctors to run more tests, dare I say it doesn’t look good. He may have to go on the Disabled List for the rest of the season.

I can’t help but question the thought process that led to the poor handling of the situation. The team knew that this injury would be an ongoing problem; they should have rested number five, early during the start of the season. I realize he is a competitor, but I also realize that the Angels have invested a lot of money into his contract for him only to be able to play at half strength. The Angels knew that they would meet him late in the stretch run, and I question why they didn’t act accordingly. Now because of what I consider to be a poor decision, the team and their fan base are suffering the consequences.

I do realize that the Angels have their share of injuries, mainly Jason Vargas, however Albert is a big part of the Angels’ future plans and the team is not acting like it. I take solace in that history can repeat itself. The Halos must ironically take a page out of last year’s Oakland A’s playbook. If I recall, the Oakland A’s were in a similar position this time last year and won the division championship. At the very least the Angels must concentrate on winning one of the two wild-card spots and make a playoff push that way. They did that in 2002, and we all know what resulted. The Angels have the championship pedigree, but like any true champion they must come back in the later rounds and when the fight.

-ICE

Related Articles: http://angels.mlblogs.com/2013/07/13/the-symphony-of-the-numbers-game
http://angels.mlblogs.com/2013/04/12/stomper-mercilessly-stomps-out-the-rally-monkey-then-swept-him-away
http://www.latimes.com/sports/sportsnow/la-sp-sn-angels-albert-pujols-aggravates-foot-injury-20130727,0,612262.story

Update: Albert Pujols will likely miss the rest of the 2013 season

http://www.latimes.com/sports/baseball/mlb/angels/la-sp-0729-angels-athletics-20130729,0,4351670.story

Josh Hamilton Trades in His Cowboy Hat for a Halo

Josh Hamilton's Introduction at the Angels' Press Conference on December 15, 2012

Josh Hamilton’s Introduction at the Angels’ Press Conference on December 15, 2012


Josh Hamilton has signed a five-year 125 million dollar contract with the Angels. I haven’t really made up my mind as to how I feel regarding this transaction. As I mentioned in my entry written yesterday, I’m a strong believer that big bats doesn’t do a team any good if they don’t add above average pitching to go with it. I’m not happy with the Angels roster moves thus far, and I can’t say the Hamilton contract changes my mind.

Yes, I acknowledge that at the very least the Angels have dealt a big blow to the Texas Rangers by taking one of their premier players away. I also acknowledge that the addition of Hamilton creates a pretty powerful one-two punch behind Albert Pujols. To me, there are more questions than answers. What does this mean for Mark Trumbo? Does this mean the experiment at third base begins again? Or does Peter Bourjos get traded? Does this move thankfully put Vernon Wells on the bench? Are the Angels really prepared to handle Hamilton’s off field issues should they arise?

I was under the impression that the reason why they let Torii Hunter walk away from the Angels was because they wanted to get younger and resolve the logjam in the outfield. How does the Hamilton singing solve any of the issues the organization cited? Hunter was a cheaper option, yet the Angels decided to opt for the relatively younger and more expensive option. Here again, future financial flexibility concerns me.

If one looks at Hamilton’s numbers; yes, he started off hot winning the American League Player of the Month award two months in a row, but as a baseball season wore on, he was unable to hit the inside fastball; his average dropped and the strikeouts increased.

Could this gamesmanship with the Los Angeles Dodgers? After losing Zack Greinke to the Dodgers, are the Angels trying to keep pace? Was the Hamilton contract done in order to keep the inroads that the Angels have made in the Los Angeles market? There is a battle or Los Angeles indeed.

The funny thing is that Los Angeles and Anaheim are separated by a County line dissected across Interstate 5, the two cities are in close proximity to each other, but they are not exactly cross town rivals. Anaheim and Los Angeles are similar to Oakland and San Francisco in that their close proximity makes them instead natural rivals.

This upcoming season is getting more interesting by the day, not only due to the gamesmanship between the Angels and the Dodgers, but also by both teams proving that they’re in it to win it, they both want to win now. The problem is, I frankly don’t see how the Angels are any better this upcoming year than they were last year. The pieces may have changed, but the problems remain the same.

-ICE

Related Articles:http://angels.mlblogs.com/2013/04/09/are-the-angels-the-team-where-superstars-go-to-supernova/

Rally Monkeys with Halos Are Swinging from Oak Trees

It’s early August and the dog fights are in full swing. Many predicted that the fight would be between the Angels and Rangers. Somehow the Oakland Athletics found a way to crash the party. I can’t really say that’s a bad thing, for Angels’ fans like me Oakland is a big part of the equation. I am actually glad that that they are part of the division battle and hopefully they knock out the Rangers for us. An Angels-A’s battle is more familiar and is much more meaningful for fans at least in California.

Oakland and Anaheim are separated by roughly a little bit more than 400 miles. For the most part of the first decade of the new millennium the Angels and A’s traded division titles. I distinctly remember at least three of the titles that the Angels captured were against the A’s during the last series of the season twice at the Oakland Coliseum and once at Angel Stadium. I recall these instances vividly since I was there for all three.

Believe it or not, the rivalry has its charm. I don’t know of any other team in baseball where you can be a wheelchair user and get field level seats at equal price maybe a bit more than the upper-level seats anywhere around baseball other than the Oakland Coliseum. Since I attended college in the Bay Area I was a regular at the Coliseum when the Angels played the A’s.

I can remember vividly fans coming in their stadium with devil horns and rally monkeys tied to a rope as if hanging from a noose and the fans spinning the monkey around as they exclaimed “Let’s Go Oakland!” The young women showing their Oakland pride by wearing skintight green baby doll tops with a yellow A’s logo that has fake rhinestones glued inside the letter and their hip hugging apple bottom jeans. (What can he say, I’m a guy) although it down inside I wish they were wearing a red top, with a red “A” with a rhinestone halo around it. (A man can dream, can’t he?)

The Angels contingent was usually pretty strong and well represented there is usually plenty of people there who are fellow Angels’ fans to high five. The 400 miles means nothing if someone loves their team that much. Besides, The Bay Area is a beautiful area as well so Angels’ fans get treated to quite an experience when they go to visit Oakland.

I found myself debating whether I should take the 90 mile trip on the Amtrak from the state capitol to Oakland to watch my beloved team now that the games against the A’s means so much, and if I wasn’t going home later this month to see the Angels against the Indians I would probably consider it. Oakland Coliseum, I miss you!

Okay, enough reminiscing, the Angels split the latest series against the Rangers 2-2. They might as well have been exhibition games since the Angels arrived five games back for the division lead, and they left Arlington five games back for the division lead. They then went on to lose two out of three against the Chicago White Sox. All in all, they came out for the onslaught okay, relatively speaking since they only had a net loss of one game, now, the Halos find themselves six games back of the Rangers when it could’ve been much worse.

The offense is fine, yes, it’s the bullpen again, they can’t seem to hold leads late in the game. Yes, one can explain away by using the injury to Scott Downs, one of the two only reliable bullpen members in my opinion in the Angels’ bullpen. the head scratcher is, why not leave Garrett Richards as part of the Angels team so he can help them solidify the bullpen. Even better, leave him in the starting rotation and send struggling pitcher Ervin Santana to the bullpen?

Whether one blames the on the bullpen, or whatever dynamic they choose, I believe the problem is much deeper than that, it’s a problem that the Angels have been facing since 2010; their inability to defeat their division opponents when they should. That’s what makes this series against the Athletics that much more important on the one hand, they need these games to cut significantly into the Rangers’ lead it’s starting to get a little too close for comfort. At the same time they have to hope that some other team defeats the Rangers in order to make this hypothesis feasible.

On the other hand the Angels need to prove themselves that they can defeat division opponents. While at the same time sending the message to this Oakland team that the Halos are not going away anytime soon. It is my humble leave in order to get these two goals are accomplished they must sweep the Oakland Athletics and hope they get some help from other teams in the Rangers’ upcoming series.

Nothing is set in stone and it’s still early enough in the season that things can change in this wonderful division. If anything, this battle serves to put the rest of baseball on notice that the American League West is a pretty tough division. Go Angels!

-ICE

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