Results tagged ‘ Peter Bourjos ’

“Houston, We Have a Problem”

After a sweep of the Seattle Mariners and the Kansas City Royals as part of an eight-game win streak, and when it all seemed to finally becoming together, the cruel hand of reality Has once again grounded this underachieving Angels team.

They were swept by the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium in the first half of the Freeway series, when the scenery switched back to Angel Stadium for the second half of the Freeway series; the Angels swept the Dodgers thereby increasing their domination over the Dodgers at Angel Stadium to 13-6 the best home record against any one team in all of Major League Baseball since the inception of inter-league play in the regular-season. After that, they were swept by the Astros, and then split the two-game series versus the Cubs, resulting in a 3-5 home stand.

How does one make it to the World Series? The formula is pretty simple, win home series, try to win at least half of the road series, and finally and I believe most importantly, defeat the teams in your own division. Unfortunately the Angels have not been able to use this formula to their advantage despite the plethora of talent on this roster.

The series’ that the Halos have been able to win has been minimal, and their division record has not been very good. This has especially been the case with the Houston Astros, the Angels are 3-6 this season against the Astros. When the Astros joined the American League West in the beginning of this year as part of Major League Baseball realignment, the powerhouses in the division principally the Angels, the Athletics, and the Rangers were widely expected to feast on the Astros in order to bolster their overall record and improve their chances of making the postseason. Two of the three teams mentioned have taken advantage of this circumstance and for reasons I cannot explain, the Angels are not one of those teams.

The Halos have the talent, but Mike Scioscia in my opinion refuses to explore new options other than what he believes to be the road to victory. At this point of the season if the formula does not work Mr. Scioscia, then you must change it!

Here are a few suggestions, move Mike Trout to the leadoff spot, put Josh Hamilton second so he can see more fastballs with Albert Pujols hitting behind him. Similar to the way Torii Hunter was used last year, this strategy increased Hunter’s production, so much so that the Detroit Tigers are utilizing him in the same manner.

The second step, is to take advantage of base running pressure, one can do this by putting Peter Bourjos (when he comes off the disabled list) or J. B. Schuck and Erick Aybar in the eight and nine hole respectively; that way the Halos have speed on the bases so when the lineup turns over, the power hitters can take advantage of the opposing pitchers being off balance. In effect playing what Scioscia was so successful at one time, small ball. The Angels’ speedsters must be allowed to take calculated risks and steel more bases than they currently are. The worse that could happen is they lose the game, but aren’t they already doing that? So they have nothing to lose except keeping the opposing team off balance.

The Angels have a steep mountain to climb, I still hold out hope that they can do it. If they are indeed unsuccessful and don’t make the playoffs this year, I sincerely hope that the right changes are made, in order for this team to take advantage of the spectacular superstar talent they have on this roster. What solutions would you propose for this team?

-ICE

Are the Angels the Team Where Superstars Go to Supernova?

What constitutes beauty in sports? Is it a winning streak? Is it the underdog coming from behind to beat their heavily favored opponent? Or is it the team that was expected to be irrelevant during a given season, beating the odds to raise the championship trophy in their respective sport? One can ponder these questions all day and still not come up with answers.

Questions that one may never find the answers to, this concept can be aptly applied to how I feel about the Angels so far this season. They dropped two out of three in Arlington, to make matters worse Jered Weaver fell victim to an injury, suffering an elbow strain by landing awkwardly on it; in an effort to avoid a ball that was coming towards him.

Weaver’s injury

Albert Pujols has what amounts to be an inflamed heal which makes it hard for him to change speeds while running. This is an injury he is dealt with most of his career, however this is the first year it has affected him this early in the season. Josh Hamilton is making my worst fears come true, as I mentioned in previous entries, I am afraid of his inability to hit the inside fastball, a fear which unfortunately is coming true; through the first five games of the season he has gone 1 for 20 with 10 strikeouts.

Are the Angels snake bitten? It seems that every time a bona fide star comes to the team they go through a sharp decline in which a player is unable to return to his former glory. A clear example of this is Vernon Wells, are Pujols and Hamilton next?

There are some positives coming out of the series with the Texas Rangers, the Home Runs; Albert Pujols hit two Home Runs in one game, Mark Trumbo and Peter Bourjos each contributed with a Home Run.

Tonight the Angels have an opportunity for a fresh start, as they face the Oakland Athletics in the Halos’ home opener. It is their opportunity to be impeccable, nearly perfect at home. Perhaps, this is the jumpstart they need to be successful this season.

-ICE

Related Articles: http://angels.mlblogs.com/2012/12/13/josh-hamilton-trades-in-his-cowboy-hat-for-a-halo/

Update: Weaver is out of the Angels’ pitching rotation 4-6 weeks with a broken elbow. This is very unfortunate. http://losangeles.angels.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130409&content_id=44305998&c_id=ana

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/

The Sky Is Always Darkest before the Dawn

Now that the Major League Baseball awards season is over, one can say that the off-season is in full swing. I’m happy that Mike Trout was voted the 2012 Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year by the baseball writers of America, however I am disappointed he was not selected as the 2012 American League Most Valuable Player. I believe that the most valuable player award belongs to the player who’s made the most valuable impact on their respective team. To me, Mike Trout has been that player. His W. A. R. (Wins Above Replacement) was higher than any player in recent baseball history. These are things that team cannot control, so the only recourse is to congratulate Miguel Cabrera on winning the American League Most Valuable Player award.

There is no solace in the things that team can’t control however, in my eyes the Angels get A failing grade in not offering and signing Torii Hunter to a long-term contract.. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again, and I will never get tired of saying it, Torii Hunter was the leader and heart and soul of this Angels’ team! They simply let him walk away without offering him a qualifying offer, which would at the very least guarantee the Angels compensatory picks if he decided to sign with another team, which is exactly what happened. The Angels could have offered Hunter if we are contract with a player option after the first year and the club option after the second year thereby, protecting both the interest of the club and the interest of the player.

Hunter has since signed a two-year contract with the Detroit Tigers. His contribution is sure to bolster the Tigers’ lineup. Torii, thank you sir for the wonderful memorable years spent with my beloved Angels, I am very sad to see you go, in my heart, you will always be a member of the Angels.

A lot people argue that Hunter needed to go in order to open a roster spot on a permanent basis for another player. The Angels trust Vernon Wells that much? I surely don’t, and I think there are a lot of the Angels’ fans that feel the same way I do. Sure, you can install an outfield of Mark Trumbo, Mike Trout, and Peter Bourjos; but as fans, does the age organization honestly expect us to believe that they will sit Vernon Wells given the size of his contract? I think not, Torii Hunter proved his worth to the Angels’ organization. It’s really a shame that both sides could not work things out.

It is said that the sky is always darkest before the dawn. For the Angels sake, I hope it doesn’t get any darker this off-season and that dawn is just around the corner.

-ICE

The Angels Have Gone from Cranky to Greinke

Three days before the trade deadline and I find myself shocked yet again. I am not shocked that the Angels actually made a move before the trade deadline, I’m shocked as to how they did it. For those of you that read my previous entry you know that I humbly suggested that they take a shot at Zack Greinke. I postulated that it would take Peter Bourjos, Ervin Santana, and two or three draft picks and/or Minor Leaguers. Boy was I wrong, not about the Minor Leaguers; but about Ervin Santana and Peter Bourjos.

The Angels acquired Greinke from the Brewers in exchange for shortstop Jean Segura and Double-A pitchers Johnny Hellweg and Ariel Peña. I honestly thought the Halos would have paid a heavy a price as stated above, but Angels’ General Manager Jerry Dipoto has done it again, he brought Major League Baseball to a standstill when he signed Albert Pujols and now, Greinke.

I honestly have mixed feelings about this move on the one hand, I am excited; the addition of Zack Greinke has made the Angels’ starting rotation one of the most formidable rotations in all of baseball. On the other hand, Greinke is considered an “rent a player” he is a free agent at the end of the season and I hope the Angels have made the trade with realistic expectations of re-signing him. Greinke’s current status with the team concerns me very much.

The best part is that it makes the Angels even better than what has already talented team is, and it gives the Texas Rangers a serious threat to win the division. There was a high possibility that if the Angels did not sign Greinke that the Texas Rangers and that would have spelled disaster for the Angels hopes of capturing the American League West title.

There are wonderful things on the horizon for this Angels team. As a fan I can do nothing but sit back and enjoy the Angels have gone from being cranky because of the second-place position to the possibility of winning the American League West. Essentially they have gone from being cranky to Greinke. Go Angels!

-ICE

Will There Be a Halo over the Baseball Casino?

It’s that time of year again. The time of year when Major League Baseball resembles the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The time a year with the wheeling and dealing begins. It’s known throughout baseball as the July 31 trading deadline.

There have been conflicting reports both over the Internet and in the local newspapers that cover the Angels. Some outlets are reporting that the Angels tend to stay pat, others are reporting that they plan to be minimally active. I think the Halos need to make a move especially since there has been a rule change regarding the wild-card the second wild-card and the play in game changes everything there are teams at this point I could very easily claim the second spot if they make the right moves. The Angels are one of those teams.

I believe that the Angels should trade for Zack Greinke from the Milwaukee Brewers for Peter Bourjos, Ervin Santana and maybe a couple of draft picks. It would be great if the Angels could trade Peter Bourjos for Zack Greinke. However, I don’t think the Brewers would give up a starting pitcher for an outfielder without someone to replace him on the pitching staff that’s why Ervin Santana will be included in trade. The Angels have a logjam in their outfield especially once Vernon Wells comes back.

The Angels need to be proactive now and prepare for the eventual situations that may come about. Zack Greinke would help the Angels compete for the wild-card were even overtake the Texas Rangers for that division lead in the American League West, but really all Angels need is a wild-card spot since we all know what happened last time they clinched the wild card. We don’t really need to win the division in order to win all, evidence of this is 2002 when the Angels were crowned the 2002 World Series Champions.

Tonight, ESPN Sunday Night Baseball features the Angels versus the Rangers in the Angels need to take advantage of these head-to-head matchups against the Rangers, since the Angels can’t seem to take advantage of Rangers’ losses when they need to the most.

-ICE

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

The Angels’ Fanatic Versus Mr. Realistic

Duality, it can be a perplexing concept; but I think that is what most Angels’ fans are going through right now. We are in the middle of A dog fight with the Texas Rangers for the American League West, and it appears neither side is willing to cede anything to the other. 13 games, that’s all that’s left to decide the season of 2011. The way things are going, it’s still can be anybody’s division. For the sake of organizing my thoughts, I have decided to write this entry exactly the way that I’m feeling. One side, is that of the Angels’ fanatic the other, the side of Mr. realistic. I honestly feel like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, so I think the smart thing to do is to write this entry in that manner.

 

The Angels’ Fanatic

The Angels are only three games behind with 13 games to play, mathematically this seems very doable, especially with the big three in Jared Weaver, Dan Haren, and Ervin Santana. Couple that with the offensive resurgence of Torii Hunter and the youth movement that is Mike Trout, Mark Trumbo, Hank Conger and Peter Bourjos. Our good pitching coupled with contributions from both our veterans and youth should keep us in the fight through the last 13 games, even if that means forcing a one-game playoff. We will make it to the postseason and beyond.

  • Standings

American League West

Team W L PCT GB
Texas 85 64 .570
LA Angels 82 67 .550 3.0
Oakland 67 82 .450 18.0
Seattle 62 87 .416 23.0

Mr. Realistic

There are 13 games left to play with the Angels only three games back and although that may seem like a deficit that is relatively easy to overcome, there is really more to it. It is highly doubtful that this division will be won with less than 90 wins, as such the Angels must try to win a vast majority of the remaining games, to borrow a phrase from the Oakland Raiders “Just Win Baby!” and hope that the remaining opponents that the Rangers have, help the Angels by making the Rangers stumble. The Rangers offense is just too powerful for that to happen long-term, so the Angels must take advantage of every opportunity presented to them. It’s not enough for the Angels just to keep pace. An Angels win coupled with a Rangers win just burns up games. And that does not bode well for a team that is trying to chase the division leading Rangers. This is especially true since the Angels can’t seem to beat the Rangers with regularity during the head-to-head matchups. They will have a chance to redeem themselves during the last series of the regular season at home.

 

The Angels can attempt to capture the American League wild card since they are only 4 1/2 games behind the Red Sox in the Wild-Card race, there again lies the difficulty, not only to be Angels have to rely on other teams to make the Boston Red Sox stumble but we also have to hope that Tampa Bay Rays also stumble; since the Rays are also breathing down the neck of the Red Sox.

 

Conclusion

The numbers seem to tell The story of an American League West division pennant race that is much closer than it actually is. But as a diehard Angels’ fan, it would be foolhardy of me to think that the Angels don’t have a legitimate shot at overtaking the Rangers and winning the American League West. I wouldn’t be much of a fan, would I? So I guess the Angels’ fan wins round one, the Angels’ fan, 1 Mr. realistic, 0

 

-ICE

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