The Angels finished near the bottom in runs scored in 2011. Some of that may be attributable to their ballpark which seemed to be a pitcher’s haven last year. Another problem is, while they were in the middle in batting average, they were closer to the bottom in OBP so drawing walks was a problem. No Angel drove in 100 or scored a hundred and none of their regulars hit .300.
Howie Kendrick was the team leader in OPS+. He hit .285 with an .802 OPS and he found some pop with eighteen home runs. He also led the team with 86 runs. Mark Trumbo led the team with 29 home runs but he hit just .254 with 25 walks. Even more extreme then Trumbo was Vernon Wells who hit 25 home runs and he hit just .218.
Helps is on the way so it’s time to buy your Angels tickets because this could be the year. Peter Bourjos had a solid season in his first full big league season and Trumbo was a rookie so you’d expect him to get better. And then of course there’s Mike Trout who ended up in 40 games. He hit just .220 but he showed some early pop and it’ll be fun watching this guy get better.
It was a long shot to begin with but the Rangers of all teams eliminated the Angels from playoff contention. With the collapse of the Red Sox, the Angels actually had a shot at the Wild Card but no longer because they fell to the Rangers tonight.
Dan Haren was good but not good enough and he fell to 16-10. He gave up four runs (three earned) on nine hits and one walk with eight strikeouts in eight innings. Rich Thompson got into trouble in the ninth but he pitched out of it and didn’t allow a run.
Erik Aybar went two for three with a run. Mike Trout went one for three with an RBI and a walk.
The loss puts the Angels at 86-74 on the season. That’s eight back of the Rangers in a season where the Angels should have done better.
Well, the Angels were in the mix then an extended losing streak and a hot patch by the Rangers and the Angels are now six games back. And that’s even after taking two straight. That four game series against the Rangers was the killer and while the Angels managed to win the finale, it didn’t make for the other three losses. There’s still some time, but it doesn’t look like baseball playoff tickets are in Angels’ fans futures.
Last night, the Angels took care of the Orioles 8-3. Torii Hunter had a big day at the plate with a pair of home runs and five RBIs. Peter Bourjos also had a nice game and he went three for five with a solo home run.
Dan Haren picked up the win. He gave up three runs on nine hits with eight strikeouts in seven frames. Scott Downs and Fernando Rodney pitched a shutout inning a piece to close out the game.
Joel Pineiro gets the start tonight and Tommy Hunter throws for the Orioles. The Rangers continue their series against the White Sox. Last night was tough because the White Sox led 3-0 but ended up losing 7-4.
The Angels had to settle for a split after a loss to the Tigers today. This was one of the best pitching matchups I’ve seen in a while with Jered Weaver going up against Justin Verlander. Weaver was tagged for a two run home run in the third and then in the seventh, things got weird. Carlos Guillen hit a solo shot and words were exchanged. The ump gave a warning but Weaver must have missed it because he went to Alex Avila’s head. Weaver was immediately tossed out.
The final was 3-2 which wasn’t bad because we didn’t get a hit until the eighth inning. Izturis had the lone base hit in the game with an RBI single. Both of the runs the Angels scored were unearned.
The Rangers lost so the Angels are still two back. The team gets a day off before the Twins come to town. This is going to be a fun race. I wonder what Angels tickets are going for these days with them in the middle of this division race.
If you would have asked me what I’d think of a .500 record at the half way point for the Angels, I would have been pretty disappointed. We’re still a couple of games away from the 81 game mark but at best, the Angels will be a game above .500. The good news is, no one else in the division has broken out either and while the Angels sit in third place, they’re only two games back of the first place Rangers. Attendance is also doing well as usual and it’s always nice to see all of those Angels tickets being sold.
Jared Weaver had another masterful start but he got a no decision and the Angels lost the game yesterday. Weaver was 3-0 in June with his second complete game shutout and he’s looking like a Cy Young contender. April is still his best month but June’s 1.67 ERA is nothing to shake a stick at either.
Weaver gave up one run in seven inning yesterday. Jordan Walden gave up two runs in the ninth and the Angels lost 3-2. It also didn’t hurt that they ran into a hot Clayton Kershaw, who gave up only two runs. Vernon Wells hit his ninth home run but he’s still hitting only .205. He also struck out three times. No Angel reached base more then once and six hits isn’t going to usually cut it. The fact that Weaver kept them in the game despite the lack of offense shows how good this guy is throwing.
Next up are the Nationals at home. Ervin Santana gets the nod tonight and John Lannen throws for the Nationals.
The past couple of weeks, nobody in the AL West has made a move except for the Mariners and while there are still some tight divisions, none of them has just a 2 1/2 game seperation between first and last place. The Angels sit at 26-26 and that’s good for second place, just one game back of the Rangers. The loss to the A’s this afternoon didn’t help. Oddly, the Angels are exactly .500 at both home and on the road.
Howie Kendrick just hit the disabled list and that’s going to hurt because he was finally looking like the batting title contendor that a lot of people thought he’d be. Torii Hunter is only hitting .240 but he’s managed to be productive. Erick Aybar is off to a nice start this season too and he’s seeing more time.
Pitching is what this team is about. Jered Weaver and Dan Haren are both going to be Cy Young contenders and Ervin Santana has been solid as well. Weaver has cooled off a bit after that hot start and while he’s lost four straight, he’s hardly been awful. But these three guys are a big reason the Angels have the second best ERA in the American League.
Next up for the Angels are a struggling Twins team. Hopefully they continue to struggle and the Angels can come out of that series with a few wins.
The good news is, the first place Rangers have cooled down. The bad news is, the Angels haven’t been able to take full advantage of it and they sit a game back (two in the loss column) after a series win against the A’s. The got some good pitching in the opener, some decent offense in the second game and then in the final they laid an egg at the plate and lost 2-1 in ten innings.
Jered Weaver has been the talk of the town. He’s now 6-0 with a 0.99 ERA and he’s had back to back complete games. Throw in 49 strikeouts (including 15 in a game against Toronto) and you have the early front runner for the Cy Young. Lost in all of the Weaver mania has been a fantastic start by Dan Haren. He’s 4-1 with a 1.46 ERA and you can’t complain about his 33-5 strikeout to walk ration.
One problem has been, the offense has only been okay. Torii Hunter leads the team with only twelve RBIs and of all people, Howie Kendrick leads the team with seven home runs. Kendrick has been the best hitter but when he’s on top of your home run list, you something weird is going on.
Next up are the Rays. The three game series starts Friday. I’m going to be picking up Angels tickets for a few games coming up. I wonder how tough of a buy these will be if the Angels are still in first place come August.
After a rough start by Matt Palmer, the Angels were able to salvage a tie with the Colorado Rockies in their spring game yesterday. The Rockies scored four in the first then two more in the third as Palmer was taken to task. The pen came through big though. Hisanori Takahashi threw two shutout innings and four other relievers threw a shutout game a piece to hold the Rockies in check through the final six innings of the game.
Torii Hunter went three for four with a solo home run. Vernon Wells also had a nice game and he went two for four with two runs and an RBI. The rest of the team managed just a combined five runs.
Next up are the Cubs. Game time is 1:05 and Jered Weaver gets the start.
The Angels struck out in the free agent signing season but they eventually got a big bat they wanted, sort of. They traded Juan Rivera and Mike Napoli to the Jays for All Star Vernon Wells. Vernon had a come back season last year and he belted 31 home runs while posting his best ERA+ (127) since 2006.
The downside is, Wells is set to make a ton of money beginning this year. He can opt out of his contract after 2011 although I find that doubtful because he’s set to make $86 million over the next four years. This is an interesting, high risk move so it’ll be interesting to see if it pans out. Wells had a few mediocre seasons between 2006 and 2010 so he has been prone to under perform.
The Angels missed out on Adrian Beltre but they can’t be too sad because they’re some top notch talent on the way in the next few years. Kevin Goldstein put out his top eleven Angels prospect list and the Angels have two five stars and three four stars at the top of the list. Coming in at number one was Mike Trout, the Angels first round pick in 2009. This outfielder can rake and while he’s still probably over a year away, he’s moving up the ladder quickly.
Number two is second baseman Jean Segura. Also a couple of years away, this guy can also rake and Goldstein talks about how the Angels relish the idea of Seguara and Archer hitting at the top of the Angels lineup in the future.
Jordan Walden is third and he’s the top pitching prospect. He’s major league ready and got some time with the Angels in 2010. He’s been deemed the closer of the future but this year he’ll probably round out a solid pen. Hank Conger (catcher, major league ready) and Kaleb Cowart (Angels first round pick in 2010) round out the top five.
Overall, Goldstein says the Angels are a top ten system. He seems really high on Trout so he bears keeping an eye on.
With money to spend, the Angels have been the odd man out. They’ve missed out on most of the big names and the lone player left in their sites is Adrian Beltre. Of course you don’t have to go too far back to remember another AL West team (yes, the Mariners) that signed Beltre to a big deal only to have it blow up in their face. Still, the third baseman is looking for big money, and he’s the biggest name left out there.
It looks like the Rangers are the only other team in the mix, but it looks like they’re not willing to come close to what the Angels are offering. The Rangers have gotten burned by Boras before by having them basically bid against themselves for Alex Rodriguez way back when and the Angels appear to be trying to avoid that as well.
Still, the Angels need some help and Beltre, at least the 2010 form, could be a huge boon. We’ll see if they get the deal sooner rather then later.
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