Tag:Jered Weaver
Posted on: June 15, 2009 3:01 pm
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Flawed and Feisty

The Halos are hanging around, but are they going anywhere?

After a road trip that saw the Angels play their worst ball of the season (and that's saying something), the club headed home for a three-game set with the Padres. Thank God for the Padres, huh, Halos fans? A visit from Buddy Black's club proved to be just what our sputtering offense needed, as extra-base hits were flying around the Big-A like it was 2002 all over again. In the series, a struggling Chris Young was the only bona fide big league pitcher the Angels had to face, as before his start on Saturday, Pads ace Jake Peavy was placed on the DL. Still, these are the Angels, and the team has had a knack for making Triple-A scrubs look like Cy Young, so it wasn't quite a foregone conclusion that the bats would come alive. But come alive they did!! The Halos slugged 9 HR and scored 26 runs in the three-game sweep, highlighted by Torii Hunter's 3-HR game on Saturday and Juan Rivera's pair of round-trippers in Sunday's finale.

With the Angels sweep and the Rangers dropping 2-of-3 to the Dodgers, the Halos climbed to within 2.5 games of the AL West-leading Rangers. The AL West remains a very winnable division, and it looks like it's going to go down to the wire with the Angels and Rangers duking it out all summer. The Mariners are hanging around as well, but their offense makes the Angels' look like the Red Sox. The M's just don't seem like contenders to me, but Felix and Bedard should keep them around .500. Billy Beane's probably already begun seeing what prospects Matt Holliday will bring, as the young (and old) A's look at another disappointing season.

The main reason the Rangers are tops in the division is their complete dominance within it. Texas is 13-3 against the AL West this season. Conversely, the Angels are 9-12. If the Halos don't do something to turn this trend around, they will most likely be watching Nolan Ryan and the Rangers celebrate a division title. As the old saying goes, there is a lot of baseball left to play.

In researching some stats for this blog entry, I came across some pretty interesting numbers. Let's look at offense. The common thought is that the Rangers have a top flight, explosive offense and the Angels, well, don't. This really isn't the case this year unless you're only looking at HR totals. The Angels currently lead the AL with a .279 average and sit 9th in runs scored with 296. The Rangers (albeit without Josh Hamilton for much of the season) are 7th in the AL with 310 runs scored. That's it, 14 measly runs separating the powerhouse Rangers from the slap happy Halos. This isn't to say that everything's all good offensively in Anaheim. While the club has hit .280 with RISP, far too many of those hits have been singles. The Angels don't hit a lot of home runs, but it seems when they do hit one, no one's on base. Ever. They also haven't hit a ton of doubles this year either, meaning the Angels need three hits in an inning oftentimes to score a run. This needs to change. If it's a case of bad luck, they may be in line for a nice offensive boost very soon, but if it's a case of lack of clutch hitting, which is how it appears, the Angels mediocre offense will remain just that.

Scot Shields' season is over, and I don't know if this is a good thing or a bad thing for the club. Scotty just didn't seem to have it this season. If he was coming back, however, the club might have been OK with standing pat while the bullpen continues to struggle. With Shieldsy done, the club is now forced to look at bringing a good arm or two into the bullpen before the trade deadline. We'll have to wait and see who's available and just what the Angels are willing to give up.

A quick look at some HOT Angels:

Chone Figgins is now 5th in the AL with a .326 batting average. Figgy's hitting line drives all over the place from both sides of the plate and he's scoring runs too. He's currently tied for third in the AL with 47 runs scored. When Figgy scores, the Angels usually win.

Torii Hunter's 3-HR day on Saturday punctuated what's really been a two month hot streak. Hunter has really carried the club offensively and his 16 HR and 51 RBI are both 5th in the AL.

With Jered Weaver's CG shutout yesterday, the righty is now 7-2 with an ever-shrinking 2.08 ERA, good for second in the AL behind Zack Greinke's 1.72. Weav has been unbelievable lately, and looks like a lock for his first All-Star appearance.
Posted on: May 11, 2009 3:58 pm
Edited on: May 11, 2009 6:52 pm
 

Halos streaking, reinforcements coming

The Angels won their fourth straight game (and 6th of last 7) yesterday in completing a sweep of the Kansas City Royals. They are now 16-14 and just a half game behind the Rangers for the top spot in the AL West. The makeshift starting rotation has been one of the best in the AL all season without studs John Lackey and Ervin Santana, who are both set to make their debuts later this week. Fill-ins Shane Loux, Matt Palmer and Anthony Ortega have performed very capably, especially Palmer (pictured left) who has gone 3-0 with a 3.06 ERA. His solid work has probably earned him a chance to remain in the rotation when Lackey and Santana return, with Loux probably heading back to the bullpen and Ortega, who got roughed up by the Blue Jays in his last start, heading back to Salt Lake.

While the youngsters have been doing their part, it's been mainstays Joe Saunders and Jered Weaver who have led the way. Both sport tidy 2.66 ERA's with Saunders going 5-1 and Weaver 3-1. These two were counted on to hold the rotation together with Lackey and Santana out, and both have answered the bell. It's beginning to look like Saunders' All-Star 2008 season was not the fluke many made it out to be. He's beginning to remind me a bit of Mark Buehrle, a guy who's not everpowering, but just knows how to pitch and get guys out. On Saturday night, he outdueled Zack "Cy Young" Greinke, matching him pitch-for-pitch and making a single Angels run hold up in a complete game shut-out. Greinke had all the headlines coming in, and he was as good as advertised, but Joe did what top of the rotation guys need to do. It was an impressive start to say the least. Weaver is also coming off a CG, his perhaps even more impressive than Saunders's, as he surrendered only 1 run to the scorching hot Blue Jays in a 6-1 win. All the Blue Jays did the previous night was score 13 runs on 15 hits. Weaver cooled them off in a hurry.

The bullpen has looked better as of late, but still not the rock-solid, lock-down pen of past Angels teams. Closer Brian Fuentes has looked better of late, though he got bailed out big time yesterday by Torii Hunter, who snatched what would have been the game-tying HR off the bat of Miguel Olivo 2 feet over the centerfield fence. If you haven't seen it, YouTube that action...it was AWESOME. Fuentes has 9 saves in 11 chances, and while his 15 K's in 11.2 innings is nice, his .298 BAA is not. He hasn't walked a ton of guys, but his location isn't quite where it needs to be. Closer-in-waiting Jose Arredondo has looked better lately as well. He's K'd 19 in just 13.2 innings of work, but also has an Saunders and Weaver have led the way.uncharacteristically high BAA of .288. His ERA has been slowly shrinking, but still stands at a putrid 5.27. It looks like Arredondo will be just fine, though. Scot Shields, on the other hand doesn't look fine. He had a nice outing yesterday, but has not shown any semblance of consistency. In 11.2 innings, he's issued 12 BB while striking out 8 batters. His .195 BAA suggests he still has the stuff to get guys out, when he's not issuing walk after walk, after walk. Jury's still out on Shieldsy, and the team desperately needs him to turn it around.

With Seattle coming back to reality and the A's not hitting, the Rangers have emerged as the Angels chief competition in the division. While not entirely unexpected, the offensive powerhouse Rangers have gotten solid work from starters Kevin Milwood (hello, contract year) and Vicente Padilla, along with Matt Harrison. They've also been without slugger Josh Hamilton, who returns this week. Look out.

Along with the returning pitchers, the Angels offense should get a shot of Vlad in a few weeks. He's going to be the team's full-time DH when he returns, it appears, which is the right play in my opinion. Keep Vlad as healthy as possible. The offense continues to be OK without him, as Torii Hunter and Mike Napoli have been hot. Also, there's been a Gary Matthews sighting...he's playing very well lately and will probably continue to start somewhere in the OF when Vlad returns.

So the Angels weathered the storm of injuries and are playing the best ball they've played all season. If the return of the starters can help to settle the bullpen, with Loux and Palmer heading down, the team should look like the Angels teams we've seen the last few seasons. It won't be a cakewalk, however, as the Rangers don't look like they're going to fade anytime soon and the A's bats have woken up a bit lately. The AL West is more up for grabs than it has been the last few seasons, and it could be a 3 or 4 horse race all season.                                                                                                                                     

Posted on: April 17, 2008 1:50 pm
 

Royal pain in the butt

That road trip to Boston and Detroit is looking pretty inviting right about now. Seriously, anyone but the Royals...they own us. Last night's 3-2 win ran their streak to six in-a-row over the Halos dating back to last season. They beat Jered Weaver with a few well-placed singles and an error, commited by Weaver himself, that allowed the third and deciding run. Gil Meche seems to own us as well, as he picked up the victory to run his career record versus the Angels to 7-2.

I do own Meche in a fantasy league, so the game was bitter-sweet for me, although I am NOT one of those guys who roots for his fantasy players when they're playing my team. Real baseball always trumps fantasy baseball, and if you don't agree, you're not a real fan.

*steps off soapbox*

Some positives from the game:

  • Weaver again battled and kept us in a ball game without his best stuff. This seems to be a recurring theme for him. Just waiting for his "best stuff" or at least some "better stuff" to appear, because he'll need it for his next start in Boston.
  • Casey Kotchman is turning into a professional hitter. That little inside-out single to left to drive in our only two runs was Gwynn-esque. Cool stat - Kotch currently has more homeruns (4) than strikeouts (3). Pretty sweet. Also that heads-up double play he turned on that infield pop-up was very nice. ESPN showed him look down the line to check where the batter was. Very heady play.
  • The bullpen was good, especially O'Day, who looks like he's going to be a fixture for the season.
  • Aybar had a nice 0-for-4, if such a thing exists. He hit some absolute tracers to left field that seemed to be Teahen-seeking missles because they ultimately found their way into the Royals' left fielders glove. He's swinging the bat pretty good right now.

Hopefully we can solve the juggernaut that is the Kansas City Royals tonight against Brett Tomko. He's pitched pretty well so far, but c'mon he's Brett Tomko. Jon Garland takes the ball for the Halos looking to rebound from a so-so outing in Seattle.

 

 

 
 
 
 
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