April 21st, 2014
The Angels head east this week to take on two expected playoff contenders. First up, the Washington Nationals, in the first head-to-head battle between two young baseball prodigies. That’s right, J.B. Shuck and Danny Espinosa will match up for the first time in the regular season. Oh, and so will Mike Trout and Bryce Harper, I guess.
Harper and Trout will, for the rest of their careers, be compared to each other. Both were considered two of the greatest minor league prospects ever, both were called up for good on the same day in April 2012, and both have played excellent baseball at ridiculously young ages. Harper posted the greatest age-19 season in history, and Trout posted the greatest age-20 and age-21 seasons in history.
April 14th, 2014
The bride to Trout’s bridesmaid.
After a week of facing teams that aren’t expected to contend for the playoffs deep into the summer, the Angels will take on two of the best teams in baseball this week in the A’s and Tigers. Shocking absolutely nobody, both teams currently sit in first in their respective divisions, yet the paths both teams took to their current forms could not be more different.
The A’s have won two division titles in a row, and will battle with the Rangers and Angels* for another AL West crown this year. Yet, they still feel like a fluke, especially to the more casual baseball fan. Who is the biggest star on the team? Yoenis Cespedes? Coco Crisp, because “Coco” and because hair? Their best player last season was third baseman Josh Donaldson, who posted the 7.7-win season from nowhere. If you asked a random baseball fan who Josh Donaldson was and what position he played — don’t do this because that would be weirdly specific — I assume most would guess he was a utility infielder for like the Padres.
* Ha ha just kidding the Angels will not be in the race in September.
April 10th, 2014
Game 1: Mariners 5, Angels 3 | Game 2: Angels 2, Mariners 0
Runs Scored = 5
Runs Against = 5
YTD Record: 4-5 | 3rd in AL West
Up Next: Friday vs. NYM
On Wednesday the Angels won their first game of the season against Not The Astros, earning a split against the division rival Mariners. The big news of the series, though, was Josh Hamilton losing a thumb war to first base when he slid into the bag rather than run through. You’re not supposed to do that. Hamilton, enjoying maybe his first hot streak as an Angel, will miss 6-8 weeks while recovering from thumb surgery. The Angels are not very deep, so left field will be managed by JB Shuck and Colin Cowgill, which in terms of platoons will likely be as successful as Willem Dafoe.
Don’t worry, he comes back and fathers Jame Franco.
What follows are my stray thoughts while watching the games:
April 7th, 2014
Justin Smoak swinging a bat. Because he plays baseball for a living.
It’s Optimism Week for the Angels, as they face off against two clubs with signs of improving in the near future. As for the Angels…hey that Mike Trout is pretty good!
First, the Angels look to avenge their embarrassing opening series against the Mariners when they take on Seattle for a quick two-game set in Safeco Field this week. The Mariners probably won’t contend for the AL West this season, but if the revamped lineup scores provides enough offense for Felix Hernandez & Friends they could hang around in the Wild Card race for the summer. And, really, Seattleites just need a bridge until Seahawks season starts.
March 27th, 2014
Trout and the Angels will look to…CATCH the top of the AL West in 2014.
6-6 tie 6-2 win Wednesday afternoon against the A’s, the Angels wrapped up the Arizona portion of their exhibition season with a 17-10 record, second best in the Cactus League. The club also posted a +54 run differential, best among all teams. Of course, this means nothing — a ripe Spring Training grapefruit could rot once the first pitch is thrown on Opening Day. But succeeding in exhibition games is still preferable to failing, especially for a team that has struggled out of the gates in each of the last two seasons. Any confidence that can be gathered and carried over to games that matter is a boost for the perennially-frustrating Angels.
Only three Freeway Series games against the Dodgers separate the Angels from their date with Felix Hernandez on Monday night in Anaheim. Before we dive into the regular season, let’s take a quick look at how some key Angels performed over the last few weeks. All stats were gathered from Baseball-Reference. For all the players I listed, I also noted what B-R has dubbed “OppQual.” Since Spring stats are difficult to decipher, this is a helpful little tool. For example, if a player’s OppQual is 10, it means he faced all MLB-caliber players — this never happens due to all the non-roster invites getting looks from clubs. If a player’s OppQual is 8, it means he faced an average of Triple-A talent. A 7 equates to Double-A, a 5 High-A, et cetera.
These stats should be taken with a gigantic grain of salt. Also, please note that all stats are through games on March 25. Onward to overreactions.