Halos Daily

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Giants Sweep Halos Out Of The Bay

May 4th, 2015

 

Game 1: Giants 3, Angels 2 | Game 2: Giants 5, Angels 4 | Game 3: Giants 5, Angels 0

 

Well that didn’t go well. After finishing April on a high note with two dramatic wins in Oakland, the Angels made the quick trip across the Bay Bridge to begin May but forgot to bring the good vibes along. The Halos were outhit 27 to 16 over the weekend, and managed just three extra-base hits (two by Trout) to the Giants’ eight. They never held a lead at any point over the three-game series, opting to tease hopeful fans with brief ties and one-run deficits.

The Halos have now scored three runs or fewer in 14 of their 25 games this season, and are already one shutout loss away from matching their 2014 total (3). Mike Trout’s MVP start has single-handedly prevented the Angels from having the worst offensive numbers in the American League, but even with him they’re still in the bottom three across the board.

If there was ever any doubt the front office was going to use it’s Howie Kendrick and Josh Hamilton savings to add a bat this summer, that doubt should be long gone. The only question now is where on the diamond the team needs a boost most. Currently, the team is in the bottom five offensively at catcher (30th), left field (30th), first base (26th), shortstop (29th), and designated hitter (13th in AL). Of those five positions, you can reliably count on two (1B and SS) to bounce back and have respectable numbers by the end of the year. That leaves three potential weak spots in need of bolstering by midseason, but with little help from the minors on the horizon and the means to address only one externally. If you’re Jerry Dipoto, what do you do?

Johnny Giavotella: Standing Tall for the Short of Stature

May 2nd, 2015

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As the baseball world is reminded every Jackie Robinson Day, it is important to understand your past and to be thankful for those pioneers who paved the way before you.  In honor of 5-foot-8 second baseman Johnny Giavotella, who is having a terrific start to his Angels career, we bring you a brief history of the all-time great diminutive Halos:

 

Albie Pearson

The 5-foot-5 center fielder played for the Angels from the club’s inception in 1961 until 1966.  He led the league in runs in 1962 with 115, and in 1963 was the starting center fielder in the All-Star Game.  He had a fantastic .379 on-base percentage in his Angel career, and he was also a terrific defender, as evidenced by his second place American League finish in 1962 and in 1963 in putouts by an outfielder.

 

Vic Davalillo

The 5-foot-7 outfielder was acquired by the Angels after the start of the 1968 season and started the 1969 season before he was traded.  He made an impact in 1968 for the club when he hit .298 and had 17 stolen bases in 93 games.

 

Luis Polonia

This 5-foot-8 outfielder played in four seasons with the Halos, from 1990 to 1993.  In that time, he had a .345 OBP, stole 174 bases, and averaged 75 runs per season.  And in 1993 he got to showcase his throwing arm by notching 12 assists from left field.

Mike Trout Leads Angels to Series Victory in Oakland

May 1st, 2015

 

Game 1: A’s 6, Angels 2  | Game 2: Angels 6, A’s 3 | Game 3: Angels 6, A’s 5

 

The Angels closed the month with another road series victory over a division rival, doing the same in Seattle and Texas earlier in April. (Houston thwarted the chance to go 4-for-4 when they took two of three from the Angels two weeks ago.) In a month where the team played pretty poorly, they still finished 11-11 and are ahead of the supposed other division contenders in the standings. We’ll cross off the no-longer Lastros for now, but their legitimacy gains steam with each passing day.

Fans aren’t pleased with the sluggish start, but .500 is a good place to be considering the Angels rank 12th in the American League in wRC+, eighth in ERA-, and ninth in defensive runs saved. The Angels, at least for one month, are mediocre-to-worse at everything yet still have a 42.2% chance of winning the division, per Baseball Prospectus. It’s good to have Mike Trout.

On to the games in Oakland, with some stray observations from each.

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Game 1

* The good: Jered Weaver lasted seven innings. The bad: everything else. OK, that’s not totally fair, because after allowing five runs in the first inning Weaver retired 12 batters in a row and combined with Sonny Gray for a brisk two-hour, six-minute game. But that first inning was enough to K.O. the Angels immediately. That’s what happens when you face one of the best pitchers in the American League.

Halo History: The No-Hit Loss

April 30th, 2015
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Jered Weaver could only watch as Matt Kemp scored without a slide.

 

If you thought it was crazy the Angels were able to win last Thursday 2-0 even though Oakland’s pitchers limited the Halos offense to just one measly hit, consider this: Jered Weaver and Jose Arredondo combined to no-hit the Dodgers on June 28, 2008, yet the Angels still somehow lost the game.

So how do the Dodgers win a game without getting a hit?

With errors, of course. Matt Kemp, who struck out in his first at-bat against Weaver that day, led off the bottom of the fifth with a spinning ground-ball hit to the first-base side of the mound.  Weaver ran to the ball, looked up at Kemp blazing down the line, and momentarily lost his focus. He bobbled the ball as Kemp ran safely through first base.  E1.

Matt Kemp then took off for second while Blake DeWitt was batting.  Jeff Mathis airmailed his throw into center field, allowing Kemp to hustle over to third. E2.

The lone run of the game then followed shortly as DeWitt hit a high fly ball near the warning track in right field.  Vladimir Guerrero got himself into good throwing position under the ball and unleashed a terrific throw that a tagging Matt Kemp just beat to plate.

The Angels had their chances to earn Weaver and Arredondo a more renowned spot in the record books, but just couldn’t cash in. Chad Billingsley, Jonathan Broxton, and Takashi Saito allowed nine Angels base-runners total on the evening, but the Dodger defense continually came up big: right fielder Andre Ethier threw Erick Aybar out at second trying to stretch a single into a double; first baseman James Loney made a terrific diving stop on a Casey Kotchman line drive; and back-up second baseman Luis Maza fully extended on another Kotchman smash in the ninth, keeping the tying run off the bases just before a Howie Kendrick double.

Weaver and Jose Arredondo were dominant in their eight innings of work, silencing a tough Dodger line-up that featured Juan Pierre, Russell Martin, Ethier, Kent, Loney, and Kemp. The pair walked three, struck out nine, and hit a batter on the evening — not the best outings of their career, but definitely in the top five. There is no knowing if the Halos would’ve hung onto the no-hitter had L.A. batted in the ninth, but it’s fun to wonder. The loss ended up being their only 1-0 defeat of the season.

Does Jarrod Saltalamacchia Make Sense for the Angels?

April 29th, 2015

 

The Marlins designated Jarrod Saltalamacchia for assignment Monday and there are now reports five teams are interested in the struggling catcher. The Angels weren’t listed as one of those teams, but it’s safe to assume they would at least be a little intrigued — Angel catchers have posted a 10 wRC+ this year (!!!!!!!!), the worst production in baseball (duh). Remember, a 100 wRC+ is average.

Chris Iannetta has been run over by the regression train, posting a .176 wOBA just a year after having one of the best offensive campaigns of his career. Saltalamacchia, batting only .069* this season, is having a “better” offensive season than Iannetta, wOBA-ing at .187.

*Nice.

Acquiring Salty would essentially give the Angels the left-handed version of Iannetta.** Like Iannetta, Salty walks a lot, strikes out a lot, and is good for about 10 homers a year while providing less than stellar defense behind the dish. In what sounds like a ripoff of a John Woo film, does it make sense to platoon Iannetta…with himself? [dramatic music] Let’s take a look at some pros and cons of a potential Saltalamacchia acquisition.

**Saltalamacchia is a switch-hitter that can’t hit left-handed pitching, so it’s best to think of him as primarily a left-handed batter — like with Hank Conger.

 

Pros

 

A viable catching platoon…maybe

Let’s assume Iannetta is just being victimized by an early season slump and that slumps in April are worse than slumps in, like, July because they’re more magnified and the numbers are uglier. Pray to your gods this is the case. Even still, Iannetta is below average against right-handed pitching, posting a 93 wRC+ for his career. He mashes lefties (131 wRC+), but he could use a buddy when it comes to same-sided arms. That’s where Salty comes in, who for his career has posted a 107 wRC+ against right-handed arms. (That drops to 56 against left-handed pitchers.) Platoon Iannetta with Salty and the Angels now have above average productions everyday from the catcher spot. Not many teams have that type of advantage. Drew Butera could use an aluminum bat and still not be an average hitter.

Halos Daily

Dedicated to bringing you top notch Angels analysis!