Purgatory Online

Thursday, June 12, 2003

So of course Benji Gil goes and hits a home run during the Angels' 5-3 victory over Philadelphia last night. I hear Gil told reporters before the game, "Sean said what about me on Purgatory Online? You tell him I'm gonna go deep tonight, and then I'm gonna take this bat and shove it straight up his ass!"


Anyway, the starting pitching was again good enough to mention - Appier went 5.2 innings, giving up two earned runs on six hits. His ERA has fallen to 4.65, still nothing to brag about but not out of place these days, in this league. Ben Weber, whose performance this year has been sensational but overshadowed by Brendan Donnelly's, picked up the win in relief by striking out all three of the batters he faced, while Donnelly himself continued his amazing run, throwing an inning of scoreless relief and dropping his ERA to 0.26.

Unfortunately, Donnelly did allow an inherited runner to score, that runner being the responsibility of Scott Schoeneweis, who got the shaft as far as seeing his ERA jump even higher than it already was. Schoeney, the Angels' only left-handed reliever, entered the game with two out in the top of the second to face Jim Thome, the Phillies' left-handed power-hitting first baseman. Schoeneweis did his job, getting Thome to ground out to first, and was left in to start the eighth, as Philadelphia had Bobby Abreu - also a lefty - leading off that inning. Abreu beat out an infield single, Schoeneweis was lifted in favor of Donnelly, and the Phillies managed to get Abreu around on a single and two fielder's choices. Still, the run's gotta be charged to someone, and Schoeneweis did put him on.

Remarkably, though Schoeneweis is the Angels' only left-handed option out of the pen, and despite the fact that his 7.00 ERA puts him dead last among the Angels' relievers, the Angels don't seem to have been hurt much by his performance. He's gone a mere 18 innings in 25 appearances, is 1-0, and has blown only one save. I haven't investigated, but I suspect that Scioscia is primarily going to him in situations where the game isn't on the line, and he can afford to give up a run or two without jeopardizing a win. Last night, entering with a three run lead, two outs, and the bases empty, would be a good example.

The Angels did make an attempt to acquire another lefty for the bullpen recently, apparently, but Chuck Finley wanted a starting spot. I understand, of course - the guy's been a starter all his life, and that's the routine he's comfortable with - but the last thing the Angels want to do right now is mess with the rotation, after it's finally achieved some semblance of efficacy. Finley might actually have been worth a gamble in Callaway's spot in the bullpen, but as a starter he's strictly in the Angels' past.