Purgatory Online

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

"The Goddamn Baltimore Series" began to turn into "The Goddamn Road Trip" last night, thanks to a pathetic offensive performance in a 3-2 loss to Tampa Bay last night. Yestereve's opposing pitcher, Rob Bell, pitched into the eighth inning and gave up one run, lowering his earned run average to 6.14. You're welcome, Rob. Angels starter Aaron Sele, in his first "unrestricted" start since coming off the DL last month (his last three starts had been limited to five innings), pitched six complete and surrendered two earned on seven hits. He looked fairly good doing so, although it was clear he had tired significantly by the end of the sixth.

Once again, the Angels were doomed by their failure to come through in the clutch. David Eckstein led off the game with a double, but wasn't brought around. Adam Kennedy led off the third with a single and advanced to third on a two-base error, and no one could score him. Garret Anderson singled to start the fourth, and stayed there. The Angels put together some runs in the eighth and ninth, but not enough to make up for their earlier lost opportunities. They're now just a game over .500 for the season, and 8.5 behind Boston for the wild card.

At the moment, the Angels are losing again, 1-0, heading into the top of the fourth. It's tough right now to avoid thinking about what kind of roster moves to make in response to this skid; call it folding our hand on 2003 or firing the first shot for 2004 if you like. Josh at
The Monkey's Paw has pointed out that this team has a tradeable surfeit of quality relievers, and argues fairly convincingly that Ben Weber and/or Scott Schoeneweis should be dangled as trade bait. I'd add Brendan Donnelly to that list - Donnelly is having an unbelievable season, and, while it's true that he doesn't make much money and isn't arbitration eligible anytime soon, he's also 32 years old and not likely to maintain his current level of performance. There's nothing that says the Angels have to trade him, of course, and having him back next year would definitely be a plus, but I'd still be interested to see what kind of offers that 0.37 ERA garners.

Garret Anderson doubles home David Eckstein with two outs to tie the game. God bless you, Garret.

One member of the bullpen that we can be pretty confident will stay in Anaheim is Troy Percival. The Angels' closer, though considered one of the best in baseball, makes almost eight million bucks a year and is under contract through next season. Although Percival is not yet a five-and-ten guy, and thus can't veto trades, there's a very limited number of contenders out there who don't have a closer already. Kansas City, Boston, and Toronto all have terrible bullpens, but the Royals can't possibly take on Percival's salary, the Blue Jays may or may not see themselves as contending, and the Red Sox are in a pissing contest with the rest of baseball over whether one needs a closer at all. Over in the National League, Percival might have been a good fit in St. Louis, but the Cardinals look like they're committed to sticking with Jason Isringhausen as he tries to return from offseason shoulder surgery, a strategy that seems to be paying off for them. So Percival will likely been in Anaheim for at least one more year, with Frankie Rodriguez taking over closer's duties starting in 2005, or possibly late next year if Percival is traded during his walk year.