Purgatory Online

Monday, August 04, 2003

Scot Shields's line from yesterday's loss to the Toronto Blue Jays:

5.0 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 91 TP

Shields started and finished shaky, but in between looked great. I was actually somewhat surprised that he pitched into the sixth; I halfway expected Scioscia to have him on a five-inning restriction for his first couple of starts, just to get him used to going out for that length of time. But he was obviously cruising at the end of five, and I can't say I wouldn't have sent him out for the sixth either. In any event, Shields put the first three batters on in the sixth (giving up one run), and Frankie Rodriguez almost got him out of it. My point is that Shields looked a lot more promising than his four earned runs in five innings would indicate, and the strikeouts were a nice bonus. I'm looking forward to his next start.

Oh, and the offense still sucks. Here's a list of runs scored in the Angels' most recent 10 games:

Zero. One. Five. One. Zero. Two. Two. One. One. Two.

At this point, the Angels are tenth in the American League in runs scored, and just one run away from being eleventh. During the 2002 regular season, the Angels finished fourth in the AL in runs scored, and were eight runs away from being second. Rex Hudler and Steve Physioc were lamenting Troy Glaus's absence during yesterday's game, but let's not forget that Glaus's offensive production had dropped off very steeply since the end of May or so. His OPS in June? .618. In July? .643. From May 25 through June 21, when he went on the DL, Glaus hit five home runs. These are not the numbers of an offensive messiah.

Still, there is some reason for hope - if not for this season, then for next. David Eckstein, Darin Erstad, Tim Salmon, and Troy Glaus have all played significantly worse than their career numbers this year, and at least two or three of them should improve next year. Garret Anderson is the only Angel currently having an insanely above-average year, and he may drop a little in 2004 - but he also had an insanely above-average year last year, so maybe he really is this good. And, if Bill Stoneman is to be believed, the Angels will "probably" be active in the free agent market next year, meaning that we could be chasing after a lot of pretty attractive targets, including Vladimir Guerrero, Carlos Beltran, or Brian Giles, to strengthen the offense even further.

So I'm hopeful. I'd just appreciate it if the L.A. Times would stop mentioning how far back in the standings the Angels are after every game. It's irrelevant, and everybody knows it.