Purgatory Online

Thursday, July 08, 2004

The Angels weren't exactly subtle last night, whacking the White Sox for twelve runs while Jarrod Washburn put up his first career shutout. I didn't get a chance to see the game, but you've gotta feel good about a contest dominated at both ends like that. After several weeks of covering themselves with muck, the Angels are poised to go into the All-Star break on a high if they can win a couple more and end their current road trip 4-2 or better.

On the down side, is anyone else finding Bengie Molina's speed to be more and more of an embarrassment this year? Last night, he hit into a triple play - and was still out by "four or five steps." I'm getting tired of seeing infielders recover from errors and throw him out by plenty. Yeah, I know - he can hit the ball some. But his weight isn't just keeping him from beating out balls in the infield, or taking extra bases - it also seems to be having an effect on his defense. The accuracy of past years is in short supply on the throw down to second. So far, in 360 innings, 32 stolen base attempts have been made with Bengie behind the plate - and 25 have succeeded, for a pretty wretched 21.9% rate of attempts caught. Compared to his previous, gold-glove-caliber performaces of 44.4% and 44.9% in the past two years, this is particularly worrisome.

I suppose one could argue that, because of his success behind the plate in the past, runners have become more selective, and now attempt steals only in extremely favorable conditions. Well, maybe. But when Jose Molina's behind the plate, the attempts have come at a nearly identical rate - 29 in 326 innings. And Jose's nabbed 15 of them, a 51.7% showing. Huh.