Purgatory Online

Friday, July 23, 2004

From today's game preview on the Angels' official site:
Players to watch
Garret Anderson has, by far, the best numbers against Moyer of any active Angel, with a .370 (27-for-73) lifetime batting average against the left-hander, five home runs and 15 RBIs.
Uh, guys...?

Update: still no word, as far as I can see, on a callup to play third base tonight. Maybe they're sticking with Quinlan at third, using Hensley to ensure the relievers get a breather tonight before returning him to Salt Lake?

I couldn't make this up if I tried:
On Wednesday, Guillen told three reporters — in three interviews — that he did not attend that day's players-only meeting.

"It doesn't matter to me," Guillen told The Times. "I'm just trying to do my job. The meeting isn't going to mean anything."

After Angel management canvassed some players Thursday, Scioscia told reporters that Guillen did attend the meeting.

Guillen refused to confirm that, and said, "Who cares?" He also told reporters, "I'm not talking to you guys the rest of the season."
It's like the old Tonight Show, when Johnny Carson would ask whether Doc Severinsen was there, over and over. "Jose is here? Jose is not here. Oh, Jose IS here?"

Meanwhile, the same story puts Anderson as day-to-day, but unlikely to play against Seattle. The Angels will likely call up an infielder from the minors and move Figgins to center field for a few games, presumably at the expense of Matt Hensley, who was called up a few days ago to give the bullpen an extra arm. That's assuming, of course, that Josh Paul retains the eerie power to cloud men's minds [alternate theory for Douglas Adams geeks only: he's got a Somebody Else's Problem field generator!] There's no word yet on the official site, but the Times speculates that Dallas McPherson, despite (a) being a third baseman and (b) slugging the crap out of the ball in Triple-A (10 HR in 82 AB!) will remain in Salt Lake. The Angels may be gunshy after seeing Kotchman "underperform" in his debut in the bigs, and are expected to draft one of the usual suspects - Amezaga or Riggs - or possibly Alex Pelaez. Pelaez would be an interesting choice; he's never been more than a second- or third-tier prospect, and seemed destined to fizzle out before smelling the bigs. He's spent significant time in the PCL in three different seasons before this one, with no power to speak of and an average that ranged from .250 to .309 (which, in the PCL, isn't all that hot; .250 is positively Mendozan). This year, however, he's hitting .343, with 25 strikeouts in 239 at-bats. He's also 28 years old, so the clock is ticking on what has to be the most evil-looking man in the Angels' organization.

Personally, I think the idea of getting McPherson up for a few games is pretty appealing - but so was promoting Kotchman. Given that this is likely to be just a three- or four-game stint, no matter how well he hits, I suspect the Times is correct, and we'll see one of the other three. My hunch is that Scioscia may be sick of Amezaga and Riggs at this point, and they'll give Pelaez his first chance to make a case for staying with the organization in 2005.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

The Angels are destroying Texas 10-1 in the 9th, a much-needed laugher. Colon's line: 7.0 IP, 106 pitches, 1 ER, 3 H, 3 BB, 6 K, 0 HR.

The real Angels fans know what's coming next...

...That's right. Garret Anderson has left the game with an "injured leg." Given the events of the last few days, I feel confident in saying that Jose Guillen bit him.

Update:  This thread says Anderson had either tightness in the back of his leg or in his groin, and will hopefully be day-to-day.

I imagine there may be a few people laughing up their sleeves in Cincinnati and Oakland this morning; apparently the Jose Guillen complain train has pulled into Anaheim station. The Register advises that not only were we misled on Sunday, when Guillen was said to have been a late scratch so he could have a day off, we were subsequently sold a different bill of goods when the culprit was described as a stiff lower back. No, apparently Guillen was scratched on Sunday as punishment for missing a team photo opportunity, because, in his words, he "just didn't feel like coming outside."

That's today's story, anyway. What's the next incarnation of this farce? Did Guillen shoot Scioscia's dog and moon a busload of nuns?

In any event, Guillen looks to be in deep doo-doo in the clubhouse. You'll recall that he was Mr. Instigator a couple of months ago, complaining that he was always getting hit by pitches because the Angels pitchers were too chickenshit to retaliate, prompting Jarrod Washburn to sit him down for a little come-to-Jesus meeting. Now, on the heels of his little bench-riding comes word that Guillen was the only Angel to skip a players-only meeting before yesterday's game. The Register says that Guillen claimed to be "unaware the meeting had been called," while the Times quotes Mr. Pouty thus: "It doesn't matter to me," he said. "I'm just trying to do my job. The meeting isn't going to mean anything. I'm just here to win."

Said meeting was called by Darin Erstad. And who's got Ersty's back with the press? Aw, you know who:
"I think it was time for something to be said," Jarrod Washburn said. "It was good timing on his part."
Oh, boy. I bet this is a team that's really looking forward to playing the next two and a half months.

Today in the Times, we learn:
"Batting instructor Mickey Hatcher skipped the trip to Texas, reporting lingering discomfort after being struck in the groin by a line drive during batting practice Monday. He hopes to rejoin the team Friday in Seattle."
...or the soprano section of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

...by which I mean the Angels may want to look into just skipping the rest of the season and going directly to the winter meetings.

The Halos got their clocks cleaned so thoroughly yesterday that they're still humming the Winchester chimes, by a club that just shouldn't do that kind of thing to championship-caliber squads. I didn't see the game, thank Christ.

Tonight, the Angels stumble into Arlington for a pair with the Rangers. I'll be at tonight's game. Lucky me.

Elsewhere in the Angelsphere, a couple of my fellow bloggers are engaged in a little competitive urination over the usefulness of Jeff DaVanon. Tee hee hee, fellas. DaVanon is a competent fourth outfielder, probably a little bit better than Orlando Palmeiro in 2002, but not much. The problem is that he's in the lineup more often than he should be because of Troy Glaus's injury, and he's being more prominently placed in said lineup than he should be because of the astoundingly bad season Tim Salmon is having. Don't blame DaVanon, whose doing about as well as could be expected given his role on the team; blame Salmon for not being the everyday force he's supposed to be.

Incidentally, Troy Glaus - despite having played in 29 of the team's 93 games thus far, is still third on the team in home runs, with 11. And #4 ain't close - GA has 7. The Angels are 11th in the league and 23rd in the majors in home runs these days.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Last night's game ended at 12:34 a.m. Central Daylight Time. I'm always happy when I stay up that late for a loss; particularly when the Angels made a stellar comeback just as I was nodding off, only to throw it away in the 10th.

Rob is right to lay the proximate cause of this one on Percival's doorstep; sure, Eckstein made the error that opened the door, but with two outs and a man on first, your closer's gotta be able to get guys out. That's what closers do, you dig?

One other item of note: Jose Guillen sat out his second consecutive game, and the Angels are now indicating that he's facing season-ending surgery.

Ha! Ha! Not really. Maybe. Actually, they're saying that he has a stiff back, as opposed to the "it's just a day off" line they fed us Sunday. Post-it to Angels' management: players generally don't get scratched from the lineup right before game time unless there's a specific reason. If you don't want to say he's got an owie, try telling us the cat ate his batting gloves. It's less insulting to the intelligence.

Today, the Angels will try to improve their very poor record (it's something like 1-572, but I'm too lazy to look it up right now) against the Indians to one that's only moderately sucky. The Indians have Jake Westbrook going this afternoon, though, so the bats are going to need a bit o' sharpening.

Monday, July 19, 2004

Pointless controversy aside (yes, Schilling was throwing at Molina; yes, he should have been ejected; so?), the Angels had themselves a pretty interesting game yesterday. Lackey is beginning to look like he's coming into his own, and, up until melting down in Appieresque fashion in the sixth, looked like he would have his fourth straight quality start. Heck, even after giving up three runs in the sixth he technically had a quality start, but Scioscia's rather odd decision to keep him in to start the seventh sealed his (and the Angels') fate. Sometimes pitchers lose and regain control of a game, but rarely that late into it.

Lackey's improvement seems to be mirroring that of Jarrod Washburn, whose last two starts have been (1) seven innings of three-hit, no earned run ball against the Red Sox, and (2) a four-hit shutout of the White Sox. Prior to that, of course, he had a monumentally crappy start against Oakland, but before that, he had given up one earned run in fifteen innings of work. Even including that Oakland game, Washburn's ERA has plunged from 5.63 to 4.32 since June 15.

All of which leads me to conclude that the Angels will want to tread carefully when it comes to pursuing Randy Johnson. I think that it's unambiguously true that Johnson would help them down the stretch; he may very well be the difference between making the playoffs and staying home. But adding Johnson also means the Angels will have no less than seven starters; even if Ramon Ortiz is sent to Arizona as part of the deal, someone would still have to be sent to the pen. And that would be...Sele, I suppose, whose wonderful May is now a distant memory.

More to the point is the question of whether Johnson should be pursued at the expense of losing one or more of the system's prized prospects. Dallas McPherson, Casey Kotchman, Ervin Santana, and Jeff Mathis have all been mentioned as potential trade-bait for Johnson, whose contract runs through next year. How much do the Angels part with for Johnson's services for the next one and a half seasons?

Having given it a bit of thought, I'd offer this advice to Messrs. Stoneman and Moreno: you get damn few opportunities to get into the playoffs. If you can get a guy like Randy Johnson for a reasonable price, you do it. In this case, "reasonable" means they get Ortiz plus either Kotchman or McPherson or Santana. There's just no way you give up Mathis, who's considered the best catching prospect in baseball, especially now that Bengie Molina is starting to show signs of wear and tear. Losing any of the other three would hurt, but Kotchman and McPherson are replaceable, and Santana is still, despite his promise, a Double-A pitcher - nothing's guaranteed for him.

It's a tough call. But then, it's a tough world. Let's roll the dice.

I was pretty sure, what with all the traveling and life-changing events I've been up to in the last few weeks, that I hallucinated the whole "Angels sign Raul Mondesi" thing. But no, apparently not; apparently he's started a rehab assignment at Salt Lake, and apparently he's done re-injured himself.

Mondesi is the Angels' version of the hunchbacked girl you take home at last call, after twelve beers and three shots of tequila, and spend the rest of your life trying to forget. Memo to Dr. Yocum: didja ever see that episode of M*A*S*H where they had to decide whether to perform an unnecessary appendectomy on a notoriously incompetent combat officer to keep him from returning to the front? Good episode, doc. I'm just sayin', is all.