Purgatory Online

Monday, June 27, 2005

Folks, what is the deal with Dodger fans? Howcome I hear nothing about fights in the stands at Angel stadium until the Dodgers show up, and then folks are being ejected by the dozens? Personally, if my team was in the process of getting whipped five out of six games by their crosstown rival, I might have the decency to sit still and watch the game quietly, but that's just me. Perhaps they're all confused and enraged that every player on the roster appears to be named "Jason."

Anyway, sitting here in Dallas the Dodgers mean nothing to me except that they're another National League team the Angels chomped on, running their interleague record to 12-6. Although the hitting was occasionally inconsistent, for the most part the offense did work, and the pitching sparkled. The Angels now have a staff ERA of 3.45, best in the majors. And, unlike in previous years, their impressive overall pitching numbers aren't just a result of phenomenal relief work; their starters' ERA is 3.61, best in the American League. And that's without several starts from Kelvim Escobar, their best starter last year.

A couple of random notes:
  • I'm not normally a big Jeff DaVanon detractor; to me he's a capable fourth outfielder type. And I'm not really going to bag on him for losing that ball in the sun yesterday, even though he practically wet himself and screamed like a little girl when he did, because his defense is ordinarily fine. But DaVanon deserved a big fat fine in the clubhouse kangaroo court for (1) popping up a bunt with a runner on second and nobody out in the eighth inning, and (2) standing there watching it with his thumb up his ass, instead of running to first - where he likely would have been safe, since the ball dropped and had to be fielded by the second baseman. If I'm Scioscia, DaVanon sits a game or two for that little lapse.
  • I'm going to be really, really sad to see June go:
    • Erstad: .330/.406/.404
    • Anderson: .333/.362/.478
    • Kennedy: .443/.494/.514
    • Guerrero: .413/.449/.651
  • 20-year-old Angels prospect Brandon Wood has 26 home runs at Rancho Cucamonga. Good grief. As Stephen Smith points out, Wood will likely remain at Rancho for the rest of the season, since there's really no place to move him to - Double-A Arkansas is currently where Erick Aybar is getting his at-bats, while Salt Lake is home to the suddenly unstoppable Zach Sorensen (.336/.394/.418). Things are going to get mighty interesting in a couple of years, when Cabrera is only halfway through his contract and Wood and Aybar start to look ready for prime time.
Tonight, the Angels will try to take advantage of a Texas team that's been reeling a bit of late - after getting swept last week in Anaheim, they dropped two of three to Houston, and are now six and a half back. Offensively, though, this team is always dangerous, especially in their own yard, so we'll need a solid start from Bartolo Colon and a shut-em-down bullpen performance (making it fortunate that Brendan Donnelly's appeal hearing for the Pine Tar Thing isn't until Friday).

The Rangers will be starting C.J. Wilson, a relatively untested 24-year-old lefty who's been pretty shaky in his 6.2 innings of major league work. After being called up from Double-A on June 11, he was used in a couple of spots in relief to face left-handed hitters. His only start so far came on June 19, when he gave up three earned runs to the Nationals on nine hits in 3.2 innings, striking out two and walking none. Wilson was having something of an unspectacular year in Frisco before being called up, going 0-3 in eight starts with a 5.97 ERA (28.2 IP, 19 ER, 37 H, 13 BB, 30 K - that's a pretty appalling 1.74 WHIP). My guess is that Dallas McPherson's groin will get another day of rest and Maicer Izturis will play third, while Juan Rivera will DH. That should give the Angels six right-handed bats in the lineup, with the three lefties - Erstad, Anderson, and Kennedy - hitting well right now, and Curtis Pride, Jeff DaVanon, and maybe McPherson available to pinch-hit against a righty.