Purgatory Online

Friday, September 02, 2005

Twenty-nine games left, and things are again tied up at the top of the AL West. Here's how those twenty-nine look for the Angels and A's:

LAA: SEA(6), BOS(3), CWS(3), DET(4), TEX(6), TAM(3), OAK(4)
OAK: NYY(3), SEA(6), TEX(6), CLE(3), BOS(4), MIN(3), LAA(4)

Overall opponent winning percentages:
LAA - .500
OAK - .519

"Unique" opponent winning percentages:
LAA - .517
OAK - .556

It's obvious just looking at the schedule that Oakland has a significantly tougher row to hoe here, though it's not as wide a gap as the OWP numbers would suggest, since Tampa has played very well in the second half. The Angels are also at a very slight disadvantage because of the home/road splits - they play 13 at home and 16 on the road, including the four remaining with Oakland, while the A's play 16 at home and 13 on the road. If we're going to consider that, however, we might as well also consider that the Angels are a much better team at night (57-38) than they are during the day (18-20), while the A's are exactly the opposite (30-15 in day games, 45-43 at night). The Angels have eight day games remaining, while the A's have either 18 or 19 night games left (one game with Seattle is still TBD), including three of the four with the Angels.

The Angels need one thing right now, and that's offense. Although Santana is rightly being praised for his terrific start last night, I was almost equally cheered by Chone Figgins's performance at the top of the order: three for three with a walk, a run scored, and two stolen bases against a left-handed starter. Garret Anderson's three for four night was pretty nice, too. Guerrero continues to be a concern, however. He's just not over that stretch of games in which he was walked intentionally so often; he seems to be panicked that opposing pitchers will start doing so again at any time, so he needs to swing now. His double in the eighth was nice, but was probably more the result of Witasik making a bad pitch than anything else - I'm not sure whether it was meant to be more inside or lower, but I'm damn sure you don't intentionally throw Guerrero a fastball that close to the middle of the strike zone when he's looked so bad swinging at junk. Bad pitch or no, however, hopefully Guerrero gets a little confidence-boost from it.

The other guy the Angels need to come around is Adam Kennedy. Just as he was under the radar while building a pretty gaudy batting average, his recent free-fall seems to have been eclipsed by Vlad Guerrero's icy performance. AK's drawn the collar in six of his last seven games, going just 2 for 21 in that stretch, and had a .267/.326/.326 August with a total of three extra-base hits.

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