Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, April 24, 2012 at 11:40 PM
The Los Angeles Angels are hoping to get their 2012 season moving in the right direction right now in Tampa Bay (ESPN will show Wednesday Night’s game to a national audience). You may be aware that the Halo’s are off to a slow start. But, if you’re only casually paying attention to baseball right now, you might not be aware of how truly terrible things have been in context.
Let’s briefly note what’s happened in each series…
LOST TWO OF THREE VS. KANSAS CITY
This was a disappointing start to be sure…but now looks absolutely ridiculous given Kansas City’s collapse since then. Through Monday Night, the Royals were 3-13. That means they were 2-1 in Anaheim, then 1-12 vs. everyone else!
LOST TWO OF THREE AT MINNESOTA
Same story here to a slightly lesser degree. Minnesota is off to a bad start, yet Minnesota took an early series from the Halo’s. Through Monday Night’s action, Minnesota was 5-12 for the season. That means 2-1 vs. the Angels, 3-11 vs. everyone else. With these first two teams, you have 4-2 vs. Los Angeles, and 4-23 in all other games!
LOST TWO OF THEE AT THE NEW YORK YANKEES
No shame in losing two of three in the Bronx. If the Angels were in great form, something like that would be possible. That’s 3-6 through nine games for the Angels, but two-thirds of their games were on the road. Disappointing, but not a disaster. Yet.
LOST THREE OF FOUR VS. OAKLAND
Wow…horrible result. This is at HOME vs. a team that’s supposed to struggle to reach 75 wins this year. No bounce back. No “it’s time to get things going” kind of attitude. Oakland was 8-10 for the year through Monday Night’s action. That breaks down to 3-1 vs. the Angels, and 5-9 vs. everyone else. We now have three non-contenders facing Los Angeles in what turned out to be a soft early schedule. Those non-contenders are 7-3 vs. the Angels, but 9-32 vs. everyone else! Before starting their home series with Baltimore, the Angels were off to a 4-9 start vs. a soft schedule. They surely expected something closer to 9-4.
WON TWO OF THREE VS. BALTIMORE
Baltimore has been better than expected so far, but is still probably destined for a last place finish in the tough AL East. This was a case of “taking care of business.” Though, admittedly, if you’re supposed to be a championship contender, you should be thinking about SWEEPING the Orioles rather than taking two out of three.
The Angels were 6-10 at the conclusion of the Baltimore series. But,
*LAA played 10 of those 16 games at home
*LAA played 13 of those 16 games vs. non-contenders
*LAA may have played some true doormats in that mix
They were blessed with one of the easiest schedules in all of baseball…with a roster that many expected to compete for a World Championship. And THEN they slumped out of the gate. Imagine what would have happened if they had early game against Texas!
Let’s see if we can figure out where the problem lies. There’s been a lot of publicity about Albert Pujols struggling to find his swing. Let’s look at the team’s run production on a game-by-game basis.
Runs Scored per game:
5-3-3 vs. Kansas City (lost two of three)
5-5-9 at Minnesota (lost two of three)
0-7-5 at NY Yankees (lost two of three)
6-3-0-2 vs. Oakland (lost three of four)
6-6-2 vs. Baltimore (won two of three)
It’s not horrible, with nine games at five runs or more. That should at least yield a .500 type record with their pitching staff. You can’t win when you score zero, but that only happened twice. There are only two two’s on the board and three three’s. We’re not suggesting that this is fantastic production. It’s just that you usually see worse numbers than those with slumping teams. The Angels may really light up the scoreboard when Pujols starts hitting some dingers.
How about the starting rotation?
*Jered Weaver: 2.43 ERA, 0.78 WHIP, 8.49 K-Rate
Great stuff from the ace of the staff. Weaver is likely to be a Cy Young candidate again this season. No blame can be laid here.
*CJ Wilson: 2.37 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 7.11 K-Rate
This is a staff with two aces, and both are pitching so far at an ace level. The Angels though pilfering Wilson from the Texas Rangers would be a twin killing because it made them better at the same time it made the Rangers worse. Texas is fine, and the Angels aren’t even though Wilson is getting people out.
*Dan Haren: 4.07 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 8.51 K-Rate
A mixed bag here. That’s a fantastic K-Rate for a #3 starter. But, the WHIP is way too high, and the ERA is worse than what was hoped for. You don’t really lose much compared to the rest of the league with that kind of ERA. But, it’s not quite elite. If Haren trends toward that K-Rate overall and reduces the WHIP, this because a staff with 2.5 aces.
*Ervin Santana: 6.75 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 5.79 K-Rate
Those were the numbers before Tuesday Night’s game in Tampa Bay, which finished after publication deadlines. Horrible numbers obviously, across the board.
*Jerome Williams: 7.71 ERA, 1.71 WHIP, 6.75 K-Rate
The #5 spot in the rotation has been absolutely horrendous. That being said, Williams only made two starts! Another perk in the soft early schedule is that the Angels could use off days to keep their #5 spot off the mound!
The offense has been okay. The top of the rotation stellar. The back end of the rotation certainly deserves a lot of blame for what’s happened so far. What about the bullpen?
Bullpen ERA: 4.95, 28th in the Majors
There you go…the bullpen has been awful considering they were facing an easy schedule during a time of year when scoring is usually down.
Pujols is getting the headlines because he’s had a slow start, and the team has had a slow start. Be sure you’re placing blame where it really belongs. Yes, Pujols is struggling, but the offense hasn’t disappeared. It’s the back end of the rotation and the bullpen that have really failed during this easy early schedule.
Coming up for the Angels:
Tonight-Thursday: at Tampa Bay
Friday-Sunday: at Cleveland
Monday-Wednesday: vs. Minnesota
Thursday-Sunday: vs. Toronto
Another series in Minnesota precedes the first meeting with Texas. That gives the Halo’s plenty of time to get things moving in the right direction. Who’s bright idea was it to have LAA visit Minnesota from the AL Central TWICE before they even played Texas once?!
JIM HURLEY may or may not be releasing LAA/Tampa Bay to clients tonight. You’ll have to sign up for service to find out. Other games we’re looking at:
St. Louis at Chicago (day game)
Philadelphia at Arizona (day game)
NY Yankees at Texas (night game)
Miami at NY Mets (night game)
San Francisco at Cincinnati (night game)
Atlanta at LA Dodgers (night game)
Of note in the NBA Wednesday Night:
LA Clippers at New York
Chicago at Indiana
Denver at Oklahoma City
San Antonio at Phoenix
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