Posts Tagged ‘Los Angeles Angels’

Where Have All the Sluggers Gone?

May 16, 2012

Long lines suck. Coke lines are bad for you. And conga lines are cliché. But the worst possible type of line in the whole wide world is the Mendoza Line.

For those of you that don’t know, that’s a .200 batting average. If you are “below the Mendoza Line,” you are a really terrible baseball player.

Some players manage to play an entire 162-game season and hit below the line, yet still sign lucrative contracts (that’s you Carlos Pena and Mark Reynolds). I won’t ever understand THAT, but it’s not the topic of conversation tonight.

What I want to know is how in the world three incredibly talented hitters are flirting with Mendoza so hard that their wives think they are being cheated on!

Namely, Albert Pujols (.212), Jose Bautista (.195) and Eric Hosmer (.182). These are some of the better hitters in all of baseball, and they are all struggling mightily.

If it were still early in the season, it can be excused as a slow start, but we are almost 1/4 of the way through. Now it becomes worrisome. All three teams have serious playoff aspirations in 2012, but I can guarantee none will get there without these players stepping up.

Here’s my outlook for the power-hitting American League trio:

Pujols – He is Albert Pujols. He will be fine. He hit his second homer tonight and will probably go .300/30/100 by the end of the season. Sure, he took more time to adjust to the AL than many expected, but there is a reason the guy is a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame at age 32.

Bautista – The Jays’ main man has bloomed late in his career and hit nearly 100 homers combined in the last two seasons. In 2011 he really put his game together, raising his average and improving his plate discipline. So is 2012 a fluke or was 2011? I think he’ll have a rough average (maybe .265 at best) but should post another 30 homer, 100 RBI season. Don’t worry, Canada!

Hosmer – This kid is the one I’m most worried about. He’s making my trendy Wild Card pick of the Royals look ridiculous with his play right now. The Sophomore Slump is in full effect for Hosmer, who looked like the next great star in baseball. With a swing like his, I think he’ll have a fine career. This season? If he hits 25 homer I’ll be shocked at this point.

There you have it. What do YOU think about Pujols, Bautista and Hosmer? Comment below or tweet me @Jamblinman!

Thanks for reading. Until tomorrow, please don’t snort any Mendoza lines.

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Albert Whojols?

May 12, 2012

The Jam Shot du jour is all about Albert. I figured it was only appropriate, given that I left St. Louis three days ago and am now a mere 300 miles away from Los Angeles. Westward we go!

Sure, I’m making the same trek Pujols made in the offseason, only I’m not being paid as much to do it. And I’m probably more valuable sitting in my boxers in a sketchy Arizona hotel than Albert has been to his new team.

As of his first at-bat in today’s game, Pujols is hitting .191 on the season. Meanwhile, back in St. Louis, the 1st-place Cardinals are reaping the benefits of one Carlos Beltran, Pujols’ replacement.

Not only does Beltran have 12 home runs (including three games in which he’s hit two – double Albert’s total for the whole season), but he’s presenting a legitimate challenge to Matt Kemp for NL MVP.

So is Pujols toast? Sure, other sluggers are also struggling right now (Jose Bautista, where have you gone?!). But none have the talent, aura, nor quantity of offseason headlines like number five does.

That being said, slumps happen. Even very, very terrible ones at incredibly inopportune times. And Albert Pujols is a future Hall of Famer for a reason.

While I won’t maintain my pre-season prediction that the Angels would win the West, I do think the Angels are a playoff team.

And I really do believe Pujols will hit 30 homers and drive in 100 runs. He will probably hit .320 also, because that’s what he does.

This is a testament to how good a hitter Pujols really is. He has been mashing the ball for a big chunk of the year, just right at people. Once he gets comfortable, watch out world.

Our dear old friend Albert will be back in full force and he’s not going to be gentle. Don’t get too cozy, Rangers fans.

When that bat comes alive and your division lead is suddenly in question, I’ll be somewhere in a shitty hotel in my boxers saying I told ya so.

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @Jamblinman!

1st-Place Teams So Far

April 20, 2012

Well, folks…we’re 13 games into the 2012 regular season. If you didn’t notice, some crazy things are happening. For example, the Orioles are doing it again – leading the AL East early. And there’s anarchy in L.A. – The Dodgers are in first by three games and the Angels…well, the Angels are paying Albert Pujols nine figures; one for each loss.

There are six divisions, so six first place teams, so six things for me to talk about:

AL East:

Really? The Baltimore Orioles? One of four teams I figured would have a legitimate shot at losing 95 games this year?

I know what you’re thinking. Is it for real? Well, put simply, no. Expect this division to be flipped by next month. It’s just one of those random hot streaks paired with some poor play by division favorites. Four of the five teams are within 1.5 games already, and the Red Sox being in dead last will change soon.

The A.L. East will still finish Yankees, Red Sox, Rays, Blue Jays, Orioles.

AL Central:

Detroit Tigers…obviously, bro. They haven’t disappointed, coming out of the gates hot and laying the smack down on the Red Sox to open the season.

One team I’m disappointed with so far is the Kansas City Royals. I am very bromantic about guys like Billy Butler, Eric Hosmer and Luke Hochevar. I’m not too worried about the Royals climbing back into contention, but will it be too late?

The Tigers are leading the Central and that won’t change anytime soon. The order will be: Tigers, Royals, Indians, Twins, White Sox.

AL West:

The Rangers are 11-2, have a 4.5 game lead in the division and the best record in baseball. Where have we seen this story before? Texas might be even better than the last two seasons. That’s terrifying.

The A’s and Mariners are both 7-7 and have played each other about 14 times in 2012. Or so it seems. How about the poor A’s having to face Felix Hernandez THRICE already? Ouch. Am I worried about the Angels? No, but thanks for asking. Let them figure it out and talk to me in a month when they are alone in second place, hot on the Rangers trail.

Despite how incredible Bartolo Colon is, the A’s are still a last-place team. They could lose 100 games. So, the division order will still be Angels, Rangers, Mariners, A’s.

NL East:

Told ya so, told ya so, told ya so, told ya so, told ya so, told ya so, told ya so, told ya so, told ya so, told ya so, TOLD YA SO. Suck it. The Nationals are in first place with a 10-4 record. And Mike Morse hasn’t even played one game yet.

You have to love seeing the Phillies in last place, a game under .500, despite the ridiculous pitching staff. They are really hurting for offense. When are Ryan Howard and Chase Utley coming back again? The Braves have bounced back impressively from an opening weekend sweep at the hands of the Mets. Speaking of the other New York team, they have started to fall back down to Earth a little bit.

Expect the result to stick: Nationals in first, then Philly, Miami, Atlanta, and New York.

NL Central:

Isn’t it cliche these days to say the Cardinals are in first? Well the word “cliche” makes me feel fancy. And I like that. So, the Cardinals are in first. Again.

They have a three-game lead and have by far looked like the most complete team in the division. I still think it’s going to be Cincinnati at the end, but the more I see Milwaukee and Pittsburgh play, the less impressed I’ve been. Ryan Braun just went 0-12 with a ton of strikeouts in three games against the Dodgers. But one guy who IS having success if Carlos Beltran in St. Louis. He has five more home runs than Albert Pujols in L.A. Oh, and Beltran has five homers total. Sooo…do the math.

This division will eventually be: Reds, Cardinals, Brewers, Pirates, Cubs, Astros

NL West:

*Coughs*. *Makes throat sounds suggesting “hey look at this”*. *Winks*. Allllll that nonsense can only mean one thing. My Los Angeles Dodgers are sitting pretty atop the NL West. And it feels so good.

Is it real? Well, biases aside…this is one of the greatest rosters ever assembled in any sport in the history of the universe. And yes, they can continue this success into the postseason. It’s not just Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw this season. In fact, Kershaw hasn’t even gotten warmed up yet. But Andre Ethier is raking, Juan Rivera is driving in runs like nobody’s business, and the rest of the rotation has done wonders. Oh, right. There are four other teams in the West. But…whatever.

The only division I’ll change my order in: Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Giants, Rockies, Padres

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @Jamblinman!

Aces Wild

April 12, 2012

Let’s match the ERA’s to the aces through the first week of the 2012 season:

Matt Cain – 7.50

Tim Lincecum – 12.91

C.C. Sabathia – 6.75

Yovani Gallardo – 5.91

Zack Greinke – 6.75

Josh Johnson – 8.38

Dan Haren – 6.97

WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON???

I know it’s early, but my goodness those are some crooked numbers. My fantasy team got hit especially hard yesterday, when Sabathia, Lincecum and Johnson all got absolutely rocked in their respective starts.

Well, who’s for real? Who is going to bounce back and who is in trouble? I’ll tell you…NOW!

First of all, let’s be realistic. These guys are aces for a reason – there are four Cy Young awards spread throughout that group and a whole bunch of pretty stats. So they will all bounce back. But only to a degree. Here goes nothin’:

1. Matt Cain, Giants

The Giants made Cain a very, very rich man recently. How does he go out and reward them? By posting a hefty 7.50 ERA in his first start. Well, let me point a couple things out. Cain was throwing on the road against a red-hot Diamondbacks offense. Not to mention, I watched that game and it was really just a couple bad innings. He looked pretty solid for most of the game, but the hits kept piling up when he was missing location in a couple innings. Cain will be just fine.Panic Level 1-10 (10 is high):3

2. Tim Lincecum, Giants

The Freak is a huge reason why the Giants are floundering in last place early in the season. When Barry Zito (CG, 0 R, 4 H vs. Rockies) is your most reliable pitcher, things need to change. And quickly. Lincecum’s double-digit ERA is especially frightening, because he’s looked awful in his two starts. He’s lost velocity on his fastball, the breaking balls aren’t biting, and he can’t hit the broad side of a barn consistently. This is the second year in a row Lincecum’s velocity has dropped. Panic Level: 7

3. C.C. Sabathia, Yankees

I picked C.C. as my pre-season Cy Young favorite in the American League, so the big boy has a lot more than just his stats to worry about. I mean, would you want this human bicep coming at you?! Stop laughing…anyway, Sabathia’s 6.75 ERA is frightening. He’s getting on in age, and his last start was against the Baltimore Orioles. Sure, they have a penchant for big offensive outputs, but it’s still a last-place team that was ripping C.C. apart. Panic Level: 5

4. Yovani Gallardo, Brewers

Gallardo got absolutely torched by the Pujols-less Cardinals at the Milwaukee home opener last week. He allowed four home runs. In one inning. It was just stupid. Gallardo has a tendency to be very inconsistent. His stuff is some of the dirtiest in the game if he can get it over the plate. But when he starts hanging breaking balls like he was against St. Louis, the Brewers are in for a world of hurt. I’m calling this early-season struggles, rather than a decline in talent. Panic Level: 4

5. Zack Greinke, Brewers

Has the rest of baseball figured Greinke out? Aside from his Cy Young year in Kansas City, Greinke hasn’t been THAT good. He’s similar to Gallardo, where his stuff is dirty, but he needs to consistently get it over the plate. If both these guys struggle in 2012, the Brewers are in for a very long season. I think Greinke will bounce back to have respectable numbers, but he’s never going to return to the award-winning form we’re accustomed to. Panic Level: 5

6. Josh Johnson, Marlins

Okay, Johnson worries me. He got shelled by the oft-injured Phillies lineup yesterday, and got touched up for a few runs by the Cardinals on Opening Day. It’s not his abilities that have me wary – it’s the fact that he’s coming off an arm injury. Is he fully healthy? I hate to speculate, but this is so out of character for the young righty, that I think something must still be bothering him. Panic Level: 8

7. Dan Haren, Angels

The Angels have been struggling big time, despite their big free-agent transactions this winter. It’s partly due to an offense that is still struggling to find its identity. But Haren isn’t helping matters either. He only allowed three runs to the Twins in his last start, but got hit hard against the Royals in his first. I’m not worried about Haren yet. He’s still got a 12:2 K-to-BB ratio, and is always solid. Give him another start or two before the panic meter rises. Panic Level: 2

There you have it! Comment below and let me know who I missed or who has a level that’s terribly skewed. Follow me on Twitter @Jamblinman!

Debut Battle: C.J. Wilson vs. Yu Darvish

April 9, 2012

We have two A.L. West pitchers making debuts with their new teams today. In Arlington, it’s the Japanese sensation, Yu Darvish, making his first official start in America (against Ichiro’s Seattle Mariners, no less). And the Angels will throw their big off-season acquisition C.J. Wilson against the Twins.

So, who will do it better today?

I feel that this is an even playing field seeing that both are facing bad offenses. Although, Darvish does have the benefit of playing in front of a home crowd.

My gut is telling me Wilson will have a better game. Partially because he put up stellar numbers last year as a member of the Rangers in the regular season. He has a really electric fastball from the left side and can break you off, too.

Darvish has a full arsenal of pitches at his disposable as well, but he’s unproven outside of Japan. He got hit hard by a couple Padres in Spring Training, which is never a good sign. Still, I’m expecting a quality start out of Darvish.

I just think Wilson will put up a GREAT start today. My predictions are as follows:

Wilson (LA): 7.2 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 8 K, 1 BB

Darvish (TEX): 6.1 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 5 K, 2 BB

Both teams will win. But in the battle of newly-inked aces, Wilson gets the nod today!

Bochy-ing That One…

March 9, 2012

Jamblinman’s the name, being punny’s my game! As much as I just want to sit here and absolutely tear the San Francisco Giants’ manager a new one…I can’t. I respect Bruce Bochy. And I’m tired of being so angry all the time.

Okay, that second part isn’t true. But still, I’ll quash the little devil in a Dodgers jersey whispering in my ear and try to be fair and sensible in today’s blog. That being said, what Bochy did at Spring Training this week was absolutely ludicrous and wrong.

Oh, you haven’t heard yet? Here, let me help you out. Don’t scoff at this – it IS news (for once…way to go, Yahoo!). Pete Rose is banned from baseball for violating what amounts to an unwritten rule; a silent code if you will. A-Rod almost got his face ripped off by Dallas Braden for breaking an unwritten rule. And now Bochy has joined a club he doesn’t belong in.

Luckily, the Giants quickly rectified the situation and did solid damage control. But it worries me that Bochy even went there in the first place. I could understand someone like Ozzie Guillen pulling shit like removing another team’s scout from the stands during practice, but not Bochy.

Why is this a big deal, you ask? First of all, because you just don’t do it. This isn’t Rajon Rondo listening in on another team’s huddle. This isn’t a Patriots employee video taping the Jets’ walk-through. This is not immoral or illegal in any way. It’s a scout, well…scouting.

Unless Bochy and the Giants were working on a super secret new hit-and-run play that is going to revolutionize the game as we know it, there is no violation here. And no, they weren’t doing that. Mostly because the Giants couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn so they won’t worry about hit-and-runs. ZING had to do it.

As the Yahoo! article states, anything that has to be secret in baseball is done in the clubhouse. Nobody stands on an open diamond and yells, “HEY GUYS! LISTEN UP! THIS YEAR, WHEN I TOUCH MY BELT, THEN MY NOSE, THEN MY BELT AGAIN, IT’S A DELAYED STEAL! DON’T TELL ANYONE!”

Plus, did Bochy not realize that his shenanigans might get his own team’s scouts some rough treatment when they try to scout other teams? Oops.

The disgraced scout told Yahoo! that he was there to scout the Giants’ outfield arms. Chances are, that’s exactly what he was doing. And even if he wasn’t, so what? Baseball is the most simply complicated game in the history of the world. There are strategic intricacies to every pitch and every play and that’s why I love it.

But, everyone knows the same strategies and how to execute them – it just comes down to who does it better.

Between the A’s-to-San-Jose fiasco and now Bochy being a bum, the Giants are really starting to rub me the wrong way. And if I’m getting that feeling one week into Spring Training, you can imagine how fiercely I’ll take this rivalry in 2012.

Let’s just all make sure that if we watch the Giants warming up this season, to warn Bochy ahead of time that you come in peace.

Wednesday Top Ten!

March 7, 2012

Like how I throw that title up there as if this is a regular thing? I’m not going to lie…it’s because I’m wholly unmotivated to be creative today. Instead, I’ll just blow you away with insight and analysis. So ladies and gentlemen, put on your best snuggies and let’s get rollin’.

Today’s top ten will be all about baseball. Because it’s the best sport. Feel free to argue with me on that point, just don’t complain when this happens. You’ve been warned.

I want to discuss the ten best pitchers in baseball. There’s a helluva lot of them. The San Francisco Giants and Philadelphia Phillies could probably make a top ten list by themselves. But we’re going to do it anyway. I’m feelin’ crazy. By the way, I’m a Dodgers fan. So you can guess who number one will be. Muahaha!

10. Dan Haren, Los Angeles Angels – Oh boy that rotation in Anaheim is going to be scary in 2012, ain’t it? Haren is the best of the bunch, and the first pitcher on the list who doesn’t have a Cy Young to his name. He should, he could and he might before his time is done, but time will tell. Six seasons of 14 + wins ain’t too shabby though.

9. Chris Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals – Okay, really? If Carp is ninth on this list, you know it’s gonna rock your socks off. This big righty has dominated for the Cards and has two rings and a shiny Cy Young (2005) to show for it. He’s got one of the best curveballs in the game and is possibly the most dominant postseason pitcher on this entire list.

8. Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners – It’s tough to NOT feel bad for King Felix. Stuck on the Mariners his whole career, he hasn’t racked up huge numbers. Just imagine what the 2010 Cy Young winner’s numbers would look like on a team that could actually score runs.

7. Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants – How can a two-time Cy Young winner (2008-2009) only be eighth on this list? Easy – he’s on the Giants and he went to University of Washington and I’m a spiteful, Dodger and Washington State-lovin’ bastard. So that says something that I felt compelled to still include The Freak on this list at all.

6. Cole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies – Hamels is the first of a trio of Phillies to appear on my list (how is that even fair?) and the second who doesn’t have a Cy to his name. Yet. He’s still got plenty of time. What Hamels does have is a mean fastball, some filthy control and a World Series MVP. Not too shabby.

5. Cliff Lee, Philadelphia Phillies – Hamels’ southpawtner in crime DOES have that Cy Young award (2008) but less postseason success. Lee dominated last year, going a cool 17-8 with a 2.40 ERA for Philly. And his awesome birth name (Clifton Phifer Lee) boosted him at least three spots alone.

4. C.C. Sabathia, New York Yankees – The lefties just keep on comin’. I have a special appreciation for Sabathia, because he hails from the Bay Area like me. That’s not the end of our similarities though. I’m ALSO a 6’7″, 290-pound black man with a Cy Young (2007) and World Series ring…By the way, C.C. has 176 wins at age 31. Don’t tell me 300 isn’t viable for him.

3. Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies – Finally, the Philadelphia onslaught comes to a merciful end. But there is no doubt in my mind that Doc Halladay is the best of the bunch. The 8-time all-star and 2-time Cy Young winner (2003 and 2010) has been so dominant for so long that it’s just a foregone conclusion he’ll put up 15+ wins every season. Oh, did I mention that no-hitter in the playoffs? That’s impressive I guess.

2. Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers – Last year’s Cy Young and MVP winner in the American League has finally reached the height of his potential. And I don’t think he’s planning on regressing anytime soon. Verlander’s 24-5, 2.40, 250 strikeout 2011 was far and away one of the best individual pitching seasons I’ve ever seen. And the scary thing is he’s only 28.

1. Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers – You want to talk about incredible seasons at a young age? How about the next coming of Sandy Koufax (I think I just heard you gasp from here…)? Kershaw cruised to the pitching Triple Crown in the National League last year, and won the Cy Young as a result. Here’s the thing though. Kershaw is 23 years old. Like, my age. What the HELL!

That’s my list. Thanks for helping me kill time. Comment below and tell me why I’m absolutely right-on with all my picks. Or if you must, disagree and make suggestions. I’ll probably ignore you, but hey, it’s worth a shot!

And I ammmmmmm outta here!

A Contract Fit for a Prince

January 25, 2012

Hah! Get it? My title is clever. First of all, let me apologize. This post is going to be a little shorter than usual. See, I’m channeling my inner Warren Miller (R.I.P. Big Guy) and hitting up some fresh pow pow in Tahoe the next two days. Gnarly shred time, bruh!

Also, I may or may not have forgotten my laptop charger. Wich is bad because my computer is older than Newt Gingrich’s first butt lift (one point for unnecessary, abstract political attacks!). The laptop doesn’t hold a charge unless tethered to an outlet.

So I’m typing on my iPad. Which is awesome. Actually, the fact that I have one and you don’t makes me awesome. But awesome only goes so far when I have to type like a middle schooler with just pointer fingers for an entire article. Impressed? Me too.

Now that I’ve sufficiently bored you with my blabber, let’s get to the real issue at hand. Just when we had forgotten Prince Fielder existed, he up and signs a 20-year, $400 million contract in Detroit. Okay, the numbers are slightly less than that but they still are gargantuan.

What does this mean for baseball? Well, for one, the American League absolutely owns life. Their top six teams (Angels, Rangers, Tigers, Red Sox, Yankees and Rays) are so much better than anything the National League has to offer it’s just comical. Secondly, how is a 3-4 combo of Fielder and Miguel Cabrera even fair? Opposing pitchers are going to start demanding an adult diaper clause be added to future contracts.

Well, at least it will be a hell of a pennant race in 2012. Hopefully there will be a trail of dollar bills in the wreckage for those less fortunate teams to scrounge after.

And what does Fielder’s contract mean for you and me? Well, your life is still boring and meaningless, I still can’t hit a ball over 300 feet, let alone make it look cool, and we are now left to wonder if Prince is officially the richest man in Michigan. But at least I have an iPad.

I love me some baseball news so let’s keep it coming. I’m looking at you, Yeonis Cespedes! Until tomorrow, enjoy the Weird Wednesday Web Story.

Seriously? The most famous school in that entire state is the Cougars. And as a proud alum of another school with that mascot, I’m offended. At least more offended than any drunk, horny, college-frat-star-chasing soccer mom ever will be. At the very least, go with the Mountain Lions. Same shit, different name. It would still rip your freakin’ head off.

And with that image, I bid you adieu.


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