Random Thoughts on an Angels Off Day

Extra Innings
It could be my memory playing tricks on me, but the number of extra innings games played out so far this season seems unusually high, considering it’s only April 14th. The Angels alone have already played in three extra innings game and we’re set to play the White Sox this weekend who have already played in five extra innings games. At the moment, the Angels extra innings record (2-1) is better than the White Sox (2-3) but the Angels’ one loss was the only extra innings game where they were the visitors. So what does this mean for the weekend? Will the Angels and White Sox mutual flair for the dramatic cancel one another out so the game lasts a mere nine innings? Or should we Angels and White Sox fans brace ourselves for a couple of 14th innings stretches and beyond? Hmmm, I wonder. Do they do a 21st inning stretch? ;)

Vernon Wells
Like a lot of Angels fans, I am disappointed that Vernon Wells didn’t come on board and instantly light the scoreboard on fire with the heat of his mighty bat. However, while I certainly didn’t expect him to be at 5 for 49 on April 14th, I wasn’t really counting on the other scenario either. I know that sometimes bats warm up right away and sometimes they take a while. I mean, Kevin Youkilis, Carl Crawford, Victor Martinez and Juan Uribe are all hitting at or below the Mendoza line at the moment. At the beginning of any season you can pick a list of similarly big hitting names with temporarily hibernating bats. Does anyone seriously believe these guys will stay batting that far below their career averages for the rest of the season? Didn’t think so. I’m not saying we can all expect Vernon Wells to bat .400 this season or anything like that, but the man’s career average is .278, so assuming anything less than a productive batting average for the season seems equally silly.

Booing him already, as some have done, is outright ridiculous to me. I loved Angles Live Radio Host Terry Smith’s response to a particularly annoying fan on this front. The fan called in berating Wells and how much we’re paying him for a batting average just above .100 and had already written the whole thing off as a failure. Smith sounded weary and annoyed with the caller’s argumentative tone and asked if he honestly thought that Wells’ batting average would not improve this season. The caller said he really didn’t believe Wells would improve his average and Smith responded in a deadpan voice. “Well then, you clearly don’t know very much about the game of baseball. But you got on the air this evening so I guess you should be proud of that.” Well said, Terry Smith, well said.

My thoughts? By all means, be disappointed Angels fans. It’s disappointing. But also cut the guy a little slack. It’s April 14th. Wait and see what he can do in a few more weeks. Oh, and ignore the stupid contract. It will drive you crazy and think about it – yes, it’s a ludicrous contract, but why should we care? Personally, unless I hear that the Angels are unable to spend money they need to spend to keep or obtain new players, that the other players are upset by the contract or Vernon Wells never makes it above the Mendoza line, I really don’t care how much they’re paying him.

Starting Rotation
I didn’t think I would be saying this when the season started but our starting rotation is a little scary right now. Certainly not Jered Weaver and Dan Haren. They’ve been amazing so far this season and show no signs of stopping. And Ervin Santana has been alternately good and a trooper, battling through a less than stellar start where his speed just wasn’t there to at least keep the Angels in the game for the bullpen and the bats to take over. Hey, some days are like that and there is a lot to be said for not crumbling and continuing to fight your way through it. It’s just that after Santana our rotation gets a little…um…improvisational.

Our number 4 and 5 starters are on the DL – where Kaz can stay indefinitely in my opinion barring miraculous improvement! – so the Angels have been using off days as a phantom start day and hosting a revolving door for the other spot. Tyler Chatwood is supposed to get his second major league start this Saturday but for the next vacant start, who knows? Matt Palmer again maybe? Chatwood showed a lot of the poise under pressure and ability to battle through a bad start that I just praised in Santana on Monday. Now that he’s gotten the obligatory Welcome to the Big Leagues, Kid homerun and an extra one just for good measure out of his system, hopefully Saturday will be more like his later innings and Chatwood will prove a useful replacement.

Regardless, so far the season is going reasonably well and it’s been anything but dull. Occasional anxiety attacks interspersed between periods of contentment and even euphoria seldom are. ;)

5 Comments

Wells’ numbers will even out, but I’m afraid it’s unlikely he’ll produce numbers worthy of his contract. Not the Angels fault… just truth. BUT, dude could surprise us; he’s done it before. Then everyone would be happy. Also, I dig the last paragraph. Well said.
–Jeff
http://redstatebluestate.mlblogs.com/

Didn’t realize the White Sox have already had five extra-inning games. That does seem like a lot already…
It’s amazing how many dimbulbs seem to call in to radio shows. So the guy truly believes Wells’ average will stay around .100 all season? Love Smith’s response to the caller, but unfortunately it probably went right over that caller’s head.
Sue
Rants, Raves, and Random Thoughts

Your last paragaph sums up my thoughts on my beloved ChiSox almost to a T. Though, I would be happy for a little less anxiety and a little more euphoria… but wouldn’t we all? :)

-K
Watching The Dandelions Grow

Your last paragaph sums up my thoughts on my beloved ChiSox almost to a T. Though, I would be happy for a little less anxiety and a little more euphoria… but wouldn’t we all? :)

-K
Watching The Dandelions Grow

Jeff – You definitely speak the truth. Producing numbers worthy of that contract is very unlikely, would be for almost any ball player. It’s a ridiculous contract. This is why, unless the contract hamstrings the Angels down the road, I am only looking at one thing: does Wells make us better? The ability to have Bobby bat DH has already brought Bobby’s batting average and base stealing back up to what he’s capable of which is a few points in Well’s favor already and Wells is playing the wall better than Bobby did last season. If Wells can just bring his own average up to his season norm and start fielding better in left when he has to run forward to make the play, both of which I think are far more likely than not, then to my way of thinking he’s made the Angels better.
Sue – Yeah, sadly it probably did go right over his head.
Keleigh – Hear, hear, more euphoria…well…in Anaheim at least. ;)
– Kristen

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