February 22, 2010

In a word (or two)

The Angels are going to win the west. I said it because I believe it. Now, I could give you a long list of reasons as to why that’s the case, but I don’t really need all that many words to make my case.

I have one word for you and that’s pitching. Think about this; in 2009 the Angels sent 14 different pitchers to the mound to start a game. What would happen if your team had to use 14 different starters in a given season? How does the word “chaos” sound to you? Better yet, how about “panic?”

Think about this; last season, three Angel pitchers made their major league debuts in Sean O’Sullivan, Anthony Ortega and Trevor Bell. The Angels started someone other than their projected rotation of John Lackey, Joe Saunders, Ervin Santana, Jered Weaver and or Kelvim Escobar/Scott Kazmir 41 times. That’s 41 starts from players they didn’t expect to contribute in 2009. How did they do that? I have another word for you… “Depth.”

One of those 14 guys was Matt Palmer who had a solid 3.93 ERA; who despite winning eleven games and putting up that nice ERA may very well start the 2010 season in the minors or be added to the bull pen. That’s called depth. They have it and chances are; your team (especially in the AL West) doesn’t.

The Angels overcame injuries to Kelvim Escobar, Ervin Santana, Joe Saunders and John Lackey, who all spent time on the DL. And let’s not forget the tragic death of Nick Adenhart. How does a team do that? Depth, baby; depth. It’s all about having arms in your system. Face it; your team wants this kind of depth. Your team would give anything for this kind of depth.

Despite having a pitching staff that faced one adversity after another, the Angels won 97 games. Don’t dismiss that number. Think about it. Think about what the Angels had to overcome and then focus on that number again.

Yeah, that’s right; you’re starting to see what I’m talking about, aren’t you?

That’s not just depth; that’s crazy good depth. Most teams are struggling to find five starters that won’t embarrass them and give them a chance at winning (Dodgers anyone?). Most teams can’t survive an injury to one or two pitchers, let alone a ton of them and stay competitive. Most teams aren’t the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

A lot of talk has been made about the pitchers in the AL West. But not enough of that talk has been about the Angels in my opinion. Folks have taken them for granted. They keep talking about the loss of John Lackey. They’ve forgotten about those 41 starts and everything the team overcame in 2009.

Let’s do this already. Let’s get to the 2010 season. I’m bored with this talk about how Seattle is going to take over the west. I’m not amused by the projections for a Rangers pennant.

I say bring it. Come on Seattle, Texas and even you Oakland. Show us what you got. Because the bad news for you is that the Angels staff will be better than last year’s group. Five solid guys and organizational depth means the AL West pennant still goes through Anaheim and if your team wants it, they’re going to have to come and get it.

If you’re not fired up about the Angels pitching staff, check your pulse. Better yet – look in the mirror and make sure you’re not wearing an A’s cap.

I know some of you are going to rattle off names like Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez and then you’ll start to mumble. All I ask is that you do the math. Five solid starters beat two great ones. I know the baseball experts are trying to ignore that equation, but they’re just whistling in the dark. You can’t possibly believe your team has the pitching to beat the Angels, right?

I know right now you might not see it now. After all, it’s spring time. The birds are chirping, the air is cool and crisp and everything seems quiet and peaceful. Well, that’s just the calm before the storm and that storm is definitely coming.

And don’t even get me started on why having Mike Scioscia puts the Angels head and shoulders above everyone else in the west. Don’t make me do some more math and talk about the 900 wins over ten seasons as the manager, which comes to 90 wins a year.

Let’s do this. Let’s get the 2010 season started. I’m ready for that new “Tradition” slogan the Angels are using for this year. I’m thinking the tradition is winning the west, outperforming the projections and proving the experts wrong – again.


BallHype: hype it up!

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