May 11, 2010

There's slow and then there's 'Bengie Molina slow"

I need to rant just a tad bit today.

If you do a few simple searches on the internet you can find all kinds of information that will tell you how statistically bad the Angels’ defense has been this year. You can look up stuff like UZR (ultimate zone rating) and other kinds of analysis on FanGraphs or other sites dedicated to sabermetrics.

All those things paint a certain picture for sure, but I have to tell you I don’t have to know any of that to realize the Angels’ defense stinks this season; especially in the outfield.

Every time a fly ball is hit at either Bobby Abreu or Juan Rivera it’s an adventure. Not a “Raiders of the Lost Ark” adventure, but more of a “Key Stone Cops” kind of adventure. Neither guy is fast nor very athletic and when they do manage to make a catch, it’s like a “look what I found” moment. I often wonder who’s more stunned... me or them?

Last night Juan Rivera looked like he was auditioning for a remake of the movie “Bad News Bears.” I made the comment that he was really “leaking oil” as he tried to run toward a sinking line drive by the Rays’ Reid Brignac in the 7th inning. Rivera came up short and ended up making an error (amazingly only his second of the year).

Later on when he did make an nice running catch of a ball hit by Willie Aybar in the 10th inning, Cheryl said, “now, he’s not only leaking oil; he’s out of gas too.” In other words we both thought that play took a lot out of Rivera. Like I said earlier; balls hit to the outfield are “always an adventure.”

It’s kind of funny, but it’s also really, really sad. I’m actually concerned.

I still believe that Rivera missed a routine fly ball in Fenway last week that cost the Angels a game, but I digress.

As the season moves forward, I believe the defense; especially in the outfield will continue to be an issue and the Angels can’t afford poor defense when pitchers like Joel Pineiro and Joe Saunders really rely on it.

Rivera is so slow, if he were to participate in the “steal third” promotion for kids at Angel Stadium, he’d come up short. As Cheryl would say, “he’s almost Bengie Molina slow.”

I’d even venture to say that Torii Hunter seems a step slower this year. Perhaps he’s feeling some side effects from his off season hernia surgery. I really don’t know. What I do know is that when the Tigers were in town; watching Austin Jackson run down fly balls was like watching a younger version of Torii Hunter. Just saying.

Where am I going with all of this?

I don’t normally do this; but I can’t help but think about the upcoming class of free agents. Carl Crawford anyone? I’m thinking he’d look pretty good in red.

Help is also in the minor league system in Peter Bourjos and Mike Trout; although, there’s no telling how far away they are from making an impact at the major league level. Trout isn’t even at Rancho Cucamonga yet and is spending his first full season at Salt Lake City this year.

I’m also thinking about Jayson Werth of the Phillies. He’s already wearing red; however, he needs to dawn some Angel red next year. Again, just saying.

If you came to this blog looking for some comments about Brian Fuentes’ pathetic performance last night; I’m sorry to disappoint you. I will admit that it was very painful to watch, but he really hasn’t pitched that much this year and I’m willing to give him more rope.

Yeah, I’m drinking the Mike Scioscia kool-aid on this one. If he can get it together, the bull pen will be that much better. We still don’t know what the Angels are going to get from Scot Shields and depth is an issue. The Angels need Brian Fuentes to be good and so I’m going to hope for exactly that.

On a bright note, Trevor Bell looked solid in his 2010 debut last night. He even appeared to have a little bit of swagger and I haven’t seen much of that coming out of the bull pen this year.


BallHype: hype it up!

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