September 7, 2010

Grasping at straws

I know it; you know it; heck, I’m sure even the Angels know it deep down inside. This season is over. It’s done. Sure, the team hasn’t been mathematically eliminated, but it sure seems like they’ve checked out and are in the process of packing for a vacation.

Despite all the evidence (and there’s plenty) that points to the Angels packing it in for 2010 the idea that it's over seems lost on some. Roger Lodge who hosts the Sports Lodge on AM 830 each week day morning is definitely still trying to make us believe the Angels are on the verge of making a run.

On Monday’s show – Lodge tried to convince Angel fans (and anyone else who might be listening), that the Angels could win the next six games in a row while the Texas Rangers go stumbling against the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees (their current and next opponents).

I’m all for optimism. I really am. I’d much rather have hope and cling to that hope than throw in the towel. It’s just that in this case, I haven’t seen anything what-so-ever that gives me a reason to believe the Angels can turn it around and leap frog the Oakland A’s (remember them?) and catch the Texas Rangers.

Yeah, that’s right – the Rangers aren’t the only team the Angels are trailing; those stinking Oakland A’s are also ahead of the Halos.

Here’s the thing – the Angels have eleven games before they face Texas again (as of Tuesday morning). They trail the Rangers by 9.5 games, the same number they trailed by ten games ago.
Making up 9.5 games would require a come-back of momentous proportions. Let me put it to you this way – the Angels have 24 games left. The elimination number for the Angels is 16 – that means any combination of Ranger wins or Angel losses totaling 16 and the Angels are toast. The Rangers have 25 games left.

Let’s say the Angels do the impossible and go 20-4. All the Rangers would have to do is go 12-13 to win the west. While it’s entirely possible the Rangers could go 12-13; it’s highly unlikely the Angels go 20-4. Let’s say the Angels go a respectable 16-8. Well then, the Rangers would only have to go 8-17 to win the pennant.

And all of this doesn’t even factor in what the A’s have to do.

With all due respect to Roger Lodge and the rest of those lighting candles – if you still believe the Angels will win the west, I’d say you’re grasping at straws.

On a positive note – Mark Trumbo and Hank Conger have been added to the Angels’ expanded roster. Their team (Salt Lake City Bees) fell short of a play-off birth this year and both may get their first shot at playing in the major leagues tonight or sometime in the near future.

Trumbo tied for the minor league lead in homeruns with 36. Conger has been one of the most highly touted Angel prospects since the day he was drafted in the first round of the 2006 Amateur draft.

Trumbo is particularly interesting. Some assume that he’s the next Dallas McPherson and/or Brandon Wood. That’s totally unfair of course, but the comparisons are inevitable.

Trumbo has posted his highest OPS (.945) of his minor league career this season and at 24 years of age, could a significant piece of the 2011 puzzle. He clearly doesn’t have much to prove at Salt Lake City. The question for us fans is why hasn’t he been called up sooner? Given the lack of offense, why wasn’t Trumbo given the opportunity to make a difference; especially since he was having the most significant offensive season of his life?

As for Conger – it’s possible that he could make the Mathis vs. Napoli argument moot if he can demonstrate the ability to play solid defense. His offense has never been in question. His health on the other hand and his development behind the plate remain topics for discussion. Conger has a golden opportunity – be it in September or sometime in the near future.

These two compelling stories are what I’ll be focused on when I’m at the game; along with the continued development of Peter Bourjos.

Cheryl and I will be at the stadium to take it all in and if by chance the Angels want to do the impossible and make some history... well, that would be fine by us!

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