April 12, 2011

Ten games in and a ton to go

I can’t stand it. In fact, I’m sick and tired of it. If I hear one more fan go off the deep end about Vernon Wells, I might lose my mind.

Last night while driving home from the game I tuned in to hear Terry Smith taking calls on the post-game show on AM 830 when a guy calls in to ask when the Angels would get rid of Vernon Wells. This guy claimed to be a “big fan” and a “big critic” at the same time. Instead, he sounded like a "big idiot" in my book. I’m sorry, but that’s exactly what went through my mind as I listened to this guy go off.

This “big fan” tried to compare Vernon Wells to Gary Matthews, Jr. Hello? I would not have blamed Smith had he hung up right then and there. Smith merely chuckled a bit and then addressed this guy’s mini-rant. Smith is a better man than I am and clearly has more patience for this kind of thing.

Let me remind everyone that we are ten games into the season. Ten games folks; just ten - not 80 or even 50 for that matter.

Yes, Vernon Wells is hitting .091. Big deal. If you actually believe he’s going to stay around this number for the rest of the year, you’re the one who’s actually lost their mind.

Enough of that topic.

By the way, it was great to hear Smith doing the call-in part of the post-game show again. He does a great job and handles callers as well as anyone in the business.

So… here we are ten games into 2011 and I’ve made a few observations.

I’ve taken note of how quickly Mike Scioscia has moved Fernando Rodney out of the closer role and Jordan Walden into it. I’ve also noted the way he has used all three of his catchers in Jeff Mathis, Bobby Wilson and Hank Conger. Perhaps Jeff Mathis does not have the strangle hold on the position that I thought. One can only hope.

I’ve also noted that Kevin Jepsen who spent all of 2010 with the big league club was sent down to Salt Lake City. I was surprised by that move; although, Jepsen was probably more surprised than I was. Just saying. In any case, I like it.

All of these moves make me believe the Angels and perhaps more specifically Mike Scioscia has a sense of urgency about 2011. I get the impression that 2010 probably ate at Scioscia all off season and he’s not going to play the wait-and-see game this year.

The move to put Scott Kazmir on the DL is also telling. Perhaps Kazmir is really having some back trouble, but one might speculate that Scioscia just didn’t want to trot him back out there at this point in the season.

I’m telling you, something is different about the team’s approach to personnel this year.

This brings me to Tyler Chatwood.

Let’s just say that this young man could be special. I love his make-up and the way he battled back last night after giving up four runs in the first two innings. He only gave up four hits which is somewhat impressive; it’s just too bad two of them happened to be homeruns.

He didn’t get rattled and held his own. He didn’t light the world on fire, but he served notice that he’s not intimated and he will be back. I think he has something to build on and should get better over time; be it this year or whenever he gets more of an opportunity.

I love seeing Angel pitching prospects get their shot. It’s become somewhat of a tradition for Cheryl and I to show up early and take photos of their debut from the moment they walk on to the field to warm up to the first inning and beyond.

I’ll post those photos in the near future. Between late nights at the ballpark, sleep and work - keeping the blog up to date is a bit of a challenge. I can tell you right now, I won’t be posting after every game because that task would make me lose my mind faster than the people calling into the post-game show. What I will do is try to keep the blog as up to date as I humanly can and keep things relevant.

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know I’m not a big analysis guy and my posts are definitely from a fan’s point of view and often about the fan experience itself. I think we’ll all be better off if I try to keep the blog fun and focus on things you’re not likely to find on other blogs or fan sites.

I mean, my credentials as an analyst are about as solid as a Jeff Mathis throw to second base. In other words, I will often miss the mark.

Take Howie Kendrick for example. This off season I will admit that I was ready to ship him off to parts unknown in hopes of obtaining a piece that would help the Angels. I proposed making Alberto Callaspo the second baseman and using Howie to acquire a third baseman or another piece that would make the team better.

Given Howie’s start that proposition looks pretty foolish, even though we are only ten games into the season. I even said Howie was “expendable.”

Well, what do I know?

In any case, that doesn’t mean I won’t be making suggestions in the future and I’m certainly not backing off my “Jeff-Mathis-is-horrible” stance either. I’m just noting that I’m apt to make mistakes and get things wrong from time to time… just like everyone else. Difference is I don’t have a problem admitting it.

Speaking of Mathis, don’t think I didn’t notice his epic failure in Kansas City on April 3 when he went 0 for 6 at the plate and 0 for 6 in trying to throw out runners. I’m just glad I wasn’t in Kansas City to witness the debacle. I certainly noticed it; I just decided to give Mathis an early season pass.

Okay, truth be known, I wasn’t ready to start ranting so early in the season. That may all change at any given moment though; so stay tuned just in case.


  1. Terry Smith is always a pro on "Angels Talk", and handles the "off the deep end" callers better than anyone in the business.

    I'm not giving up on Vernon Wells at this point, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't happy about him being out of the lineup for tonight's game. Maybe a drop to 6th or 7th in the lineup while he finds his swing, and guys like Trumbo and Callaspo can actually hit with guys on base.

  2. Good comments. Smith is a solid talk host. Really wish he was paired up on the game PBP radio with a top-level game announcer as he was with Rory.

    Still agree with you on trading Howie - I continue to think the Angels should look into moving him.

    If Wells bats .260 with 20 HRs, that will suffice.