May 14, 2012

Mad as heck and confused as ever

Angel fans are mad.  More than anything we are frustrated.  Nothing is more deflating to a sports fan than to see their favorite team thumped in a big game against a bitter rival.  Watching the two losses to the Texas Rangers over the weekend was torture.  Worse yet – it was a slow torture.

This is ugly.  The worst case scenario is here staring us all in the face.  Enthusiasm has turned to rage.  Hope has turned to fear.  Angel fans are fighting mad. They are pointing fingers and they want some heads to roll.  They’re lighting up the phone lines for radio call-in shows, and burning up message boards on the internet like a wild fire.

And… I love it.

Even though it’s hard to listen to the ranting of Angel fans and just as hard to read what they have to say – I’m glad it’s happening.  It’s good to see that Angel fans care because the alternative is apathy and that’s a death sentence to a franchise.

More than ever, Angel fans are emotionally invested in their team and it wasn’t that long ago that we couldn’t say such things. 

That being said – this can’t go on.  It has to stop.   If the Angels don’t start showing signs of life soon; especially Albert Pujols – the fall out will be severe.  Attendance is already down; that despite the reported uptick in pre-season sales. 

Face it – So. Cal fans are fickle.  They have way too many options for their entertainment dollar and if the Angels continue to struggle – all the good will created from 2002 through 2009 will be a distant memory. 

Okay – so here we are.  You want answers, right?  Well, so do I.  We can devote this post to placing blame and suggesting solutions – but if I did that, I’d be like a lot of other blogs and I’m not going to do that.

I will give you some of my thoughts on Albert Pujols and you can file these comments under “Everything you hear isn’t true…”

People keep saying that the Angels should be winning games regardless of Albert’s struggles.  Really?  Well consider this – in his career he has hit .370 with a 1.184 OPS when his team wins.  When his team loses?  He has hit .269 with a .822 OPS.  The difference is significant.  Teams go as Albert goes or at least that how it appears to me.

New league; new pitchers – does it make a difference?  I couldn’t find any statistics to analyze for this scenario, but I did find something interesting.  The more Albert sees a pitcher in a game, the better he hits.  When he faces a starter for the first time his BA is .312 and with each AB, that statistic goes up.  Second time:  .321; third time: .360; fourth time (or more): .362.

I’d say there is a correlation; wouldn’t you?  If he hits a pitcher better the more time she sees him in a single game, I would think the same would be true over the course of a season.

People (and I believe Albert himself) say he’s not a pull hitter.  Really?  For his career, he has hit .468 when his hits have been pulled to left field; .321 when they’ve gone up the middle and .304 to the opposite field.  Consider this – 213 of his 446 career homeruns have been to left field.  He has hit 93 to left center, 71 to center, 40 to right field and 29 to right center.

What does it all mean? Heck, if I know.  I guess my point is that everyone has an answer, but some of those observations are based on who they think Albert is and not necessarily who he really is.  

Confused?  Yeah, me too.  That's baseball for you.  Just consider it all food for thought as you sit there licking your wounds from the weekend.  That’s what I’m doing.

It’s a new week and there are new opportunities.  Keep the faith folks – this has to turn around soon. 

1 comment:

  1. There's not much that can be done to fix this team, but I would argue that Scioscia's predilection is to let the veterans play, even unto the exclusion of kids. For that reason, Vernon Wells must go. I would much rather have an outfield with Peter Bourjos in center and Mike Trout in one of the corner outfield positions than Vernon Wells anywhere out there.

    Similarly, Albert Pujols needs extensive time off. The conflict in playing time at this point is clearly between him and Mark Trumbo, who is productive and being relegated to defensive positions he clearly cannot handle, third base, and to a lesser degree, the corner outfield positions, where he interrupts better defense from Bourjos or Trout.

    The bullpen is as disastrous as I have ever seen from an Angels team. Though Frieri has helped there incrementally, there remains much to be done. Kevin Jepsen has, mercifully, been sent off to AAA (and I confess to being shocked he still had options), but we still suffer from the stylings of Hisanori Takahashi (and will through 2013 barring release). Jordan Walden sometimes shows signs of being a useful piece, but his lack of reliable secondary pitches makes him problematic in the closer role.

    The Angels simply don't have the offense or relief pitching to catch up to the Rangers. This team looks like an enormous albatross.