Thursday, May 18, 2017

Wing and a Prayer - at Angels ( L 3-5, L 6-7, L 8-12)

            So that’s why the only people who stayed up that late on a weekday are alcoholics.

            Definitely a stiff drink series for the Palehose. It’s interesting to see us go outside the Central and see where we really stack up against the rest of the league. The answers thus far:

            Yankees/Orioles/Probably any A.L. East opponent: I think what we did resembled playing baseball

            Padres: Hard fought two out of three against a AAA team and Wil Myers

            Angels: Take away Trout, Pujols, starting pitching bottoming out, bullpen taking the series off, defense catching the early flight to Seattle, and runners left on base, and we had these guys right where we wanted them!

            Certainly helps our standings in the draft. Back to the scene of the crime:

Game 1:

Probably Renteria’s first “Ventura” moment (I always thought those were overblown, the bullpen was a rock and a hard place scenario for his whole tenure).  The Trout home run was pretty predictable and Pelfrey had been struggling for several batters by then. Even if it’s a competing year, I don’t mind pushing a pitcher early in the year to gauge limits. Preferably for a younger pitcher, and preferably knowing a three run home run 100 pitches in is that limit, but there are a couple games a year to stretch a pitcher a batter or two. A Monday in Anaheim seems about right.

            Good to see Abreu get another dinger that night and Wednesday night. I’m probably completely wrong, but it seems like a lot of his long fly balls have been going to deep center. Power numbers probably go up if that happens.  Again, probably totally wrong, but it seems like most home runs come the hard way this year with him.

            Game 2:

Two things Renteria’s said that seemed like the usual manager hype jargon: “little things like hitting to the right side with runner on second, less than two outs”, and “we don’t quit”. I’ve said before that the former’s been pretty great this year (at least better than previous years), and the latter was definitely proven again Tuesday. Avi continues not coming back to earth and brings Melky in. Todd, incredibly clutch in the weirdest ways possible this week, gets a double that barely leaves the infield and ties that game. (I felt for the ump and that “out NO WAIT SAFE” call. Was probably the biggest “don’t do this” from umpire school back in the day. Been there, man.) Get the lead in the 11th, proceed to blow it right after to the generational talent hitter that is Pujols. It’s the sort of game where the loss doesn’t matter quite as much as how hard a win it was for the other guys: it’s hard not to get the “if we’re competitive now, just you wait” feeling in a game like this. Especially in a rebuilding year, coming back from three runs with our backs against the wall is a very good sign.

Game 3:

It’s spring training so it’s a shitty scouting report, but I remember Shoemaker racking up a good amount of strikeouts against us in March (Davidson ironically playing in that one). The K’s are pretty frustrating yet again, but they don’t seem to be happening in as many crucial moments as year’s prior. Davidson seems to be mellowing out, even with the power hitter strikeout handicap.

Another earned run heavy start for Miguel, but a more reassuring one. He’s best when he’s eating innings, and going close to six after a four walk, forty pitch inning still had us in it.  That game goes south a lot quicker when most pitchers have four walks (Speaking of strike zones, Coop’s ejection reaction is the early favorite for gif of the year. Can’t watch it without hearing that think “born in a batting cage” baseball coach voice.)

In other news, Mike Trout. Sweet jeebus. Has to be the best athlete on the planet that absolutely no one is talking about. The ultimate victim of the west coast time zone bias. (Which is definitely alive and well, what jobs in the world do people have that they can stay up for these west coast trip games with ease?) Really hope the bullpen, of all things, isn’t bottoming out. It’s been a pretty painless rebuild in the grand scheme of things but if we start racking up 7-1 or 4-2 bullpen losses that’s gonna take a lot of wind out of the fanbase’s sails.

Bats not silent but only there for bits and pieces, pitching never really there, Sox get swept. What did we learn, kids? That a team built to lose several games will wind up losing several games in a row, and that Trout and Pujols deserve to be in a time zone made for actual people.  

                              And I thought 8:30 playoff hockey games were bad

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