By Glen McKee, Staff Writer
Believe it not, there isn’t a whole lot of preparation for writing this column. I give it a bit of thought during the games throughout the week. Then, on Monday morning when I take my dogs for a walk I try to solidify it and see what sticks in my head, in between finding dead bodies, loose cash, tools, and golf balls. Usually, that Monday morning walk is long because I’m trying to pick nuggets of silver out of a week filled with mediocrity. Today, however…sorry, dogs. They got a short walk because for the first time this year I was genuinely enthused to get back and write about the last week of Angels baseball. !!!
The bad. Let’s get this out of the way because there was a little bit of bad last week. The Angels started the week with a 3-2 loss in Baltimore and that looked like it would set the tone for the week. However, the Angels spent the next six days coming from behind and showing that characteristic most valued at aw.com, grit.
– Cameron Maybin went 4-22 last week. Seriously, Sosh, that ridiculous hot streak he had a while ago is looking like exactly that, a ridiculous hot streak. More on Scioscia in a bit, and why Maybin is still leading off and it took so long to quit giving Norris save opportunities.
– Luis Valbuena. With Escobar out, Valbuena will start every damn game because we don’t have a better option at 3B. Sorry, Cowart. You had a bad game so you’re back to sporadic starts and occasional pinch-hit appearances. Luis will hit the occasional HR but in between HRs will give you nothing at all. Nothing at all. Stupid sexy Scioscia!
– Ricky Nolasco. In his only start last week he gave up 5 ER in 5 IP. In his start before that, 5 ER in 4 IP. He’s given up 30 HR so far this season and we’re only halfway through August. He’s scheduled to start Wednesday against the Nationals. Washington is fourth in MLB with 173 HR. You do the math (more on math in a bit, too).
The good. Last week was so good we don’t need to dwell on the negative. Let’s have some fun!
– Mike Trout hit a HR on my birthday (his, as well) and then had what was, for him, an off week, still managing to hit .318.
– Parker Bridwell. Ya know how almost every year there’s at least one or two guys that the Angels either traded or let go, and they end up having a career year with their new team? Well, for once we have the reverse of that. On April 17 the Angels got Bridwell for nothing from the Orioles and since then he’s gone 7-1 with a 2.88 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP. Parker Bridwell can’t lose! Two starts last week, two wins, two ER, 13 IP. What a stud. Good job, EpPler.
– CJ Cron. Speaking of studs, let’s take a gander at CJ’s week. 3 HR, .407 average, 7 RBI. CJ is streaky but when he’s hot he’s a thrill to watch. He crushes HR like Trumbo used to for us.
– Cam Bedrosian. 3 IP, 0 ER last week. It looks like Bedrock is back. He has to be in line to get the closer job again because while Middleton has been “successful” in that role he’s also giving up a lot of runs (4.16 ERA to Cam’s 3.67). Why wouldn’t Scioscia give Cam the job back?
The Scioscia conundrum. I’ve finally figured out Scioscia, and this might help me (and you) enjoy the games a little bit more. His decisions will still be frustrating but at least you’ll have a bit of understanding. Scioscia is like your algebra teacher. You come up to him with the answer to the problem and you know it’s correct. Sosh looks at it and says “that’s nice, now show me your work.” You’re not sure how you got the answer but you know it’s correct and you know you can’t show the work. That’s why Bud Norris kept getting opportunities to close, even when the rest of us knew he was going to blow it (the answer to the math problem). He was showing Scioscia the work. That’s why Middleton will keep closing and Maybin will keep leading off, and Valbuena will keep starting. They’re showing Scioscia the work, even though we all know the answer already.
The rest. You already knew this, but if the season ended last night the Angels would be in the playoffs. Thanks, lousy American League! The Angels also have the best current winning streak at six games. Finally, let’s not overlook Yusmeiro Petit, who should also be considered for closer (although he’s equally useful getting the key outs late in the game before the 9th like he’s doing now). 4 IP, 0 ER last week and a 2.36 ERA for the season.
The week ahead. A day off today, two games in Washington (WTF? A two-game series?), another day off, and then three at Baltimore. A strange week.
Predictions. Hoo boy, was I wrong last week. I predicted 1-2 and 1-3, and the Angels went 2-1 and 4-0. They’ve made me a believer, at least temporarily, which means my whammy could be in play. 1-1 versus the Harper-less Nationals and 2-1 versus the Orioles.