Hooray! Bases are being balled! Balls are being based! Angels baseball is back!
It is a brand new season and a brand new start for the Angels as they seek to return to glory and shed their recently acquired label as “perpetually disappointing.” Who better to start off against than the Mariners, who actually are perpetually disappointing.
Hey look! A new feature and a shiny new graph! Enjoy. I’m going to include these in all the series previews so we can get a little perspective on the Angels and their history both recent and distant against whoever it is they are playing against.
As you can clearly see, the Angels pretty much own the Mariners. Most teams pretty much own the Mariners, but that’s neither here nor there. It is just fun to see that the Mariners are trying to position themselves to become a new power in the AL West, but history suggests that they have a pretty big climb in front of them to overtake at least one division foe.
MONDAY, 3/31: Jered Weaver vs. Felix Hernandez: Same great ace flavor, less filling velocity!
Man, three years ago this would’ve been a marquee match-up. Now, it kind of still is, but that is mostly due to the brand name recognition. Weaver isn’t as good as he used to be and probably is no longer an ace with a capital-A. A lot of that stems from his much-discussed loss of velocity. As it turns out, that’s something King Felix can commiserate with him on. He, too, has lost a few MPHs, but he had more he could afford to love than Weaver ever did. He, too, has managed to maintain the same level of efficacy like Weaver did when he first saw his velocity dip. This match-up will really just show us whose star is fading faster. (SPOILER ALERT: It’s Jered)
TUESDAY, 4/1: C.J. Wilson vs. Erasmo Ramirez: Promotion time?
Since Jered seems to be fading as an ace, now would be a good time for C.J. Wilson to step up and steal the mantle. What better way to do that than taking advantage of the sad sack Mariners?
WEDNESDAY, 4/2: Hector Santiago vs. James Paxton: Everybody loves Hector
It is amazing what being pleasant on Twitter can do for a guy. Santiago hasn’t thrown a meaningful pitch for the Halos and he already has a cult following all because he follows and/or re-tweets pretty much anyone that tweets anything at him or about him. This fanbase is so ready to love him if he pitches well out of the gate. Then again, they also need a new punching bag with Blanton gone, so he best tread lightly.
WHO OWNS WHO
OWNS: John Buck, 17 PA, .319 OPS, 7 SO
OWNED BY: Dustin Ackley, 29 PA, .879 OPS
This totally explains why I loved Ackley as a rookie. I’ve seen him have success against Weaver so often that I didn’t realize he can’t hit anyone else.
OWNS: Kyle Seager, 25 PA, .330 OPS, 10 SO
OWNED BY: Robinson Cano, 40 PA, 1.061 OPS, 2 HR
So, the plan to have a lot of lefties in the rotation work to an extent. Alas, Cano seems to be immune to Wilson’s southpawness which kind of defeats the purpose.
Santiago is still new to this whole “starting pitcher” thing, so nobody has more than six plate appearances against him.
OWNS: Erick Aybar, 74 PA, .546 OPS, 13 SO
OWNED BY: Mike Trout, 42 PA, 1.036 OPS, 5 XBH
Trout owning opposing aces is kind his thing (see Darvish, Yu). What I find really comical here is that Aybar is so bad, but Scioscia batted him leadoff against Felix last season and justified it by claiming Aybar had a track record of success. Do your research, Mike.
OWNS: Erick Aybar, 9 PA, .125 AVG, .222 OBP
OWNED BY: Josh Hamilton, 9 PA, 1.222 OPS, 1 HR
Another guy without much of a track record, so the ownership here is pretty loose. In fact, Aybar has just one hit against Ramirez, but that one hit was a homer, so, take it for what it is worth.
The Angels will lose the opener and Seattle fans will rejoice. Then the Halos will trounce them soundly in the next two games and people in Seattle will resume not caring about the Mariners and turn their attention back to the Sounders.
UNOFFICIAL PREDICTION (so don’t hold me to it)
Neither Albert Pujols nor Josh Hamilton will homer in the series,which will spark a round of over-the-top hysteria about the two players as they seek to return to form. Good times will be had by all.