Monday, September 26, 2016

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By Glen McKee, AngelsWin.com Senior Corpse Finder - 

If you are friends with me on Facebook (that’s how old I am, it isn’t even “If you followed me on Twitter” because while I have a Twitter account, I update it about as often as I update my Google + page) you’d already know that on my Saturday morning dog walk, I “discovered” a half-naked corpse.  

It was a dude, and the half that was naked was the half that you don’t want to be naked.  I didn’t think this was connected to the Angels’ season until my exceptional editor said I needed to work it in somehow, and then it became obvious to me.  This year’s Angels team is like a half-naked corpse that you find on an isolated dirt road: surprising but not in a good way, a bit stinky, and a mystery.  You wonder how it happened and then realize there are several possible explanations, but it’s probably the most mundane thing that is the truth (for the Angels, it was injuries) (for the corpse I found, who knows, but it’s probably less fantastical than the half-dozen scenarios I’ve cooked up in my head).  

On to last week…

The Bad.  

This week was a mixed bag.  If we win too many games we’ll lose our protected draft pick.  If we win too few games then it’s a slog through the week.  We straddled that line but still somehow finished ahead of Oakland.  

- The Record.  4-3 doesn’t sound bad, right?  Well, it does when you’re thinking about that protected draft pick.  Anything over .500 is cause for concern.  There’s also some good in the record, more about that shortly.

- Mike Trout.  He hit .261 last week with only one HR, but seven RBI.  Despite being on a half-naked corpse of a team he’s still in the MVP discussion and he’d greatly improve his chances by being a 30-30 guy: 30 HR and 30 SB.  Trout had one SB and one HR last week, and for the season he’s at 27 SB and 28 HR.  There are six games remaining in the season.  It’s possible, as our last two opponents are Oakland (already done for the season) and Houston (currently hanging on to their last straw of a Wild Card hope, thanks in part to what we did to them this weekend).

- Jett Bandy.  His star is fading.  Jett only got one start last week and two other brief appearances, going 1-4 with a double.  Jett was born in West Hills, CA, which is a part of Los Angeles.  You know who else was born in Los Angeles?  Angelina Jolie, who is currently available.  Brush up your resumes, gentlemen.  

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- Nick Buss.  1-10 last week, .205 for the season.  Another dirty peanut.  Not the solution for either LF or the bench.  Next.

- Daniel Wright.  Thus far, he’s been Daniel Wrong, amirite, AO?  Sometimes you gotta pick the low-hanging fruit.  Two starts last week, 10.2 IP, eight ER.  There’s no indication that he’ll be a part of the rotation next year, but he could be another dirty peanut stashed away in SLC.

Carlos Perez.  Got six of the seven starts last week at catcher, despite being worse than Bandy.  Thanks, affirmative action!  2-18 for a lovely .111 average.  He’s the new brown Mathis.  He’s from Venezuela, and you know who else is from Venezuela?  Alyz Henrich, Miss Earth 2013.

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The Good.  

Our record was good if you disregard the protected pick BS, but there was also an extra layer of good in our record.  There were also some players that did sorta OK last week.

- Spoilers.  Houston had been kicking our ass all season long, until last weekend.  We went into their bandbox of a stadium and took three out of four games, two of them with late-innings heroics, to put a serious dent in their wild card hopes.  I hope that after this week we can look back on it and say it was worth it.

- Ricky Nolasco.  He’s looking more like a clean peanut with every start.  7 IP last week, 0 ER.  He should be in the rotation next year and given our lack of working arms, that seems like a lock.  

- Jhoulys Chacin.  Welcome back to the good list, Jewels!  Two starts last week, 11 IP, 1 ER.  Another solid possibility for the rotation next year despite being a McDLT.  I hope he’s back next year, because he’s Jewel.

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- Yunel Escobar.  He found his bat again.  .360 average last week with a HR and 3 RBI.  

- Albert Pujols.  He tore it up last week.  .357 average, 1 HR, 2 2B, and a bunch of singles.  

The Rest.  

Juan Graterol, despite having the best BA of our catchers, was invisible last week.  WTF, Scioscia?  

In the all-important protected draft pick standings, there are three teams worse than us in the AL and four teams worse in the NL, which means we’re in eighth place and we can’t go higher than tenth. Philadelphia and Milwaukee are both at 70-86, one game better than us.  The next team after them is the Chicago White Sox at 74-81.  So, even if we surpass Philly and Milwaukee, Chicago is 5.5 games better than us.  They’d have to lose almost all of their remaining games and we’d have to win almost all of ours, to surpass them.  Break out the champagne!  It’s almost a lock.  No whammy.

The Week Ahead.  

Three at home versus the Aths – we could solidify that protected pick status by being swept by them, but we don’t really want that, do we? – and we finish the season with three at home versus the Astros. Only three things matter for this week: one, no more injuries.  Two, Trout getting to 30-30.  Three, the protected draft pick.  Those are all attainable goals, and I predict all three of them will happen.  

No whammy.  

Predictions.  

2-1 versus the Aths and 2-1 versus the Astros, just to kick a bit more sand in their faces.  Last week I predicted 0-3 versus Texas (1-2 actual) and 2-2 versus the Astros (3-1 actual).  This is my last week for predictions!  One more prediction: I predict there will be one more gratuitous picture of a hot babe to close out this penultimate edition of LWIAB 2016.  See you next week.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

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MLB Network’s Brian Kenny “Digging Into The Data” on yesterday’s “MLB Now” broke down the MVP candidacy of Mike Trout.
 
In the clip, insider Ken Rosenthal and analyst Dan O’Dowd discuss Trout at length:
 
Rosenthal said, “I don’t have an MVP vote this year, but I have an opinion. My opinion is that I prefer my MVP to come from a contender, prefer, doesn’t have to be an absolute. Yet in this case, I don’t see a clear standout candidate among the others, they’re all good, really good. But none of them except for [Manny] Machado is having a monster September. You look at the overall statistics and Trout is the best.”
 
O’Dowd said, “All things being equal, it’d be great to give it to somebody who has helped his team get into Postseason. But all things aren’t equal. This player is so much better this year than anybody else competing for the award. It would be a crime if he doesn’t get it.”

Check out the MLB Network segment here

Monday, September 19, 2016

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By Glen McKee, Here Until the Bitter End - 

Our elimination date has long since passed and we’re only watching the games for a few reasons now: because we’re masochists, because we still root for our team, because we want to see if we’ll get a protected draft pick so we can sign an overpriced underperforming veteran in the offseason, and because that’s what fans do.  Oh yeah, also because we want to see if we can be spoilers for other teams.  Baseball loves some sour grapes: if we can’t go to the playoffs, we want to knock you out of them if we can.  With the last thought in mind, last week did indeed have a happy ending; more on that shortly.  Let’s go ahead and get the bad out of the way.

The Bad

There were quite a few things that were bad last week, but they were mostly the same things, if that makes any sense.  The offense let us down the most last week so we’re gonna see some putrid performances at the plate in this list.

- The record.  But first, the overall performance.  2-4 for the week, which is bad but consistent with our season record.  We got swept by the hot Dipotos (Hot Dipoto is the new name of my band) and managed a split with the slumping Blue Jays.  Take that, Canada!  Bastards.  This is good news for our protected draft pick status, though, and again, more on that shortly.

- Mike Trout.  A blah week for the Troutster.  .250 average, no HR, 1 RBI, 3 R.  He was having a solid September and then this.  There’s not much incentive for him to be MIKE TROUT! other than pride at this point, but you still want better from the one shining star on the team.

- Deolis Guerra.  3 innings pitched, 3 earned runs.  He might be getting gassed, even though he’s only at 55.2 IP this year between AAA and the big leagues.

- Yunel Escobar.  His only purpose is to be a leadoff hitter and get on base.  His glove and arm are questionable but at least he’s a table-setter at the top of the order.  Well, he was until last week.  2-27, .074 average.  That’s turrible!  The good news is, Escobar is from Cuba and other than great cigars, Cuba has in a way given us Rosario Dawson (she’s part Cuban).  So we have that going for us.

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- Jett Bandy.  Jett hasn’t been playing much because his bat just disappeared.  0-6 last week.  He’s like the 2015 Carlos Perez of 2016.  Why can’t we have a catcher that hits well?  Speaking of which…

- Carlos Perez.  0-8 last week.  That’s a combined 0-14 from our primary catchers.  Doesn’t give ya much hope for next year, does it?  Unless we find another early 2015 Carlos Perez or early 2016 Jett Bandy.  More on that in the next section, but I’m also not digging the grave for either of these catchers.  I have a shovel in my hand but I haven’t broken the earth yet.

The McDLT

Last week’s McDLT is Albert Pujols.  He came into the week in a slump and continued it with a 1-11 run versus Seattle.  He finished the week going 7-16 versus Toronto.  Way to turn it around, Pujols!  Credit where it is due, even if it’s only for four games.

The Good

There’s always some good, so let’s have some fun looking at it

- AJ Achter.  He’s here because I love his last name – it makes me think of “Team America” and the puppet that hated actors – and because he got it together last week.  3.2 IP, 0 ER.  Nice job, actor!  Like many great people, including myself, Achter was born in Ohio.  You know who else was born in Ohio?  The first goddamned man on the moon, Neil Armstrong!  Also, Carmen Electra.

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- Juan Graterol.  Remember when I mentioned catchers earlier?  Well, a few weeks ago I brought up Juan Gatorade, who had an outstanding performance in an extremely small sample size.  Well, guess what, buckeroos?  He went 2-7 last week, which, for an Angels ‘catcher, is out-effing-standing.  He’s still carrying a .375 average on the season.

- Cliff Pennington.  He’s been on the bad list many times, so  let’s give him a break.  .313 average last week.

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- Angels’ starting pitchers.  In his last start Alex Meyer went five scoreless innings with 7 SO against the Jays.  Jered Weaver had another QS, against the Jays (you know he’ll be back on a one-year deal next year).  Ricky Nolasco went 12 inning and gave up 4 ER for a solid 3.00 ERA.  Considering the scrap heap we’re picking our starters from, that’s reason for optimism.

The Rest

And now, for the all-important Protected Draft Pick standings.  A 2-4 record last week helped the Angels a bit.  The Angels have the seventh-worst record in baseball.  Oakland is 1 game better than us, Philly is 1.5 games better, and the Brewers are 2.5 games ahead.  So you’re saying…there’s a chance!  Indeed there is.  The only teams we have left to play are the Rangers, Aths, and Astros.

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The Week Ahead 

Seven days in Hell, otherwise known as Texas.  Three in Arlington, four in Houston.  The Angels have a good chance to solidify their Protected Draft Pick status while still not looking too unexpectedly awful.

Predictions.  Last week I predicted 1-2 and 1-3 for the Angels against Seattle and Toronto; actual results 0-3 and 2-2.  I got the totals correct!  This week, wow.  0-3 versus Texas and 2-2 versus the Astros.  See you next Monday, which will be the penultimate edition of LWIAB (not counting a possible LSIAB a week or so after the regular season is done).

Monday, September 12, 2016

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By Glen McKee, Mr. Equal Opportunity - 

On Friday night I went to my first Angels game in a few years.  (I live many hours away from Orange County.)  It was Star Wars night, I had a blast and got a few extra Stormtrooper Rally Monkeys (they’re already spoken for, sorry), and the Angels lost to the Rangers.  Something else happened, though.  A female of the opposite sex who used to post on the AngelsWin board was proposed to (as in marriage) by her handsome boyfriend and she accepted.  (Congratulations Katie and Nick!)

In attendance for the proposal was yet another woman who used to post a lot more frequently on the board, as well as a few dudes who sporadically post.  It got me thinking about how much of a sausage party the board is (and by the way, I do recommend the movie Sausage Party) and how my previous LWIB columns catered to that demographic.  I figured it was time to do a column for the ladies who occasionally stumble across this board and then leave in disgust.  

On their great album Live At The Roxy, Social Distortion does a cover of the “Ring of Fire” and frontman Mike Ness introduces it by saying (I’m paraphrasing here) “Fellas, I think it’s time we did something for the ladies, don’t you?”  Somebody in the crowd responds by flipping the bird to Mike and he replies with “You got nine more of those fingers?  Why don’t you take all ten and stick ‘em up your ass!”  

Fellas, one of the ladies!

The Bad.  

Hoo boy, there was a lot of bad this week.  As good as the previous two weeks were, this week was bad.  We went to Oakland where we should have dominated but we fell apart.  Same thing at home against Texas.  Let’s get the bad out of the way.

- The Record.  2-4 for the week, more about that below.  We should have at least been 3-3.  Our record was like Johnny Depp’s record, recently: nowhere near as good as it used to be.

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- Albert Pujols.  He went from hot to cold, just like a Katy Perry song.  Last week he went 4-22, .182 average, 2 RBI.  It looks like he’s gonna take the rest of the season off and get that average back below .250, where we expected it to be (only 0.15 away from that milestone!).  Speaking of Katy Perry, she’s been linked with Orlando Bloom, who recently got some publicity for surfing with his elvish sword hanging out.  I can’t show you that picture, but here’s one of him non in flagrante delicto:

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- Just about anybody in the bullpen.  Yes, there is one notable exception to that and more on him below, but a few people took turns blowing games.  Jose Valdez had a blown save on Saturday.  JC Ramirez came into the game Friday night and promptly gave up the game-winning HR to Adrian Beltre.  Mike Morin still hasn’t gotten a brain, 5.40 ERA last week.  Our bullpen is mostly a shambles.

- Cliff Pennington.  As a nod to Bruce Nye I’ll bring him up again.  Still getting sporadic AB but this week he hit at a .250 clip, which is 0.43 above his season average.  He’s getting less sucky!

- Jett Bandy.  His bat has fallen off a Cliff Pennington lately.  1-14 in his last seven days.  Eventually, the league catches up with rookies and they need to adjust accordingly.  If only we had some sort of managerial person on this team whose job was to help hitters make said adjustments.

- Kaleb Cowart.  Speaking of one-fers, 1-12 last week with 4 K.  Again, if only we had some sort of hitting coach or something…

The McDLT.  The weekly hot-and-cold or cold-and-hot award.  

- Deolis Guerra.  He only appeared in two games (because you want your current best reliever to have a lot of time off) and he was spotless in one, and gave up one run in 1 IP in the other.  That’s the life of a reliever.  He’s still one of our best options.

The Good.  

As always, there was some good mixed in with the bad, and a few surprises.

- Mike Trout.  No all-caps this week because he didn’t hit any HR, but he still managed a .333 clip (although it was all singles) and 3 SB.  Mike Trout is the Channing Tatum of our team: even when he’s bad he’s still at least good to look at.  Amirite, ladies?

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- Andrelton Simmons.  His defense alone should qualify him for this list every week but I’m a buffoon when it comes to defensive stats.  However, his bat won the game Sunday with 2 HR (for the record, last week Simmons hit 2 HR more than did Mike Trout), giving him three on the year.  Did you know that Simmons was born in Curacao, a Dutch Caribbean island?  That makes him a foreigner to the US, and you know who else is a foreigner to the US?  My wife’s favorite, Jason Statham.

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- Andrew Bailey.  He’s been the cleanest of peanuts ever since we picked him up from the rubbish heap.  Last week was no exception.  He’s our closer now, and he went 2-2 in close situations last week, 2 IP, 0 runs, 0 hit, 0 BB, 3 K.  It’s nice to have a pleasant surprise from our bullpen, instead of the usual unpleasant reality.  Maybe this kid can stick around.

The Forgotten.  While looking at stats for this article, I discovered that we have somebody named Juan Graterol (who henceforth and forevermore shall be known as Gatorade) on our team.  Evidently, he came from the Yankees because his ESPN stat page has a picture of him in a Yankees cap.  He’s appeared in one game for us, with exactly one AB.  In that AB he hit a double.  His line for the season: 1.000 average, 1.000 OBP, 2.000 SLG, 3.000 OPS.  Thanks for keeping this dude on the bench, Sosh!  Free Gatorade!

The Rest.  We had a few SP make their debut with the Angels last week and their performances would have qualified them for the bad list but I ran out of space and interest.  Tyler Skaggs had a good start last week, hopefully he can build on that.  Jered Weaver had a good start Sunday, and you just know he’ll be back on a one-year deal next year and continue to give us a quality start sandwich with two terrible-start buns.  

The Week Ahead.  Three at home versus the Dipotos, and four at home versus the Blue Jays.  The Dipotos are 7-3 in their last ten and still have a slight chance at a wild card spot.  The Blue Jays are 3-7 in their last 10 and in the thick of a division race in which I hope they beat Boston but lose to the Orioles.  It could be another brutal week.

Predictions.  Last week I predicted 3-0 versus the Aths and 2-1 versus the Rangers.  Hoo boy.  Actual results: 1-2 and 1-2.  This week, I’m more realistic.  1-2 verus the Dipotos and 1-3 versus the Jays.

Updated Protected Draft Pick Standings.  Because some of you care about this, I’ll keep you updated, although I’m sure you already know what I’m about to say.  The Angels currently have the ninth-worst record in baseball, which gives them a protected pick.  There’s only a half-game difference between the Angels and Milwaukee, the team with the tenth-worst record.  After that, you have to go to the Chicago White Sox who are five games better than the Angels in both the win and loss columns.  So, even if the Angels switch places with the Brewers (which is quite possible) they’d have to play six games better than the White Sox over the last three weeks of the season to lose a protected pick. It could happen, but it isn’t likely.  Rejoice!  

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

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By Glen McKee, AngelsWin.com Gritologist - 

I’m sure the main thing on the minds of Angels baseball fans right now is the status of Matt Shoemaker and concurrent with that, how horrible of a season it has been with injuries.  We also might be thinking about encasing Mike Trout in carbonite a la Han Solo until the end of the season.  

You’d think we’d have reached or even far surpassed our annual quota for injuries already, but apparently not.  The good thing about yesterday was that Shoemaker walked off the field, assisted.  

The bad thing, though, well…

The Bad.

- Matt Shoemaker.  We all know what happened by now.  According to rotoworld.com Shoemaker sustained a small skull fracture and a hematoma.  Of course, our main concern is that Matt recovers with as little lasting damage as possible; baseball is secondary.  Having said that, though, baseball is still important.  We know about Matt and his story because of baseball and we’re rooting for him because a) he’s a genuinely good guy, 2) he’s a baseball player on our favorite team, and iii) he’s demonstrated the favorite immeasurable characteristic that Angels fan love, grit.  He’s an Erstad on the mound.  Best wishes to Matt and his family for a speedy and full recovery from everyone on this board.  

- Brett Oberholtzer.  Another pickup from Operation Clean Peanut, Oberholtzer hasn’t panned out at all.  In his last start, the only one last week, he went 1+ inning and gave up five earned runs.  His ERA for the year is 5.82.  There’s a reason (perhaps several reasons, but I digress) that the Astros released him, and that reason is that he’s not that good.  He’s not even good enough to stick on the Angels rotation.  Yeesh.

- Cliff Pennington.  How this dude is still getting playing time is beyond me.  He hit a robust .083 last week and his average for the year is at .205.  If he was a toolsy catcher with intangibles I could see why he was still playing, but he ain’t so I don’t.  Did you know Cliff Pennington was born in Texas?  I didn’t and I don’t really care, but you know who else was born in Texas?  Anna Nicole Smith.  It’s easy to forget her early days but here’s a reminder.  Apparently, she used to hang out with Barack Obama:

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- The backups and platoons.  Carlos Perez, Nick Buss, and Gregorio Petit each got 5 AB last week and they each got one hit, for a collective BA of .200.  I guess that’s what you can expect from AAAA players.

The McDLT.  

You might think think this category exists solely so I can talk about Jhoulys Chacin and then post pictures of Jewel.  You’d be partially correct.

- Jhoulys Chacin.  In his appearance in Detroit (which was technically speaking the week before last, but shut up) he went four innings and gave up zero ER.  In Seattle, he pooped the bed and gave up 5 ER in four innings.  Jhoulys, why do you play these foolish games?

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The Good.  

Matt Shoemaker aside, there was a lot of good last week.  A lot.  Now that the season is as dead as Donald Trump’s hair and the pressure is off, the players are more relaxed and performing to their abilities.  Yay, meaningless stats!  It’s all we have to look forward to for the rest of the season.

- Albert Pujols.  Dude was on a tear last week.  4 HR, 7 RBI, .429 average.  At this rate he’s gonna have his BA around .275 by the end of the year.  

- MIKE TROUT!  3 HR, 6 RBI, and a ridiculous .556 BA.  MIKE TROUT!  What more can you say about him?  Well, he was born in New Jersey, and you know who else was born in New Jersey?  The Jeets!  You know who the Jeets dated?  Tons of hot women, including Jessica Biel:

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- C.J. Cron.  Finally, somebody on this team named “C.J.” is kicking some serious ass.  4 HR, 8 RBI, and a .400 average last week.  Trout, Pujols, and Cron has suddenly turned into a very potent 3-4-5. 

 Let’s hope they can build on that.

- Andrew Bailey.  We picked him up off the scrap heap and in a very small sample size, he’s been aces.  2 IP, 0 ER, and one save.  It was his first save since 2013.  In 2013, several magazines said Scarlett Johansson was the sexiest woman alive.  Who am I to argue with several magazines?

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The Rest.

The Angels went 5-1 last week.  Hurray!  Unfortunately, that will piss some of you off that care about a protected draft pick.  For the record, the Angels are now the 10th-worst team in baseball and getting better.  As I mentioned last week, this team isn’t going to tank and there’s no way they’ll finish the season with a protected draft pick.  Get over it, and enjoy the rest of the ride.

The Week Ahead.  

Three in that hellhole up in Oakland (against one of the nine teams that is worse than us) and three at home versus Texas.  I’ll be at the home game on Friday so I can get a Star Wars Rally Monkey.  Hit me up if you want to say hello and get my autograph or something.

Predictions. 

Even while I was predicting this team to play the spoiler, I wasn’t optimistic enough.  I predicted 2-1 versus the Reds (they’re now worse than us, by the way) and 2-1 versus the Dipotos.  Actual results: 3-0 and 2-1.  For this week, I’m going to say we sweep Oakland in their miserable stadium and continue to be the spoiler by taking two from Texas.  See you next week, which by my calculations, will be my third-to-last column this season.

Monday, August 29, 2016

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By Glen McKee, You Know My Credentials by Now - 

You’re going to hear a lot about draft picks in the next month and change of the baseball season. Some people will suggest we should tank (not Tank, which is something more beautiful than losing on purpose) as hard as we can to get the #1 pick.  I call these people goddamned idiots.  Baseball isn’t football.  If we get the #1 pick we won’t get a franchise QB or a game-changing WR that will have an immediate impact.  We’ll get some dude that will toil away in the minors for at least a few years and then might show up on the team in 2020 or 2021, if he doesn’t get traded first. 

Other people will suggest we should tank just enough to ensure we get a protected draft pick, which means that if we sign a top free agent we don’t forfeit our first-round draft pick.  That makes a bit more sense, but looks at the numbers: the Angels are 56-74.  There are six teams worse than us and one team tied with us.  Only the ten worst teams get a protected pick.  Ergo, it’s not gonna happen.

Even with the avalanche of injuries the Angels have had this year they’re still not a bottom-10 team and occasionally, they play like they aren’t, this week being a good example.  I’d love for them to get a protected pick but face the facts: this team won’t tank.  Some younger players are playing for a spot on the team next year.  Some older players are playing for pride and stats.  Nobody on this team is playing to lose.  Nobody.  So the best we can do is to play the role of spoiler for the rest of the year.  

We need to be the nails in the tires of Seattle, the stick in the spokes of the Blue Jays, the joker in the deck of the Astros.  We’re the spoilers, baby!  Regardless of what you think of Scioscia, he’s trying to win every game out there and the Angels aren’t gonna play to lose.  Enjoy the ride the rest of the way, and look forward to us pissing off a few times along the way.  Wasn’t it great seeing all of those Tigers getting ejected?

The BAD:  Ya know what?  With what I said above in mind and even in general, it was a good week.  The Angels even saw the Goodyear blimp and it said “Mike Trout’s a pimp!”  So, for the first time in a while the bad list will be short.  I’m good with that.  

- Cliff Pennington.  The writing should be on the wall for this guy and it appears to be.  11 AB last week, .091 average.  He’s a 4A player, and that’s what we’re getting from him.

- Kole Calhoun.  I’ve been ignoring him lately, because I don’t want him to steal my soul for putting him on the bad list.  I can’t ignore him anymore.  .240 average last week, 2 RBI, and he’s stuck in the leadoff spot until Escobar comes back, which should be this week.

- Nick Buss.  Another replacement-level player scavenged from the Arizona scrap heap.  I thought that would end when Dipoto left, but apparently not.  .208 last week but he did manage one HR. 

- Carlos Perez.  He hit a robust .143 last week in only 7 AB.  It appears that Jett is running away with the starting catcher job, and that’s fine.  Perez is a solid backup catcher at best right now.  

- Ricky Nolasco. The trade of Santiago for Nolasco, in a way, makes no sense as they are almost identical pitchers.  Last week Nolasco had one start, 6.1 IP, 4 ER.  Maybe, for once an Angels pitching coach can find out what’s wrong with him and help him correct it.  For eff’s sake, get Mark Langston out of the booth and give him the job.  His observations are almost always spot-on.  He can’t do any worse than what we have right now.

- The Detroit Tigers.  What a bunch of whiners.  Three of them got ejected in Saturday’s game, including former Angels hero Wallard Joyner who has now succumbed to the dark side and become a Detroit a-hole.  Five Angles were HBP in the last two games, and Detroit lost both of those games.

Detroit is rapidly replacing the Red Sox as the team I hate the most.  I hope they don’t win a game the rest of the year and that they all get crabs.  But hey, Justin Verlander is engaged to Kate Upton so here’s a pic of her:

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The McDLT:  The hot and cold for the week.  Did somebody say hot and cold?

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Just a personal note here, as I’ve been writing this column I’ve discovered that Bing image search is much better than google.  No, they’re not endorsing me.  Just something I’ve discovered.  Anyway…

- Tyler Skaggs.  He had a bad start in Toronto (4 IP, 4 ER) and then bounced back and had a very good start in Detroit (6 IP, 0 ER).  Let’s hope he can build off of the last start and become the pitcher so many see in him.  

The GOOD:  There was a lot of good last week.  The Angels went 4-2.  Occasionally, the starters went more than three innings and gave up fewer than five runs.  Progress!  

- Kaleb Cowart.  He finally got the call, and thus far he’s been answering.  Excellent defense and a solid bat.  .304 for the week with a couple of doubles and a HR.  I’m not going to get too excited yet but I’m certainly gonna enjoy the ride.  

- MIKE TROUT!  OK, he only hit one HR last week – that’s how high our expectations of him are, that only hitting one HR in a week is bad – but he hit for a .384 average and all signs point to a hot September for him.  

- Albert Pujols.  Two HR last week, .400 average, five RBI.  His average is up to .261 and his OPS is at .766.  With a good September he could hit .270 and maybe even .800.  Hey, it could happen.

- Jhoulys Chacin.  Glad to see him back on the good list.  He only appeared once last week but he went 4 innings with no earned runs.  Perhaps the pen is where he belongs.  Oh, did somebody say Jhoulys?

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- Fernando Salas.  I saved the best and most surprising for last.  I’m going to type something I never thought I would type in my lifetime: Salas is our closer and he’s doing well.  Five saves so far and he picked up one this week in a 3-2 win over Detroit, and he did it striking out two of the three batters he faced.  Well done, Fernando!  Did you know that Salas was born in Mexico?  Well, he was, and you know who else was born in Mexico?  That’s right, Frank Stallone!  No wait, I mean Salma Hayek.

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The rest.  By the time I write the next column the last month of the Angels season will have started. That makes me a bit sad.  Even when they suck like they have this year the Angels are still my team and I’ll miss them once the playoffs start.  Shit, man, I’m going to have to find something else to do.
The week ahead.  Three at home versus the Red (one of the six teams that is barely worse than us), Thursday off, and three at home versus the Dipotos, who cutely think they have a shot at the last wild card.  

Predictions.  Last week I predicted 1-2 in Toronto and 2-1 in Detroit.  I was pessimistic by one game. 2-1 in both cities.  This week I predict the spoiler bus keeps rolling.  2-1 versus the Reds and 2-1 versus the Dipotos.

Listen to "A Fish Like This" Tribute song to Mike Trout's Greatness

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