Friday, August 19, 2005

Psst.....Your Holes Are Showing

The Angels delivered a nice message last night with a 13-4 thumping of Boston. Colon was strong, and newly promoted reliever Greg Jones got some mop-up work in the ninth. Jones gave-up a meaningless solo HR to Bill Mueller but other than that chink-in-the-armor retired the other three batters he faced. A fresh arm in the pen is good news as the big three of Shields, Donnelly & Rodriguez have looked ragged of late. The bullpen 'B' squad of Esteban Yan, Joel Peralta and Kevin Gregg do not appear to have Mike Scioscia's confidence to enter games with less than a four run margin.

With Garrett Anderson out for who-knows-how-long (is it just me or does this mysterious ailment/lack-of-healing feel exactly like the arthritis thing all over again?) and Dallas McPherson possibly done for the year, the Angels have some big holes in their line-up. Teams are pitching around Vladimir Guerrero (Oakland walked him with the bases empty in the 9th inning of a tie game -- it worked, the A's went on to win the game in the bottom of the ninth) and it is being left up to Bengie Molina, Steve Finley, Casey Kotchman and Juan Rivera to produce. They did last night, in spades. Well Molina, Kotchman and Rivera did (10 for 19 with 9 rbi -- Finley was his typical useless self at 0-4). But they did not the previous two nights (both Angel losses).

But there could be help on the way:

Richard points out that Brett Prinz is alive and pitching in the minors. Pitching pretty damn well at that.

Kelvim Escobar is rumored to be headed for the pen. What the hell, if Curt Schilling can be a mediocre one-legged closer than surely Kelvim is up to the task. He has experience as a closer and should be comfortable down there.

Chris Bootcheck and Joe Saunders both looked good in their brief big league stints. Look for them to be back when rosters expand in September.

Peter Gammons hints on his ESPN Insider column that Mike Sweeney could still be a possibility:
"We don't have Angels GM Bill Stoneman's phone records to know how many times he has talked to Royals general manager Allard Baird about acquiring Sweeney"
I know, he isn't saying anything concrete in that cryptic quote but I think that's the point. He is inferring a possible deal give that
Sweeney cleared waivers and the Angels have a big hole where Garrett Anderson use to bat. If Sweeney is added, Erstad moves to center and Finley is shown the door then the Angels would finish the year with a pretty stout line-up of: Figgins, Cabrera, Erstad, Guerrero, Sweeney, Molina, Rivera Kotchman & Kennedy. If Kotchman keeps his HR's coming he could find his way to the 6 hole or higher. Rivera is a hot second-half player so he could get more playing time, particularly if the Royals were being unreasonable in their demands for a player with a big salary.

Joe Morgan had this nugget on Guerrero and the road to another AL West Championship:
"...the outcome of the AL West race will depend on Guerrero. In my preseason forecast, I said the Angels needed another MVP-type season from Vladimir in order to win. Well, he's doing just that."


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