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Last Week in Angels Baseball: The “Scioscia Do What A Scioscia Do, That’s All” Edition


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By Glen McKee, Scioscia Nut-Swinger or Something

This team, man.  This damn team.  They’re something else.  As fans, we thought last season was lousy with injuries and then 2017 came along and said: “hold my ligaments.” Our starting pitching staff is the definition of “patchwork” and our offense has been inconsistent at best, and yet the Angels are still a game above .500 and just 1.5 games out of a wild-card spot.  Over the past three or four years, I’ve often stated that I wouldn’t mind a new manager just to shake things up on the team and I’ve been plenty critical of Scioscia, but there’s no way you can’t tip your cap to him this year.  This team is overperforming, and when that happens you gotta look at the manager.  Here’s to you, Mike Scioscia.

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What Happened Last Week.  Last Monday, the Angels were staring at three games in New York and three games in Boston, a seemingly horrible proposition.  It reminds me of a long time ago when I was a very young sailor on a port visit in Seattle, and a disheveled homeless woman offered to give my friend and I a hug for a dollar each.  We politely declined.  The Angels refused to be cowed, going 2-1 against both teams and defying the expectations of just about the entire aw.com board.  Effin’ A, Cotton.

– The Angels lost the first game against Boston on Friday night, setting up low expectations for the rest of the series.  Then, they took a 6-1 lead into the bottom of the ninth and things looked great.  Cam Bedrosian was on the mound, and suddenly he looked human.  He gave up walks and runs for the first time this year, and left the game with the bases loaded and the winning run at the plate.  Boston fans were drunk and obnoxious (nothing new) and ready to celebrate.  Then, Blake Parker came in, threw five pitches and got an out, and the Sawx fans cried in their beers.  Beautiful.  Of course, Boston lost the next game as well because eff the Sawx.

– In that Sunday game, Doug Fister was pitching for the Sawx.  Earlier in that week, the Angels had released Fister without giving him an ML start and Boston picked him up right away.  Normally this would be bad, very bad, for the Angels to face him but the Angels hit him for three runs and gave him the loss.  That is the direct opposite of what should have happened.

– Also of note in that Sunday game was the 2017 debut of Kaleb Cowart.  He’s done all he can in the minors and it’s time for him, given the opportunity, to prove he can do something in the majors.  Yesterday was a good start.  Excellent defense at 3B, two hits, 2 RBI, one run.  As I write this I can’t find any current info on whether Escobar will start tonight, but as Angels fans we kinda expect Cowart to ride the pine after a game like that.  But in the meantime…

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 – In three games against the Yankees, the Angels outscored them 22-16.  The Angels now have a run differential of +3.  The definition of mediocrity!  Interesting note I found while looking that stat up: the Minnesota Twins are in first place in the AL Central with a 39-34 record, but they have a whopping -38 run differential.  More on run differential shortly.

– Huston Street returned from the Dl, making his first appearance as trade bait and it was effective.  1 IP, 0 ER, 0 hits, 1 K.  Keep it up, dude.

– As mentioned before, Cam Bedrosian also came back.  He had a rough go in Boston but prior to that in New York, he threw 2 innings, with 0 hits, 0 BB, and 3 K.  Put down your shovels, give him some space.  He’ll be fine.

– Martin Maldonado was picked up in the offseason primarily for his defense at C, although any offense from an Angels catcher would be a plus.  He’s been one of the most underrated acquisitions thus far, stabilizing the starting pitching staff as much as possible and throwing out 38% of would-be base-stealers.  Last week he hit .350 with two HR and six RBI.  Let’s give it up for our hitting coach, whatever his name is!  He’s already one HR away from tieing his season best and he’s hitting .037 above his career average.  He has a better OPS than Albert Pujols, FFS!  Show him some love.

What’s Next?  Last Monday a thread was started about “the next 10 games for the Angels” and how they’ show us what this team was made of.  Three in New York, three in Boston, and four in the real Los Angeles.  Thus far the Angels have kicked ass, but now they have four against the Dodgers (two at the Latrine, two at home).  The Dodgers are ridiculously hot.  They’ve won 10 in a row.  They have the second-best record in the league and the best run differential at +138.  Holy shit, Batman.  That’s legitimately scary.   After that, nobody really cares but the Angels have three at home versus the Dipotos.

Predictions.  The Dodgers are due to come back to earth, and who better to bring them back down than a team led by an ex-Dodger that is outperforming expectations?  Damn right.  That said, slow down, pardner.  Let’s not get too excited.  2-2 versus the Dodgers and a tremendous letdown of 1-2 versus the Dipotos, because they can’t go more than a game over or under .500. Feel free to post your predictions below.


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