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Offense is the Answer to Rotation Uncertainty


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The Angels rotation is definitely a little tentative with the starters currently slated for the rotation. Could they have used Garza or Tanaka or even Dan Haren? Sure. Would they benefit from a guy like Arroyo or Hammel? Sure. 

 

Yet the real help to this team is offense. 

 

Over the past four seasons, from 2010-2013, the Angels have scored 681, 667, 767, 733 runs.

 

Compare that to the four year stretch before that from 2006-2009: 766, 822, 765, 883 runs.

 

While offense as a whole is less than in previous seasons, and the Angels did score more runs than some playoff teams, it should be noted that the Red Sox scored 853 runs last year and the Cardinals were third with 783. (Tigers were second).

 

Even with a good pitching staff, it's important to score runs. The Angels need to have consistency in their run production. With a lineup that features probably the best player in the game, in addition to two former MVP's, offense should come easy...

 

But too often last year it didn't.

 

We had some great games offensively, and some terrible ones. Never quite got on a hot streak the way the Dodgers, Red Sox and Cardinals all did.

 

It's even more important for the Angels to produce offensively than those other teams because those other teams have better rotations and bullpens. 

 

I think this group of Angels can lead the league in runs scored this year. And if they do, rotation shortcomings won't matter as much. 

 

Even a repeat of last years relatively ineffective rotation would be fine if they scored 820+ runs. 

 

Yet, again, scoring 850-870 runs while allowing 700 is going to get them into the playoffs. I'd like to see the rotation allow 450, the pen allow 180, and the offense score 800+, but that's a lofty goal.

 

Still, David Freese, Raul Ibanez, and Kole Calhoun (Plus Pujols being back) is going to significantly increase the offense from a year ago. Yes JB Shuck had an okay season, but he shouldn't have played as much as he did. Peter Bourjos is a better offensive player and I think Calhoun is better than that. Calhoun over Shuck is a huge upgrade. Hopefully Ibanez gives them the same as Trumbo did last year in a poor year, and perhaps Grant Green gets some of that playing time as a right handed DH option. Together, they should outproduce Trumbo. And Freese should significantly improve over the revolving door at 3rd. 

 

So maybe I'm being optimistic, but if they stay relatively injury free, this group can produce some pretty great numbers offensively. And if they do that, the rotation is not going to be as much of an issue.

 

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The biggest issue with this thinking is we said the same thing last year and well...

We can finish first in runs scored but we need a big improvement at least in the rotation to win 90 games. The bullpen could struggle a little again but we absolutely need more quality innings from our starters.

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Number of teams scoring 800+ runs in the Post-Roidball Era (2010-13):

 

2010: 3

2011: 3

2012: 2

2013: 1

 

The trajectory has been gradually downward, although let's just say the average is 2/year. Can the Angels have one of the two best offenses in baseball next year? Yes. But you can't build a team banking on it - you have to balance it with pitching, to some degree at least. I can't think of a single team that won the World Series that didn't have good pitching. With a great offense, your pitching doesn't have to be great, but it does have to be good. So best case scenario and the Angels hitting is great and the pitching good. Right now the projection is more like very good and OK, which makes for an 85-90 win team.

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You are going to get hammered for this one as i have for posting similar thoughts.... anything not pitching here is blasphemy.  Whether you are right or wrong doesn't matter

 

OMG, I expressed an opinion and people..................they, they, no.......it's too terrible to say,,,,,,,,I can't...........they.............disagreed with me.......ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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The problem is we are unable to hold leads when we get them. 

 

Our ability to hit in the clutch as well as playing fundamentally sound baseball are also at the top of the list of things we don't do. 

 

We haven't seen any of this in 3 years, bats quite simply are not a solution.

Edited by CaliAngel
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Well obviously the Angels need to score as many runs as possible. With a healthy contributing Pujols and a non-sucking Hamilton the offense should definitely be a top 5 offense. Maybe even top 3. The problem is that runs scored vs. runs allowed doesn't exist in a vacuum. Realistically, if you score a lot more runs than you give up, you should win a lot more games. Whereas if you give up more, you should lose more. Unfortunately it doesn't always work like that, especially for the Angels. Look at it this way, lets take a 10 game stretch where the Angels go 4-6. That's definitely a poor stretch of games. In that stretch, the Angels scored 58 runs, while allowing 48. You might say that's an anomaly and you may be right, but the point is you can win one game 12-0 and lose the next four 6-5.

 

Basically, the Angels could win a bunch of blowouts when Weaver and Wilson pitch, but then lose the next 3 turns in the rotation because the team only scored 4-5 runs.

 

As for the teams you mentioned who led the league in runs scored, you are forgetting one important thing: Those teams had significantly better pitching than the Angels did, particularly the Cards and Tigers. They didn't make the playoffs on offense alone. The Red Sox certainly didn't win the WS on offense alone. Those teams had balance. That is what set them apart from teams like the Angels. The Angels have a good offense. They could potentially have a great one. But it won't matter if the pitching sucks like it did last year.

 

You'll notice not too many teams these days make the playoffs with a weak pitching staff.

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OMG, I expressed an opinion and people..................they, they, no.......it's too terrible to say,,,,,,,,I can't...........they.............disagreed with me.......ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

There is a giant difference between disagreeing, and being a jackass about it. 

 

I wasnt not implying you directly though your response clearly puts you there but its really rather simple.. disagree with me all day long im fine with it.. i like debate, when shit gets personal, im not ok with it

 

The problem is that a lot of people here convinced of their own superiority on this forum now go straight to insults when anyone posts opposing views.

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There is a giant difference between disagreeing, and being a jackass about it. 

 

I wasnt not implying you directly though your response clearly puts you there but its really rather simple.. disagree with me all day long im fine with it.. i like debate, when shit gets personal, im not ok with it

 

The problem is that a lot of people here convinced of their own superiority on this forum now go straight to insults when anyone posts opposing views.

 

You mean like you did in this thread?  Regardless, while I think the offense will be pretty good I do not believe it will be good enough to make up for the lack of depth in both the starting staff and the pen.

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hypothetical... for all those who bitch about the pitching situation as though the rest of us dont know it just as well...

 

we need pitching, there is none, at least none what will help.. what do you do?

 

stand pat, do nothing, or upgrade where some help might be available even if it isnt an obvious need?

 

that is the reality of where we are in many ways.

 

im not saying its a great idea as there really isnt an impact offensive player right now.. just sayin

 

 

i still think our best and only real options is by trade but noone wants to do that either so... we are what we are.

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Last season we watched a lot of bad baseball be played. Not just pitching but everything. They led the league in GIDP and SF. That blows. The 7th and 8th inning relievers blew. Nobody could keep anyone from stealing 2nd. Double plays were not turned when they should have been. Outfield errors? Way too many of those.Play better baseball outside the batter's box then what happens inside the batter's box can win you some games.

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It is so simple. Our season depends 100% on Pujols and Hamilton. 

 

If those guys hit our offense will easily be able to support the average pitching staff we have assembled.

 

Why would we think they can do it? I haven't seen anything to think that they can. Maybe Hamilton gets one more shot because the guy was lights out just 2 seasons ago, but Pujols looks done.

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there were other options this winter, of course, but the angels didn't really go after any decent free agent pitching for reasons I don't understand at all.

 

i'm betting that they have some sort of plan involving trades, which as you said, are another option.  NOBODY ever wants to trade because it's so risky, but you'll find that the teams that contend perennially use trades every bit as strategically as fa acquisitions.  maybe the halos fo have something up their sleeves.  we'll see

 

Were there really options?  I guess that depends on what you think the team needs.  For me that answer is simple.. a true #3.  Were there any of this in the FA pool?  Sure there are depth options.. which isnt bad and we could use some of that too but ive always felt you address the needs first then the wants, the need is still out there.

 

The best option was Tanaka, supposedly, yet to be proven at the ML level and has never thrown a pitch but even if i grant that he is/was the best possible option... that contract is a joke for what is in my opinion a huge question mark that may or may not actually pan out.  Mixed reviews on his stuff scared me away.. the words flat fastball are never a good thing in this league.

 

After that the best option was Garza.. a guy with questionable medical history and the possibility of being more of a 4.  I thought he was the best option in terms of contract and risk versus reward but it didnt happen either and frankly im not to broken hearted about it

 

...after that i dont see a legit three in the pool this year.

 

so it comes down to do you sign someone that isnt what you need just to sign someone for depth.. or do you wait and try  to get what you need.

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Isn't it also the case that we were one of the worst teams in baseball with RISP? That counts for a lot of runs not scored, and i am sure some natural regression to the mean will alone help the offense dramatically.

 

we were really weird that way in a lot of stats actually.

 

i listed a lot of them in a previous thread but we were actually better than the A's for example statistically in many offensive categories yet scored far fewer runs.  We had as i recall more total bases by a large number.. better average, even a better OBP, OPS was within .002.... but with less HR. 

 

We had a lot of 2 hit innings that produced nothing based on that and my memory, lol

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hypothetical... for all those who bitch about the pitching situation as though the rest of us dont know it just as well...

 

we need pitching, there is none, at least none what will help.. what do you do?

 

stand pat, do nothing, or upgrade where some help might be available even if it isnt an obvious need?

 

that is the reality of where we are in many ways.

 

im not saying its a great idea as there really isnt an impact offensive player right now.. just sayin

 

 

i still think our best and only real options is by trade but noone wants to do that either so... we are what we are.

 

I think the problem if suggesting more offense was last year.  When we couldn't get Grienke, we went all in on offense and signed Hamilton.  Well that blew up in our face.

 

I agree there really isn't any pitching out there.  So, if we are unwilling to make a trade of Aybar or Kendrick right now, than I suggest we go for getting a lights out bullpen.   A great bullpen helps the rotation as the rotation would not have to pitch deep into games.  If I am not mistaken, that was why the Angels were so good from 2002-2008.  AND our bullpen has sucked for four years.

 

Anyway, Where can we improve our offense right now?  It seems that every position is set.

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we were really weird that way in a lot of stats actually.

 

i listed a lot of them in a previous thread but we were actually better than the A's for example statistically in many offensive categories yet scored far fewer runs.  We had as i recall more total bases by a large number.. better average, even a better OBP, OPS was within .002.... but with less HR. 

 

We had a lot of 2 hit innings that produced nothing based on that and my memory, lol

 

I'm sure we had a lot of 3 hit innings that produced nothing as well. There is absolutely no question this team needs to hit better with men on. I realize this isn't really a "stat" but there does seem to be something mental that turns these guys into pussies once runners are on base.

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As it is right now, I think the pitching would have to be really spot on in order for the offense to take over. What I mean is if the five currently installed as the rotation stay from beginning to end and don't get hurt, I think we have enough offense to get to the playoffs.

 

However, with three young guys and health to worry about, I don't like those odds. I hope everything falls in place, but as the staff is right now, that's asking a lot of the offense.

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Looks like I was wrong on my last point.  The Angels actually finished tenth in average with RISP.  I thought I remembered reading after the first two months or so that the team was hitting less than .200 with RISP.  They must have bounced back.   

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I think the problem if suggesting more offense was last year.  When we couldn't get Grienke, we went all in on offense and signed Hamilton.  Well that blew up in our face.

 

I agree there really isn't any pitching out there.  So, if we are unwilling to make a trade of Aybar or Kendrick right now, than I suggest we go for getting a lights out bullpen.   A great bullpen helps the rotation as the rotation would not have to pitch deep into games.  If I am not mistaken, that was why the Angels were so good from 2002-2008.  AND our bullpen has sucked for four years.

 

Anyway, Where can we improve our offense right now?  It seems that every position is set.

 

i think its too easy to say that blew up in our face when the reality is that EVERYTHING blew up in our face.  literally nothing worked last year that wasn't wearing #27. 

 

If the pitching staff had been anywhere near what it could have been we were a mid 80 win team...  blaming the strategy isnt fair to me just because you didnt get the outcome you wanted.   going for it on 4th down when you are losing and no time on the clock is still the right move even if it doesn't work. 

It was the right move.. there was really no other move to make, same as this off season.  Teams are just not letting those kind of guy get into FA anymore with a few rare exceptions.

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