Monday, May 21, 2007

We're scoring runs?

This offense has been, at times, very frustrating and very weak. If Vlad isn't in the lineup, we're lucky to avaoid a shutout. Earlier this year, there were probably games where Anderson and Hillenbrand, hitting 4th and 5th, combined for more outs than the number of pitches they saw. Losing Howie Kendrick was a big blow we could ill afford.

But now, coming off a sweep of the Dodgers, we are actually 6th in the American League in runs scored. Really, you have 3 tiers of offense in the league so far. Cleveland, Detroit, New York, and Boston are the good hitting teams. All are well over 5 runs per game. There's a big dropoff to #5 Texas, the lone average offensive team, and the other 9 could be described as offensively challenged, at least a third of a run per game below Texas.

But hey, of all the bad hitting teams, we're number 1!. Combine that with great pitching, and the Angels are right where they should be. Howie Kendrick is probably no more than a week away from returning. Now if we can just get rid of Hillenbrand, which takes away the possibility of he and Garret both in the lineup and Reggie Willits on the bench, we'll be fine.

Reggie is most certainly playing over his head right now, but a return to earth could still give him a .290 average and .375 OBP. He frees Gary Matthews Jr. to hit cleanup and protect Vlad. I wouldn't say his power is wasted in the leadoff spot, I love having power there. The first Angel team I followed was the 1982 team with Brian Downing leading off, and it was great. But lets just say that for this team, which lacks power from every spot in the lineup except Vlad and sometimes Mike Napoli, having Matthews' 15-20 homer power in the top spot was a a luxury we couldn't afford.

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