Sunday, June 29, 2008

How to find an offense?

This is about as low as you can get. Your pitchers throw a no-hitter and you still can't win. I don't think the Angel pitching can be much better than it has been since John Lackey returned to the mound, and if the Angels want to keep first place and avoid a second half meltdown they are going to have to rediscover the art of touching home plate.

Last year Garret Anderson got off to a slow start (285/286/424) and surprised us with a great second half straight out of his 2002-2003 prime. This year his first half is even worse (255/289/372). I don't think we can expect lightning to strike twice. We have options, like a guy who hit 310/362/525 the last time he was given regular playing time, or a 2nd year player who had a .391 OBP his rookie year. At the very least we need to move Anderson down in the order, maybe bring Kotchman into the #3 spot.

Back in April the offense actually looked good. Napoli was blasting dingers. Kotchman was hitting for power and average. Figgins was getting on base 5 times in every 4 plate appearances. Howie was hitting .500. Hunter began his Angel career with a bang. With Vladimir struggling, it seemed like this offense could only get betteronce he inevitably started hitting every pitch for a line drive. After April the team was hitting 279/339/427.

In May, 232/300/346, and in June 258/311/373.

At least we hit bottom in May (when we were forced to give too many atbats to minor leaguers) and June is a bit of an improvement. Right now it just looks really bad. I know the Angels are not a patient team. They are not the A's who worship walks, in fact they have been the middle finger to the A's, saying "that is BS, this is the way to really win!".

Looking back at the 2002 team, they did not draw a lot of walks but they did not swing at bad pitches either. They waited for a good pitch and put it into play. They finished last in strikeouts and first in batting average. The 2008 team has the 6th most strikeouts and is 11th in batting average. I am tired of watching an entire lineup that cannot resist swinging at every pitch in the dirt.

The highest scoring offenses in baseball are the ones that follow the advice of Ted Williams' Science of Hitting. I can accept that we aren't going to be the Yankees and Red Sox when it comes to putting that into practice, but can this team at least follow the successful approach Mickey Hatcher has taught to the hitters in the past? You can't build an offense around singles unless you can put the bat on the ball. And you can't put the bat consistently on a series of balls in the dirt.

17 Comments:

At 12:15 PM, Anonymous Confused said...

I am convinced your beloved Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have no desire to win. If this team were really serious about winning, then they'd call Jeff Borris and pay Barry the minimum and get his ass in the lineup. It is really pathetic that they won't sign an all-time great who was very productive last year just because he's a jerk. He's never failed a drug test and last time I checked he was still available. What gives?

 
At 12:32 PM, Blogger Chone Smith said...

They are just one of, oh about 25-30 teams that are doing less than they are capable to win by not signing the old Sith Lord.

 
At 1:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

SOOOO True. This team will get to the playoffs, then dump again. Lets see...a platoon at catcher that can barely hit their own weight. A shortstop hitting below 200 most of the first half. A 320 hitter at second with 15 RBI's.....This team cannot hit with runners in scoring position..not even a Sac fly. If our pitchers give up more than 2 runs we are in BIG trouble. Gladly get rigd of GMJ, both catchers and one of our shortstops for one clutch hitter. (Remember Benji..he is still hitting close to 300 and is still hitting in the clutch..Oh but I forgot...he's washed up). Plus we have a slew of "prospects" in the minors who's stock is sinking every time they come up...I.E. MR Future of the club Woods. we have 8 players for 4 infield positions....get rid of a couple..I'm not saying deplete the whole bunch but getting that player that would put us over the top would be nice.

 
At 1:51 PM, Anonymous Confused said...

Your right about the rest of the league. But Bonds is such an obvious solution. Assume that a third of the league is out of it and could legitimately say they don't need Bonds. Then remove another third who may have a full complement of decent OFs/DH. So, I'd say they are one of about 10 teams that are truly being hard-headed. But put all that aside. With the Angels having as anemic an offense as they have, not signing Bonds for any reason, "distraction, principle, etc" is nothing more than a self-inflicted wound. Will they make the playoffs? Probably. Will they win it all? I don't think so. The last team to win it all with fewer runs per game than the 2008 Angels (4.15)? The 1988 Dodgers (3.8). Baseball was a lot different in 1988. The Dodgers were still 6th in the NL in runs scored and at the league average. Though, to be fair, the 2008 Angels remind me more of the 2005 White Sox. But the White Sox had even more dominant pitching that season with a more powerful offense. Not to mention the similarities in their skippers. Not to get off on a tangent here, but did you know half of the most similar players in history to Mike Scioscia were middle infielders?

 
At 4:51 PM, Blogger Chone Smith said...

"The last team to win it all with fewer runs per game than the 2008 Angels (4.15)? The 1988 Dodgers (3.8)."

So true. What ever became of the 88 Dodgers?

C Mike Scioscia, SS Alfredo Griffin, OF Mickey Hatcher... Our coaching staff is trying to recreate their glory days. I guess the only thing we can do (since we aren't the GM and can't make a check out to Mr. Bonds) is hope John Lackey has a bit of 88 Hershiser in him.

 
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