Posted on: September 9, 2011 11:17 pm
Edited on: September 10, 2011 12:05 am
Fact: The Angels are 19-4 when rookie outfielder Mike Trout starts.
Fact: The Angels started their series with the Yankees on Friday trailing Texas by 2 1/2 games ... and with Trout on the bench.
So ... is Mike Scioscia working on throwing the AL West race?
The quick answer, obviously, is no. He's playing the angles he thinks are best for the Angels. Trout, who recently turned 20, starts against left-handers. Scioscia says Trout will be in Saturday's lineup when CC Sabathia starts for the Yankees.
Still, even with righty Bartolo Colon on the mound, it's difficult to believe Trout would be a worse option than Vernon Wells (.252 on-base percentage, starting in left field) or even Bobby Abreu (.253 batting average, designated hitter).
Scioscia says Trout took some "good swings" in the Seattle series. He also says the Mariners pitched him differently than they did a month ago.
"Now Mike understands what the pitchers are trying to do and is making some adjustments," Scioscia said.
Trout, named as Baseball America's Minor League Player of the Year this week, is hitting .230 with a .299 on-base percentage and a .448 slugging percentage in 29 games with the Angels. He has five homers in 97 plate appearances.
Asked about Maicer Izturis sitting in favor of Alberto Callaspo at third base Friday night, Scioscia said, in a statement that extends to Trout as well: "We're looking for production right now. We're not thinking a month or two down the road. Guys are going to play where they match up."
In Trout's case, he understands that.
"You learn [with] every pitch every inning," Trout said. "If I need anything, I go to Torii Hunter or Vernon. They've played my position. Petey Bourjos, as well. He knows how I'm feeling. He's been through it."
Trout's highlight so far was smashing his first big league homer, a three-run job, in front of 15-20 family members and dozens of friends in Baltimore on July 24. The most difficult thing, he said, is "calming yourself down. The first couple of games, I was jittery."
The Angels are happy with the way he's handling himself. But they're still not going to play him every day.
In 63 plate appearances against right-handers, Trout is hitting .214/.302/.357.
In 34 plate appearances against lefties, Trout is hitting ..258/.294/.613.
"He's still our secret weapon on the sidelines," hitting coach Mickey Hatcher said. "It's great to have a combination [Trout and Bourjos] to give the veterans a rest, and having a guy you know is going to bring something to the team ... I think all of our young kids have brought something."
Referring to their speed, Hatcher said: "Sometimes you don't even care if they hit it hard. They still might get a double."
"There's no doubt we have more speed on our club than we've had in the last 12 years," Scioscia said. "But we haven't had the on-base percentage to where we take advantage of it."
Meantime, Trout waits.
Likes: Ivan Nova, the Yankees' rookie starter. Good stuff, good kid. ... Atlanta's bullpen is unbelievable. It will be fascinating to see if Jonny Venters, Craig Kimbrel and Eric O'Flaherty have enough gas in the tank to go all the way through October like this. ... Michigan-Notre Dame on Saturday with my wife ready to make pizza for kickoff. ... Still little better in life than a good ballgame at home with pizza. ... Speaking of which, the trendy Pizzeria Mozza (celebrity chefs Nancy Silverton, Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich) just opened in Newport Beach, Calif., and is highly recommended by Scioscia.
Dislikes: What a blackout in the west on Thursday night. The entire city of San Diego lost power, as did parts of Orange County, Arizona and northern Mexico. They blamed it on one guy doing maintenance at an important switching station in Arizona. I don't know much about electricity, but how can there be no checks and balances in place? One guy can wipe out power for five million people? Mama mia. ... Aw, Grosse Ile 20, Monroe (Mich.) St. Mary Catholic Central High 14 in Friday night football. The good guys lost.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"Spirits above and behind me
"Faces gone, black eyes burnin' bright
"May their precious blood forever bind me
"Lord as I stand before your fiery light
"Li,li, li,li,li,li, li,li,li
"I see you Mary in the garden
"In the garden of a thousand sighs
"There's holy pictures of our children
"Dancin' in a sky filled with light
"May I feel your arms around me
"May I feel your blood mix with mine
"A dream of life comes to me
"Like a catfish dancin' on the end of the line"
-- Bruce Springsteen, The Rising
Posted on: July 11, 2011 10:02 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 10:11 pm
PHOENIX -- While the Braves were thrilled to have reliever Craig Kimbrel added to the NL All-Star team late Sunday, joining bullpen mate Jonny Venters and starter Jair Jurrjens, they remain a greedy little team.
A case can be made easily, too: Hanson steps into the break ranked third in the NL in ERA (2.44), first in opponents' batting average against (.190), eighth in strikeouts (109) and tied for third in wins (10).
"We've got to find a way to get them both here," McCann said Monday, speaking of Kimbrel and Hanson. "The fact that Tommy Hanson was not put in is kind of rough. He's [toward] the top of every pitching category.
"He deserves to be out here."
Posted on: June 4, 2010 11:11 pm
LOS ANGELES -- Red-hot Atlanta and streaking Los Angeles got back to business here Friday night. And Jonny Venters, the Braves' one-pitch wonder, figured life would get back to normal after he unexpectedly scooped up his first career save Thursday by throwing, yes, one pitch.
While the Braves hooted and hollered and kidded him into Friday, the circumstances weren't funny.
Atlanta manager Bobby Cox summoned Venters, a 25-year-old rookie whom the Braves picked in the 30th round of the 2003 draft, to finish off Martin. Billy Wagner, the Braves' closer, was unavailable because he had worked four games in the preceding four-day span.
One slider later, job done.
And Venters still hasn't heard the end of it.
"When we were walking in, Bobby was screaming at me, calling me a vulture," Venters said Friday, grinning. "And [closer] Billy Wagner has been ragging me all day. Every time he comes around, he tells me he has to win his job back.
"He calls me 'The Closer.'"
Though Venters has finished five games this season, Thursday's was his first save opportunity. He's appeared in 17 games as a situational lefty and compiled a 1.27 ERA and a .181 opponents' batting average in 21 1/3 innings.
When he reached the mound after Saito limped off Thursday with the Braves clinging to the one-run lead, Cox had just one piece of advice for him.
"He told me, 'If you're going to throw a slider, throw it down," said Venters, who proved to be a good listener just a few seconds later.
Aside from the Braves' teasing and, yes, warm congratulations, Venters received several other messages.
"Quite a few," he said. "I had a bunch of texts last night when I came in. Mostly from family and friends."
As for the ball, it was safely tucked away on a shelf in his locker.
"That's probably going into a case," he said. "I never thought it would be like that -- if I even ever got a save."
Likes: Beautiful drawing of retiring Braves manager Bobby Cox on the cover of the Braves media guide. Nice angle, from behind Cox in the dugout as he's looking out onto the field at Turner Field. ... Really nice moment during batting practice Friday -- several moments, actually -- when Dodgers manager Joe Torre walked over to visit with Cox and the two future Hall of Fame managers spent 20 or so minutes sitting on the bench in the visitors' dugout, chatting. ... Got a chuckle earlier this week when, in the Mets' clubhouse, the song American Pie was blaring from an iPad in Alex Cora's locker. ... Henry Schulman, Giants beat writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, says Pittsburgh is a far better city than generally given credit for. I could not agree more. And the picture of this Primanti Bros. salami sandwich in his San Francisco Ball Scribe Blog made me wish I was sitting through that Pirates-Giants rain delay Friday night with one of those bad boys on a plate in front of me. ...
Dislikes: John Wooden, sleep well. Sad, sad day. If the world had more John Woodens, I guarantee you there would be far fewer problems. What a sweet and tear-jerking sentiment from former UCLA player Jamaal Wilkes, who said he was in the room with Wooden's son, James, when Wooden asked to be shaved, and noted that "his son made the comment that when he got shaved he was getting ready to see Nellie." Nell is Wooden's late and beloved wife, who died of cancer in 1975.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"Don't give up on your dreams
-- John Wooden