Angels Insiders: April Struggles, Ryan Braun

image

For the sixth time in the last eight seasons, the Angels finished April with a sub-.500 record. The last time the club was above .500 in the first month was two years ago, when the Halos were 14-13. The last time before that was 2011 when the team was 14-12, and were 12-6 in the third week. To find the last good April for the Angels, you have to go all the way back to 2008, when the team was 18-10. Here’s more on this issue, and others:

  • When asked about this April trend, Mike Scioscia couldn’t really pin-point exactly what the cause has been and just said, “We’ve looked into it.” It’s a strange occurrence considering the Angels have had enough talent on the field just about every season since their last trip to the playoffs to have a good April.
  • Some have attributed these slow starts to Scioscia’s management. However, the Halos are also one of the best teams in the Majors in the month of May. Their last two postseason appearances have come in seasons in which they were either bad or so-so in April, and then took off in May. So it’s really difficult to point straight to Scioscia’s management in that context.
  • One has to wonder if it’s simply a matter of roster construction. For quite a while, the Angels had a lot of streaky hitters. And at one point, they had several hitters who were known for starting slow. Players like Albert Pujols, Howie Kendrick, Erick Aybar, etc. have all taken some time in their careers to get it going, and then took off as the weather got hotter.
  • Or maybe it’s just one of those things one can never make sense out of. After all, it’s baseball. And the day this game actually does make perfect sense is the day it should be shut down. The last time the Angels had a good April was 2008, when they were 18-10.

Stepping away from April, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports suggested that the Angels would be a fit as a landing spot for Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun. This came as a big surprise to many. But when we stop and think about it, there is a fit as far as the needs of the Halos in left field. Here’s more:

  • The Angels are one of six teams that are not on Braun’s no-trade list in his contract. Apparently, that list changes every season, and the Halos are one of the teams that has slipped by. After all, Braun is a Southern California native. One has to wonder, however, if the Angels would even take on that contract considering their recent history with big contracts, and Braun’s obvious history with PED’s.
  • What the club would have to give up for Braun is another story. Given the baggage associated with Braun’s career, one could argue that any trade would be a salary dump, and either a Major League player would be involved, or mid-level prospects. Braun’s performance would normally warrant a top prospect return. However, it wouldn’t be shocking if teams balked at mortgaging the farm for Ryan Braun.

LA Angels Insider Injury Tracker: Wilson, Gentry, Heaney, Skaggs

Craig Gentry celebrates his double during the Angels' preseason game against the Chicago Cubs at Angel Stadium Sunday. ///ADDITIONAL INFO: angels.0404.kjs --- Photo by KEVIN SULLIVAN / Orange County Register -- 4/3/16 The Los Angeles Angels take on the Chicago Cubs at Angel Stadium during a preseason game at Angel Stadium Sunday. 4/3/16

Photo by KEVIN SULLIVAN / Orange County Register — 4/3/16

Welcome to the LA Angels Insider Injury Tracker! Here we will have updates on injured Angels players. This will be running post that will last throughout the 2016 regular season. Here are the latest reports:

May 1, 2016

  • The list just keeps getting longer and longer. Gentry had been dealing with back spasms for close to a week. His move is retroactive to April 26.
  • CJ’s target for his return has finally been established as early June. He’s begun throwing long toss, and in the next week or so will ease his way back into his normal workouts.
  • There’s a big possibility CJ may return as a reliever.
  • Heaney received an injection that will have him out for 6 to 12 weeks. Additional tests revealed no structural damage to his elbow, particularly his UCL, and the lefty will not require surgery.
  • There are no injury concerns over Shoe’s performance. He told reporters after Saturday’s game in Texas that he felt as good as he’s felt all season so far. But even when he made good pitches, batted balls were finding holes. Perhaps it was just a bad luck start. But given the righty’s overall start to the season, Gentry’s injury, the need for more length in the bullpen, and Robinson’s opt-out, the Halos needed a shake-up.
  • Tyler Skaggs has had his shoulder examined in Los Angeles. However, there is no official word yet on his status beyond shoulder fatigue. The young lefty was in the final stage of recovery from Tommy John Surgery when he felt weak in his shoulder after his last start at AAA Salt Lake. This could mean that Skaggs could be out for a month or so longer, or it could just be a minor setback for a kid who hasn’t pitched since July 31, 2014.

Continue reading

LA Angels Insider Transaction Tracker: Shoe, Robinson, Achter

image

Welcome to the LA Angels Insider Transaction Tracker within the Eppler’s Domain category. Here we will be listing daily Angels transactions for the 2016 regular season. Major transactions will be analyzed in separate articles. This will be a running post that will last throughout the end of the season.

May 1, 2016

  • The Halos also have Thursday off, which was the Bearded One‘s next scheduled start, so it looks like they’ll just skip that spot in the rotation. In the meantime they’ll need some more outfield and pitching depth to correspond with new additions to what has turned into a rather long disabled list.

Continue reading

All Angels Podcast: Official Podcast of LA Angels Insider

321juronfc6yktd2umffx27fn

Continue reading

Join the LA Angels Insider Facebook Group!

2016 Game 28: Angels at Brewers – 10:40am PT

5-4-16

Los Angeles Angels (12-15, 4th AL West) at Milwaukee Brewers (11-15, 4th NL Central)

Miller Park – Milwaukee, WI

Miller Park

Weather Forecast @ 1st Pitch: Cloudy, 48F, Wind N 17mph

Pitching Matchup

Hector Santiago (2-1, 3.34 ERA)

Hector Santiago delivers a pitch during the first inning of a game against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park on April 29, 2016 (Rick Yeatts/Getty Images)

Hector Santiago delivers a pitch during the first inning of a game against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park on April 29, 2016 (Rick Yeatts/Getty Images)

Santiago has been solid in his 5 starts so far for the Angels but he did suffer his first non-quality start his last time out in Arlington. Hector had cruised through the first 5 innings of that game giving up just 1 run, but he got into trouble he couldn’t get out of in the 6th and gave up 3 runs in the frame. In the end he gave up 4 runs on 8 hits in 5 2/3 innings and took the loss in a game the Angels lost 4-2.

~VS~

Zach Davies (0-3, 8.78 ERA)

Zach Davies delivers a pitch during the fourth inning of a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Miller Park on April 22, 2016 (Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

Zach Davies delivers a pitch during the fourth inning of a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Miller Park on April 22, 2016 (Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

To say it’s been a struggle for the Brewers’ young 23 year-old righty may be something of an understatement. Although his 8.78 ERA is still a bit inflated by a disastrous start on April 17 in which he gave up 6 runs in just 2 1/3 innings, he is still yet to post a quality start this season and has pitched beyond the 5th inning just once. In his last start Friday against Miami, he gave up 4 runs on 6 hits in 5 innings to take the loss in a game the Brewers dropped 6-3.

Game Notes

  • Brewers star Ryan Braun took Tuesday off and is expected to return to the lineup on Wednesday. The off-day was part of a maintenance plan designed to maximize Braun’s production in his first season following back surgery. He batted .372/.443/.605 through his first 21 games.
  • The Angels entered Tuesday with a 194-153 record in Interleague Play. The Brewers were 135-162.
  • Geovany Soto figures to get the start behind the plate for the Angels. Soto has batted .343/.395/.629 in his first 11 games and now appears to be getting more playing time than Carlos Perez, who began the year as the starter. A longtime Cub, Soto has batted .232/.323/.429 in his career at Miller Park.

Starting Lineups

Angels

  1. 3B-Yunel Escobar – .290
  2. LF-Rafael Ortega – .304
  3. CF-Mike Trout – .310
  4. 1B-Albert Pujols – .204
  5. RF-Kole Calhoun – .286
  6. SS-Andrelton Simmons – .225
  7. C-Geovany Soto – .343
  8. P-Hector Santiago – .000
  9. 2B-Johnny Giavotella – .169

Milwaukee

  1. SS-Jonathan Villar – .265
  2. RF-Alex Presley – .235
  3. LF-Ryan Braun – .372
  4. C-Jonathan Lucroy – .321
  5. 1B-Chris Carter – .287
  6. 2B-Aaron Hill – .205
  7. 3B-Hernan Perez – .333
  8. CF-Ramon Flores – .137
  9. P-Zach Davies – .000

AL West Standings

  1. Seattle: 15-11 (.577)
  2. Texas: 15-12 (.556) – 0.5 GB
  3. Oakland: 13-15 (.464) – 2.5 GB
  4. Angels: 12-15 (.444) – 3.5 GB
  5. Houston: 9-18 (.333) – 6.5 GB

Other AL West Matchups

  • Seattle @ Oakland – 12:35pm PT
  • Texas @ Toronto – 4:07pm PT
  • Minnesota @ Houston – 5:10pm PT

2016 Game 27: Angels at Brewers – 5:10pm PT

5-3-16

Los Angeles Angels (12-14, 4th AL West) at Milwaukee Brewers (10-15, 4th NL Central)

Miller Park – Milwaukee, WI

Miller Park

Weather Forecast @ 1st Pitch: Mostly Cloudy, 61F, Wind WSW 15mph

Pitching Matchup

Nick Tropeano (1-0, 2.11 ERA)

Nick Tropeano delivers a pitch during the first inning of a game against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field on April 17, 2016 (Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Nick Tropeano delivers a pitch during the first inning of a game against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field on April 17, 2016 (Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

As Tropeano continues to fill in for injured teammate Andrew Heaney, he has pitched quite well over 4 starts so far. He is yet to give up more than 2 earned runs in a start this season, but at the same time he is also yet to complete 6 full innings in a start this season. In his last time out Wednesday against the Royals, he gave up a 2-run home run in the 1st inning but yielded no further runs over a total of 5 1/3 innings, but took a no-decision in a game the Angels eventually won 4-2.

~VS~

Junior Guerra (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

Junior Guerra delivers a pitch as a member of the Chicago White Sox during the seventh inning of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on June 15, 2015 (Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

Junior Guerra delivers a pitch as a member of the Chicago White Sox during the seventh inning of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on June 15, 2015 (Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

Tonight’s start marks a culmination of a very long, winding road through professional baseball for Guerra. Originally signed by the Braves as an amateur in 2001, he spent 7 seasons in the minors until a 50-game suspension for a positive PED test while pitching in the Mets organization derailed his career. After that, he pitched in the independent ranks all over the world before finally catching on with the White Sox midway through the 2014 season, then finally making his MLB debut with them as a reliever last season. Tonight will be his first MLB start as he has been called up by Milwaukee to take the spot of the injured Taylor Jungmann. Guerra has posted a 4.63 ERA in 4 starts for AAA Colorado Springs this season.

Game Notes

  • Albert Pujols, who started 19 of the Angels’ first 25 games at designated hitter, played first base in Monday’s series opener from Miller Park. But it remains to be seen whether he’ll play there on Tuesday and Wednesday. Angels manager Mike Scioscia said they’ll “take it day by day.”
  • Brewers right fielder Domingo Santana was scratched from Monday’s lineup with tightness in his right shoulder. Santana may be held out until at least Wednesday, when the Angels start lefty Hector Santiago. This year, Santana has a 1.024 OPS against lefties and only a .661 OPS against righties.

Starting Lineups

Angels

  1. 3B-Yunel Escobar – .282
  2. LF-Rafael Ortega – .286
  3. CF-Mike Trout – .313
  4. 1B-Albert Pujols – .192
  5. RF-Kole Calhoun – .287
  6. SS-Andrelton Simmons – .232
  7. C-Carlos Perez – .148
  8. P-Nick Tropeano – .000
  9. 2B-Cliff Pennington – .194

Milwaukee

  1. RF-Domingo Santana – .259
  2. SS-Jonathan Villar – .263
  3. C-Jonathan Lucroy – .309
  4. 1B-Chris Carter – .277
  5. CF-Kirk Nieuwenhuis – .279
  6. 3B-Colin Walsh – .120
  7. LF-Ramon Flores – .143
  8. 2B-Yadiel Rivera – .212
  9. P-Junior Guerra – .000

AL West Standings

  1. Texas: 15-11 (.577)
  2. Seattle: 14-11 (.560) – 0.5 GB
  3. Oakland: 13-14 (.481) – 2.5 GB
  4. Angels: 12-14 (.462) – 3 GB
  5. Houston: 8-18 (.308) – 7 GB

Other AL West Matchups

  • Texas @ Toronto – 4:07pm PT
  • Minnesota @ Houston – 5:10pm PT
  • Seattle @ Oakland – 7:05pm PT

2016 Game 26: Angels at Brewers – 4:20pm PT

5-2-16

Los Angeles Angels (12-13, 4th AL West) at Milwaukee Brewers (9-15, 5th NL Central)

Miller Park – Milwaukee, WI

Miller Park

Weather Forecast @ 1st Pitch: Partly Cloudy, 51F, Wind NE 6mph

Pitching Matchup

Jered Weaver (3-0, 3.86 ERA) 

Jered Weaver delivers a pitch during a game against the Chicago White Sox at US Cellular Field on April 21, 2016 (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Jered Weaver delivers a pitch during a game against the Chicago White Sox at US Cellular Field on April 21, 2016 (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Four years to the day since his no-hitter at Angel Stadium that I was fortunate enough to be in attendance for, Weaver will once again take the ball for the Angels in Milwaukee this evening. Weaver has pitched to mixed results so far this season but he has managed to go at least 6 innings in 3 of his 4 starts so far. In his last time out Tuesday against the Royals he gave up 7 extra-base hits but managed to limit the damage to 4 runs in 6 innings and thanks to the Angel offense, he picked up his 3rd win of the season in a game the Angels won 9-4.

~VS~

Jimmy Nelson (3-2, 3.16 ERA)

Jimmy Nelson delivers a pitch during the first inning of a game against the Minnesota Twins at Miller Park on April 20, 2016 (Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)

Jimmy Nelson delivers a pitch during the first inning of a game against the Minnesota Twins at Miller Park on April 20, 2016 (Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)

Nelson has been a solid performer for the Brewers so far in 2016 as after taking a tough luck loss in a 2-1 defeat in his first start, he’s won 3 of his last 4. He did however take the loss his last time out Tuesday in Chicago against the Cubs. He threw a season-high 109 pitches in just 5 1/3 innings, giving up 3 runs (1 earned) on 2 hits & 4 walks in a game the Brewers lost 4-3. Overall, Nelson has given up 11 earned runs on 24 hits in 31 1/3 innings across his 5 starts. He’s also walked 14 and struck out 25. Nelson also owns 3 of Milwaukee’s MLB worst 5 quality starts this season.

Game Notes

  • The Angels have won eight straight games in Milwaukee, dating all the way back to 1997, the year before the Brewers moved to the National League. The Angels have also won all six matchups at Miller Park.
  • With NL rules disallowing the designated hitter, Albert Pujols will have to play first base in order to be in the lineup. Pujols is expected to start there on Monday. From there, Angels manager Mike Scioscia said, “we’ll take it day by day.”
  • Ron Roenicke, in his first season back as the Angels’ third-base coach, was dismissed as Milwaukee’s manager right around this time last year, ending a relationship that lasted a little more than four seasons. Roenicke was let go on the night of May 3, with Craig Counsell named his replacement the following day.

Starting Lineups

Angels

  1. 3B-Yunel Escobar – .286
  2. LF-Rafael Ortega – .282
  3. CF-Mike Trout – .286
  4. 1B-Albert Pujols – .179
  5. RF-Kole Calhoun – .289
  6. SS-Andrelton Simmons – .240
  7. C-Geovany Soto – .344
  8. P-Jered Weaver – .000
  9. 2B-Johnny Giavotella – .182

Milwaukee

  1. RF-Domingo Santana – .259
  2. SS-Jonathan Villar – .260
  3. LF-Ryan Braun – .349
  4. C-Jonathan Lucroy – .299
  5. 1B-Chris Carter – .278
  6. CF-Kirk Nieuwenhuis – .282
  7. 3B-Aaron Hill – .188
  8. 2B-Yadiel Rivera – .172
  9. P-Jimmy Nelson – .091

AL West Standings

  1. Texas: 14-11 (.560)
  2. Seattle: 13-11 (.542) – 0.5 GB
  3. Oakland: 13-13 (.500) – 1.5 GB
  4. Angels: 12-13 (.480) – 2 GB
  5. Houston: 8-17 (.320) – 6 GB

Other AL West Matchups

  • Texas @ Toronto – 4:07pm PT
  • Minnesota @ Houston – 5:10pm PT
  • Seattle @ Oakland – 7:05pm PT

2016 Game 25: Angels at Rangers

5-1-16

Continue reading

2016 Game 24: Angels vs. Rangers

image

2016 Game 23: Angels at Rangers – 5:05pm PT

4-29-16

Continue reading

2016 Game 22: Royals at Angels

4-27-16

Continue reading