"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

2010 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Coverage of the Angels this past offseason focused on the fact that, a year after they let Francisco Rodriguez depart as a free agent, four more of their key players were eligible to do the same. It was generally believed that the Angels had to resign at least two of them to maintain their hold on the American League West, but after quickly re-upping Bobby Abreu for two years at an annual salary of $9 million, the Angels watched as Chone Figgins, John Lackey, and Vladimir Guerrero, not to mention valuable veteran set-up lefty Darren Oliver, all signed elsewhere.

Here’s the thing. I still think the Angels are going to repeat as division champions this year. For one thing, though they didn’t resign Guerrero, they did sign Hideki Matsui for a mere $6 million, and to my eyes, that’s an upgrade. Matsui’s actually eight months older than Guerrero, and both have a lot of mileage on their bodies and have struggled with injuries in recent years, but Guerrero, who signed for $6.5 million plus an option with division rival Texas, just looked used-up last year, playing in just 100 games and failing to reach 20 homers or walks. After leading the league in intentional walks in each of the previous four years, Guerrero was passed intentionally just three times in 2009, damning evidence that the Impaler’s blade has dulled significantly.

Matsui, meanwhile, arrives in L.A. coming off one of his best seasons. Both seem capable of replicating Matsui’s career line of .292/.370/.483 if healthy, but I think Guerrero will need the help of his new park to get there, while Matsui can do it on his own. The catch is that Mike Scioscia has already given Matsui a start in left field. If he continues to do that every so often, the chances of Matsui staying healthy are significantly reduced (not to mention the effect of his two bad knees on the Angels’ defense).

As for Lackey, the Angels replaced him last July when they acquired Scott Kazmir from the Rays for three prospects including Sean Rodriguez. Kazmir is ably filling Lackey’s shoes by starting the season on the disabled list, which Lackey did each of the last two seasons. When he returns, Kazmir will give the Halos a young, hard-throwing lefty to complete a five-deep rotation that also includes Jered Weaver, lefty Joe Saunders, Ervin Santana, and free agent addition Joel Pineiro, the last of whom is the only of the five Angels starters to have reached his thirties. None of those guys is an ace, but Weaver and Kazmir can be number-twos, Saunders and the groundballing Pineiro slot in well at three and four, and the erratic Santana has front-end potential as evidenced by his strong 2008 campaign which earned him his first All-Star selection and even a few Cy Young votes. Hidden in Santana’s 2009 numbers is the 3.18 ERA he posted over his last 11 starts, much in the same way that Kazmir’s unimpressive 2009 figures mask a strong second half in which he posted a 3.27 ERA and a 1.73 mark after becoming an Angel.

The depth of that rotation is a large part of the reason that I believe the Angels are going to repeat, but their lineup is still solid as well. Only the Yankees scored more runs than the Angels in 2009, and with Matsui replacing Guerrero, the only real change is the loss of Figgins. It remains to be seen if Erick Aybar will be an out machine while taking Figgins’ place atop the order, but things are solid behind him, with Abreu getting on base in the two-hole and Torii Hunter, Matsui, and Kendry Morales lining up to drive him in. If Aybar can hit for enough average to prop up his OBP, and Brandon Wood, who replaces Figgins at third base and opens the season batting eighth, can deliver on his considerable power potential (the 25-year-old slugged .541 in the minors and averaged just shy of 29 homers a year over his last five minor league seasons), the Angels should actually be better without Figgins than they were with him. Those are big “if”s, of course, but the Angels have room for error given their production last year.

That’s another big part of the reason that I like the Angels to repeat as AL West Champions. Last year, they won the division by ten games over the Rangers and 12 games over what I believe was an over-achieving Mariners team (one that allowed the fewest runs in the league but was still outscored on the season). Despite all of the noise they made in the offseason, I don’t believe that the Mariners are meaningfully better, and I have my doubts about the Rangers as well (the Yankees open a series against Texas on Friday, so I’ll save my thoughts on them for then). Even if one or both of those teams did manage to improve by a couple of games and the Angels are a couple of games worse, the Angels still come out on top. Worried about the fact that the Angels beat their Pythagorean record by five games last year? Well the Rangers beat theirs by two and the Mariners beat theirs by ten. Using the Pythagorean standings, the Angels still won the AL West by eight games last year. I just don’t think any of the other three teams can close that gap.

The 2010 Angels are not a 97-win team headed for the American League Championship Series, but to my eyes they’re clearly the best of an underwhelming lot in their undersized division. They’re unspectacular, but they’re solid throughout. Their bullpen should benefit from the return of veteran set-up ace Scot Shields, who missed most of 2009 due to knee surgery, and though they lack major stars, both their rotation and lineup are deep (on days that Mike Napoli catches, the Angels have seven hitters capable of exceeding 20 home runs in a season and a different group of seven that had on-base percentages of .350 or above in 2009). These aren’t the Angels that gave the Yankees fits in the just-completed decade. This is a slower, more conventional team, but it’s still a good one.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

2009 Record: 97-65 (.599)
2009 Pythagorean Record: 92-70 (.568)

Manager: Mike Scioscia
General Manager: Tony Reagins

Home Ballpark: Angel Stadium

Bill James Park Indexes (2007-2009):
LH Avg-104, LH HR-94
RH Avg-102, RH HR-107

Who’s Replacing Whom:

  • Hideki Matsui replaces Vladimir Guerrero
  • Brandon Wood inherits Chone Figgins’ playing time
  • Terry Evans inherits Gary Matthews Jr.’s playing time
  • Scott Kazmir replaces John Lackey
  • Joel Pineiro replaces the starts of Sean O’Sullivan (minors), Shane Loux, Trevor Bell (minors), Dustin Moseley, and others including Matt Palmer, who is currently filling in for Kazmir (DL)
  • Scot Shields reclaims Darren Oliver’s innings
  • Fernando Rodney replaces Jose Arredondo
  • Brian Stokes replaces Justin Speier
  • Bobby Cassevah replaces Robb Quinlan

25-man roster:

1B – Kendry Morales (S)
2B – Howie Kendrick (S)
SS – Erick Aybar (S)
3B – Brandon Wood (R)
C – Jeff Mathis (R)
RF – Bobby Abreu (L)
CF – Torii Hunter (R)
LF – Juan Rivera (R)
DH – Hideki Matsui (L)


R – Mike Napoli (C)
S – Maicer Izturis (IF)
R – Terry Evans (OF)
R – Bobby Wilson (C)


R – Jered Weaver
L – Joe Saunders
R – Ervin Santana
R – Joel Pineiro
R – Matt Palmer


L – Brian Fuentes
R – Scot Shields
R – Fernando Rodney
R – Kevin Jepsen
R – Jason Bulger
R – Brian Stokes
R – Bobby Cassevah


S – Erick Aybar (SS)
L – Bobby Abreu (RF)
R – Torii Hunter (CF)
L – Hideki Matsui (DH)
S – Kendry Morales (1B)
R – Juan Rivera (LF)
R – Howie Kendrick (2B)
R – Brandon Wood (3B)
R – Jeff Mathis (C)

15-day DL:

LHP – Scott Kazmir (right hamstring)
RHP – Anthony Ortega (triceps tendonitis)
OF – Reggie Willits (right hamstring)
OF – Chris Pettit (labrum surgery)

Categories:  Cliff Corcoran  Series Preview

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Show/Hide Comments 1-100
1 Diane Firstman   ~  Apr 13, 2010 12:35 pm

Whoever wrote the script for Kay's presentation .... should be shot.

2 seamus   ~  Apr 13, 2010 12:51 pm

Sounds like Matsui got huge applause. Hopefully I can see that highlight later.

3 Diane Firstman   ~  Apr 13, 2010 12:59 pm
4 seamus   ~  Apr 13, 2010 1:05 pm

yay, john and suzyn! Yes, for me it's a joy to hear them.

5 seamus   ~  Apr 13, 2010 1:16 pm

c'mon andy!

6 seamus   ~  Apr 13, 2010 1:17 pm

is the entire banter at the game?

7 Diane Firstman   ~  Apr 13, 2010 1:17 pm

I could have been at the game, if I wanted to pay $$$ for grandstand seats.

8 seamus   ~  Apr 13, 2010 1:20 pm

[7] glad you're with me Diane! :)

9 seamus   ~  Apr 13, 2010 1:23 pm

nice work Andy!

10 seamus   ~  Apr 13, 2010 1:25 pm


11 monkeypants   ~  Apr 13, 2010 1:26 pm

I sure like me some NJ.

12 Diane Firstman   ~  Apr 13, 2010 1:26 pm

I can only get radio here at work .... guess I'll catch highlights tonight.

Nick goes boom.

13 seamus   ~  Apr 13, 2010 1:27 pm


14 seamus   ~  Apr 13, 2010 1:27 pm

[12] yeah i'm listening via my iphone. i can't gameday it though because the audio is like 15 seconds behind.

15 seamus   ~  Apr 13, 2010 1:28 pm

[11] what's up mp?

16 Raf   ~  Apr 13, 2010 1:30 pm

Good day so far. Did anyone see the rest of the Angels swarming Matsui to see his ring?

17 seamus   ~  Apr 13, 2010 1:31 pm

[16] that's cool. Man, was he awesome in the World Series or what!

18 monkeypants   ~  Apr 13, 2010 1:41 pm

[14] Nothing much new...pretending to work while listening to the ball game on the radio. The call of opening day won out over by desperate aversion to Sterling/Waldman.

19 seamus   ~  Apr 13, 2010 1:43 pm

robbie!! I love that kid.

20 cult of basebaal   ~  Apr 13, 2010 1:43 pm

Nice to see Robbie RIPPING to start the season!

21 Raf   ~  Apr 13, 2010 1:50 pm

Some pics from the ceremony, courtesy of Yahoo

22 Diane Firstman   ~  Apr 13, 2010 1:50 pm

A-Rod hugs Matsui, with other Yankees nearby

23 seamus   ~  Apr 13, 2010 1:53 pm

[22] i saw that on lohud. too bad the yankees killed my enthusiasm there. what a horrid series of ABs after Cano set it all up.

24 Raf   ~  Apr 13, 2010 1:54 pm

"30 years, I don't know how many years that's going to be..."

25 Raf   ~  Apr 13, 2010 1:55 pm

Tina looks pretty good, I remember she was laid up with cancer for a bit

26 Diane Firstman   ~  Apr 13, 2010 1:56 pm


OK .... that made we well up. :-(

27 rbj   ~  Apr 13, 2010 1:58 pm

D'oh, completely forgot about the 1 pm start today. And I'm reduced to gamechannel. Good to see the appreciation of Matsui.

28 Raf   ~  Apr 13, 2010 2:00 pm

looks like 1/2 of old Yankee Stadium is still standing. Figure the razing will be done by mid May.

29 cult of basebaal   ~  Apr 13, 2010 2:00 pm

Strangely enough, I'm able to watch today's game on MLB.tv, even though the Angels are normally blacked out here in LA.

30 seamus   ~  Apr 13, 2010 2:01 pm

did john just say "approximately" when referring to the (was it 47?) homers Torri has robbed? Why approximately I wondered.

31 Diane Firstman   ~  Apr 13, 2010 2:04 pm


32 cult of basebaal   ~  Apr 13, 2010 2:05 pm

yeah baby! Jeter Jack!

33 Sliced Bread   ~  Apr 13, 2010 2:05 pm

Jeterian jolt!

34 seamus   ~  Apr 13, 2010 2:06 pm


35 Sliced Bread   ~  Apr 13, 2010 2:06 pm

Johnson & Jeter the new Maris & Mantle!

36 Sliced Bread   ~  Apr 13, 2010 2:07 pm

[35] not

37 cult of basebaal   ~  Apr 13, 2010 2:11 pm

Andy looking dandy!

38 Sliced Bread   ~  Apr 13, 2010 2:13 pm

[37] very nice stuff today. weeping would be weeping with joy.

39 Sliced Bread   ~  Apr 13, 2010 2:15 pm

6 ks good, but he's throwing a lot of pitches.

40 ms october   ~  Apr 13, 2010 2:18 pm

just loaded gameday - how i miss looking at avatars of the yankees while i am supposed to be working

good to see jeter and nj with the taters, especially jeter since he hasn't been hitting the ball hard that much yet; nj has hit more hard balls just at people

41 The Hawk   ~  Apr 13, 2010 2:20 pm

I don't mind admitting I was a little verklempt seeing Matsui get his ring.

Anyway ... Cano. I'm starting to believe, perhaps, possibly? I told myself I wouldn't, but ...

Similarly, the worm could turn for Gardner too. When he came up to the plate 1st and 3rd I actually didn't write the AB off before it started! Progress.

42 seamus   ~  Apr 13, 2010 2:20 pm

[39] 64 over 4IP isn't terrible. a little high for sure.

43 Diane Firstman   ~  Apr 13, 2010 2:22 pm


(Suzyn hands you a tissue, after she hands ME a tissue)

44 ms october   ~  Apr 13, 2010 2:24 pm

[41] i guess he just have to un-conjoined from melky :}

45 cult of basebaal   ~  Apr 13, 2010 2:27 pm


46 cult of basebaal   ~  Apr 13, 2010 2:27 pm

well, that's ONE way to tack on a run!

47 The Hawk   ~  Apr 13, 2010 2:29 pm

[44] Ha that's probably part of it. Since it's no longer an either/or proposition, my bias is slightly lessened. The aesthetic aspect isn't going to change, but if the performance is there, I daresay I may end up pro-Gardner. It's a crazy world we live in.

48 Sliced Bread   ~  Apr 13, 2010 2:29 pm

could that be the ghost of Jerry Garcia sitting 3 rows up from home plate?

49 RIYank   ~  Apr 13, 2010 2:30 pm

I can't believe I'm missing this one. Only able to check in for a minute or two, then back to stupid meetings. Ugh.

50 NYYfan22   ~  Apr 13, 2010 2:33 pm

hey everyone. [14] same here.. listening to the dream team on wcbs via gameday audio.

Hey, I scored tix to tomorrow's game for my son's birthday. He's super excited. They have access to the Jim Beam Suite.

We were just talking about Soriano here at work, and I looked up his numbers. Can you believe he's been gone since before the 04 season? What's more, Cano played his first full season in 2005. Crazy.

51 cult of basebaal   ~  Apr 13, 2010 2:35 pm

[50] I'd be excited to have access to the Jim Beam suite for *my* birthday, too!


52 seamus   ~  Apr 13, 2010 2:42 pm

[50] i'm really enjoying listening to the game. Making the work day go faster.

53 seamus   ~  Apr 13, 2010 2:42 pm

nice getting out of it Andy. Where is his pitch count now?

54 NYYfan22   ~  Apr 13, 2010 2:44 pm

[53] 79 pitches through 5, according to my mlb app.

55 cult of basebaal   ~  Apr 13, 2010 2:45 pm

Wow, Robbie is really hitting the ball well right now ... *just* missed that one

56 seamus   ~  Apr 13, 2010 2:46 pm

[54] thanks. iwas avoiding running the gameday so i wouldn't get spoiled on anything.

57 seamus   ~  Apr 13, 2010 2:46 pm

[55] ok, so much for that lol. I'm way behind. Robbie wasn't even up yet. stupid delayed feed.

58 NYYfan22   ~  Apr 13, 2010 2:55 pm

yeah, so far in 2010 I've found that the mlb.com audio is waaaay behind the game. As in 30-45 seconds. Sometimes ESPN gamecast is 3 or 4 pitches ahead. It sucks, but oh well. I'm still listening.

59 seamus   ~  Apr 13, 2010 3:03 pm

[58] I just turn gameday off. kind of a bummer but not the end of the world. I do wish they'd fix that. Or have a setting that allows you to intentionally delay gameday updates somehow.

60 seamus   ~  Apr 13, 2010 3:06 pm

When Cano is involved in double play balls I always feel confident. That dude can really turn a DP.

61 ms october   ~  Apr 13, 2010 3:21 pm

[60] very true - seems like he can handle the throw anywhere and make a strong throw from wherever he catches it

ooh - in play run(s)

62 cult of basebaal   ~  Apr 13, 2010 3:22 pm

Wasn't the salami i was hoping for, but I'll take it!

Love the hustle from Baby Ruth there!

63 seamus   ~  Apr 13, 2010 3:25 pm

Two critical runs. A solid lead for the bullpen.

64 ms october   ~  Apr 13, 2010 3:27 pm

i see chp is in the game - i am still enjoying that video of his

65 Sliced Bread   ~  Apr 13, 2010 3:28 pm

nice reaching backhanded snag by Swish, charging toward the rf line. (he's lefty ya know)

66 seamus   ~  Apr 13, 2010 3:29 pm

[65] i was just trying to visualize that and forgot he was a lefty.

67 ms october   ~  Apr 13, 2010 3:35 pm

[41] you know hawk i was just looking at lohud and the picture of matsui after he got his ring where all the yankees mobbed him and i got a tad ti verklempt myself

68 cult of basebaal   ~  Apr 13, 2010 3:37 pm

wow ... that carried ... or Hunter totally misread it ... or ... both!

69 Sliced Bread   ~  Apr 13, 2010 3:39 pm

[67] wait'll you see the clip. They replayed it about 15 minutes ago, and it was a really great moment.

does anybody know how/when Melky and Damon get their rings? I've missed a lot of this game due to work.

70 Sliced Bread   ~  Apr 13, 2010 3:40 pm

[69] Bruney, too, etc...

71 cult of basebaal   ~  Apr 13, 2010 3:44 pm

just saw the clip of Bernie throwing out the 1st pitch ... wow, that was a *sad* throw.

72 Sliced Bread   ~  Apr 13, 2010 3:44 pm

they just showed Bernie's bouncer of a first pitch. Retirement hasn't improved his throwing arm (I kid, I kid! Bernie's my all-time favorite)

73 Sliced Bread   ~  Apr 13, 2010 3:46 pm

[71] It's pretty amazing how quickly players lose their basic skills, even after decades of repetition.

74 ms october   ~  Apr 13, 2010 3:52 pm

haha back off bernie you two.

[69] i just looked up the interleague schedule to see if they play the braves, which they do not - but they somehow play the phillies even though they are playing the nl west this year. the whole scheduling bs is a joke.

i hope damon gets his ring on the field when the tigers come to town.

75 Sliced Bread   ~  Apr 13, 2010 3:54 pm

Morales laser just reaching the 2nd deck in right.

76 cult of basebaal   ~  Apr 13, 2010 3:54 pm


And I was just about to post about how pleasant a surprise CHoP has been

77 seamus   ~  Apr 13, 2010 3:55 pm

bummer. i wanted the shut out.

78 ms october   ~  Apr 13, 2010 3:56 pm

[76] i was just going to post that chop is pretty good when he doesn't have the trots.
in all fairness someone like morales can sit on a chop slider and mash the hell out of it.

79 Sliced Bread   ~  Apr 13, 2010 3:59 pm

[74] yeah, Damon deserves his ring moment. Wonder if Melky could come to town on an off day. A quick glance at the Mets schedule shows the Yanks are out of town when the Braves are in Queens. hmm.

80 cult of basebaal   ~  Apr 13, 2010 4:00 pm

Nice day for Baby Ruth!

81 cult of basebaal   ~  Apr 13, 2010 4:03 pm

C'mon Alex, make it safe fenough for even a Meat-Tray appearance!

82 cult of basebaal   ~  Apr 13, 2010 4:07 pm

C'mon Robbie, don't get sloppy here just cause we're up by 4 ... you've got to focus ... focus ... focus ... now batting ... number 5 ... manny ... mota ... mota ... mota

83 Sliced Bread   ~  Apr 13, 2010 4:07 pm

Po's going deep here

84 Sliced Bread   ~  Apr 13, 2010 4:09 pm

[83] deep, as in, to 2nd base

85 cult of basebaal   ~  Apr 13, 2010 4:09 pm

whew ... another adventure on the base paths with Jorge ... shoulda been out there at second.

86 Sliced Bread   ~  Apr 13, 2010 4:10 pm

[85] that's alright, he surrendered peacefully at the plate.

87 cult of basebaal   ~  Apr 13, 2010 4:11 pm

[86] hahahaha ... yeah, he almost pulled a Willie Mays Hays there, I don't think he actually reached the plate with his slide ...

88 ms october   ~  Apr 13, 2010 4:11 pm

po is mashing the hell out of the ball these first two weeks

89 ms october   ~  Apr 13, 2010 4:13 pm

[85] jesus what did he do now?

someone should put together all his base running blunders - that would be a helluva documentary

90 cult of basebaal   ~  Apr 13, 2010 4:15 pm

[89] just decided he was going to catch the Angels napping on the hit and turned on the "jets" for 2nd.

the throw beat him and he would have been out had Kendrick not missed the tag ...

91 cult of basebaal   ~  Apr 13, 2010 4:16 pm

hmmm ... not a good start to the inning for Robertson ...

92 ms october   ~  Apr 13, 2010 4:17 pm

[90] oh, thanks.
he is just such a reckless baserunner for someone who is so slow - he's lucky i like him as much as i do.

93 cult of basebaal   ~  Apr 13, 2010 4:18 pm

Now don't you go screwing around and make Coffee Joe dry hump Mo, Mr. Robertson!

94 cult of basebaal   ~  Apr 13, 2010 4:18 pm


95 cult of basebaal   ~  Apr 13, 2010 4:20 pm

Oh NOES ... The Attack Hamster goes deep ... GRAND SLAM.

Uh, thanks Dave ...

96 Sliced Bread   ~  Apr 13, 2010 4:21 pm

not good

97 cult of basebaal   ~  Apr 13, 2010 4:21 pm

[93] well, at least Mo won't be dry humped ...

UGLY appearance for Robertson.

98 ms october   ~  Apr 13, 2010 4:21 pm

[95] yikes - mo time?

99 Raf   ~  Apr 13, 2010 4:21 pm

Jeez, what an inning

100 Diane Firstman   ~  Apr 13, 2010 4:22 pm


Attack Hamster?

(suddenly has visions of "G-Force" and "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel")

Show/Hide Comments 101-106
101 seamus   ~  Apr 13, 2010 4:22 pm

frack. that sucked.

102 cult of basebaal   ~  Apr 13, 2010 4:25 pm

Wow, Mo vs Matsui ... sweet!

103 Sliced Bread   ~  Apr 13, 2010 4:26 pm

Thank Mo it's over. In the aftermath it seems appropriate that Rivera would end the game pitching to Matsui.

104 ms october   ~  Apr 13, 2010 4:27 pm

ah bobby just wanted to get in on the action.

[103] totally agree.

105 seamus   ~  Apr 13, 2010 4:28 pm

nice. Mo really is clutch.

106 RIYank   ~  Apr 13, 2010 6:33 pm

Whoa, I missed a real heart-attack performance from the non-Mo portion of the bullpen.
Uh, good to get it out of their systems? Or: not a good sign at all...

Anyway, thanks be to Mo.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver