Wednesday, September 22, 2004

So, I guess that's how Dallas McPherson strikes out so much. In his sip of coffee he's now hitting 333/400/444 ... he's made six outs, all via strikeout, and seven of his ten plate appearances have resulted in no contact with the ball.

In other news, we have eleven games left, and we still trail by two-and-a-half, because Angel players have a severe allergy to winning on days Oakland has lost. Helping this allergy along is an addiction to the pitching stylings of Aaron Sele and Ramon Ortiz. This is crunch time, dudes, and neither of these guys really has what it takes at this point. Sele's ERA now sits at 5.14, as his measly microscopic itsy-bitsy polka-dotted strikeouts-per-nine sits at 3.57. Your ERA should not be higher than your strikeouts!

Ortiz is a little better, but really, come on ... what's so frustrating is that either our pitchers are on and the offense sucks, or the offense is fine and the pitching sucks. And by "fine," I mean "above replacement level," as putting up three runs against Jamie Moyer and the Tacoma All Stars is something less than inspiring.

I mean, what the hell is that lineup? The Big Cat at first, The Legs at second, McPherson at third, Josh Paul at catcher, and Troy Glaus relegated to DH ... this was not the plan. But, you know, we should actually be impressed with the way the team has weathered the unexpected to even keep us competitive in the race, where we are still within striking distance. But the lineup we have is so far below optimal that it's just kind of depressing.

The Angels are hitting 285/342/427 as a team; in September, all they've managed is 259/322/386, adding up to 4.55 runs per game (season average: 5.13). Leading offenders this month are David Eckstein (617 OPS), Jose Guillen (571), and 4-3 (470). Clutch DaVanon has also struggled in his playing time this month, with a Sele Strikeoutesque 309 OPS.

Who have been the heroes of September to this point? Bengie Molina has an 835 OPS ... and Adam Kennedy was at 929.

Adam Kennedy, OPS by Month, 2004

April 726
May 584
June 676
July 799
August 885
September 929
He's also managed a good stolen base rate, 15 out of 20.

There are 31 major league second basemen this year with more than 300 plate appearances. In that group, Adam Kennedy ranks seventh in Baseball Prospectus' EqA, and second in the AL (tied in both cases [obviously] with Omar Infante and Miguel Cairo, and also Todd Walker -- though Kennedy has more plate appearances than any of these men).

And then you get to defense. Kennedy ranks second in the majors in zone rating, and first in the American League. He consistently ranks near the top in the measure.

In short, Kennedy is a valuable player, and we're going to miss him. McPherson and Figgins have big shoes to fill in the next two weeks.

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