Monday, September 27, 2004

In my comments section, internet celebrity William says he wants to see this lineup for the next week:

Figgins - 2B
Erstad - CF
Guerrero - RF
Glaus - DH
Anderson - LF
McPherson - 3B
Kotchman - 1B
Molina - C
Eckstein - SS

Hey, no complaints from me, though, as William says, this will never happen. But what that might be is a good template for our lineup in 2005, obviously inserting Kennedy for Figgins and rearranging the order. If Glaus really can play third, the DH spot can be used to rotate the other guys around to give them semi-days off; Erstad can also take off-days at first, letting DaVanon play second. Quinlan can also fill in at first, third, DH, or possibly even an outfield corner against tougher lefties.

This all presumes, of course, that we trade Guillen in the off-season. It's hard to imagine that we'd bring him back after this, but youneverknow ... the measures the club has taken are so extreme and unique that we can't really compare it to anything.

So that's the longterm; in the short term, it seems evident that Scioscia elects a left field platoon between DaVanon and Angees Riggs.

1. Diana Rigg
2. Angees Riggs

1. Angie Dickinson
2. Angees Riggs

Back in one of his Baseball Books, Bill James was discussing the legacy of Twin second basemen (this was when Chuck Knoblauch was just coming up, I believe) and said something to the effect of "Rob Wilfong, who went to the Angels to do Gene Mauch's laundry or something." This instilled in my mind the idea of The Laundryman -- the player that doesn't really do anything much, or at least anything special and unique, but who has a good relationship with a manager and always has a job as long as that manager does.

Look around, there are tons of these guys. Look at Dusty Baker and his employment of Ramon E. Martinez, Shawn Estes last year, and Neifi Perez this year. Harken back a few years and behold Tony La Russa's first few years in St. Louis with the mummified Rick Honeycutt and Mike Gallego.

Adam Riggs is Mike Scioscia's Laundryman.

Scioscia managed the Alberquerque Dukes in 1999, where second baseman Adam Riggs hit 292/360/452 (Riggs' career minor league numbers). That's not the most impressive line for a hitter in Alberquerque in the PCL, no matter what position you play.

Riggs has never been that impressive a hitter, really. But he does bring some things to the table. He's walked once every 10.6 at bats over his minor league career, which is not terrible; this and his stolen bases gives him a minor league secondary average of .337, though his stolen bases are no longer a big part of his game. Still, last year in AAA he hit 294/354/490 with a .310 secondary average, and this year he put up a life-best 331/373/633 (a secondary average of .387).

He's obviously not a .330 hitter, and he's not even a .300 hitter in the major leagues. But he is better than his up-to-the-minute 204/288/336 line. I would be the truth is somewhere in the middle, that he would hit 250/330/400 given enough playing time.

In short, he's not an exciting option in left, 2-2 last night or not.

vs. Left-handed Pitchers
Riggs 2004 6 500 500 833 DaVanon 2004 20 150 227 150
2003 20 350 480 500 2003 38 342 457 579
2001 6 333 333 333 2002 11 091 167 182
Career 43 349 452 462 Career 100 240 345 400
Well, so that's what Scioscia is thinking with the platoon. I don't really think the Laundryman can hit .350 against lefties, but there you go.

If Scioscia sticks with this plan, Riggs will get the start in left tonight.

Park Adjusted
Colon 193.3 5.31 .176 .082 .247 .044 5.39
Rogers 199.3 4.74 .135 .073 .267 .026 4.27
The AL .164 .085 .241 .030
The Gambler has clearly been better than The Big Mango this season. He's a junkballer, and a type Angel hitters often have trouble with. But he's not overpowering, and his control is good but not outstanding. He gives up a lot of hits, but keeps the ball in the park -- especially impressive given his home park.

However, Rogers has struggled since the All Star Break, with a 5.51 ERA in 80some innings. Check out his month-by-month for yourself to see how he has degenerated. And I don't have to to tell you how Colon has looked less bad of late.

With Rogers scuffling, this is a great opportunity for the Angels to jump down Texas' throat. Colon has owned Texas this year, going 5-0 with a 2.12 ERA in 34 innings, striking out 30 men against only 11 walks. We're at the point where it's not necessarily a "must-win" in a literal sense, and even if we drop a game in the standings it's not the end of the world, but this is exactly the kind of game in which Colon needs to step up and earn his $11 million. This is the game $11 million pitchers are meant to win.

Bartolo, it's in your hands.

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