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Tuesday, May 10, 2005

OR MAYBE WE JUST SUCK
This is officially getting ridiculous. And Frankie wants to stay here? Dude, you can't get saves if you play for a team that can't score runs.

So last night Darin Erstad and Legs Figgins switched places in the order ... I never really understood why Erstad was considered a lead-off guy, anyway. Last season was the first time he had an above-average OBP since his alien-infested 2000 campaign. Unless he can hit above .290, he's not really a guy well-suited to the top of the order ... of course, I don't know who else you'd put up there right now. Adam Kennedy's OBP the last three seasons is 23 points higher than Erstad's, but Adam is clearly not up to full speed at the plate since his recent return. Jeff DaVanon is another guy who has been historically adept at reaching base, but he's been slumping and doesn't have a position right now.

The only other real possibility might be Steven Allen Finley. The Old Man has had pretty good plate discipline this year, by the standards of the Angels: his 9 walks (tied with Vlad, of all people) are second on the team to Figgins' 10, and his .082 walks drawn per at-bat well exceed the team mark of .072. His problem thus far hasn't been drawing walks or even hitting for power, but getting hits at all. We know he's a notorious slow starter, and we also know that he's not really a .182 hitter. Maintaining his plate discipline (and he's actually walking slightly less this season than over the course of his career) and returning his average to his normal levels wouldn't light the world on fire, but it's likely a better alternative than Erstad in the two-hole.

Another benefit would be that Finley's legitimate power threat would put pitchers in a bind were Figgins to reach in front of him. Throw off-speed and let The Legs thieve a bag, or keep him on first by throwing fastballs that Father Time can sit on and turn around? And though I'm not a big believer in "protection," it's not like having Finley hit in front of Vlad is going to hurt him.

The only problem is that no one is really suited to the five-hold behind Garret. The team really could use another real power bat -- and McPherson has yet to demonstrate that he's ready to step into that role. But when you have a team that doesn't walk and doesn't hit for power, you're relying on the singles to drop in, and as we see now, that doesn't always happen. This likely won't be the only slump we see from the Halos this year.

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