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Friday, August 19, 2005

THE HOT STUFF
You may be aware that Angel designated hitters have the second-worst OPS of any American League team this season (661, just ahead of the O's at 659). Well, you may not be aware of that specifically, like who just sits around looking up how teams are hitting at DH (*slinks away to the corner, ashamed*)? But you know that it's been a teamwide problem.

Which is why this is nice:
August, 2005
Player AB AVG OBP SLG
Kotchman 37 297 422 703
Rivera 40 400 489 675
It's great to see that from Rivera, who followed up a torrid 341/357/610 June with a horrid 180/239/393 in July.

And don't look now, but:
2005 Overall
Player AB AVG OBP SLG EqA
Rivera 231 268 317 472 .258
Garret 438 288 317 434 .255
If Rivera and Kotch can both stay hot, that presents something of a quandary if Garret Anderson can return. That quandary mightshould find its resolution in the continuing saga of:
Steve Finley, 2005
AB AVG OBP SLG
Overall 343 216 270 362
PostASB 103 194 229 252
August 48 125 143 208
As you can see, things have not been improving for our hero.

This, of course, all goes back to the recent talk of Darin Erstad returning to the outfield. A big part of such a plan is the assumption that Casey Kotchman is ready to play first every day, as well as the capacity of Rivera (along with DaVanon) to cover the DH spot.

But every futile at-bat from Steve Finley just demonstrates that Kotch doesn't have to be ready, he has to be better than 216/270/362. His recent hot stretch has his career line up to 227/314/356. Finley's probably a better baserunner, but I'm not sure he's enough better to make up that difference in OBP.

Father Time better hope that Garret's sidelined for awhile, because if things don't change before his return, keeping Finley in the lineup would be inexcusable -- and you could make an argument that Ztu should be starting at third and Figgins in center right now.

It's sad. Finley seems like a good guy, and a hard worker, but he's just not getting the job done. Unless that changes -- either by benching the man or his turning it around -- he could end up costing this team the division. Angel management cannot let that happen.

Comments:
Amen. Assuming that management's too wuss to move Erstad, Rivera should be the full-time LF, Kotch the full-time DH, Figgy in CF, Izzy at 3B. Maybe let Izzy sit & DaVanon play CF sometimes, since Izzy can't hit anymore.

When Garret returns ... I dunno, put him in left, Rivera in center & Figgins at third? It really sucks when the obvious answer -- the one that keeps the best bats in the lineup, *and* puts the best possible defense out there -- is the one Scioscia is the most scared of.
 
Ah, so YOU sparked that movie... :-)
 
I wish -- I sure wouldn't mind the royalties it's sure to generate.
 
Based on his history, what kind of fielding can Kotchman provide over at 1st? I'm unaware of his Minor League fielding stats...
 
still not sold that Finley is washed up, though I don't anticipate anything to be salvaged from this season...I think the shoulder is/has been worse than he has let on...always a dead-pull hitter, now he's completly incapable of pulling anything...can't get hands inside...pitchers don't even mess around, they just go up-and-in on him, as Schilling did the other night for an example...Red Sox did not give hima damn thing outside this weekend...double in the ninth sunday was a flat fastball down the pipe, even a screwed-up Finley can hit that pitch...also remember that in most cases legs are the first thing to go...Finley still runs well, still does the first-to-third thing well, still flags down more balls than either DV or Rivera would...throws so-so, but he never had a hose to start with...This all goes back to not re-signing Glaus, cuz there went their RH power bat (Rivera ain't the answer they hoped he'd be as we've learned) and they bought Finley because they felt they needed the production they never got back...so like I say, Finley ain't gonna be the answer this year, but until I see him swing healthy again, I see enough evidence to warrant the benefit of the doubt...This is not a pro-Sosh rant, I'd bench Finley's ass right now if they really had someone else to stick in CF, but they don't...so they got a $7 mil gold glove, and that sucks in any universe you live in...but give him the winter, let's see if his lead shoulder returns to normal next spring, and in the meantime, hope to god he's not hitting with the season on the line anytime soon.
 
I don't know about Kotch's fielding stats, but he has a great defensive rep and has looked good in his trials in the majors.
 
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