Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Angels won a baseball game last night! Woo!

Of course, the big story is Kendry Morales, who picked up right where he left off at Salt Lake, going 3-for-5 with a two-run homer and an excellent defensive play to boot, cutting down the lead runner on a sacrifice bunt. Kendry's defense has not been well-regarded, but he pounced on that bunt well and demonstrated a strong and accurate arm, so who knows. Defense was always supposed to be a problem with Dallas McPherson, but aside from a lapse here and there D has been the least of Big D's problems since reaching the majors.

Ken' Mo' will have ample opportunity to make his place in the lineup permanent, and his approach at the plate last night even when he made his outs gave us a hint that he should be able to do that. If Casey Kotchman can come back healthy and productive, Kendry will likely find himself slotted as a DH, which is fine with me, as Juan Rivera has been struggling mightily. Of course, how this potential lineup crunch plays out will depend on how well the team is doing as a whole.

The Angels will have to do one of two things this year: win the division (or at least come so close to doing so that going for it makes sense) or determine if their young players are going to be ready to play in the majors next season. If we're still miserable at the All Star Break, I'm all for installing Casey at first (if he's healthy enough), Kendry at DH, and McPherson at third every day, and just letting them play. For instance, Dallas McPherson turns 26 this year, and we still don't know if the guy is a major league regular. That's a determination we'll all be better off making sooner than later, as long as it doesn't cost us a legitimate chance at a championship (a chance that, yesterday notwithstanding, certainly appears distant at the moment).


Today's essential reading is this recent post from Bjoern, who breaks down the key Angel hitters do determine their chances of turning it around. I don't think I totally agree with his conclusion that "the Angels offense isn’t so much a problem of bad luck or underperformance but of player quality," given that everyone's underperforming their past performances and projections.

Thanks for mentioning me! And I have to admit that I was very depressed when I wrote that. If I had written it today, it would have been a little bit more optimistic. :)
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