Los Angeles Angels: Hank Conger

Angels 2014: Could this be the year?

March, 31, 2014
Mar 31
8:00
AM PT


The other day, a reporter asked Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto to assign blame for the acquisition of pitcher Joe Blanton, the occasion being the Angels’ unconditional release of the, ahem, struggling right-hander. Dipoto’s answer was refreshing.

“It’s a mistake on my part. There’s no one else to blame,” Dipoto said.

That little bit of accountability had to be music to Angels fans ears. For four long years, a team with three of the most dangerous hitters in baseball, a strong manager and one of the best starting pitchers in the game has been shut out of the playoffs, and the atmosphere in Anaheim has been a bit more drab with each passing season.

It should be noted, by the way, that owner Arte Moreno didn’t do Dipoto any favors in recent seasons by jumping in on the big-splash signings of Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton, leaving Dipoto scant resources to build a pitching staff.

Jered Weaver
AP Photo/Jim CowsertJered Weaver still has the deception, movement and savvy to serve as a legitimate No. 1 starter.
Perhaps Angels fans didn't realize how spoiled they had become by the team’s run of excellence under Mike Scioscia from 2002 to 2009, a stretch that included a World Series title, three trips to the ALCS and six trips to the postseason.

Did the release of Blanton and Dipoto’s frankness signal a new era for Orange County’s baseball team?

The Angels' offseason makeover wasn't all that different from what the Boston Red Sox underwent going into the 2013 season. It was a bit of a reboot, with an emphasis on quality, low-impact moves rather than the big winter meetings splash that winds up weighing the team down.

Dipoto has certainly been making every effort to improve the team’s pitching, which -- even more than underperformance and injuries from Pujols and Hamilton -- has been this team’s demise. Presuming even a marginal uptick in those two sluggers’ production, the Angels look like a team with vast potential to improve. Who wouldn’t take a lineup that includes Mike Trout, Pujols and Hamilton?

This pitching staff has potential. When Jered Weaver first arrived in the major leagues, he could touch 95 mph and, combined with his off-speed pitches and funky delivery, made for one of the more uncomfortable at-bats in baseball. He’s different now, with the years of heavy workloads reducing his fastball velocity to the sub-90 range most games. But he’s still got the deception, the movement and the savvy to serve as a legitimate No. 1 starter.

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Trumbo, Conger power Angels over M's

April, 26, 2013
4/26/13
11:21
PM PT


SEATTLE -- Hank Conger and Mark Trumbo each hit two-run homers, and C.J. Wilson worked out of a pair of bases-loaded jams to help give the Los Angeles Angels a 6-3 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Friday night.

For the full story, click this link.

Life at the roster's fringes

June, 18, 2012
6/18/12
6:02
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As hard as it is to reach the major leagues, it's harder to stick there. Two of the Angels' brightest young players are in the process of learning that lesson the hard way.

Pitcher Garrett Richards, 24, has been dominant in three weeks filling in for injured ace Jered Weaver, going 2-0 with a 0.86 ERA, but could be headed to Triple-A Salt Lake as soon as Wednesday when Weaver returns. And catcher Hank Conger, also 24, was already optioned when the Angels activated Bobby Wilson from the seven-day concussion list Sunday.

"Obviously, you want to be up there helping the team, but I look back on the 10 days I was up and I'm really, really happy with the way I played, especially defensively," Conger said by telephone. He will report to Salt Lake Tuesday.

For the past three seasons, Conger has been shuttling back and forth between Triple-A and the major leagues, largely because he has found it difficult to satisfy the defensive demands of Angels manager Mike Scioscia. While he was filling in for Wilson, Conger threw out two of the seven runners who tried to steal off him (and Dodgers speedster Dee Gordon had three of the steals) and had a 2.25 catcher's ERA.

"He's come a long way," Scioscia said.

Weaver has a pretty good idea what that plane ride could be like for Richards. The Angels optioned Weaver to Triple-A Salt Lake when he was 4-0 with a 1.37 ERA in 2006 to make room on the roster for reigning AL Cy Young winner Bartolo Colon. Players with options are always susceptible.

"It's a tough gig," Weaver said. "You try so hard to get up here and you finally prove you belong up here and can pitch at this level. I feel for him. I remember that experience. It made me want to go back down and work harder to get back up here."

Here are lineups for Monday's game, with the Angels facing Matt Cain fresh off his perfect game:

San Francisco
Gregor Blanco RF
Ryan Theriot 2B
Melky Cabrera LF
Buster Posey C
Angel Pagan CF
Pablo Sandoval DH
Brandon Belt 1B
Brandon Crawford SS
Joaquin Arias 3B

Angels
Mike Trout CF
Torii Hunter RF
Albert Pujols 1B
Kendrys Morales DH
Mark Trumbo LF
Alberto Callaspo 3B
Maicer Izturis 2B
Erick Aybar SS
Bobby Wilson C

3 Up, 3 Down: Mariners 8, Angels 6

June, 6, 2012
6/06/12
10:35
PM PT
ANAHEIM -- The Angels ended a promising homestand with a bit of a thud, losing 8-6 to the Seattle Mariners Wednesday night.

The Mariners scored all their runs with two outs, snapping a four-series winning streak for the Angels.

The Good:

Starting up. The power was the last thing to show up for Kendrys Morales, but it's coming. Fast. Morales has hit four of his seven home runs and two of his six doubles in the last 13 games. He hit an arcing two-run shot roughly 15 rows into the stands in right field in the third inning and added an RBI single to left in the fifth. Remember when people wondered if Albert Pujols would have enough protection? Now, it's whether he can get on base for Morales and Mark Trumbo.

Still going. You keep wondering when Mike Trout is going to cool off ... and then you spend the next night wondering the same thing. Wednesday wasn't the most impactful night for the rookie, but he still managed to get on base twice, force a defensive miscue and score a run. Trout leads AL rookies (minimum 100 at-bats) in four major offensive categories, including batting average and on-base percentage.

Respect. The league is starting to get hip to how dangerous Trumbo is. They're starting to treat him like ... well, like they used to treat Pujols. In the seventh inning, with Pujols at third and one out, Eric Wedge decided to intentionally walk Trumbo even though he represented the go-ahead run. Trumbo shot a first-inning single through the right side in the second inning as part of a two-run rally.

The Bad:

Unlucky seven. Jerome Williams was trying to become the first Angels pitcher to reach seven wins, but he didn't have much going for him. The Mariners, who have been about as hot as they get coming into this series, pounded nine hits off him and scored all seven runs with two outs. The big blows were a couple of two-run doubles, one by Mike Carp and the other by Kyle Seager. Wednesday snapped a streak of four straight quality starts for Williams, the team's fifth starter.

Many mishaps. Eric Aybar isn't putting up much of a defense of his Gold Glove. He made his eighth error misplaying an Ichiro Suzuki grounder in the fifth inning, which led to two unearned runs. Aybar had 13 errors all last season. On the other hand, he is batting .219. Uh, yeah, rough first third of the season for the Angels shortstop.

Slow starter. Pujols spent an extra second or two near home plate admiring his seventh-inning home run. That's great, except it wasn't a home run. The ball thwacked off the top of the wall and Pujols barely made it to second base in time. He wasn't going to get a triple on that ball, but it illustrated a couple of things. One, it's hard to hit home runs here at night and, two, Pujols probably should just start running hard out of the box on everything in the air.

Catching switch: Conger recalled

June, 5, 2012
6/05/12
3:54
PM PT
ANAHEIM -- After taking a foul tip off the mask Monday night, Angels catcher Bobby Wilson was feeling woozy.

"After the second inning, I felt like I could fall asleep right there behind home plate," Wilson said.

The team decided not to take any chances and put Wilson on the seven-day concussion list Tuesday and recalled switch hitter Hank Conger from Triple-A Salt Lake. Conger was in the starting lineup catching minor-league teammate Garrett Richards.

Wilson's most recent concussion came in April of 2010, after he was barreled over in a violent collision with the New York Yankees' Mark Teixeira while making his first major-league start. Wilson said he's thinking of switching from the lightweight, titanium mask he's now wearing to a heavier mask that will absorb more of the impact of a foul tip. He said the ball hit him squarely between the highs.

Conger, a former first-round draft pick, had just come off the disabled list Thursday after missing six weeks with a sprained right elbow. He was batting .338 with two home runs, 11 RBIs and a .372 on-base percentage at Triple-A. Conger, 24, is a .204 lifetime hitter in 206 major-league at-bats.

Wilson, who assumed primary catching duties when Chris Iannetta went on the DL to undergo wrist surgery, was batting .171. Iannetta is expected back in about two weeks.

Jordan Walden feels good about change

March, 13, 2012
3/13/12
12:17
PM PT
The other day, closer Jordan Walden ran the count to 3-and-2 against Cleveland Indians slugger Travis Hafner.

He looked in to get the sign and had to look twice when catcher Hank Conger flashed the sign for a changeup. He threw it and got a pop-up to center field. Last season, Walden scarcely threw the pitch.

"That shows you the confidence he had in it," Walden said.

More than 80 percent of the pitches Walden threw last season were fastballs. Nearly 16 percent were sliders and fewer than 3 percent were changeups. He's hoping the pitch, if he can begin to trust it, will give him a valuable weapon, particularly against left-handed hitters, who performed slightly better than righties against Walden last season.

Walden reached the All-Star game as a rookie, but also blew 10 saves, tied for most in the majors. He throws his changeup at about 88 mph, roughly 10 mph slower than his average fastball.

"I love my fastball. I'm still a fastball pitcher, but people can hit your fastball eventually, even when it's 100 mph," Walden said. "I need something to throw their timing off."
TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Los Angeles Angels renewed the contract of closer Jordan Walden and reached agreements on one-year deals with 21 other young players.

Peter Bourjos, Hank Conger, Kevin Jepsen, Michael Kohn, Brad Mills, Garrett Richards, Rich Thompson, Mike Trout, Mark Trumbo and Bobby Wilson were among the players who reached agreement.

When a team renews a player’s contract, it typically signals a dispute over salary. The Angels didn’t release terms of the contracts, but each of them figures to be for around the major-league minimum, $480,000.

Walden reached the All-Star game in his rookie season last year, but also blew 10 saves, tied for the major-league lead.

Hank Conger fighting for a chance

February, 24, 2012
2/24/12
2:43
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Going from top prospect to productive major-leaguer isn't as easy as it looks.

Hank Conger is desperately trying to make that transition, but after a season in which he batted .209 in 197 plate appearances and struggled with the defensive demands on a catcher, he doesn't know how much longer his window will stay open.

"I knew after last season ended it was going to be an uphill battle for me just to make the team [this spring]," Conger said.

The switch-hitting catcher was the Angels' No. 1 prospect entering the 2010 season, but he has yet to gain a foothold in the major leagues. The Angels traded for Rockies catcher Chris Iannetta, who figures to be the mainstay behind the plate and Bobby Wilson seems to fit the profile of a backup better than Conger, 24.

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Question No. 2: Jerry Dipoto's next move

February, 6, 2012
2/06/12
10:49
AM PT
In the weeks leading up to spring training, we're counting down the biggest questions the Angels face in 2012.

The Angels will have a fascinating puzzle on their hands as spring training moves along and they try to assemble their most competitive roster.

Assuming everybody is healthy, they'll have three first basemen with 30-plus-home run power; two of the speediest young center fielders in baseball; and a designated hitter with a borderline Hall-of-Fame career and virtually no role. We haven't even mentioned the deepest rotation they've had in at least three years.

It's an unwieldy roster, for the moment, but exactly the kind of group that gives a general manager options. Jerry Dipoto already has remade the team by signing marquee free agents Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson. Now, he has a chance to cement a championship-caliber group with one or two shrewd moves between now and July or so.

Other than Pujols, Wilson, Jered Weaver and, probably, Mike Trout, nobody on this 40-man roster seems off-limits for trade talks, but these guys seem particularly moveable: Bobby Abreu, Mark Trumbo, Maicer Izturis, Peter Bourjos (maybe) and Hank Conger.

To which some Angels fans will reply, "What about Vernon Wells?" Wishful thinking. Unless the Angels are willing to eat $60 million or so, nobody's going to take that problem off their hands and, for similar reasons, Torii Hunter figures to stay put at least until this fall.

If the Angels move Abreu, the return likely would be scant. He'll be 38 on Opening Day, makes $9 million and has seen his power and ability to get on base slip in recent years. If they move Izturis, it could get them an early-inning reliever or mediocre prospect.

To trade one of the younger players, they likely would have to be moved to do so by another team's offer.

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe wrote that there is "a lot of speculation" the Washington Nationals will trade 27-year-old left-hander John Lannan for Bourjos, clearing a path for Mike Trout, a 20-year-old widely viewed as one of the top-five prospects in baseball.

It's not out of the question the teams could be talking about this deal, but is it a one-to-one proposition? Lannan would be one of the league's better No. 5 starters and give the Angels' rotation ideal balance: three right-handers, two lefties. But it seems like the Angels could get more than just Lannan for Bourjos, a 24-year-old who plays brilliant center field and is rapidly improving as a hitter. Lannan, 27, was 10-13 last year and has a lifetime 4.00 ERA.

Trumbo, 26, could see his at-bats drop by 200 or more with Pujols holding down his position, plenty of outfield depth and his ability to play acceptable third base in doubt. Hunter could vacate right field this fall, but Trout might be ready to play every day by then. Trumbo's expendable, but given his age, salary ($450,000 or so) and massive power potential, Dipoto can afford to wait for an enticing offer. Conger hasn't established himself in the major leagues yet so won't fetch as much as Trumbo, but a switch-hitting young catcher with power will always be in demand.

It's good to be Dipoto these days.

Position previews: Catcher

January, 31, 2012
1/31/12
12:11
PM PT

AP Photo/David Zalubowski
A few days before general manager Jerry Dipoto made a couple of loud noises in the free-agent market, he made two lower-decibel moves that nonetheless resonated with Angels fans.

Dipoto traded young pitcher Tyler Chatwood to the Colorado Rockies for catcher Chris Iannetta and followed that up three days later by sending catcher Jeff Mathis to Toronto for pitcher Brad Mills.

Many Angels fans, tired of watching Mathis' feeble at-bats, seemed joyous over the news. But how much better -- if at all -- will it make the team? Are the Angels simply giving up defense to gain offense? Or, was Mathis' defense -- the subject of periodic rhapsodies from manager Mike Scioscia -- overrated? Is Iannetta even a much better hitter?

The first few questions are difficult, maybe impossible, to answer. Baseball analytics have come a long way in the last 10 years, but they come up short when it comes to breaking down a catcher's contributions to stopping the other team from scoring.

I got assistance from ESPN statistical analyst Mark Simon, who said what I suspected. There really is no good overarching measure of a catcher’s defense. Here’s what we have to go by:

Angels pitchers had a 3.25 ERA when Mathis was catching. Only Philadelphia’s Carlos Ruiz had a better CERA among guys who caught at least 80 games. They had a 3.86 ERA with any other Angels catcher.

Rockies pitchers had a 4.22 ERA when Iannetta was catching. They had a 4.84 ERA with any other Rockies catcher.

Summary: Both guys were slightly better than the on-hand alternatives at helping pitchers succeed, but we can’t even say that with certainty. What if they were better because they were paired with better pitchers? It’s not uncommon for a manager to give his best catcher a day off when the fifth starter is pitching, figuring that game is a crap shoot anyway.

But we can safely assume, probably, that both Mathis and Iannetta are good at catching and that Mathis is a little better than Iannetta.

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Angels Mark Trumbo and Hank Conger are participating in a home run derby-type event at El Dorado High School in Placentia on Saturday in a fundraiser for the Cory Hahn Fund. Hahn is the Arizona State player who sustained a serious neck injury in a base-running incident last year.

The event starts at 10 a.m, with the finals scheduled for 2 p.m. Mike Carp of the Seattle Mariners and Danny Espinosa of the Washington Nationals are also taking part.

For more information, visit trinitybats.com.

What's next for Jerry Dipoto, Angels?

December, 20, 2011
12/20/11
8:47
AM PT
Things have settled down since the Angels shook up baseball and energized their fans with the acquisitions of Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson.

[+] EnlargeLos Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno (left) introduces Jerry Dipoto as the 11th general manager in franchise history.
AP Photo/Jae C. HongAngels GM Jerry Dipoto.
That doesn't mean their winter work is over.

They still have to unclog a logjam of first basemen/DH types, with a trade of Bobby Abreu looking increasingly unavoidable. Funny, it was pretty apparent at the end of the season that the Angels would need to move Abreu. It just got a little more pronounced when Pujols signed a 10-year contract and added a big log to the jam.

Now, the Angels need the DH spot Abreu would occupy to give at-bats to Mark Trumbo and Kendrys Morales. They'll miss Abreu's patience and his left-handed bat (Let's not forget, he's been a marvelous player for a long time), but his declining production the past three seasons makes him expendable.

Can they get anything for him? That could come down to finances, as in how much of his $9 million contract are they willing to eat? They're unlikely to land any of the things they covet most at this point: a closer, a power-hitting third baseman, a good left-handed hitter of any kind.

To get one or more of those kinds of players the Angels would have to trade one of their promising young players: Hank Conger, Mark Trumbo, Garrett Richards, Peter Bourjos or Mike Trout. I list them here in order of their likelihood of being dealt.

Conger has yet to prove himself in the major leagues, but teams are always looking for catchers who can hit, especially left-handed ones. Mike Scioscia has yet to get comfortable with Conger's defense. The Angels would love to hold onto Trumbo, who is both inexpensive and productive, but this might be the time to strike. His value is high coming off a Rookie of the Year runner-up season, there's no vacant position for him to play and his lack of on-base skills don't fit with Dipoto's vision.

Teams are always looking for young pitching and Richards has the kind of live arm they covet, but he's currently the Angels' No. 6 starting pitcher, a commodity almost as valuable as a backup quarterback in the NFL. They can hardly afford to part with what scant pitching depth they have now that Tyler Chatwood is a Rockie.

It would take more for the Angels to give up Bourjos or Trout (especially Trout), two unique talents, but bear in mind they both play the same position and do a lot of the same things. Moving Trout to a corner outfield spot would waste some of his primary asset, his blinding speed and, thus, reduce his value.

It's too early to tell whether Dipoto's final strokes will be brush-up work or bold changes, but it's pretty obvious he's still exploring his options.

Q&A with new GM Jerry Dipoto

November, 11, 2011
11/11/11
11:57
AM PT

Rick Scuteri/US Presswire
Jerry Dipoto said the Angels won't "lock the door" on going after an impact player.
Jerry Dipoto was named senior vice president and general manager of the Los Angeles Angels on Oct. 29, replacing Tony Reagins after the Angels missed the postseason for the second consecutive year.

Dipoto, 43, spent the last six years as the Arizona Diamondbacks’ vice president of player development and scouting. He pitched in the majors for seven years, and his front-office experience includes scouting for the Boston Red Sox and serving as director of player personnel for the Colorado Rockies.

I sat down with Dipoto to talk about his offseason plans and to hear his blueprint for the Angels.

Bowden: You were interim GM of the Diamondbacks in 2010 and made a couple of significant trades [Dan Haren to the Angels for a package including Joe Saunders and highly regarded prospect Tyler Skaggs; Edwin Jackson to the Chicago White Sox for pitcher Daniel Hudson]. How disappointed were you that you didn’t get that job?

Dipoto: I expected there would be other good candidates and, of course, I was disappointed but I also understood. However, I also was given an opportunity to work and learn from Kevin Towers, who taught me the value of a group of players that have a common goal and that the makeup and character of the players had be the anchor and the most important trait of a player even before their physical ability, scouting reports or statistical analysis.

Bowden: Who were some of your other baseball mentors besides Towers?

Dipoto: I was blessed with a long list of baseball executives that I learned from. Josh Byrnes, who’s now the GM of the Padres; Bob Gebhart, who I played for as well as worked with; John Hart, who I also played for and studied; Dan O’Dowd, the GM of the Rockies who I worked with really from ages 21 to 40; Theo Epstein briefly. Each of them taught me a different angle and I learned from all of them. Other baseball influences include Bobby Valentine, Dallas Green, Roland Hemond, the late Bill LaJoie and Jim Fregosi.
Bowden: Do you think it is an advantage that you played in the major leagues?
Dipoto: There are a lot of smart people in baseball, some that played the game and some that didn’t, so I’m not sure that matters in terms of success. However, I do think it gives me credibility when I talk to players and the fact that I’ve walked in their shoes. It allows me empathy to understand how tough a game it is to play.

Bowden: Going into spring training will the Angels’ outfield be Torii Hunter in right field, Peter Bourjos in center field and Mike Trout in left field?

Dipoto: Right now it’s Hunter in right field, Bourjos in center field and Vernon Wells in left field. Trout will need to play his way onto the team. I know one thing, he’s going to play every day, and if it’s not in the major leagues then it will be in our farm system. Wells deserves a chance to bounce back. Throughout his career he has a history of bouncing back the year after he’s had a down year. Wells needs to be protected. That being said, we’ll play the best three outfielders on opening day, and if Mike Trout is one of those three, we won’t hold him back.

Bowden: Can you give us an update on Kendrys Morales and whether he will be ready to impact the club at first base or DH in 2012?

Dipoto: Morales is a work in progress. We will know more in January. It’s uncertain how his health is going to play out.

Bowden: Morales is arbitration eligible, will you tender him a contract given the health concerns?

Dipoto: In all likelihood we will tender him.

Bowden: Mike Scioscia used a platoon behind the plate with Hank Conger, Jeff Mathis and Bobby Wilson in 2011. How do you see the catching position for 2012?

Dipoto: We are going to continue to try and sort it out. Catching, as you know, is a tough position to fill, and we will continue to search for more depth of major league-caliber catchers.

Bowden: Hank Conger hasn’t been given a chance to be the everyday catcher despite many baseball people feeling that he could be the long-term answer. Are you going to give him a chance?

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Angels free-agency primer: What they need

October, 31, 2011
10/31/11
10:50
AM PT

AP Photo, Getty Images
The top of the Angels' rotation isn't a concern. It's the 4 and 5 spots that could use some help.

New Los Angeles Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto will have a few days to unpack and settle into his new office.

Until Thursday, teams can only negotiate with their own free agents. The odds of the Angels bringing back Russell Branyan, Joel Pineiro or Fernando Rodney are infinitesimal. Branyan didn’t play, Pineiro lost the ability to get American League hitters out and Rodney constantly grumbled about his lack of use.

By Thursday, Dipoto should have a pretty good idea of what he has, what he needs and what he’s working with. He has a team with some promising building blocks, but encumbered by escalating salaries for aging players. He needs a veteran late-inning reliever and a starter. He would like a catcher and, perhaps, a power-hitting third baseman.

He’s not working with as much as it once appeared he might. Angels owner Arte Moreno told reporters on Saturday he’d like to keep a lid on the payroll at $140 million and the Angels already have $99 million tied up in nine veteran players on long-term contracts. It will cost them about $20 million more to keep all their arbitration-eligible players, plus roughly $2 million more to sign all the young guys making the minimum.

That means, even if he can persuade Moreno to stretch the budget, he’ll be looking at a roughly $19 million budget to address multiple needs.

This probably won’t be a big-splash kind of winter in Anaheim, but it could be a pivotal one. Let’s delve into some of Dipoto's needs:

(Read full post)

Rangers 10, Angels 3: Three Up, Three Down

September, 27, 2011
9/27/11
10:27
PM PT
ANAHEIM -- A day after being eliminated from playoff contention, the Angels rolled out a spring training lineup and got pounded by the playoff-bound Texas Rangers, 10-3, Tuesday night.

The Angels flashed their youthful speed at times, but the Rangers made the loud noises, hitting five home runs. Texas can lock up the second-best record in the AL by completing the series sweep Wednesday. That would allow it to open the playoffs at home Friday against the wild-card team instead of venturing to Yankee Stadium.

The Good:

Dashing lads. Peter Bourjos runs like a deer. Mike Trout churns up ground line a running back. For one night, it was fun to watch the two speedsters hitting together at the top of a lineup. Trout got on base twice and scored a run. Bourjos pushed a triple into the alley in right-center. You could see what one day might be a dynamic pair of table setters.

Streaking. It might be a mistake to bet against the Rangers in the playoffs. They're healthy at last and they seem to be hitting their stride at the perfect time. Adrian Beltre homered in his fourth straight game. Ian Kinsler hit his 32nd home run among three hits and stole his 30th base. Their No. 7 hitter, Nelson Cruz, hit a towering shot for his 29th home run. Mike Napoli has a career-high 28 home runs, 15 of them on the road. These guys have versatility. They can pitch with the good teams and slug with the big boys.

Chance to shine. There are players who toil in your organization that teams like to reward with September call-ups. The Angels weren't able to give those guys action, because they were fighting to stay in the playoff hunt. Tuesday, Mike Scioscia opened the gate to the youngsters. Jeremy Moore, Gil Velazquez and Andrew Romine all had hits. Efren Navarro made a brilliant play at first base. Nice moments.

The Bad:

Chatwood's decline. Back in early June, Tyler Chatwood was a key member of the Angels' rotation and looked like he might be an emerging young pitcher in the American League. Since then, he's gone 3-9 with a 5.58 ERA, lost his spot and now you wonder if he's in the mix next spring. One big problem: Chatwood has allowed a home run in eight of his last nine outings. Ian Kinsler took him deep Tuesday.

Home, bitter home.Vernon Wells' struggles have been a movable famine. He has made frequent outs in most of the venues the Angels have visited, but much of his worst work has been done at Angel Stadium, as usual. Wells is wrapping up his first Angels' season with a 1-for-17 homestand, bringing his Angel Stadium batting average this year to an even .200. He's hit just eight of his 25 homers here. No wonder they boo him so much.

Another injury. Aside from the season-ending injury to Kendrys Morales, the Angels were relatively fortunate in news from the trainer's room. Lately, things have started falling apart. Howie Kendrick jammed his left wrist diving for David Murphy's infield single and might be out for the year, meaning he won't play Wednesday.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Garrett Richards
WINS ERA SO IP
11 2.55 127 123
OTHER LEADERS
BAM. Trout .310
HRM. Trout 22
RBIM. Trout 69
RM. Trout 64
OPSM. Trout 1.007
ERAG. Richards 2.55
SOG. Richards 127