Los Angeles Angels: Scott Kazmir

Frantic Friday just what the Angels need

April, 27, 2012
4/27/12
9:53
PM PT
When a team with a $151 million payroll and World Series aspirations starts the season eight games under .500 after 20 games, it's only a matter of time before something like this happens. Yeah, you can preach patience for a while, trust in your players' track records, but at some point you're obligated to step in.

Friday, it was general manager Jerry Dipoto who had seen enough.

In conjunction with manager Mike Scioscia, Dipoto made two bold moves, acting more quickly -- but no less decisively -- than you would have expected after a start this absurdly bad.

The bombshell came after Friday's 3-2 loss in Cleveland, the team's second walk-off defeat in a row, when the Angels promoted speedy outfield prospect Mike Trout and bid goodbye to veteran Bobby Abreu, swallowing more than $8 million in the process.

Before that, the Angels shuffled a couple of key roles in the bullpen, swapping youngster Jordan Walden for veteran lefty Scott Downs at closer. We still don't know how that will work out, because other members of the Angels' bullpen blew yet another game before their roles arose.

We'll begin to learn Saturday how the bolder move plays out. Last year, the Angels waited until June to swallow a bitter, multi-million-dollar pill, releasing pitcher Scott Kazmir after getting virtually nothing for the $12 million it paid him.

The fact they waited only three weeks to part with Abreu tells you a little something about expectation levels around this team.

You rarely see shake-ups of this magnitude in April, but you rarely see teams with this kind of talent play this poorly for this long.

Was Abreu the reason the Angels couldn't get on base or move a runner to save their lives? After just 24 at-bats, he had virtually nothing to do with it. Angels fans have long since turned on Abreu, but let's not forget, he was a good -- borderline great -- player and was one of the few Angels willing to take a walk for years. Will Trout resurrect this team's hopes all by himself? This team had better hope the 20-year-old doesn't think that's his role.

The Angels were so upset at Albert Pujols' slump, they released one player and demoted another.

But sometimes the journey from 1,000 games back -- or, at least, it feels like it -- begins with a single step.

Add up the Kazmir and Abreu moves and former general manager Tony Reagins effectively burned more than $20 million of Arte Moreno's money in less than a year, but Moreno has no one but himself to blame. It was his decision four years ago to go with a two-party system in which he and manager Mike Scioscia shared power while the GM, Reagins, served largely as a figurehead.

Dipoto didn't create this situation, but he's charged with cleaning it up. The task might prove more difficult than he originally thought.

Angels 4, Mariners 0: Three Up, Three Down

June, 14, 2011
6/14/11
10:00
PM PT
Jered WeaverOtto Greule Jr/Getty ImagesJered Weaver pitched a complete game Tuesday night to beat the Mariners in Seattle.

The Angels continued to nurse their wounds from a troubling homestand by beating up on the second-place Seattle Mariners. Tuesday, Angels ace Jered Weaver (8-4) pitched a complete-game shutout, giving up only five hits and a walk, and striking out six.

The Good:

Stoppers. The reason you wouldn't expect the Angels to continue to struggle so badly just happened. When you have Dan Haren and Jered Weaver on your staff, losing streaks have a way of drying up ... provided, of course, they get at least some run support. The Angels handed Weaver four runs before he ever touched the rubber, an exceedingly rare position for him to be in this year. He made it seem too grand a gesture by shutting the Mariners down for nine innings.

Balance. The bane of this offense has been a lack of depth. When the bottom of the lineup was hitting, the top wasn't -- and vice versa. Tuesday night, every hitter who played, aside from Vernon Wells, had a hit.

The West. The Angels' division hasn't exactly been acquitting itself well against the rest of the league. That's generally good news for the Angels, who find themselves right in the thick of things even below .500, but it doesn't do much for the division's profile nationally.

The Bad:

Aybar's midsummer plans. A few weeks ago, Erick Aybar didn't really want to talk about the possibility of playing in his first All-Star game. Now, we see why. Since then, the start of the Yankees series, his batting average has shed more than 20 points, from .313.

Whatever happened to ... Remember when Chone Figgins was such a dynamic force for the Angels five or six years ago though he batted ninth? Well, Figgins is back at the rear, but for entirely different reasons. That signing hasn't quite worked out up north. Figgins is a No. 9 hitter, mostly because you can't bat him 10th, his average stuck under .200.

Scott Kazmir. It looks as if the end is near. The Angels must decide by June 22 whether they'll activate Scott Kazmir or cut him free, along with more than $14 million they still owe him. Things are trending toward the latter. In another rehab start at Triple-A (the clock ticking down on the 30-day limit), Kazmir couldn't get out of the second inning. He gave up six runs, five hits and three walks with a hit batter. Kind of a typical outing for him these days, believe it or not.

Is Scott Kazmir hitting rock bottom?

May, 29, 2011
5/29/11
8:58
PM PT
It's fair to say things aren't going well for Angels left-hander Scott Kazmir, who now has a 31.50 ERA in two rehab starts for Triple-A Salt Lake.

Kazmir gave up 10 runs (eight earned) in 2 1/3 innings at Tucson Sunday night. He gave up five hits, walked three and struck out two of the eight batters he faced. The Angels can leave Kazmir at Triple-A for up to 30 days, so there's no rush to figure out what to do with him. At this stage, it would be surprising to see him pitching in the big leagues this season.

The Angels placed Kazmir on the 15-day disabled list ostensibly for some discomfort in his lower back after his first start of 2011. He spent six weeks in extended spring training.

Scott Kazmir tries to climb the mountain again

May, 22, 2011
5/22/11
11:59
AM PT
He's done enough tinkering with his mechanics.

Now, it's time for Scott Kazmir (and the Angels) to find out if he still can compete well enough to be an effective major-league pitcher. That quest began six weeks ago in extended spring training. It continues Tuesday morning at Triple-A Salt Lake with Kazmir's first official rehab outing.

Nobody has much of an idea how long he'll be in Triple A. It takes a while to rebuild a pitcher's confidence, especially when it gets as low as Kazmir's was.

"I just feel like, the last couple years, I was just trying so hard. Something didn’t feel right," Kazmir said. "It started wearing on me. You go out there not as confident, pretty much changing mechanics every couple starts just to have that feeling that you know where the ball’s going, that you’re getting good effort, good velocity on it.

"I just want to get back to where I feel comfortable."

Kazmir was 9-15 with a 5.94 ERA last season, then couldn't get out of the second inning in his 2011 debut, April 3 in Kansas City. After that, the Angels placed him on the 15-day disabled list with tightness in his lower back, but they made clear that Kazmir's time in rehab will largely be about performance.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia said this weekend that Kazmir could return in a relief role when his rehab assignment ends.

Mike Scioscia takes a day off

May, 21, 2011
5/21/11
5:50
PM PT
ANAHEIM -- Angels manager Mike Scioscia will be absent from Sunday's game to attend the graduation of his son, Matt, from Notre Dame. He'll return in time for Monday's game against the Oakland A's.

In his absence, bench coach Rob Picciolo will call the shots. And if Saturday night's game goes extra innings?

"They're going to hold up the ceremony," Scioscia joked.

* Pitcher Scott Kazmir worked his final game of extended spring training and will embark on his minor-league rehab outing starting with his appearance Tuesday for Triple-A Salt Lake. It sounds as if the Angels are in no hurry to usher in the return of Kazmir, who was 9-15 with a 5.94 ERA last season. The Angels can only leave Kazmir in the minor leagues for 30 days by rule.

"There's not a minimum number of games you're looking at," Scioscia said. "There is a max."

Scioscia also said they'll consider using Kazmir in relief when he returns. It could depend on the health of the Angels' pitching staff and on how 21-year old Tyler Chatwood is doing.

* Outfielder Vernon Wells said he probably will be out another three weeks or so. He has a visible bruise on the inner part of his thigh from the torn groin muscle that landed him on the disabled list May 10.

* Howie Kendrick missed his second straight game with a strained hamstring and might also be held out of Sunday's game. He's available as a pinch hitter.

The lineups for Saturday night's game vs. the Atlanta Braves, with Joel Pineiro going for his 100th career win against Atlanta's Tommy Hanson.:

Atlanta

1. Nate McLouth CF

2. Martin Prado 3B

3. Chipper Jones DH

4. Brian McCann C

5. Eric Hinske LF

6. Dan Uggla 2B

7. Freddie Freeman 1B

8. Alex Gonzalez SS

9. Joe Mather RF
Angels

1. Maicer Izturis DH

2. Erick Aybar SS

3. Bobby Abreu LF

4. Torii Hunter RF

5. Alberto Callaspo 3B

6. Hank Conger C

7. Mark Trumbo 1B

8. Alexi Amarista 2B

9. Peter Bourjos CF

Scioscia updates progress of Kendrick, Kazmir, Wells

May, 20, 2011
5/20/11
6:48
PM PT
ANAHEIM - - Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia updated the injury conditions of Howie Kendrick, Scott Kazmir and Vernon Wells before Friday's game against the Atlanta Braves.

On Kendrick, the second baseman turned temporary left fielder, Scioscia said he would give him Friday’s game off to help him rest a sore hamstring.

“It’s just a little tight," Scioscia said. "I’ll rest him tonight and reevaluate him tomorrow. Hopefully, we will play him sometime during the weekend.”

The aggressive Kendrick is probably feeling the effects of longer defensive runs in the outfield compared to shorter sprints in the infield. Scioscia hopes the tightness is nothing serious, though he said a bad hamstring is something that can prevent any player for executing in any position. He also said he needs Kendrick in left field until Wells comes back from the DL.

Regarding Wells, Scioscia said he was already working rehab exercises in the pool. The center fielder, who went to the DL on May 10 because of a right groin strain, still does not have a return day set.

“It’s going to take a while," Scioscia said. "Not months, but he’s not day to day. Evidently progress in him will be known when he can move without pain and not feel hurt. That’s what he’s working on right know.

Scioscia said Kazmir will come to Anaheim to throw a bullpen session Saturday. He did that as well Tuesday and Thursday in Salt Lake City, where the team's Triple-A affiliate plays.

“In the last outing, he pitched about 100 pitches into the seventh inning," Scioscia said. "I saw videos of about the half of those. And all I can say is that as far as delivery and motion, you can’t see anything that will hold him back. He felt better about his stuff, but still has a ways to go. And he wasn’t really pitch efficient. He had a lot of pitches around 88 (mph). Wasn’t as crisp as what we would have thought he could, but probably commanded the ball better than he had recently.”

Scioscia says he hopes Kazmir is close to a rehab assignment.

Morales gets a little closer and other notes

April, 11, 2011
4/11/11
5:55
PM PT
* The Angels still aren't sure when they'll get slugger Kendrys Morales back, but they're about to put him through a significant test.

For just the second time since he reported to spring training nearly two months ago, Morales will test his left ankle by attempting to run on it. Manager Mike Scioscia said Morales has been feeling "terrific" lately and that he should be running in the next "day or so."

If Morales can run without pain, he could begin a minor-league rehabilitation start, his final hurdle before he joins the Angels. He fractured his left ankle last May 29. The Angels are targeting early May for Morales' return.

* Vernon Wells, stuck in a 4-for-40 slump at the start of his Angels career, reported for early batting practice before Monday's series opener against the Cleveland Indians. Typically, the early session of batting practice is for young players and bench players. Scioscia left it up to Wells' and he asked to get in the early work with hitting coach Mickey Hatcher.

"Mickey thought he saw some things and Vernon felt good with it, so we'll see how it goes," Scioscia said.

* Should Tyler Chatwood, 21, win tonight's game for the Angels, he would be the youngest pitcher to win his debut since Scott Kazmir in 2004.

Lineups:

Cleveland

1. Michael Brantley CF

2. Asdrubal Cabrera SS

3. Shin-Soo Choo RF

4. Carlos Santana C

5. Travis Hafner DH

6. Orlando Cabrera 2B

7. Austin Kearns LF

8. Matt LaPorta 1B

9. Jack Hannahan 3B

Angels

1. Maicer Izturis SS

2. Howie Kendrick 2B

3. Bobby Abreu DH

4. Torii Hunter RF

5. Wells LF

6. Alberto Callaspo 3B

7. Mark Trumbo 1B

8. Hank Conger C

9. Peter Bourjos CF
ANAHEIM, Calif. – All signs point to the Los Angeles Angels promoting their top pitching prospect, 21-year-old right-hander Tyler Chatwood, to make his major-league debut Tuesday against the Cleveland Indians.

Chatwood was pulled from his season debut for Triple-A Salt Lake after just one inning and 18 pitches Saturday. The Angels’ second-round pick in 2008, Chatwood went 4-6 with a 3.82 ERA for Double-A Arkansas last year.

Just 6 feet and 185 pounds, Chatwood can nonetheless touch 97 mph with his fastball, according to scouting reports. He had 109 strikeouts in 155 1/3 innings combined at three minor-league levels last season. He was listed as the No. 76 prospect in the game by Baseball America.

The Angels are in need of starting pitching with both Joel Pineiro and Scott Kazmir on the 15-day disabled list. They were debating between Chatwood, Trevor Bell and reliever Hisanori Takahashi to make Tuesday’s start.

Bell pitched three innings and threw 44 pitches Saturday before Salt Lake’s game was delayed by snow, so he appears to be out of the running.

“It will be in-house,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.

Chatwood’s short outing Saturday was the equivalent of a between-starts bullpen session. He was 1-0 with a 7.36 ERA in 11 innings this spring. If Chatwood pitches Tuesday, he would be the first 21-year old to pitch for the Angels since Nick Adenhart in May of 2008.

What we've learned so far about the Angels

April, 4, 2011
4/04/11
11:14
AM PT

AP Photo/Orlin Wagner
The Angels wait for a meeting on the mound, where many of their frustrations lie.

When your two best starting pitchers have to jog down to the bullpen in the fourth game of the season, things usually aren't going well for your pitching staff. While the Los Angeles Angels did salvage one game at Kansas City's Kauffman Stadium, the opening series couldn't have started 2011 on a much more cacophonous note.

If that really was the Angels' true character out there, 2010 could wind up looking like the good old days by the time this year is out.

The bullpen blew a lead in the eighth or ninth inning of every game, the offense really looked alert only on the final day (against Bruce Chen, with a hot wind howling out) and Scott Kazmir continues to look like he has no idea who he is anymore. After Sunday's 12-9 loss in 13 innings, manager Mike Scioscia vowed to "sort some things out."

Let's look at the problems that appear fixable and those that might be beyond even an expert handyman's tools:

FIXABLE

1. Roles:

Fernando Rodney just might not be a closer. That doesn't mean he can't be a useful piece of the bullpen, but since he's been with the Angels, he generally hasn't handled the final leg well. He closed most of the season for a second-place Detroit Tigers team in 2009 and did pretty well, but that looks like an anomaly now.

On Sunday, Scioscia said Rodney was "all over the place" with his mechanics. He threw 20 pitches and only seven of them were strikes (and one of them was a line-drive double). That's a dismal lack of command.

The Angels might have to do what the Rangers did last year: take a leap of faith. Neftali Feliz was 21 and had pitched in 20 games when Texas made him its closer. How'd that work out? Feliz saved 40 games, was an All-Star and picked up a rookie of the year trophy. It might be time to anoint Jordan Walden the closer, then line up the hard-throwing veterans in front of him.

Walden has the best stuff on the staff and is pitching with the most confidence. Scioscia says it all the time. Talent should win out over experience every time.

(Read full post)

Three Up, Three Down

April, 3, 2011
4/03/11
4:43
PM PT
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Angels offense finally broke out with 19 hits, but two bad pitching performances from Scott Kazmir and Fernando Rodney did them in.

The Good:

Big bat. The Angels have been waiting for Howie Kendrick to turn into the hitter his minor-league resume suggests. Maybe his time is finally now. Kendrick has looked in sync and powerful since the beginning of spring. He has started the season with a bang, smashing three home runs, including two Sunday off Bruce Chen. It’s important that he pull the ball occasionally and his second home run went over the left-field wall.

The Aussie. Rich Thompson had a brilliant season at Triple A last year, and a strong spring to make the team. His rebirth continued with 3 1/3 innings of relief after Kazmir couldn’t get out of the second inning. It took Thompson, 26, a little while to figure it out in his career, but he could be a big factor in the bullpen before long.

The veteran. Bobby Abreu studies pitchers as well as any hitter in the game. You have to wonder if he picked something up in Sean O’Sullivan’s delivery when the two were teammates. Either way, Abreu launched a go-ahead two-run home run off the former Angel in the seventh inning. Abreu went 5 for 5 and was the first Angel to reach base safely in all seven plate appearances since Brian downing in 1982.

The Bad:

Um, the bullpen. If you had April 3 in the Fernando Rodney first-blown-save contest, you win. Rodney joined the parade of awful late relief work when he walked three batters and allowed a slicing two-run double to Wilson Betemit to blow his first save and squander a big day from Angels hitters. So far, every relief pitcher the Angels were relying on other than rookie Jordan Walden has been terrible. And yeah, it's a big concern.

The spiral continues. Kazmir did virtually everything you can do that’s bad for a pitcher to do. He hit two batters, gave up a home run, walked two. He even had a balk. And he did it all in less than two innings. At this point, it would be shocking to see Kazmir in the Angels rotation a month from now -- presuming Joel Pineiro is healthy by then.

More bullpen. Thompson and Hisanori Takahashi were good, but the Angels bullpen continues to struggle holding leads late. Michael Kohn gave up a two-out RBI double to Jeff Francoeur to tie the game in the seventh inning.

Scott Kazmir takes a tiny step forward

March, 29, 2011
3/29/11
9:35
PM PT
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Angels don’t like to go public with such things, but you get the impression the ice under pitcher Scott Kazmir is barely thick enough to support his weight.

The numbers haven’t added up for him in quite some time. Kazmir was the worst pitcher in the American League with at least 130 innings last season, when he went 9-15 with a 5.94 ERA. He was struggling through an even worse spring, with a 7.79 ERA in his first five starts before he held the Dodgers to one run – Rod Barajas’ home run – in a crisp 4 1/3 innings Tuesday night.

There have been so many false starts with Kazmir, it was nothing to get too excited about, of course. He’s just desperately looking for something to build on.

“I felt like all these starts right here are steppingstones,” Kazmir said. “I felt good with every one of them. A couple of them, I got erratic a little bit with my consistency, but for the most part it felt good.”

Before the game, Angels manager Mike Scioscia made it pretty clear that Kazmir has to start exhibiting more confidence and getting better results soon. Scioscia didn’t finish the thought, but he probably didn’t have to. There is a troubling precedent.

In 2003, the Angels released Kevin Appier (who was 7-7 with a 5.63 ERA at the time) even though they still owed him $16 million. The Angels would have to eat $14.5 million to cut Kazmir loose now. The difference, of course, is that the Appier move came in July, not late March or early April.

But Appier had arguably been the team’s best starter the season before, when he went 14-12 with a 3.92 ERA. And like Appier’s then, Kazmir’s stuff has drastically declined. A pitcher who once routinely touched the mid-90 mph range, Kazmir didn’t make it into the 90s once Tuesday. His once-devastating slider hasn’t been seen for years.

He will no longer talk about any of his mechanical issues. Last season, he dissected his struggles in intimate detail during interviews.

“I’m not going to get into any of that. I’m just focused on going out there and just keep getting better,” Kazmir said.

Is the Scott Kazmir clock ticking?

March, 25, 2011
3/25/11
8:14
AM PT
The spring began with so many hopeful words about Scott Kazmir. They seemed hollow at the time and they seem like wasted breath now:

He worked out hard in the off-season and had gained a little zip on his fastball.

The results all spring have been uncomfortably similar to what the Angels saw last season. Kazmir nibbles around the strike zone. When he decides to get aggressive -- or when somebody "suggests" he do so -- hitters tee off.

You wonder whether Kazmir, without his slider and with middling velocity, has the tools to start games in the major leagues any more. You wonder whether the Angels would even be bothering with Kazmir if they had other options.

He allowed 11 base runners in five innings Thursday against a good-hitting Milwaukee team. His spring ERA is 7.79. His innings seem like they're endless, with all the balls and all the trips to the mound from catchers, infielders and coaches.

But there's virtually no chance the Angels will pull Kazmir from the rotation before the season starts. For one thing, they'll be paying him $12 million whether he pitches for them or not. Why not try to get something for the investment?

For another, Trevor Bell (9.00 ERA) and Matt Palmer (7.62) have been even worse. Sure, the Angels could try to get Hisanori Takahashi stretched out to start, but then they would have the same left-handed vacancy in their bullpen that troubled them last season. They could have Takahashi and Kazmir swap roles, but who's to say Kazmir would be any more effective in relief?

Plus, Joel Pineiro is headed to the disabled list to start the season and there's no guarantee the Angels won't need one of those guys to make some starts in his spot.

In other words, it's white-knuckle time until Kazmir either straightens himself out or the Angels manage to find another option. It would be surprising if they weren't at least exploring those possibilities as we speak. In fact, the Angels reportedly were one of eight teams that watched ex-major-leaguer Doug Davis throw recently.

Their patience with Kazmir seems to shrivel by the day.

Mega-prospect Mike Trout reassigned

March, 14, 2011
3/14/11
3:57
PM PT
The Angels reassigned their top prospect, outfielder Mike Trout, to minor league camp Monday along with nine other players. Trout, 19, batted .211 in 19 at-bats with four walks and five strikeouts in his first major-league camp.

He likely will begin the season at Double-A Arkansas. Trout, who is among the fastest players in professional baseball, is widely considered either the No. 1 or No. 2 prospect in the game alongside Washington’s Bryce Harper.

The Nationals reassigned Harper to minor league camp Saturday.

The other Angels players reassigned to the minor-league side were left-handed pitcher Trevor Reckling; 7-foot-1 right-hander Loek Van Mil; outfielders Angel Castillo, Jeremy Moore and Travis Witherspoon; and infielders Gabe Jacobo, Efren Navarro, Darwin Perez and Jean Segura.

The Angels now have 47 players in their spring-training clubhouse, a number they’ll have to trim to 25 in the next 16 days.

Also, Scott Kazmir pitched in a ‘B’ game against Colorado Rockies minor-leaguers Monday and allowed two hits and a run in four innings. Kazmir threw 76 pitches and walked three and struck out four in a 4-2 Angels win. He is on track to be the Angels’ No. 4 starter.

Kazmir was among the least-effective starters in the American League last year, going 9-15 with a 5.94 ERA.

Scott Kazmir is nearing a crossroads

March, 9, 2011
3/09/11
10:58
AM PT
The stakes are high for Scott Kazmir this spring and beyond.

It’s a pretty good bet the Angels aren’t going to pick up his $13.5 million option for next season (which will cost them a $2.5 million buyout), making Kazmir a free agent for the first time in his career next fall. How Kazmir fares this season could be the difference between a rich multi-year contract and a minor-league deal with a bad team desperate for pitching.

He’s young enough, just 27, that some team would make him a big offer if he can put together one good, or even solid, season. Good left-handed pitching is a luxury, after all. A repeat of last season would give him limited options.

You get the sense the Angels are running out of patience. The first sign of that was their insistence he do his conditioning under their trainers’ eyes in Arizona last winter instead of back home in Houston.

Last spring, Kazmir showed up to camp with a slightly strained hamstring, a minor injury that had a ripple effect on his season, he said.

“I couldn’t play catch, because it was my lead leg,” Kazmir said earlier this spring. “I went six weeks without throwing a ball, which is something I’m not used to. It was just bad timing.”

Kazmir had the worst season of his career last summer and probably the worst season by any starting pitcher in the American League. His 5.94 ERA was the worst among AL pitchers with at least 130 innings.

Kazmir, who makes his third spring start this afternoon against the Colorado Rockies (12:05 p.m.), has looked so-so in the early going. Angels manager Mike Scioscia insists Kazmir’s velocity is up, but the hitters aren’t attesting to that. He has given up seven hits in five innings.

Kazmir has insisted his shoulder feels stronger and his delivery more sound. Soon, the results will be all that he’ll be judged on.

UPDATE: In another wobbly step, Kazmir gave up five hits and four walks in three innings to the Colorado Rockies at Tempe Diablo Stadium Wednesday.

Question No. 5: Can the starters do it again?

February, 9, 2011
2/09/11
11:07
AM PT
Had Dan Haren struck out 16 more batters last year, the Angels would have finished with the two leading strikeout pitchers in baseball.

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Bill James projects Dan Haren will strike out more than 200 batters.


As it was, Jered Weaver led the majors with 233 and Haren was seventh with 216.

To put that in perspective, only four teammate tandems have led the majors in strikeouts since the expansion era began in 1961, according to the Elias Sports Bureau: Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale (1962 Dodgers); Nolan Ryan and Frank Tanana (1976 Angels); Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling (Arizona Diamondbacks, 2001 and 2002); and Kerry Wood and Mark Prior (2003 Chicago Cubs).

So, yeah, it would have been a truly memorable feat in an utterly forgettable season.

It should tell us a little something about what the Angels can expect from their starting pitching in 2011, led by two of the steadiest right-handers in baseball and solid depth.

It also tells us a lot about how the rest of the team’s 2010 season went. With a leaky bullpen, scant offense and uneven outfield defense, the Angels went 80-82 and finished in third place in the AL West.

After patching up one area of their defense (fielding), the Angels are hoping to repeat success in what is really the most important area of defense, starting pitching. If four of their starters can replicate (or nearly replicate) their 2010 seasons and one, Scott Kazmir, can improve even incrementally, the Angels easily could get back into contention.

They might even get into the conversation for best rotation in the league.

Of the Angels’ five starters, only Kazmir had an ERA (5.94) above 4.00 last year, but most of the projections aren’t as optimistic for 2011. According to Bill James, only two Angels starters (Haren and Weaver) will have an ERA in the 3.00s, and only Haren will strike out as many as 200 batters.

Here are James’ 2011 projections for the Angels:

(Read full post)

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Jered Weaver
WINS ERA SO IP
18 3.59 169 213
OTHER LEADERS
BAH. Kendrick .293
HRM. Trout 36
RBIM. Trout 111
RM. Trout 115
OPSM. Trout .939
ERAG. Richards 2.61
SOJ. Weaver 169