Chat with Mark Saxon
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPNLosAngeles.com's Los Angeles Angels writer Mark Saxon will stop by to chat some baseball.
Saxon is a staff writer for ESPNLosAngeles.com. He spent six years at the Orange County Register, and began his career at the Oakland Tribune, where he started an 11-year journey covering Major League Baseball. He has also covered colleges, including USC football and UCLA basketball.
Send your questions now and join Saxon Thursday at 4:30 p.m. ET/1:30 p.m. PT!
Mark Saxon (4:36 PM)
A rare Thursday off-day. Good time to pause, reflect and do a chat. So, let's go.
Anthony (Burbank, CA)
Hey Mark- tough season so far. Wood looks lost at the plate. How much longer does Mike stick with him. Do you see the Halo's making a move to sign Crede, trade for Tejada or another 3B?
Mark Saxon (4:38 PM)
Anthony, You're right about Brandon. He hasn't looked comfortable all season. Lately, it looks like he's going up there hoping not to strike out. If the Angels get in contention and Brandon is still struggling, they might make a trade. I think it's more likely they go with the in-house alternatives like Maicer Izturis when he gets healthy or Kevin Frandsen.
The Angels Offense and Pitching looks awful. Should the Angels Start firing theyre pitching and Batting coaches? Are they to blame for this Awful product?
Mark Saxon (4:41 PM)
Richard, Nah. Mike Butcher is a really bright young pitching coach and nobody was complaining about Mickey Hatcher's offense last year, when they set a bunch of records. I'd say it's the players, not the coaches.
Luis (Burbank, CA)
I read that Scoscia and Mike Butcher had a meeting with Kazmir regarding performance and whether or not he makes his next start. Have you heard of anything similar going on with our other pitchers, Saunders especially? What effect will another rough start have?
Mark Saxon (4:45 PM)
Hey Luis, Yeah, it's a pretty common thread with these guys. I can remember similar meetings in the past few years with John Lackey and Ervin Santana. I think they're more frustrated with Kazmir than Saunders right now because his upside is higher and he has sometimes been stubborn and not followed their advice. One more bad start and I think they'll fold Kazmir into the bullpen to let him figure out what's going on.
Mark, This Angels team looks awful I was Watching Mondays game and Angels Statium look empty. When is management going to step in? Or should they?
Mark Saxon (4:47 PM)
Well Greg, I'm not entirely sure what you mean about management stepping in, but they already have to some extent. Two relievers who were struggling, Matt Palmer and Brian Stokes, aren't around any more. If the team keeps struggling, more changes will come.
Dodger Fan! (LA)
Is it just me or do the Dodgers need to start batting Kemp lower in the lineup for more RBI opportunities? I feel like Ethier 3rd, Manny 4th, Kemp 5th would be more beneficial what do you think?
Mark Saxon (4:48 PM)
DF, Not exactly all over that one, but I'd say eventually Kemp will be a No. 3 or 4 hitter. Maybe that time is now.
Mark, what should the Angels do with Brandon Wood? They have giving him time. What do you see that he is doing Wrong?
Mark Saxon (4:50 PM)
Daisy, the main thing he's doing wrong is not getting any hits. Bah-dum-bum. I'm not sure I can answer your question. It's a super tough one. If they still think this kid is going to be really good some day, the last thing they want to do is put him on the bench. But eventually they're going to need a lot more production than he's providing. For now, I guess I'd just stick it out.
Luis (Burbank, CA)
Hey Mark. How do you think Dallas Braden does is his first post-perfecto start?
Mark Saxon (4:52 PM)
Luis, I think he'll hang in there because he's the battler type (and the Angels usually struggle with soft-tossing lefties), but I think the drain of the past week will take its toll: 5 1/3 innings 8 hits, 4 earned runs. How about that?
Dodger Fan! (LA)
Also, I feel like Matt Kemp is slowing down since the comment with Colletti....Do you think there is any correlation between this? Kemp is a great talent, it just seems he lets emotions takes its toll.
Mark Saxon (4:53 PM)
Not sure, DF, but if there is, Ned picked the wrong guy to rip.
Clay D (NY)
Will Bynum be effective against the Suns with his bad knee? The Lakers will have to slow Phoenix down, and do you see them doing that?
Mark Saxon (4:55 PM)
Clay D, I don't think Bynum will do much, but I do think the Lakers will win the series. Of course, your dog would have just as good a chance predicting the outcome. The dog probably watches more NBA than I do.
Matt Kemp (Los Angeles)
There seems to be a lot of mention about me in the chat! You guys need to calm down im going to be the only player in baseball to go 30/30!!
Mark Saxon (5:00 PM)
Matt, touche. It's especially surprising since this is supposed to be an Angels chat. Maybe that speaks to the Angels' lack of star power.
I know this is not a fantasy chat, but who would you rather have in the long haul, Justin Upton or Matt Kemp? Seems like these two will carry the division.
Mark Saxon (5:01 PM)
I'd probably go with Kemp because he's such a rare combination of size/power and speed.
Luis (Burbank, CA)
How much longer before Scoiscia makes a change at closer? Will he?
Mark Saxon (5:02 PM)
Luis, I think Mike is showing a bit too much stubbornness on this question. In my opinion, Fernando Rodney should have been the closer out of spring training. Fuentes doesn't have good enough stuff to hold down that job and right-handed hitters are hammering him this year. He's probably the third best choice for the job.
Mark Saxon (5:03 PM)
And to answer your question, I think Fuentes will be out if he blows two more saves in his next four tries.
Goyo Keizer, oregon [via mobile]
Does Kazmir turn around or is he gonna continue to struggle? Is he still somewhat injured?
Mark Saxon (5:06 PM)
Goyo, All I can tell you is what the tell us, that he's perfectly fine. The elbow injury in spring 2009 might still be the culprit, though, because he changed his arm slot and lost his slider. Still, his problem go back about three years now. The Angels might have made a bad trade, mostly because of all the money it will cost them.
SprungOnSports (Long Island)
With both LA teams struggling, both could end up being sellers. Who do you think could go from each team?
Mark Saxon (5:08 PM)
I definitely think the Angels could be if they're still hurting in a couple of months. They'd want to free up money for 2011, when there are some good free-agent names. If they could, I think they'd trade Brian Fuentes, one of the catchers (probably Mike Napoli) and perhaps an outfielder. Not sure about the Dodgers.
Bruce (Laguna Niguel)
Mark - Since it doesn't appear that Erick Aybar is the answer for the Angels at the leadoff position, and since there's no speedster to pick up the number of steals that Figgins had, what are your thoughts on putting Howie Kendrick in the leadoff slot? True, he's no Figgins as far as steals go, but he hits for a high average and dont' you want to at least get someone on base?
Mark Saxon (5:12 PM)
Hi Bruce, I might be alone, but I think Aybar is going to be OK. A lot of his strikeouts have come because he's trying to do something new for him, take pitches. He's going deeper into counts and that means sometimes he's not putting the ball in play as quickly, then striking out. He struggled early last year, too, then had a great year. I still think he's the guy for that job and, as you say, there aren't many other options with Izturis out. I think Kendrick will be more of a run producer than table setter.
Had you ever heard of the unwritten rule about not running on the mound? I had not, but maybe it's because I had never seen anyone do it.
Mark Saxon (5:13 PM)
Jay, I asked a couple of Angels pitchers about it and they said exactly what you did. They had never heard of that rule, because they had never seen anyone do it. I'm convinced Alex Rodriguez was trying to disrupt Dallas Braden's tempo and it didn't work. I thought Braden's comments were great.
Mark Saxon (5:15 PM)
OK, that concludes another chat. We'll do it again next week, same place and (probably) same time.