Saturday, March 15, 2008

Fallen Angels

Most would agree that the Angels had a slight edge over the Mariners coming into Spring Training, but that didn't mean that they had the AL West locked up. The Angels' Achilles heal is their age and durability, and most of us figured the injury bug would get them at some point this year.

We didn't even have to wait until the regular season.

Angels ace John Lackey will miss the first month or more of the season, including his start against Seattle on March 11th. Lackey won 19 games last year, including 4 against the Mariners. Lackey held a 0.58 ERA in 31 innings against Seattle last season.

Kelvim Escobar, the Angels' second best starter, probably won't even be on a throwing program by the time Seattle plays L.A. for the first time. He'll likely be out until mid-to-late May, missing two starts against the Mariners.

Reliever Chris Bootcheck has an injured oblique and could miss the first couple weeks of the season.

Vladimir Guerrero is still struggling with elbow tendinitis that forced him to DH towards the end of last season.

Gary Matthews is also having trouble completely recovering from knee tendinitis he was suffering from during the 2007 post season.

Lackey and Escobar are obviously the ones to focus on. Without their top two starters, the Angels are looking at a rotation that includes five of these six starting candidates:

Jon Garland (10-13, 4.23 ERA with White Sox)
Jered Weaver (13-7, 3.91 in 28 starts)
Joe Saunders (5.11 ERA in 14 AAA starts, 4.44 ERA in 18 MLB starts)
Ervin Santana (5.76 ERA in 150 innings)
Dustin Mosely (4.40 ERA in 92 innings, mostly relief)
Nick Adenhart (3.65 ERA in 163 innings for AA)

The Angels had a great rotation when Saunders and Santana were duking it out for the fifth spot, but now they'll serve as the team's 3rd and 4th starters. The 3-4-5 starters should get at least 6-8 starts a piece in Lackey and Escobar's absence. The Halos will be facing off against the Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers; plus two three-game series against Seattle in the month of April.

Besides the six games against the Angels and two games versus Cleveland, Seattle won't be facing any contenders within the first month, with the Rays being their stiffest competition. If Seattle can jump out to an early division lead, they could become the team to beat as Los Angeles plays catchup.
We needed some help to win the division, hopefully we can capitalize.


drivindave said...

the only thing I can do for them is give them Horam's phone # and say "see what we had to deal with last year?"
BTW whats up with Bedards starts? man he's tanking got me a little on the worried side.

Rob T. said...

I watched the game and those homeruns were pop ups. Don't worry he pitched fine.