Tag:Anaheim Angels
Posted on: March 8, 2008 9:24 pm

Cactus League Report 3/8

Yesterday (Friday) we went to Mesa to watch Seattle play the Cubs. Here are some observations:

  • Mesa Stadium is the largest of all the Cactus League parks, and it's always packed. Today was no exception.
  • Ted Lilly started for the Cubs and he promplty walked Ichiro and Yuneisky Betancourt hit a bomb to give the M's a 2-run lead. But Lilly settled down from there on and didn't allow another baserunner in his three innings of work.
  • I was looking forward to see Kosuke Fukudome play and fortunately Pinella put in the game. Actually, it was a pretty good lineup, with all the starters in except Soriano. The Mariners did likewise, with Adrian Beltre being the one notable absence.
  • With Ichiro and Fukudome on the same game, the Japanese media was out in full force for this game.
  • Fukudome showed good line drive power when he doubled to left center in the first inning:

  • Carlos Silva started for the Mariners. He looked a bit overweight and his pitches looked like they barely hit 80mph. Since his fastball can get anyone out, he really has no margin for error. If his control is not great, he's in trouble. At least Seattle has a good defense and big park. Still, I don't want him anywhere near my fantasy team.
  • Silva escaped some trouble in the first inning, settled down and then got hit hard in the 4th. When the dust settled he had allowed 4 runs, two of them on a 2-run shot by pinch hitter Daryle Ward.
  • Brad Wilkerson is now with Seattle. A few years ago I thought he was going to become a superstar with his combination of power and speed. I guess that will never happen now.
  • R.A. Dickey looked fantastic in 3 innings of relief for Seattle. I don't know how many pitches he threw, but it couldn't have been much more than 20. He had some sort of screwball looking pitch that was breaking in the wrong direction for a right handed. It was much too fast to be a knuckle ball, but whatever it was it kept the Cubs hitters from making solid contact.
  • Dickey of course is the player born without a ligament on his elbow. So if he can pitch without one, how come all these other pitchers can't pitch when they tear theirs?
  • Richie Sexson looked pretty bad. He struck out twice and didn't seem to be getting good swings at all.
  • Today's "Wow he's still around?" player is JD Closser who came in to catch in the late innings. How many catches have come out of the Colorado system with a lot of promise and have not panned out?
  • Carlos Marmol pitched the 9th for the Cubs which may or may not say something about his chances to be the Cubs closer. Managers in spring training usually bring their top relievers early on in the game to insure that they face top hitters, not the triple A fodder that typically bat in the 8th and 9th innings.
And today (Saturday) we went to Tempe to watch the Giants play the Angels
  • Now, I consider myself to have a good knowledge of young prospects, but I must say that the lineup the GIants threw out there stumped me. Maybe it was the Fresno Giants that showed up.  Eugenio Velez started at 2B, Travis Denker at 3B, Clay Timpner at CF, and Brian Bocock at SS. I've never heard of these guys.  If those were the starters, who came in after?  Well John Bowker, Travis Ishikawa and Steve Holm.  Never heard of them either.  Yes it was a split squad, but still, that is ridiculous.
  • And the recognizable names were either has been (Aurilia, Durham) or never will be's (Fred Lewis, Rajah Davis, Eliezer Alfonso).
  • Meanwhile, the Angels had a murderers row by comparison: Figgins, Matthews, Guerrero, Anderson, Hunter, Kotchman, Kendrick, Napoli, Aybar.
  • Joe Saunders started for the Angels and quickly got in trouble when he allowed a single by Davis.  He had him picked off first, but Kotchman's throw hit the runner and went into centerfield, allowing Davis to get to third.  Davis then scored on a sac fly by Velez:
  • Brad Hennessey started for the Giants and was effective.  The Giants pitching is much better than their hitters, so he's not assured of a starting job. 
  • Runners had problems all game long.  4 players were picked off in the game, including Denker who got himself picked off from third with one out.  Guess what Travis, your odds of making the team, which were around zero coming in, just went negative.
  • Gary Matthews (below) started at DH while Garret Anderson played left.  I figured that Matthews would play the OF most nights while Anderson, Guerrero and Rivera take turns at DH.  Not that it really matters as all 5 OF should get enough playing time to get over 500 ABs each. 
  • The Angels brought in a true side armer to pitch in the middle of the game.  Didn't catch his name because the PA system at Tempe stadium sounds as good as the local McDonalds drive thru speaker and the scoreboard dates around 1950 and no one's ever replaced a burned light bulb.  But anyway, it's always cool to see someone do things differently, it's what makes this such a great game.
  • Ray Durham hit a bases loaded double that scored 3 runs.  Rajah Davis showed some speed by scoring from first on the play as the ball wasn't hit that hard and didn't even get to the warning track.
  • Somehow these crappy Giants managed to take a 6-3 lead on the Angels. But it didn't last as their bullpen blew it and allowed the Angels to tie the score in the 8th.  The game ended in a 6-6 tie.
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