I Always Hate Playing the Angels

I don’t know what it is, but it’s never fun. Oh, maybe it’s the 27-35 record the Blue have against them, including dropping 5 of 6 last year. That could be it. Also, if I’m not mistaken, it was a game against them last year where James Loney almost destroyed his career on the right field wall. (Edit: I was right. And it was adding injury to insult, as it was the 8th inning of a 10-4 Angels win).  Anyway, ESPN actually gives some pub to the West Coast rivlary – and it only takes them 20 seconds to include the not-played-out-at-all “Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of…” bit! At least Tim Kurkjian gives the Dodgers some respect, saying it could possibly be a World Series preview, and saying he actually spoke to a scout who said, “you know the Dodgers are going to win the division by six games.” Actually, I didn’t know that, but I’d be more than okay with it.

[vodpod id=ExternalVideo.553191&w=425&h=350&fv=] from sports.espn.go.com

Let’s do a bit of a roundup of things on a variety of topics.

Luis Maza made his major league debut, and minorleaguebaseball.com has a short profile on him:

Luis Maza, IF, Los Angeles Dodgers

CALLED UP: Contract purchased from Triple-A Las Vegas when SS Rafael Furcal went on the DL.

DEBUT: May 14 in a 6-4 win against Milwaukee. A late-game insertion on defense at shortstop after starting shortstop Chin Lung Hu was pinch-hit for, he did not bat.

NOTES: In his 11th pro season without making it to the Majors, the 27-year-old Maza finally got the call from the 51s. With Las Vegas, he was hitting .402 (.472 against left-handers) and had played second, third, shortstop, left and right field. Ironically, he wasn’t even the team’s leading hitter at the time (that honor went to third baseman Terry Tiffee and his .430 average). But while Tiffee strictly profiles as a corner infielder and left fielder, Maza’s middle infield versatility worked in his favor. Originally signed by Minnesota out of Venezuela in 1997, he was a .273 career hitter coming into 2008. He spent his first nine years moving up the Twins’ ranks before signing with the Dodgers in 2007 as a Minor League free agent.

If you saw his start against Milwaukee yesterday, you’ll know that it won’t matter if he’s hitting .402 or .902 – we need him to never be at shortstop ever again. I’ve never seen a shortstop with such a weak arm, to the point that the Milwaukee broadcasters were trying to figure out what he was even doing in the majors.

When did we sign Mark Bellhorn? Rotoworld has this:

Mark Bellhorn debuted for Double-A Jacksonville on Thursday and went 2-for-2 with a walk.
Bellhorn didn’t hit for the Padres in 2006 and he received just 11 at-bats with the Reds last season, so he faces an uphill battle to get back to the majors at age 33.

Bellhorn had one excellent season (27 homers, .512 SLG, and a 133 OPS+ for the 2002 Cubs), one good season for a champion (17 homers, 82 RBI, and 107 OPS+ for the 2004 Red Sox).. and at no point in his other 8 full and partial seasons has he even been within 20 points of league average in OPS. He started 2006 as San Diego’s regular second baseman, and was cut after putting up a solid .190 in 253 at-bats. He’s mainly a 2B/3B, but he’s played every position on the diamond. Let’s hope we’ll never need him.

Finally, I have a lot respect for Tony Jackson of the Daily News,  but I couldn’t help but chuckle when I read this, in an article about Dodgers hitting coach Mike Easler helping Juan Pierre:

Pierre, whose last home run came with the Chicago Cubs in 2006, will never come close to the 118 jacks Easler hit in his 14-year career. But that doesn’t change the fact that at times when Easler looks at Pierre, it’s as if he is looking into a mirror.

“I remember going through exactly what he has gone through this year,” Easler said. “I remember one year (1982), leading the (Pittsburgh Pirates) in this, that and the other, and then I open the ’83 season on the bench. I couldn’t believe it. I did some things kind of like him. I pouted a little bit.

Mike Easler was a very good hitter in this day, putting up a 111 OPS+ or better in each of the seven seasons in which he got 339 at-bats or more. (Which sort of makes him not even a little bit like Juan Pierre, doesn’t it?)  Not that anyone here really wants an in-depth examination of the 84-78 4th place 1982 Pittsburgh Pirates, but Easler led them in exactly.. zero offensive categories. No, really: not even a single one.

Finally, and most hilariously… the picture on the front of today’s Fire Joe Morgan post? Yeah, that was me. Took it with my phone in a bodega on 9th Ave in New York City the other day.

- Mike Scioscia’s tragic illness msti-face.jpg

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