Mark it on the calandar, the Angels have won 2 in a row. I’m not quite sure if the Halos have turned a corner, but they’re definitely on the right track. With that, there are quite a few interesting developments happening or bound to come up with this team.
First off, Jeff Weaver. Jeff had a decent start today. There still was a home run hit off of him, as well as two shots that probably would have been if the wind hadn’t been in Jeff’s favor. Going by this start, you can’t justify removing him from the rotation. It was a start you’d expect out of a number 5 starter. I still believe that he’s on a short start-by-start leash, because he’s gotta do more than have one decent start. His next start is against the Twins on Tuesday. It’s a lesser lineup, but the staff is better than the competition Texas put out. Hey, at this point I’m just hoping for an effective start. Not $9 mil effective, but just effective.
Next, Kendry Morales. In our desperation, lets not be too quick to hail him as the savior of the lineup. Yes, I think he’s going to be a good hitter, maybe even a great hitter, but he’s going to go through the ups and downs that most rookies go through. The difference will be his experience with the Cuban National Team, in my mind. At 22, he’s probably more apt to deal with the pressure than alot of people his age in his position. In the near future, maybe by August or next year at the latest, he’s going to become viable protection for Vlad, along with Mike Napoli. Next year, I project that you have Garret batting 3rd, with Vlad hitting behind him as protection, followed by Morales and Napoli. Garret to benefit more by having Vlad behind him as opposed to having Morales.
Next, Darin Erstad. He’s probably 2 or so weeks away from returning. For better or for worse, he’s going to get his spot in the lineup back. The question is; what happens around that? His return is going to affect 3 people mainly; Figgy, McPherson, and Murphy. The most likely scenario is Figgy moving back to third base on a more full-time basis, with McPherson becoming a DH against righties, and Murphy going back down to the minors. This all depends on McPherson’s performance. If he keeps hitting, like he has been, then his value far exceeds what Murphy has. However, if D-Mac starts to struggle again, Murphy becomes the better option. McPherson’s only asset is his power bat. He’s an average fielder, and baserunner. If he doesn’t provide power, then his use is lost. Murphy on the other hand, can be used as a defensive replacement in the outfield, a pinch-runner, and a bunter. I like Murphy, as a utility outfielder, I like him more than Juan Rivera.
Next, Jered Weaver. The kid is just on right now. He is as hot has anyone can be at the moment. Is he ready to be called up? Most likely. Is he going to be called up? Maybe. The situation has to be right. If Jeff struggles in his start against the Twins, then yes, we will see Jered strike a blow for little brothers everywhere sooner rather than later. Alot of people say to call him up into Bartolo Colon’s spot in the rotation as opposed to Kevin Gregg. I don’t quite agree with that approach, given this "What if". We already know that Colon is going to come back, probably within the next 3 or 4 starts. What if Jeff Weaver picks it up during that time? What are we going to do with Jered once Bart comes back? Sending him back down is going to be a break in his rhythm. If he’s going to come up, lets have it be for good. If older brother Jeff falters, yes, bring him up. If (god forbid) a pitcher has a serious injury, bring him up. But not -right now-.
Finally, Bill Stoneman. I was listening to my favorite sports talk radio show out here in LA, the Big Show with Steve Mason and John Ireland, and Mr. Stoneman was getting tore up by the callers. My word to those callers is ‘ease up’. You don’t just call for the head of a GM who’s brought you a world series and back to back division championships just because of the start we’ve had. Look at the standings, we’re only 4 1/2 out as of right now. Sure, ok, he couldn’t get Paul Konerko. To be honest, Paul made the best decision he could have. A comparable offer to ours to go back to the the world champs? Why turn that down? Ok, he didn’t trade for Manny Ramirez. The Red Sox wanted names like Santana, Kendrick, Wood, and Morales. No effin way. Sure we’re going to have to part with one or two of these prospects to get a power bat at the deadline, but at least now we have a gauge on them. Besides, I’ve mentioned it before, I think the problem has been Hatcher’s approach to hitting. Now, he’s finally preaching a little bit of patience, and guess what, they’re hitting. It’s all going to come in time. Now that they are hitting, the pressure going to start coming off of everyone to hit that 5-run homerun. It should snowball (in a positive way) from there. And if that happens, there’s no reason we can’t take this division.