The August of the Fallen Angels

Hello friends, my name is Jeff. You might recognize me from Lookout Landing or Baseball Nation, or from being my mother, Mom. Beginning today, right now, I’m going to be doing a lot of writing over here, and I hope that we can get along famously. If we don’t, remember that it wasn’t my idea for them to hire me. People make mistakes. Now let’s talk about baseball.

I was nervous about starting over in a new place, so I was hoping that Dave would spoon-feed me an easy topic suggestion. Of all the things currently going on in baseball, perhaps the most fascinating scenario is unfolding in Anaheim, and that’s what I’m here to tackle now, as Dave came through in the clutch. Perhaps you’ve noticed that the Angels have fallen on their faces of late. Perhaps you haven’t! Considering what the Angels were supposed to be, this is worthy of some discussion, and then some more.

To make things easier, we can break this down into a few different sections.

The Problem
Baseball-Reference has a handy data point on its team schedule pages. It tells you when each team was the most games over .500, and for the Angels, they’ve peaked at ten games over .500 on July 31. After beating the Rangers that day, the Angels moved to 57-47, closing within three games of first place. I can’t express to you how convenient it is that the Angels began their slump upon the first day of a new month. Apparently the Angels felt bad for making things so difficult on analysts over the previous decade.

In August, the Angels have lost 13 of 18 games. They just got swept by the Rays, in four games at home to boot, and only three teams have a worse August winning percentage, one of which is the Astros, who for these purposes shouldn’t count as a baseball team. The Angels now are fighting to just stay over .500, and they’re closer to the Mariners in the standings than they are to a wild card slot. Not only are they looking up at the Rays and the Orioles — the A’s and the Tigers are also between the Angels and a one-game playoff to make the playoffs. This isn’t where the Angels were supposed to be, obviously.

The Cause
Whenever one talks or reads about the Angels’ slump, a common refrain is “how could that team be slumping, with all of those stars?” I don’t need to tell you but I’ll tell you anyway that the Angels have got Albert Pujols, Mike Trout, Mark Trumbo, Jered Weaver, Zack Greinke, and all these other guys who should be varying degrees of terrific. That the Angels have fallen apart just doesn’t make good sense.

But where you’d think this might be a team-wide problem, don’t go blaming the offense. In August, the Angels have averaged better than five runs a game, ranking fifth in baseball. They rank second in August wRC+, and the position players overall rank second in August WAR. The number-two offense in wRC+ should probably be better than the number-five offense in runs per game, but basically, if you’re looking for the reason behind the Angels’ slump, you won’t find it here.

It’s the run prevention. The Angels’ August run prevention has been pants-on-head insanely horrible. They’ve allowed eight more runs than the Indians, 25 more runs than the Rockies, and no other team is even in the triple digits. The rotation has an August ERA in the mid-6s. The bullpen has an August ERA in the low-7s. It was this very season that the Angels were supposed to have one of the best rotations ever, and then they added Zack Greinke. It’s all come apart at the wrong time. And the bullpen has been of no help.

The main problem? In August, the Angels’ pitching staff has allowed 36 homers. Nobody else has allowed more than 27 homers, and 36 is practically twice the league average. All of the Angels’ August starters have posted elevated home-run rates. Of course, this isn’t all you can blame; in terms of xFIP, the bullpen comes out okay, but the rotation still looks lousy. Greinke hasn’t pitched like he was supposed to pitch, C.J. Wilson looks a lot more like his 2010 self than like his 2011 self, and Dan Haren is a complete mess.

The Outlook
I don’t need to sit here and tell you that a lot of what’s been troubling the Angels lately is unsustainable. You’re FanGraphs readers — you get the significance of the numbers. The position players have been fine, and they’ve been outstanding as a unit for months. The Angels aren’t going to keep allowing home runs the way they’ve been allowing home runs, because that would be the stuff of legends. The Angels aren’t going to keep losing two out of every three ballgames, because they’re way too good to do that, and of course they look their worst if you just isolate a miserable slump and examine its numbers.

But think about the reasons you might expect the Angels to bounce back in a big way. It has to do with the talent, right? There is a lot of talent, but this all might call for a re-evaluation. Wilson is back to walking too many guys, ditching the gains he made a season ago. Haren is allegedly over the back pain that caused him some struggles, but it would appear that the injury took a toll on his regular mechanics, and now he’s trying to get back to his old, familiar delivery. In the meantime, his numbers have looked nothing like Dan Haren numbers, and we can’t take a quick return to form for granted. Greinke’s only started four games this month and already he’s walked or hit more guys than he has in any other month since June 2008. The name value of the Angels’ rotation is unbelievable. The actual value might be quite a bit less than that.

The good news for the Angels is that they’ve got opportunities ahead of them. They’ve got six more games against the Tigers, and seven more games against the A’s. They’re four and a half behind the Orioles, but I don’t think anyone’s going to accuse the Orioles of being uncatchable. On talent, the Angels could make up ground in a hurry. Just look at how quickly they’ve lost it. They still have a hell of an on-paper roster.

But if you’re a fan of CoolStandings, which you should be, the Angels’ playoff odds are down to about 11 percent, their lowest point since May 21. They were 65 percent at the beginning of the month. The division is just about unwinnable, meaning the Angels will have to desperately scratch and claw for a berth in a one-game playoff, where, who knows? It doesn’t matter so much that the causes of the Angels’ slump are largely unsustainable. The damage has already been done, and the damage was severe. Most slumps are unsustainable and the Angels slumped at a terrible time. If the Angels do end up missing the playoffs, I don’t think there’s a lesson to be learned with regard to making season projections. There would be a lesson to be learned with regard to how we consume them. Great things go awry. Just ask Mike Scioscia.

Print This Post

Jeff made Lookout Landing a thing, but he does not still write there about the Mariners. He does write here, sometimes about the Mariners, but usually not.

108 Responses to “The August of the Fallen Angels”

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
  1. Great, another typical hater piece form FanGraphs. Just wait until the Angels are stomping all over the rest of baseball. Haters.

    -323 Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. ThundaPC says:

    Aww…yeah, it’s Jeff!

    Good stuff on the Angels. Certainly, didn’t expect to see this happening. I would they could turn it around a post at least a respectable record the rest of the way. If not…ohh, I wonder what would happen should this team finish in last place?

    +14 Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. JimNYC says:

    Yet more proof that, no matter what “competitive balance” people say, throwing money at your roster isn’t a guarantee that you’ll make the postseason.

    +18 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Lukehart80 says:

      You’re right, we haven’t reached the point where money can equal success… but with continued effort, we can get there.

      The game is far better when some teams go into every season with a far better chance at winning than other teams.

      It’s the American way!

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • JimNYC says:

        By definition, some teams will go into every season with a far better chance at winning than other teams. That’s how sports work. Otherwise you might as well be playing roulette. I know that my alma mater has a zero percent chance of ever winning the NCAA tournament — among other reasons, the Ivy League forbids athletic scholarships — but that doesn’t prevent me from following college basketball and rooting on my school.

        +5 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Lukehart80 says:

        Yes, at the start of each season, some teams will have a better chance at winning than others, but baseball’s financial situation means that it tends to be the same teams year after year. Money doesn’t solve all of a team’s problems, but it does allow them to make mistakes that might cripple other teams for years.

        Smart drafting, wise free agency decisions, and strong player development, and a splash of old fashioned luck should be the factors that separate teams going into each season. As is, money is far too big a factor in the variance between teams.

        Also, nice name drop on the Ivy League. Even the analogy you present there is flawed though, because you don’t watch your school with the expectation that they’ll compete with UNC and Kansas, you simply hope they can compete successfully with the other teams in their conference, teams who play under the same scholarship restrictions as your alma mater.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Pat in Houston says:

        Take your redistributive economic theory back to the lecture hall and leave baseball alone.

        If parity for the sake of fairness is your thing, go watch the NFL, becauese its SOOOO interesting watching 30 equally mediocre teams “compete” for 16 playoff spots in front of tens of thousands of mouthbreathers all packed in to overbuilt, overpriced, corporate mausoleums.

        The economics and competitive balance in baseball is healthier than ever.

        Your revolution is over. Condolences. The bums lost.

        +13 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Pat in Houston says:

        Also, don’t judge me on my grammar. I’m busy.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Lukehart80 says:

        Don’t worry Pat, grammar isn’t my thing.

        I’m not looking for more playoff spots, I like that making the postseason is a greater accomplishment in baseball than in other major American sports. Just because baseball is a better sport than football does not mean there’s nothing about the NFL that could be instituted by MLB to improve the game.

        The NFL still has teams that are good for prolonged stretches of time, it’s not as though the league’s revenue sharing has turned the league into roulette, as Jim said, or that every team is, as you said, “equally medicore.”

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • TrappedInAfangraph says:

        I like your thinking, Pat in Houston.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • BenH says:

        Not to take sides, but Pat, I find your stark contrasting of the NFL and MLB extremely dubious. If you think it’s 30 mediocre teams, I must surmise you don’t watch football at all. Surprisingly, or unsurprisingly, I think both leagues have similar “amounts” of dynastic and anti-dynastic tendencies and very much for similar reasons. Just look at the Pirates vs. the Browns, or the Rays vs. the Lions. To top it off, you write with such a flourish about baseball being untouched by the greedy hands of the commercialism and corporatism that I just had to chuckle to myself.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • BenS says:

        I’ve got to go with BenH and say you don’t watch football at all. The difference is that consistently good teams in the NFL are built by the skills of coaching, roster management, and salary cap management, while many of those in MLB are built on being in a big enough market to have money to cover up your mistakes.

        Also, there are 32 (not 30) NFL teams competing for 12 (not 16) playoff spots. There’s a big difference in percentage of teams that make the NFL vs MLB playoffs with the 2nd wild card (NFL: 37.5, MLB: 33.3).

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Pat in Houston says:

        Even though I’m sure everyone has moved on, I thought I’d make a final, excessively protracted response:

        1) I certainly didn’t mean to imply that I thought MLB wasn’t greatly impacted by corporate influence. Rather, my “corporate mausoleum” comment was meant to point out that revenue sharing has a distinct effect on pro football – namely, the de-emphasis on the fan experience. When you are guaranteed an equal share of total revenue as your competitors, the incentive is to grow the total pot (endless TV commercials and time-outs, excessive corporate sponsorships, stadiums with excess capacity) rather than provide a great in-game expeience, which has resulted in most NFL games in most cities being devoid of atmosphere.

        2) The premise of my comment re: playoff entrants was severely flawed and out of place. But, if anything, the way in which MLB expanded the playoffs this year shows that you can make postseason innovations that increase interest in the regular season across more markets without resorting to salary/revenue restriction and redistribution – which leads me to my last point…

        3) The NFL’s salary cap and revenue sharing have been extremely successful at producing exactly what they were designed to produce: widespread parity (which I might call “widesphread mediocrity”). But I would argue that this regime rewards bad business, on and off the field, as much as it rewards good business. At the end of the day, everybody makes the same money whether they suck for 20 years or not (see: Jones, Jerry). Yes, the Pats, Steelers, and Ravens have had sustained success, but all of them have, more often then not, been bounced from contention by a one-off opponent. It may be true that in an NFL-style world, the Royals would have a better chance of making the playoffs and winning a title – but they’d also have a worse chance of sustaining greatness because every other team would have the same resources, regardless of how good their scouts are, or how smart their front office is, or how passionate their fanbase is.

        The Rangers were terrible for 40 years despite being situated in what has become the 5th most lucrative market in the country. Through good business practices they’ve now become one of the league’s model franchises. The Rays have now been in true title contention for 4 straight years, with no imminent end in sight. You just can’t convince me that the trite, old “Yankees/Redsox v. Pirates/Royals” dichotomy has never been less valid than it is now, especially when you compare MLB (no salary cap) to the NFL (salary cap and revenue sharing), the argument’s logical end.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Pat in Houston says:

        *”You can’t convince me the…dichotomy has EVER been less valid than it is now.”

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Antonio Bananas says:

        JimNYC, that was a nice way to say “I went to an ivy league school”. Which honestly doesn’t impress me. Probably a legacy silver spooner.

        Second, the NFL’s parity isn’t really all that much related to the cap. It’s scheduling. Your non conference schedule and I believe even your non division schedule is based on your w/l of the previous year. For example, if the Chiefs suck in 2009, and get moderately better in 2010, they play other suck teams but gain 3-4 wins off that. If they squeak out a few wins against teams they shouldn’t have beaten. Maybe that’s 5-6 more wins. A 5-6 more win increase is enough to be in contention, especially in a mediocre division. Of course in 2011 they have a “disappointment” of a season and lose a lot, which I credit mostly to a harder schedule and a few injuries.

        I do think baseball needs a cap and a minimum. It’s not necessarily actual parity that fans pay for, it’s PERCEIVED parity and fairness. The Patriots have been more successful over the 2000s than any baseball teams. However, at the beginning of the year, very few fanbases feel as hopeless as the Royals fans. I live in Springfield, MO. I’d give the Royals and Chiefs about an equal shot at winning a championship, but Chiefs fans are optimistic. Why? Perception.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • BenH says:

        Pat in Houston, I have read so excessively protracted comment. Nice essay! I believe you are right on many counts. Unfortunately I am not very driven to affinity with sports economics and so it would be silly to debate on a subject I don’t know of care much about at the moment, assuming there is something to debate and you didn’t just completely nail your argument. Just wanted you to know I saw your comment in the off-chance that you happen to be looking back here.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Timothy says:


      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Antonio Bananas says:

      Sure as hell helps though. Imagine if they DIDN’T have Pujols, Haren, or Wilson (in the long run, obviously Haren has been bad this year). More years than not, if you look at each division, the money floats to the top. I used to have every division standings with a corresponding payroll ranking next to it for the 2000s. I’m not going to go dig it up.

      Money can make up for mistakes.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. Congrats, nice start on Fangraphs, Jeff.

    I’ve also recently moved to a new job and also have recently started writing, so I’m sure it feels good to get the first one out there.

    Hmm, 11 percent. I thought after the collapse on Saturday, yesterday’s game would say a lot about the team’s state of mind. Giving up another giant lead early in the ballgame must be getting old pretty quickly in that clubhouse.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  5. Baltar says:

    I’m not a fan of CoolStandings as they overrate recent record in proportion to other factors (e.g, they rate the Rays at, I believe, over 75%).
    Still, the Angels chances are indeed dark. Where would they be without Mike Trout?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • JimNYC says:

      Still in 3rd place. So in a sense, Mike Trout has provided zero value this season.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Bike says:

        He’s garbage, essentially.

        +35 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Joe says:

        There’s a really good chance they are in last place without Trout. The Mariners aren’t as terrible as they have been the past couple of seasons.

        +7 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Pig.Pen says:

        Mike Trout? Guffaw indeed….can’t even get his team out of third place. What the Angels need is someone who is clutch.

        +19 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • dnc says:

        Trout’s been worth 7.2 fWAR. The Angels are 4 games ahead of 4th place.

        I don’t think it’s a certainty they’d be in last without Trout, but I’d say that’s more likely than not.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Miguel Cabrera says:

        Disqualify that guy from MVP discussion immediately.

        +23 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Radivel says:

        Trade him for Jeff Mathis!

        +22 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • jscape2000 says:

        Mike Trout= not as valuable to the Angels as 200 innings of league average pitching.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Westside guy says:

        Agreed. The Angels should just sell high on him to a team like the Mariners. They could get a nice veteran-y third baseman in return – a guy that hits well in Anaheim!

        +15 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • I was looking at the Baseball Prospectus playoff odds, but there’s something weird going on there where the Angels’ odds at the start of August didn’t look right.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Sandy Kazmir says:

      Not sure why you’re sour on the Rays, they lead the wild card and have as much talent as any team chasing them.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  6. Paul says:

    Good stuff Jeff. Offense has been very solid. But for the love of God why is Vernon Wells still getting starts?

    +9 Vote -1 Vote +1

  7. Wetzelcoal says:

    First data reference on fangraphs is to br. Way to go Jeff.

    +33 Vote -1 Vote +1

  8. Tex Pantego says:

    Said it in April…. Thin bullpen.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  9. Mom says:

    Great article, son.

    +101 Vote -1 Vote +1

  10. Rick says:

    Small sample size, but only the first two paragraphs sound like Jeff. I am looking forward to regression to the mean. Excellent information, but lacking the normal fun factor.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • I have to tread carefully at first because I don’t want new readers to literally die of shock. I don’t want to be a murderer!

      +49 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Alex says:

      I don’t know. I was pretty confident in this article’s authentic Jeffiness when I read the phrase “pants-on-head”. Is it a phrase if all the words are connected by hyphens? It’s more than just a word, so I would assume that makes it a phrase. I’m not aware of any middle ground there.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  11. Dominic Snyder says:

    Oh, fuck yeah. First Jeff Fangraphs article.

    +12 Vote -1 Vote +1

  12. Baseball Fan says:

    the #LAAngels might be the first team ever to have too many good players.
    -Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) March 26, 2012

    +8 Vote -1 Vote +1

  13. Urban Shocker says:

    “It’s the run prevention. The Angels’ August run prevention has been pants-on-head insanely horrible. They’ve allowed eight more runs than the Indians, 25 more runs than the Rockies, and no other team is even in the triple digits”

    I feel that the number of runs allowed by LAAofA should be mentioned in this group of sentences. 100 means very little to me if I don’t know the number to compare it to.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  14. WAR Invitational says:

    Welcome to FanGraphs Mr. Sullivan. Regrettably, you still have a lingering odor of SB Nation that permeates through your post. I do not doubt that a few stat showers and you’ll truly be one of us.

    It is interesting that the Angels and Giants are both having home run problems relative to where they pitch – all of the California teams can be characterized as playing in pitcher’s parks, but San Francisco is on pace to end in the middle of the pack for HR allowed despite playing in a weak division, playing their home games in what will be the most extreme HR killing park this year, playing without a DH, and playing further games in Chavez and Petco.

    The Angels play many games in Safeco and the Coliseum, also pitcher’s parks, against weak or middle of the road offenses. It is puzzling that two plus pitching staffs, with a home field that further empowers them and at least two other comparatively favorable parks, are suffering from the stigma of the HR.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • dan w says:

      He must not have heard about the required stat per paragraph ratio in his conversations with the dark overlord.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Noah says:

      The only regrettable thing about Jeff’s article is that he used less of his usual panache. It’s his blend of creative writing, and intelligent content that make him so worthwhile to read.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  15. This guy says:

    *Patiently waiting for more Jeff articles*

    +9 Vote -1 Vote +1

  16. Ruggiano's Pizza says:

    I said about month ago that the Angels were one of the most overrated teams in the league. Yay me. That’s a huge assumption that the hitting will continue when the pitching turns itself around. I fully expect a team that has been shut out 12 times will struggle again. That’s 10% of their games played folks.

    Then you have to look at their schedule. The only bad team they play is KC for 3 games. The only other sub .500 teams they play are the Red Sox (6 games) and Mariners (7). The other 22 games are played against playoff contenders (White Sox, Tigers, A’s & Rangers). I guess I could be charitable I could lump in Boston with the playoff contenders but they suck too much.

    They need to win at least 25 games to even sniff the Wild Card. There’s zero chance of them playing at a .657 pace with that schedule.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Inigo Montoya says:

      A scenario that (if I’ve done the addition correctly) has them going 25-15 over their remaining 40 (.625 winning percentage):

      Sweeping the 3-game series with the Royals, taking 4 of 6 from the BoSox and 6 of 9 versus the Mariners, going 4-3 in their 7 games with the A’s, splitting their 6 games with the Rangers, splitting their 6 games with the Tigers, and winning 2 of 3 against the ChiSox at home.

      It’s not very probable, but it wouldn’t be a miracle. (You have to go to Max for those.)

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Greg says:

      Your comment was painful to read. But instead of getting mad, I value what you said as realism. I hate to think that you are right, but you sadly will be. The Angels are my team, a team with a lot of talent, but lacking the heart, the refusal to lose that made the 2002 team World Champions. The 2002 team had nowhere near the talent on-paper of the 2012 edition. But consider that the 2002 Angels won 42 come-from-behind victories. They had a bullpen that, on paper should have been just okay, but instead played way over their heads.

      There is no stat for heart, grit or character.

      I tweeted with Dan Plesac of MLB about all this. He told me that from experience, pitchers have slumps just like batters do. That this is happening all at once seems like an anomaly, but it appears that talented pitchers like Jared Weaver simply wilt in the heat of the summer.

      Could we attribute the poor performance to having Chris Ianetta behind the plate for a lot of the August games instead of Bobby Wilson? Or has Mike Butcher pulled a Mickey Hatcher? As a fan, I can only speculate, and I am by no means an expert.

      I only know that it hurts. Coulda. Shoulda. Woulda.

      One last thought: Torii Hunter commented that it felt like someone had Voodoo Dolls of the Angels right now. And then, it struck me: The Goo Goo Dolls played at Angels Stadium this month. Coincidence? You decide.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  17. Sandy Kazmir says:

    Nice to see you over here Jeff. I agree that the Angels seem to bring more name cache than actual value right now, but it shouldn’t be all doom and gloom as there’s still time to back in.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  18. Wobatus says:

    Greinke has been awful since before the trade, when he had the 3 starts in 3 games for the Brewers sandwiched by the All-star break. There was talk his velocity had dropped. They then sklipped a start.

    Nice to see you on Fangraphs, Mr. Sullivan. Have enjoyed your writing elsewhere. I’m sure you will work in a volcano reference now and again.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Wobatus says:

      Strike that. Greinke’s results have been awful recently. He’s been walking more guys (as you point out) and has given up a lot of homers, but his k rate has been fairly Greinke-esque.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  19. noattention says:

    Congrats Jeff! Good read.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  20. McExpos says:

    Jeff at Fangraphs is awesome, provided he will still have access to lots of .gifs and it doesn’t cut into his time at LookoutLanding. Jeff is ours and you can have him for a couple of posts a week, BUT NO MORE THAN THAT.

    +10 Vote -1 Vote +1

  21. jim says:

    so i guess grant brisbee will soon become a fangraphs author as well?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  22. GFF says:

    No, Jeff, the problem is that LAAAA just has too many good players.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  23. pudieron89 says:

    Glad to see FG add another quality author. Will miss “week in worst” on SBN, which is now completely devoid of talented writers. Great job, Yellon!

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  24. Spike says:

    Well I used to think that “run prevention” included defense but I didn’t see any mention of defense in the article so I’m left a little unsure of what, other than an aberrant HR barrage allowed, did the article purport to say…

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  25. Spike says:

    other than that, good to have you aboard, Mr. Sullivan.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  26. FakeGrantBrisbee says:

    Just because Sullivan and I incorporate humor in our baseball posts does not mean that he and I are one in the same. Anyone can spout out numbers, but it takes a truly keen mind to find humor in baseball and to address it accordingly. So, basically, all Sullivan haters and naysayers of my work can go eat a dick 100% of the time. I heard you like percentages…Hating is easy. Creating entertaining articles covering a sport with more than its fair share of pedantic assholes is not. Suck it.

    +5 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Pig.Pen says:

      That’s neither a believable or terribly funny impersonation of Grant.A real or fake Grant Brisbee would have found someway to incorporate Matt Cain and Dr. Who into that paragraph.

      I say good day to you sir! Good day!

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  27. DodgersKingsoftheGalaxy says:

    I won’t forget you, guy who called into the radio nearly crying talking about how you called your wife just to say “Babe we did it! We got Pujols!” lol So what? That’s why you play the games.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  28. Bob says:

    I’m going to chalk it up to the manager and coaches. When Mickey Hatcher was fired, the team started hitting. It took injuries to Wells and Hunter to even get Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo into the lineup.

    On to pitching. Look at Fernando Rodney – last year under Scioscia/Butcher he was one of the worst pitchers in baseball. This year he’s a top 3 closer under Maddon. Wilson has regressed. So has Greinke.

    After a while, players tune out coaches. It happens all the time. Mike Scioscia has exceeded his sell by date. Time to move on.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • supershredder says:

      You may be on to something. I was thinking beyond the head coach, though. I blame the pitching coaches and, hell, maybe even the team’s catcher. Who the hell is catching for the Angels anyways?

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  29. sneaky_flute says:

    that team will truly be hilarious when trout comes down to earth.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Tucker McElroy says:

      Trout coming back down to earth. I’ve been hearing that since he was called up. …..Still waiting.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  30. bowie says:

    Right on, Jeff. I enjoy reading the articles that you occasionally write about baseball. They amuse and edify me.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  31. Bookbook says:

    So, The Angels Fangraphs sign Pujols the great Jeff Sullivan, but he fails to hit home runs split my sides in the early going. Heads will roll! Heads will roll!

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Bookbook says:

      All right. I can’t manage HTML tags. Please disregard ( or imagine appropriately placed strikethrough, and non strikethrough).

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  32. Peter says:

    Is there something to be learned from the Angels, Red Sox, and Phillies? Mega-collections of talent that just seem to… fail. Or should they all be viewed totally independently, with different causes and different outcomes?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Spike says:

      Phils had their 2 best players miss the 1st half plus CY pitcher miss a month.

      RedSox lost mvp runner up for 1st half as well as Crawford also still hurt and MIA. They also had major rotation implosion.

      Angels don’t have the injury excuse the others have. They should be much better than they are.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Antonio Bananas says:

        Phillies are old, Red Sox are old. Those two teams slumping really wasn’t an enormous surprise. Especially not in comparison to their division. Players past 30 don’t really get better, they usually get worse, and sometimes the drop is pretty steep in some years. You can add the Marlins to that group.

        I do agree that the Angels don’t have any excuses.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  33. Peter says:

    p.s. Very cool to see you here, Jeff!

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  34. jim says:

    The most interesting thing for Angel fans to focus on is which dumped former Angel will next turn into a star, like Napoli last year and Rodney this season… money is on Alexei Amarista, the second baseman sent to the Pads in the Frieri deal. By next year, he’ll be an All Star and Angel fans will wonder why we are are paying all that money to watch “future batting champion” Kendrick flail at pitches a foot outside with the bases loaded…..

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  35. Dorn says:

    Pumped to be able to read Jeff at Fangraphs. Now I don’t have to torture myself reading Mariners content just to get my Sullivan fix.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  36. Juan says:

    The Angels have always been a hardluck team ever since their
    origin, bless their heart. But, they’ve always had fabulous
    ownership/management who always tried to sign or trade for
    the players needed to win, but something always happens.
    In the 70’s they traded for Alex Johnson ( a one year
    wonder), Tony Conigliaro (who had not fully recovered from
    his eye injury), Nolan Ryan, Lynn Bostock (tragically killed
    during a road trip to Chicago), Rod Carew, Bobby Grich
    (who retired after verbally abusing his 3rd base coach,
    after Grich was tagged out at the plate, during Play-Offs),
    and Donnie Moore (who commited suicide), just to name
    a few. I am always pulling for the Angels, except when
    they play the Rangers, since I am a Gene Autry fan. Even
    with their bad luck, they have still managed to win a
    World Series. I just wish Gene was alive to enjoy it. And,
    they have always had the best ownership-management,
    and fans. I wish them all the luck.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  37. Erik says:

    I like how this article actually assumes that the Angels have a shot at the playoffs. They don’t. This team is done.

    Expectations were high, and there are some stars on this team for sure, but the talent of the organization is just not there.

    There are no homegrown pitchers capable of getting outs. Weaver can but he already has the big contract. Where are the arms from the minors who come up and fill in? Why are we running out the corpse of Jason Isringhausen with the bases loaded an 0 outs in a one run ball game in the 9th inning?

    There is a serious flaw with this team, and its the fact that you need a 40 man roster to win a division, not Jered Weaver, Mike Trout, Mark Trumbo, Albert Pujols and 36 replacement level players.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Nick says:

      40 games left my friend…A WC spot is certainly not out of the question.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Jason B says:

      “Jered Weaver, Mike Trout, Mark Trumbo, Albert Pujols and 36 replacement level players”

      Holy cow – CJ Wilson, Zack Greinke, Dan Haren, Torii Hunter, Kendrys Morales, Howie Kendrick – replacement level one and all. Whodathunkit?!?

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  38. Nick says:

    Great article! Nobody can disagree that the Angels pitching staff has played a HUGE role in our August demise! But one thing I can’t ignore is the fact that I see Vernon Wells in the lineup much more than he should be.

    Numbers don’t lie…and here they are:

    Before Vernon got hurt: Angels Record = 19-31.
    While Vernon was on the DL/Benched: Angels Record = 43-29.
    Since coming back (and playing): Angels Record 3-9.

    He’s batting .114 since coming back. We don’t have time for him to “try” and get back into an everyday role. Why is Scioscia experimenting with different lineups everyday and taking the bat out of Kendry’s hands??

    Scioscia, stick to what works…revert back to your lineup in July!

    Vote -1 Vote +1