It looks like I may have created a bit of a stir in the Angel community in my first “Give 'Em Halos” post by suggesting the Angels could be in trouble so early in the season. Angels fans are very committed to their team.
After all, 3 million of them show up to the Big A every season, they
cheer for a monkey and they support their team against what they feel
are out-of-control bloggers!
I love Angels fans.
much like the Hair Club for Men president, I don't just write about the
Halos, I'm also a fan. It's the fan in me that keeps whispering,
“Things are going to be okay, calm down.” The writer in me needs
proof. He sits on my other shoulder and begs for data. “If things are
okay, then prove it.”
So, I started digging. The fan in me was hoping to find some evidence that the Angels' 2-5 start wasn't unusual. Sorry Angels fans, it's unusual. This season's start is the worst for the Angels in the last ten years.
- 2000, 3-3, lost one series, won the other
- 2001, 3-3, lost one series, won the other
- 2002, 3-3, lost one series, won the other
- 2003, 5-1, won both series
- 2004, 4-2, won both series
- 2005, 3-3, won one series, lost the other
- 2006, 3-3, lost one series, won the other
- 2007, 5-1, won both series
- 2008, 3-3, lost one series, won the other
- 2009, 3-3, lost one series, won the other
- 2010, 2-5, lost both series
This season is the first in the last ten years in which the Angels lost both opening series. The writer sits on his Barcalounger, puffing his cigar, looking at the fan with a smirk.
A bad start, even the worst in the last ten years, is reason for concern, but no reason to panic. Even Torii Hunter agrees. “Your start is very important,” said Hunter. “We always want to get off to a good start. As hitters. As a team. But sometimes it doesn't happen. That's when you have to keep grinding and keep making adjustments.”
Adjustments–you hear that in baseball a lot. Changing up your release point if you're a pitcher, stepping up in the batters box if you are a hitter. Baseball is a game of adjustments. The Angels may need to make a few–none more glaring than at third base.
It's one thing to start slow, its another altogether to start slow when you are the heir apparent. The Angels let Chone Figgins go, in part, because they knew it was time for Brandon Wood to sink or swim. I never got the feeling they were all that confident in his ability to excel when they let Figgy go, but it was time to find out.
Remember when the Angels lost Mark Teixeira to the Yankees? Fans were told not to worry because we had Kendry Morales in the wings. The Angels were confident enough in Morales to let Tex go and to let us know what the plan was. When Figgy signed with the Mariners there was no word of support for Wood at all. He didn't win the job as much as back into it. While it's clear that the club's confidence in Morales was warranted, its becoming just as clear that the club's concerns about Wood were, too.
Other than Wood, the bullpen is the only real area of concern for the Angels. At this point, the the fan in me had had enough.
Starting pitching, hitting and defense are what wins games in baseball. The Angels are fine in those categories. Could they improve? Sure, but they are fine. The fan in me isn't overly worried about the team–but is concerned enough about Wood to concede that point to the writer.
In baseball, like in most sports, you are only as good as your last few games. Using that criteria, the Angels stink right now. No real point arguing that. Series wins against the Yankees and Blue Jays on the road however would do wonders for that perception. It could also help Wood to get out of Anaheim; maybe he is pressing too hard in front of the home fans.
So, let's take a collective deep breath, Angels fans. Sure, the media is going to fan the flame and work to get us all scared and worried. The truth is that there is no need for deep concern in Anaheim, is there?
Ignore the waft of smoke and that odd mocking laughter coming from the other side of the recliner.