Angels 16, Blue Jays 9 (3 games)
After falling behind early to the Blue Jays on Friday, I made the observation while listening to the radio broadcast that the announcers were losing the storyline — it wasn’t simply that the starting pitching had disappointed, or that the offense was ineffective, or that the hit-and-run mojo was non-existent, or that Brandon Wood was struggling (though that note was recapitulated throughout the weekend series). The vibe in the booth seemed to cross into the WTF?? frontier, and I sensed that the apprehension and stilted narrative reflected a suspicion that the Angels just weren’t going to be very good this year, but that no one could express things as such.
Then Jeff Mathis walked, stole 2nd and advanced to 3rd on John Buck’s throwing error, and scored on an Erick Aybar infield-single-because-of-a-drawn-in-infield. Et voilà, the Halos as little ball assasins stormed the play-by-play palace and order was restored.
Truly, a Kendry Morales home run and a few doubles didn’t hurt matters, but I’m not smart enough to explain in any other way the je ne sais quoi that explains — once again — this team winning more games than Pythagoras predicts. Last week we lamented the Angels’ league-worst running game. We’re in better territory now:
- The Angels rank 14th in baseball with 9 stolen bases thus far.
- The Angels rank 21st in baseball (tied with the Dodgers) with a 69% stolen base success percentage (9 for 13).
And a few days later, the Jays flew away to Kansas City having been swept. More surprising than the re-introduction of the running game during this series were impressive, efficient outings by both Joe Saunders and Ervin Santana. Maybe the starting rotation will be a strength after all. Let’s add an Ervin Santana ticker to the list of Metrics That Will Probably Indicate A Playoff Team.
Ervin Santana 200 innings/4 earned runs per 9 innings ticker — on pace for 230+ innings, 4.35 ERA.
Howie K .330/.450 ticker — currently hitting .340 and slugging .468.
E Aybar 35% get-to-first-base rate/100 runs scored ticker – reaching base 36% of the time and on pace to score 111 runs for the season.
Considering that the Angels wouldn’t be a playoff team if the season ended now, I may want to conjure up some additional metrics that reflect this (metrics that are as-of-now unfulfilled, in other words).