Monday, January 14, 2013
The Los Angeles Angels OF Anaheim will not win the American League West in 2013.
I capitalized the ďofĒ because of the ginormous outfielder (OF) the Angels landed in free agent Josh Hamilton.
Hamilton will bat behind Albert Pujols and somewhere in the ballpark of the Angelsí wunderkind Mike Trout and offer the rest of the American League a murdererís row lineup on paper.
But they will not win.
I offer two scenarios for the Angels in 2013. The first is that Hamilton tanks royally, gets hurt sometime in early April, or after an ďo-ferĒ like Pujols pulled last year, and wrecks a knee before Memorial Day.
The second offers Hamilton, Pujols and Trout doing their imitation of the U.S. Army being all they can be and running away with the AL West. They clinch by Labor Day and coast through September waiting for the Oakland Aís to scramble and win the wildcard on the seasonís last day. The Angels lose their fizzle because they clinch so early and once again Hamilton tanks in the playoffs.
The Halosí pitching is revealed to be the teamís Achilleís Heel in a short series and Tommy Hanson shows why the Atlanta Braves gave up on him after just three seasons.
The Angels will not win. The Texas Rangers didnít win with Hamilton, though they came close in 2011 perhaps despite him. Opposing pitchers will see the likes of Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols four times a game on average and in a playoff situation I wouldnít throw either of them anything marginally resembling a strike.
If theyíre going to hit one out on me theyíre going to need either a 9-iron or a croquet mallet because the ball will be in the dirt.
Iíd walk Pujols and Hamilton every time they step up to the plate all season long. Iíll take my chances with them both on first and second. Iíll even walk the bases loaded and take my chances on the next guy.
I chuckle at the pitchers who try to man up and put one by these two guys. Donít do it. Take four and put the pressure on the next guy.
That said, if the Angels make the playoffs, the way Bud Selig has the post season configured still does not favor the big bucks winners. This past season was supposed to favor the teams with the best records, but those teams Ė the Nats and Yankees were both sent to the showers early. In 2011 it was the Phillies and Yankees who failed to advance.
Teams with the gameís best records usually coast during the month of September and are therefore flat come playoff time. Momentum is not something you can flip on and off like a light switch.
I donít have to remind you what happened to the Colorado Rockies who were hot and had to win every game just to make the playoffs in 2009 only to win too soon and wait and watch the other teams battle it out.
Look what happened to the Detroit Tigers this past season. They were hot and swept the Yankees then got rusty waiting for the Giants and Cardinals to decide matters in the rain.
The Giants have won two of the last three World Series because pitching always wins in the cold and rain. You canít hit when your hands have been rendered to so much sawdust.
Thatís why the Angels wonít win.
Not only will their big sticks not hit, opposing pitchers wonít let them.