Monday Morning Manager…Desert Days

So it may be safe to say that Angels manager Mike Scioscia went all in for this one. That’s the only way to interpret it after he went with both Ervin Santana and Jeff Weaver on three days rest for their series against the Rangers.

That was the big story of the series unless you were watching the World Wide Leader on Sunday night and then it was all about the heat. Apparently it turned hot in Texas on Sunday night.

Who knew. Certainly they did. ESPN brought what looked like an atomic powered air conditioner to the Ballpark in Arlington on Sunday night and sealed off the local TV booth that normally houses Tom Grieve and Dave Barnett.

Apparently ESPN has turned to cyrogenics or was trying to keep the talent out of the heat, leaving all first-hand observations to the sideline reporters. Tough work here in the desert.

“Those fields of daisies we landed on, and dusty fields and desert stretches. Memories of many skies and earths beneath us – many days, many nights of stars.”Anne Morrow Lindbergh.

But anyway, the Angels took their best shot and the Rangers took two of three, improving their lead to three games in a division that still threatens to go down to that last three-game series in Anaheim at the end.

By then maybe the Rangers will have a lineup that includes both Nelson Cruz and Adrian Beltre, and maybe their starting pitchers will no longer be answering questions about fatigue, which only Matt Harrison has admitted to at this point.

Maybe also the weather will have broken by then and October baseball will be played in October weather. When did 105 become the norm around here?

Certainly September has to be better. They are fixing their roofs on the East Coast after Irene paid a visit while in Texas we’re all worried about the foundations.

And the pitching.

1. Did Mike Scioscia do the right then in moving Weaver and Santana up on three days rest?

2. Are the Rangers doing the right thing by going with C.J. Wilson every fifth day to the end.

3. Is Harrison your biggest concern about the rotation?

4. What is your take on Nelson Cruz?

5. How much of a setback was it in retrospect not having Adrian Beltre?

8 Comments

1. Did Mike Scioscia do the right then in moving Weaver and Santana up on three days rest? If I was LAA, I would put my 3 best up at the guys you are chasing—the Rangers have been back on their heels, and the Angels have been streaking, so I’d say Scioscia did the best he could. That is PRIOR to the actual result, which didn’t turn out…..PRIOR to the series, a great idea. In retrospect, not a good decision.

2. Are the Rangers doing the right thing by going with C.J. Wilson every fifth day to the end? Yes. He is the best conditioned pitcher, but 106 can ruin many a well-conditioned athlete. I think C.J. is fine. Keep him every 5th day.

3. Is Harrison your biggest concern about the rotation? No. It’s Ogando, Harrison, Colby, alot of Dutch’s starts, AND Harrison. I think Tommy Hunter would have been preferable over Feldman. I remember last year very well, and Hunter started a horribly hot 100 degree DAY game with Tampa Bay, and beat them like 5-1…….something like that. Hunter is a gamer. Not sure what Feldman can give or his durability.

4. What is your take on Nelson Cruz? He won’t go on the DL, but I fear he’ll be out a month. He’s streaky and was on a tremendous streak. Replacing Beltre right away after a month, won’t be a good trade there. We are fortunate that Murphy and Josh seem to be getting hot now.

5. How much of a setback was it in retrospect not having Adrian Beltre? Since he was #2 in RBI’s in the League, I’d say it was huge. I feel his defense alone would have been the difference in 4 games, and his bat, another 2 or 3. When they reached 20 games over .500, I pondered life going okay without him, but when Trum-bum hit the 2-run homer in Anaheim to start their run, I wished Beltre could be back so we could be at full strength. The way it is now, we’ve been just listing and coasting and vanishing at the plate with Beltre out.

1. Don’t know. Not qualified to judge.
2. Yes.
3. Not really concerned.
4. Distressed.
5. Major.

1. — Mixed results: worked out on Saturday, didn’t work on Sunday.
2. — The whole rotation has been pretty erratic the past month – CJ’s probably the most reliable of the group (and he’s had some bad games too) – but what other choice do they have? Call up Eric Hurley? Brett Tomko? Martin Perez?
3. — All of the Rangers pitching is a concern, CJ Wilson, Alexi Ogando and Derek Holland have been inconsistent since the All-Star Break. Colby Lewis has an ERA of almost 5 (4.91) for August, and Matt Harrison has not been stellar either. Of course, the bullpen is still a big question mark every night – will they be good or will they be awful – and that applies to every pitcher in the pen.
4. — Much like Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz is injury prone, but when he’s on is an excellent player. If the Rangers plan on keeping both them of them (and they should) then the roster will have to be constructed with 4th OF who is less a backup and more of an everyday type.
5. — There’s something wrong with the offense that I can’t quite figure out, much like the pitching staff they are inconsistent. Maybe having to come from behind so often changes their approach at the plate. Not sure it’s because Adrian was out of the lineup. Overall, the best description of this entire Rangers season/team has been inconsistent.

1. Hard to argue with anything that Mike Scioscia does
2. Why not but he better be up to it.
3. Colby Lewis is starting to look quite ordinary
4. This looks like it will be another long one.
5. They miss his defense

1. He recognizes what most Rangers fans don’t seem to. The Angels are chasing the Rangers and a great way to catch them is to beat them. So, you put your best out there and that’s what he did. Even though he lost 2 out of 3, he is still in good position at 3 games back to make a move if his team can stay hot.
2. What is the other option?
3. The ability to overcome fatigue is my biggest concern.
4. Get well soon Nelson! We need you for the stretch run.
5. Beltre was a huge part of this lineup. It hurt to lose him. Can’t wait until he returns.

Stay the course! We are almost there.

1. Scioscia is one of the premier managers. He indeed went all in….I hope I would have had the courage to do that if I were in his position.
2. I don’t know….I think he needs some rest but as was said above…what’s the option.
3. I don’t think in recent memory our staff has ever stayed this healthy this long….as I said last week when I pointed out the innings comparisons for last year and this….I’m concerned.
4. Cruz’s hamstring was never given time to fully heal up…if we had treated him like Beltre he would just now be getting healthy. But lwhere would we havebeen?
5. Never was a Beltre fan but there’s no doubt he helped when he was available….I’d love to know the split on How we hit with him in the lineup vs him out. I think he makes everyone else abit better…good chemistry. BUt that said people stepped up, Michael Young played a good 3rd base….We were fine.

It’s “tough sledding” now in the shank of the season….litterally do or die time. Do you want to play in October?

1. Oh, the ways I could answer this question… as a Rangers fan, of course he did the right thing! Anything that deprived the home team the pleasure of beating a Cy Young hopeful would have been a travesty. As a baseball fan, there are a host of questions raised by Soscia’s maneuver. Is it really better to lose two of three (as opposed to three of three) when you risk jacking up two of your prized bulls going in to the last month of the season? I don’t know, but if I’m managing the Angels, I’m going to sacrifice this series (and maybe catch some lightning with a rookie) for the sake of keeping everybody in routine for the final three games of the season. Can’t blame Soscia for trying, though…

2. Well… yes and no. CJ will be happy because he is a massive competitor and it shouldn’t throw off his routine any. I’m a little concerned about what happens if he doesn’t get extra rest, but he is a really tough guy who likes the heat… so we will see.

3. Not really. The entire rotation is looking shaky right now. If Feldman can shoulder some of the load and give a couple guys days off, I think it will definitely help get things rolling in the right direction again. Last year, Andy Pettite (one of the most dominant left handers of all time) threw about 135 innings between the regular season and about 10 in the post season. Right now all five of our main starters have thrown a minimum of 150 innings. Getting a sixth hand involved wouldn’t be bad.

4. …… here we go again. Part of me wouldn’t mind seeing Cruz dealt this winter for a “legitimate ace” (overused phrase alert). He’s fairly injury prone (surprise, surprise… the man’s a Clydesdale trying to run like Mustang), and even after proving he is “big league ready” he is still proving to be horrendously streaky. With Chavez reemerging, Gentry starting to swing the bat, Leonys Martin competing for the lineup next year, Joey Butler looking more and more like he might be on his way up and David Murphy probably being available for a decent price, I don’t see Cruz being a “necessity” next year… as much as it pains me to say.

5. How much? I think the only reason the Angels had a chance to come back on August 18th (ie, the game that got them rolling and the Rangers slipping) was because the offense couldn’t put the game out of reach. Trumbo’s home run means almost nothing if the Angels need 6 runs to win. Imagine what might have been if the Rangers complete series sweeps in Anaheim and Arlington. Just those two games would have the Rangers up 5 games right now instead of three–and the national media saying that the Rangers just need to “Cruz” (pun thoroughly intended) into October. I’m looking forward to getting Beltre back.

1. I would have done the same thing. If the Angels win the series, they have a lot of momentum to overtake the Rangers in the standings. They are both pitchers in their prime and should be able to take a start on short rest.
2. I would give CJ some rest where he can as well. He’s only in his second year as a starter.
3. I’m concerned about the whole rotation about equally.
4. He needs to learn how to stretch out a hamstring before games.
5. It would have been a much bigger impact had we traded MY this last off season.

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