Los Angeles Angels: Why Their Top 3 Starting Pitchers Are Better Than Giants’
In all honesty, pick your poison, because objectivity is like a hormonal teen wandering a candy shop of string bikinis.
A battle between the cute-girl-next-door appeal of Reese Witherspoon, or the sultry, seductive cat crazed, Megan Fox, is about to ensue and this my friends, isn't pretty.
My blushing beer goggles are on and I am positive, though dysfunctional and biased toward Halo Red-the Angels have the best three-man rotation in the game today.
That means, love potion aside, we stake the mighty claim over the Phillies and our cross state rivals, the Giants.
Since the 2002 World Series victory over Barry Bonds and company, the inter-league rivalry has become something for the ages. No longer does the ancient Dodgers/Giants rivalry composite a monopoly in California.
But now, Bay Area Brats and OC Tanites have reason for beef.
No team since 2000 in the great Golden state holds as many divisional championships, five, than the Angels.
Yet despite this fantastic modern day track record, the Giants are reigning World Series champs. Their run to world fame last year was one for the ages, watching as they with the power of pitching, mowed top teams like the Braves, Phillies and Rangers.
So in order to ascertain accuracy, I will battle between each team's one, two and three man, and tally the score in a pragmatic manner.
Jered Weaver vs. Tim Lincecum
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Jered Weaver has been the AL's version of a poor man's Lincecum for years.
During the last three seasons, Weaver has compiled a win/loss record of 43-26, with a 2.99 ERA, while finishing first in strikeouts last year.
This year the Angel ace has been brilliant.
A back-to-back All Star and the front-runner to win his first CY Young award this year, the 28-year old is having the best season of his young career at 14-6 with a 2.13 ERA.
Most impressive, is the way in which he's winning.
Wining with an Angels' team that ranks 22nd in runs scored while playing in a league of such depth is difficult; imagining he played for the Yankees, Red Sox or Rangers, arguably, the man would currently sit at 19-1.
His mid-90s heater blended with a hooking slider and stunning off-speed change up tantalizes hitters. But what is most impressive is his attitude and his fiery, Black Jack McDowell-like persona on the mound.
With that said, who can argue against Tim "the Kid" Lincecum? Is it that big smile filled with an adolescents crooked front teeth or the Shaggy Do hair cut that makes the man easy to like?
Maybe, its two CY Young awards and his utter dominate array of speed, a K-Rod like slider, hooking curve ball and back-handed change up.
Whatever it is, he's warranted the high praise.
Like a Mark Prior who never fanned out from injury, Lincecum is and always will be expected to outperform anyone in the league.
This season and last, injuries have lightly plagued the strikeout aficionado. Shoulder cramps are what have caused this season's mediocrity.
But for a man like Lincecum, mediocrity still stands at 11-9 with a 2.58 ERA. Leading the league in strikeouts the last three years, Lincecum for his career is 67-36.
Despite Weaver's better year and his ability to pitch in a deeper offensive league, it is hard to bid against a two time CY Young candidate and a man of Lincecum's abilities and playoff big game experience.
Giants 1, Angels 0...
Dan Haren vs. Matt Cain
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Sometimes what works best for a pitcher is his enormous stature and the man I am about to introduce is one of those lucky men.
Matt Cain, the premier second fiddle to Lincecum, stands at 6'3", 230 pounds, and at times rearing back and throwing close to the century mark scares men who choose to closely guard the plate.
It is fair to say this 26-year old would be the franchise face almost anywhere in all of baseball. Unfortunately, the man gets such little run support that a Facebook group called Get Matt Cain Some Run Support has been started and currently has 187 members nationwide.
The poor run support is the reason his stats don't jump out at you but please, don't be fooled!
At 36-28 the last three year's combined (including this year), Cain has a 3.01 ERA. His blow-it-by-you fastball has been the staple to helping him finish in the top ten in strikeouts the last two years.
This year the Angels are indebted to great pitching; there is no question about that. However, they are ranked No. 22 in runs scored with players like Torii Hunter and Vernon Wells struggling.
But so is the way of the Red Haren.
Dan Haren has given the Angels a top one-two punch this season.
The highly underrated nine year veteran and three time All Star, has been utterly brilliant at 12-6 with a 2.91 ERA. His timely play is a motivational x-factor that is making playoff baseball look like a realistic goal this season in Anaheim.
Like his foe Cain, if Haren had just average run support he'd currently sit somewhere around 15-3. We would be demanding his co-CY Young with his teammate Weaver and asking ourselves: Why have I not paid any attention to such a dominate force all these years?
For his career, Haren has played for poor offensive teams in Oakland, Arizona and the Angels, and despite that, is 103-80 with a 3.58 ERA.
The man is gifted with a grandmother's knitting junk drawer and is a consistent top ten finisher in strikeouts.
Despite both men being equal for most their careers, this year I have to give the hair of a nod to Haren.
Angels 1, Giants 1..
Ervin Santana vs. Ryan Vogelsong
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Billy Joel wrote: "Only the good die young," and sometimes that is so.
But in Baseball we're gifted with stories of the good not always being kin to youth but hardworking veterans, who quietly and humbly awaited their turn.
For 34-year old Giants pitcher, Ryan Vogelsong, that is the case. Out of the nowhere the long time relief pitcher is having a rookie of the year like season at 9-2 with a 2.48 ERA.
Having played for the Giants and Pirates over the course of a tattered eleven year career-Vogelsong before this year, had not played at the professional level for five.
Now, having outplayed names like one-time CY Young winner Barry Zito, hot and cold, no-hit throwing Jonathon Sanchez and last year's phenom, Ryan Bomgardner, the man child is prime for a chance at classically lock down Giants postseason baseball.
No enigma in all of baseball is more excitingly head- throbbing, deafening and disturbingly dramatic as Angels 28-year old Dominican Ervin Santana.
A man who pitches with reckless abandoned- including a love for both long and timely nail thin no hit performances and oft-classic three inning watermelon tossing event-cyclically bobs up and down like a yacht.
But when the man is on, he's on.
And when Ervin decides to be the guy who in 2008 quietly finished 16-7 with a 3.49 ERA and a third best 214 strikeouts, there are only three or four pitchers better in all of baseball.
This year the ship has been rocking, yet as of late it’s erotically prowess. Since starting the season 1-7, the red hot Dominican from June 27th on is 8-1 with a 1.54 ERA.
His performance, including three complete games in his last four and a no-hit performance on July 27th against the Indians, gives the Angels the much needed punch to insure their playoff survival into September.
The question is and always will be, how long will the league marvel in this Santana? That is obviously up to Ervin. But with this type of pitching there is no question whether or not the Angels NOW have a better three-man rotation than the Giants do.
Angels 2, Giants 1