The Los Angeles Angels Need To Replace Bats with Balls

Steve WaverlyContributor IJuly 11, 2009

ARLINGTON, TX - JULY 1:  Pitcher Jered Weaver #36 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim throws against the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark July 1, 2009 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Last night’s win against the Yanks notwithstanding, the next month is going to seriously test the mettle of the Angels. Hunter and Vladdy out means more pressure on...the pitchers.

The Angels are not going to outslug teams on a regular basis. They’re hitting better for sure—with the exception of Matthews, who is a stiff waiting to happen...oh, wait, it did happen! But Hunter is a huge loss and even Vladdy was coming around.

So Saunders, Weaver, and Lackey have to start throwing like the aces they’re supposed to be. 

Weaver has had an excellent season, but still shows the inconsistency of his youth. Saunders is going through a rough patch that the Angels can’t afford right now. What’s up, Joe? Didn’t think you had this long-ball-itis in you.

But please, STOP. Work harder, focus better, take a deep breath—and keep the ball low and off the plate. Or up and off the plate. But not OVER the plate. That’s not your game.

And what’s up with big John? If this is his last act as an Angel – and it probably is –  he’s not going out with a bang. Every time it seems he’s back, he gets rocked.

Who’s No. 1?

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Right now, nobody.

You might be wondering why no mention of Ervin “the ball’s coming out of my hand well” Santana. That’s because I want him gone. Invisible. Out of the picture.

Sure, he’s got talent. So do a lot of guys. But at the professional level, the difference between players is often between the shoulders. And that’s where Santana is soft.

Enough of him already. We saw this two years ago. He gets spanked like a little leaguer, then blames everyone else. At least with Lackey or Weaver you see their disgust when they’re throwing poorly, feel their anger at bad results. And while Joe doesn’t show emotions, he also doesn’t go around saying he’s doing fine when everyone knows he isn’t.

Get rid of Santana.

And in terms of Hunter and Vladdy, obviously no point in mourning their loss. Maybe, just maybe, this is the break Brandon Woods needed.

How to get him into the line-up is the question. Do you, as has been mentioned, move Figgy to the outfield and put Woods at third?

Tough call with the way Figgy’s been fielding. But if you do it, Figgy goes to left, Rivera to center, Matthews to the bench. Do anything—ANYTHING—to keep Matthews out of the line-up. The only bounce in his game is that silly bunny hop he takes heading back to the dugout after a groundout.