The Declarer (Floyd McWilliams' Blog)

Sunday, April 18, 2004

The A's just won their first series against the Anaheim Angels, two games to one, and I have to say: This is it? This is the new all-conquering Angels team that came out of Arte Moreno's checkbook?

My impression of the 2004 Angels was formed by two very similar at-bats from the first two games of the series. On Friday Tim Hudson was superb until the eighth inning, when he loaded the bases. In came Ricardo Rincon, left-handed reliever, who got Darin Erstad out on three pitches. Erstad flailed at the last pitch even though it was low and about a foot and a half off the plate.

Then the next night there was a similar at-bat by A's DH Erubiel Durazo (which I mispronounce as dur - RAHT - zo for bridge geek related reasons). Durazo faced Jarrod Washburn with two out and the bases loaded. He swung at a bad pitch, swung at a bad pitch, and then chased a ball low and way outside for strike three.

Now my point is that this is scarcely an even exchange; it's one that bodes very poorly for Anaheim. Erstad is the #2 hitter and an Angel star. Durazo is somebody that Billy Beane likes because he has a high on-base percentage and is fairly cheap. Washburn is a member of the Angels' rotation, Rincon just a left-handed setup man.

Durazo and Rincon combined salaries: $3.85 million
Erstad and Washburn combined salaries: $13.2 million

Angels fans are living in a dream world where their 0.500-caliber team will always perform as well as it did when it got hot and won the 2002 World Series. Now that Moreno splurged for pitcher Bartolo Colon and slugger Vladimir Guerrero, they think that the Angels will run the table in the American League West. But Anaheim is still way behind in pitching. Mulder, Hudson, and Zito are all better pitchers than Colon, who had a 3.87 ERA with Chicago last year. Washburn, the Angels' #2 starter, looked horrible on Saturday and was lucky to escape with a win.



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