THE GAME: Angels vs Rays
One summer night near the end of the last decade, the Angels ran out a lineup that looked like this:
This morning, the Angels lineup looks like this:
Today is a day game so Pujols is getting the day off. Well deserved. He hasn't had a day off since... well, Sunday.
Also, he's a DH with a .296 on-base percentage. What the fuck does he need a single day off for, let alone two in a 5-day span? Those four times a week he has to walk 90 feet to first base? 26 million dollars doesn't buy what it used to.
(I suppose it's possible that Trout is getting the day at DH so that he doesn't have to run around on the awful astroturf, but that raises another question: Is Pujols now at the point of his career where he can only DH? I'm afraid so. I always knew the second half of his contract was going to suck... I just thought the first half would have enough good moments to temper that sucking. I was wrong.)
Alex Meyer was supposed to take the mound for the Angels today, but, you know, he's an Angels pitcher, so he just went on the DL, joining Richards and Skaggs. And Heany and Tropeano. And Bedrosian, Street, Bailey and Morin.
Jesus, it's depressing when you write it all out.
So Daniel Wright has been called up from AAA to make a spot start.
This could be one ugly game.
But I'm not working today - a five-day weekend sounded nice - and bad baseball is still better than no baseball... or the NBA conference finals... so why not? Breakfast and baseball.
NOTES ON THE FOOD:
- I've mentioned that my local butcher has some of the best meatloaf and meatballs I have ever had. They also make the best chorizo. So I bought a half-pound and cooked it in the wok before draining the grease - a beautiful orange grease unlike anything I've ever seen - and set it aside.
- Trader Joe's makes the best frozen hash browns. But I didn't have any of them; all I had was this bag from Ralph's. Still good, though.
- I layered hash browns into the bottom of my frittata pan - yes, I have a frittata pan - and topped it with the cooked chorizo.
- Next, I took some goat cheese and sprinkled it on top. Melted, creamy goat cheese is a wonderful contrast to salty, spicy chorizo.
- And then another layer of hash browns on top of all that.
- I covered the pan and baked it in the oven for 30 minutes, flipping it once midway.
- It was spectacular. It was also way too much food... but I ate it all anyway. I probably gained a pound, but it was well worth it.
NOTES ON THE GAME:
- The Angels announced pregame that Brooks Pounders has been optioned to AAA. True, that has zero impact on this game, I just like to type Brooks Pounders whenever I can. What a great name.
- Trout hits a double in his first at bat. Lord have mercy. 31 of his 52 hits this season have been for extra bases. (15 homers, 14 doubles, and 2 triples.) His on base percentage in May is now over .500.
- Some of you know this but some of you don't: I named my cat after Mike Trout back when he was a rookie.
- The Rays scored two runs in the first inning. They were unearned, thanks to an error on Valbuena - a .177-hitting third baseman who can't field; what a joy to behold - but that might be all they need with this Angels lineup today. Maybe I should go back to bed.
- It's only the second inning but I can already state that this umpire has the worst strike zone I have seen yet in 2017. At least he's screwing over both teams equally, I guess.
- Through four innings, the Angels have three doubles - including two leadoff doubles - and have yet to score. (I don't know why I mention this like I'm surprised.)
- Espinosa popped up a bunt. The dude can't even bunt properly. I was saying to my friend Nick the other day that Espinosa is the worst player I have ever seen in an Angels uniform. (As of this morning, his .145 average is ranked DEAD LAST out of 180 qualified batters in all of baseball.) I keep hoping he will do something to prove me wrong, and yet he keeps getting worse. If the organization has given up on the season - and as I've written before, I have no problem with them making their entire focus on 2018 - then his presence makes sense. If they're actually trying to win games, he needs to be DFAd as soon as the team gets back to Los Angeles. Uh, I mean Anaheim.
- The Rays got two more runs on a ball to center field that Trout would have unquestionably caught. But, you know, he's DHing today. That's the ball game. I could see this lineup scoring two runs (if Trout hit a homer), but there's no way they can get four.
- Once again the replay officials completely botch an easy call. It will never stop amazing me that despite MLB's concern about the future of the game, they don't do a thing about the absurd number of incorrect reviews.
- The Rays win. The Angels finish the game 1-12 with runners in scoring position.
- So, what I called the worst Angels lineup I've ever seen failed to score a run and the spot starter from AAA gave up at least one run. Shrug. On a Painful Loss Scale of 1-10, with 10 being absolutely gut-wrenching, this was a 1. Those kind of losses only happen a couple of times per season.
- I've never experienced a 10 on that scale, although the day Trout signs with the Phillies in three-and-a-half years will probably do it.