THE GAME: Angels vs Red Sox
I've mentioned before that the Angels are currently missing the top 5 starting pitchers on their depth chart. So they signed Doug Fister - a pitcher who used to be quite serviceable, but about whom there are a lot of doubts currently, as evidenced by the fact that he didn't have an MLB job in May - to a no-risk minor league contract.
They agreed that if he had not cracked the majors within one month, they would grant him his release. He did not, he requested to be let go on Wednesday, and the Angels granted it.
He was immediately signed by the Red Sox and is making his debut today... against the Angels.
There seem to be two likely scenarios. One, Fister just doesn't have it any more. I mean, how bad must he have looked if the Angels didn't have room for him in their makeshift rotation?
The second scenario is that the Angels made a mistake and should have given him at least a look in the majors.
Normally it would just be one of those things to which we'd never know the answer, like how this season of Fargo ended, or how Sbarro manages to stay in business. Except, now the Angels get to face Fister in his first start back in the big leagues.
They could receive confirmation of their decision, or they could be totally embarrassed. (Or, probably more likely, it could be neither here nor there.)
It was a good morning to make a hearty breakfast. Years ago, at a diner on Route 66, I enjoyed something called a Hobo Scramble. I don't remember exactly what was in it, just that it was a lot of stuff that I enjoyed. So I'm borrowing the name, if not the exact recipe.
NOTES ON THE FOOD:
- I'm never exactly sure what is meant by "Southern Style" hash browns. Sometimes it includes peppers and onions. These are just cubed potatoes. Whatever.
- I scrambled a couple of eggs with cheddar cheese in my wok and set them aside.
- Next, I cooked some bulk sausage, drained the fat, and sat it aside as well.
- I cooked the potatoes with a tablespoon of oil in the wok, tossing them with a diced orange bell pepper. When the potatoes were ready, I added the eggs and sausage back to the wok, threw in some diced green onion, and mixed it all around.
- It was good but I should have reserved some of the pork fat - the scramble was a little on the dry side. Which was easily alleviated with some hot sauce and a few slugs of A.1. sauce. (Ketchup seemed a little too mundane for something into which I'd put so much effort.)
NOTES ON THE GAME:
- Anytime the Angels are in position to take a series at Fenway Park, I consider it a successful trip. With very few exceptions (though some of them spectacular), Fenway has been a house of horrors for the Angels for my entire life.
- With the Angels victory yesterday, they are 39-39; by my count that's the 21st time this season they have been at .500.
- Tyler Skaggs - one of the Angels pitchers who has been on the DL since April - was scheduled to make his first rehab start last night but felt a sharp pain in his oblique just before the game and was scratched. This is not really surprising to Angels fans (shit, it's gotten to the point where I assume he and Garrett Richards are simply never going to be fully healthy) but it is interesting timing: if this setback had occurred only three days earlier, I imagine the Angels promote Fister to the majors instead of granting him his release.
- The Angels cleanup hitter today is batting .184. We're 5 days away from July. There is no excuse for that.
- Maybin starts the game by staring at three pitches - all strikes. The first two were right down the middle. That's not a good omen.
- Simba rips a single with one out in the second - so at least the Angels won't get no-hit.
- Kaleb Cowart, in his first appearance this season, hits a double off Fister, in his first appearance this season. The weird part is they were teammates at AAA Salt Lake four days ago. 3-0 Angels.
- Benintendi tries to stretch a single into a double on Kole Calhoun and gets thrown out. Rookie mistake. He's still gonna be a hell of a player. It boggles my mind that the Red Sox got Chris Sale without having to give up both Moncada and Benintendi.
- Pujols grounds into a double play. Having Valbuena batting 4th and hitting .187 may be bad, but Pujols batting 3rd, hitting .239, and making four times as much money is even worse. (Pujols WAR = -.7; Valbuena = -.4.)
- Angels put the first two runners on in the 7th and get nothing out of it. Clinging to a 3-2 lead. I bet they pay for that.
- I'm curious why they didn't bunt a runner over with 1st and 2nd and no outs. I'm not necessarily saying they should have, I'm just surprised they didn't. Scioscia loves bunts like I love beer. Why didn't he call for one in that situation?
- Commercial Note: I never watch commercials during games. I either type something on this blog, or, more likely, look up the box scores of other games going on. Every time I hear that Range Rover commercial where the cat meows at the end, I look to see where my cat is. Every single time. The cat in the commercial sounds just like HawkeyeMikeTrout.
- The book is closed on Doug Fister: 6 IP, 7 hits, 3 ER. In a vacuum, that's not bad. But against the Trout-less Angels, with two guys in the lineup hitting below .190, it's not great either. It's impossible to draw conclusions today.
- Pitching the top of the 8th for Boston is a reliever named Joe Kelly. What a wonderful name for a Boston pitcher. (Although he was born in SoCal and went to UCR... both of which describe me, too.)
- Pujols hits a ball back up the middle and it ricochets off the pitcher probably 45 feet to the third baseman... who still has time to throw out Pujols quite easily. It's so fucking depressing to watch what he's become.
- Going to the bottom of the 8th at Fenway with a one-run lead. I don't know a single Angels fan who can feel optimistic about this.
- Kaleb Cowart picks up his second RBI of the game off Craig Kimbrel in the top of the 9th. That's only the fourth earned run Kimbrel has allowed this season. Welcome to The Show, Kaleb. Personally, I hope you stay here for good. 4-2 Angels.
- Yusmeiro Petit closes out the game 1-2-3 in the 9th. Two games in a row, the Angels have hung on in the 9th inning at Fenway with the tying or winning run at the plate. What world is this?
- Actually, this season has been slightly crazy for the Angels. In a 15-game stretch against Houston, Kansas City, Yankees, and Red Sox, the Angels just went 8-7, all without Mike Trout or any of their best starting pitchers.
- Of course, now comes 4 games against the Dodgers, who have won 9 games in a row and are playing better than any team has all season. It will be fun to hear Vin Scully call this series.
- Oh, wait.