The Angels are in town for a four-gamer to close out the 'Dome for the year. One would imagine that they would like to win these games, given they are 4.5 back in the AL West. Toronto has no such wants or desires, but the team has been gaming for the most part and a series victory would basically seal a .500 season, which is always nice as a talking point.
To Advance Scout, and beyond!
The Angels really are going for it, pushing up Ervin Santana and Jered Weaver to go on 3 days rest each against the Orioles this past weekend. It didn't help as much as hoped, as they dropped 2 of 3.
Monday: Jerome Williams v. Ricky Romero
I did not even realize Jerome Williams (and no, not that one) was still in the Majors. If that's not a ringing endorsement... In fact, Williams hasn't thrown a pitch in the big leagues since 2007, and hasn't made more than 10 starts since 2005. He then bounced around, literally, for a few years, pitching in Puerto Rico and Taiwan. If I had to hazard a guess as to why it would be because he isn't particularly good. He had an ace debut season in 2003 as a 22 year old rookie, pitching 131 innings of 3.30 ERA ball for the Giants. Since then injuries and peripherals have caught up with him, with the basic problem being his career K/BB of 1.5. Sorry, doesn't work Jerome, especially not for a righty. He's been better than that in 30 innings for the Angels this year, though his four starts have been against Oakland, Seattle x2 and Baltimore. His minor league numbers were decent, especially for the PCL, but guys don't usually figure it out at 30. Williams is a groundball pitcher who works off his sinker/fastball, which he throws normally at 91 and as a cutter at 87-88. He also throws a low-80s change, and will mix in 4-5 curveballs a game. Kelly Johnson (5/12) and Edwin Encarnacion (1/2) are the only Jays who have ever faced Williams.
Tuesday: Joel Pineiro v. Brett Cecil
After a decent 2010 Joel Pineiro is discovering the hard way that the AL, even the AL West, is no National League. He's been hammered this year, posting an ERA over 5. He's also only struck out 55 batters in 133.1 innings, which again only works if you are a crafty lefty, which Pineiro is not. In fact, his K-rate is the second worst of any pitcher to have thrown 100 innings this year. Pineiro found success with the Cardinals as a groundball pitcher, which is how he was able to succeed despite his middling stuff, but this tendency has deserted him, and his GB% has reverted from the 60% he achieved in his walk year to 55% last year to 48% this year, which is basically what he was doing before. He's also lost 1.5 MPH off his fastball, which sits at a Mills-ian 87 MPH, which is slightly faster than his slider, which is slightly faster than his change, which is slightly faster than his curve (77 MPH.) The curve and change are decent pitches, but the fastball has basically had a hit me sign stitched on it this year. Jose Bautista is 2/10 lifetime, Yunel 5/11, Johnson 6/12, and Jose Molina 5/14.
Wednesday: Dan Haren v. Dustin McGowan
I don't know that he especially gets credit for it, pitching behind Jered Weaver and in Anaheim, er, Los Angeles, but Dan Haren is really, really good. He's gone comfortably over 200 innings for seven straight years, with the worst ERA posted being 4.12 and most falling well below that. When he got traded to Arizona in 2008 he started toying with a cutter, eventually dropping his slider in favour of the pitch. While he would mostly throw it to righties, he now throws it in pretty much every situation, eliciting weak contact and producing phenomenal results. Between the mid-80s cutter, his low 90s fastball, and a mid-80s splitter, Haren barely throws breaking pitches anymore. Seriously, he might throw 5 curveballs, but everything else is going to be a variant of a fastball between about 84 and 92. Jose is 5/11 career, E5 6/14, Yunel 4/15, Rasmu 3/16, Johnson 3/7, JPA 0/6.
Thursday: Ervin Santana v. Henderson Alvarez
Johan "Ervin" Santana (seriously; he changed his name) is having a 2011 pretty similar to his 2010, with the added bonus of more ground balls. While 43% isn't particularly high, it's easily the best mark of his career, allowing him to post an ERA a half run better despite maintaining similar K and BB numbers. He even threw a no-hitter earlier this year! What's remarkable, at least as someone who follows the Jays system, where every pitcher has to throw 9 different pitches, is that Ervin relies on 2 - a hard fastball, 91-94, and a very hard breaking slider which comes in 10 MPH slower. Go figure. He uses his fastball to set up the out-pitch slider, which he throws with similar arm action, and the pitch is pretty deadly. Expect a couple of foolish swings, especially because the Jays have had middling success against him, and only scored four runs in their two games against him this year. Adam Lind is 5/21 career, Jose Bautista 3/15, Yunel 3/10, Molina 2/9.
Erick Aybar was AL co-Player of the Week this past week, mostly for his Sunday where he went 4/4 with 12 total bases (2 HR, 2 2B). Mike Scioscia wants another team in the AL West, which may just be because the Astros are a leading contender. Bobby Abreu won't play in 150 games for the first time since 1998. He won't make the Hall of Fame, but he may have a reasonably sneaky back door case if he puts in another couple of years - he has almost 2400 hits and a career OBP just shy of .400.
Otherwise: Mike McCoy leads off again, as things are going worse than expected with Yunel Escobar. I wouldn't be surprised if Escobar sits out the rest of the year. No link, but I believe the club/journalists speculating have said at this point that Hechavarria will still not be brought up either way as he hasn't been playing baseball for the last two weeks or whatever it is now. Everyone else is healthy and in the lineup now, and Brett Cecil is apparently fine with his cut hand. Also, Alex Anthopoulos gives an interesting interview with the Boston Herald.
Infirmary: Kendry Morales is the only one, and he's out for the year.
Credit: Fangraphs/BR/Yahoo! Sports