Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Angels' Woes

The Angel's Pitching woes continue and it couldn't come a week too soon now that they are 2 games out and TX has the worst OBP in the majors for the month of June. Scott Shields has been shelved for the year with an injury to his patella tendon that will require season-ending surgery. Scratch off one setup man from their pen. However, they might already have his replacement in house. Kelvim Escobar was removed from the rotation a week or so ago after being unable to throw more than 75 pitches without pain. He is being moved to the bullpen, though has yet to appear there, and will probably slowly move the vacated setup gig. However, scratch one more starter for them.

The most recent news is about Ervin Santana who is once again shelved with forearm tightness, a classic sign of pending TJ surgery. He will be held out until his 6/23 start. Scratch another starter for now.

From Fangraphs on Santana:

"As if the Angels hadn’t been through enough already, Ervin Santana will miss tonight’s scheduled start with right forearm tightness. Santana has already missed time this season with an elbow injury that left him out until mid-May. Injuries to John Lackey and Kelvim Escobar have already forced the Angels to dig into their farm system, and now Sean O’Sullivan will be called upon to make at least a start. O’Sullivan will become the 12th starter on an Angels team decimated by injury, tragedy, and ineffectiveness.

Questioning whether Santana was really healthy is nothing new. A decline in strikeouts and increase in walks and homeruns against raised red flags. Fewer batters are chasing Santana out of the zone and this is the most contact Santana has ever allowed. Our batted ball data has Santana giving up 26.1% line drives. That measure usually stabilizes early, so while there’s some sample size issues at play, there’s reason to believe Santana was being hit quite hard.

Part of the reason for the increased contact rates is the velocity of Santana’s fastball. No longer is Santana flashing a fastball that sits in the mid-90s; instead, he’s barely touching that point. Whether the problem stemmed from Santana still being hurt or still building arm strength, pitching him every five days was doing little to rectify the situation. The Angels are deciding against placing Santana on the disabled list, at least for now, as they await results from a MRI test. Having a roster spot taken by someone unable to pitch seems like a waste, but be that as it may, the Angels have decided to roll the dice and hope Santana is ready to go on June 23rd. If not, the Angels can active Escobar while placing him in the bullpen, disable Santana, and leave O’Sullivan in the rotation."

UPDATE: Tori Hunter sustained bruised ribs last night after running into a wall and should be out for at least a few games.


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