The most sabermetrically reviled manager on the ol’ internets right now is most likely Ned Yost. It has gotten to the point that “Yost-ed” is an actual term. Be it a non-sensical lineup, failing to use his best relievers in high leverage situations or #buntfucking his offense into oblivion, the consensus is that Ned Yost is just the worst. My concern is that he might be infectious.
As my Second-guessing Scioscia frequently points out, Mike Scioscia has had some Yost-ian tendencies in the past. He’s come a long way in this year alone, especially with his bullpen management. But what’s going to happen after he spends a series managing against Yost? That’s like asking a recovering alcoholic to spend the weekend as the sober designated driver for the drunkest bachelor party of all-time. All I know is if Erick Aybar starts batting second and laying down sacrifice bunts in the first inning, I’m going to take Yost out myself.
For much of the Angels’ existence, the Royals have had the upper-hand. Then in 2009, the Angels turned the tide and took the series lead and now boast a ten-game edge. I guess it helps when the Kansas City franchise turned into a giant sinkhole for about a decade around that time. As such, it should come as no surprise that the Halos have only dropped the season series to the Royals just once from 2008 through 2013.
FRIDAY, 5/23: C.J. Wilson vs. Danny Duffy
The only Royal with established success against C.J. is Billy Butler, but he has turned into a very large pumpkin this season. He has homered off of Wilson though, which is surprising since Butler and the Royals in general don’t hit homers anymore.
Duffy has almost no experience against the Angels. He is, though, new to starting. At least this year. He had started in the past but began the year in the bullpen for KC. He moved to the rotation earlier this month and has turned in three strong starts since. He isn’t missing bats like he did in relief though, granted it is a very small sample.
SATURDAY, 5/24: Matt Shoemaker vs. James Shields
Shoemaker is actually listed as the starter, but I’m not sure it will actually happen. The Halos have thought about skipping him since they are coming off an off-day. If he does pitch, he gets another brutal match-up, but he has already beaten Cliff Lee and David Price, so why not make his giant-killer reputation even stronger by beating James Shields?
I post these match-up charts more for fun than for any actual real analysis as there are very few individual match-ups that have enough of a sample to be even somewhat predictive. But then I see Howie Kendrick against Shields. Howie has just annihilated him. That’s “rent is due at the end of the month or you’re evicted” ownership. I mean, those numbers are obscene and 23 plate appearances is nothing to brush off. A more interesting match-up though might be Raul Ibanez who has only five hits against Shields, but those five hits have been two doubles, one triple and two homers.
SUNDAY, 5/25: Garrett Richards vs. Jason Vargas
Nobody has a large sample of plate appearances against Richards, but those small samples have produced feast or famine results. The real question though is if Richards can put himself back together after a spotty outing against the lowly Astros. Again, the powerless Royals aren’t a team that is built to punish Garrett if he struggles to keep the ball down in the zone again, but that also makes them the ideal team to get yourself right against.
Jason Vargas! My old, short-lived friend! It seems like it was only a few months ago that everyone was wishing that the Angels hadn’t let you walk in free agency. Oh? It was a few months ago? Ha! Right. I knew that.
Well, the Halos have gotten along just fine without Vargas, but in the wake of the Hector Santiago demotion, it sure would’ve been nice to have Vargas in the rotation the whole time with Santiago working as a high leverage reliever. No matter. What’s done is done. Speaking of what is done, the Angels have been against Vargas in the past during his days in Seattle. Pujols has hammered him pretty well, but nobody has done much against him otherwise, though he isn’t exactly mowing people down either.
The Angels win two of three, like they do, but come away so impressed with Greg Holland in the one game that they see him pitch that they trade for him at the deadline.
UNOFFICIAL PREDICTION (so don’t hold me to it)
At some point this weekend I will change over to the Kansas City feed of the game to subject myself to the torture of Steve Physioc and Rex Hudler. I will last one and a half batters before frantically switching back to the Angels feed or I will just light my TV on fire. It could go either way.