Fryer: Angels have plenty of issues to solve
Taking a tour of the sports world, here and there:
•The Angels on Monday night, in their 6-2 home loss to Cleveland, played with the verve of a team that is 15 games out of playoff contention with five games to play. Other than Mike Trout, who approaches every game like it's his birthday, batters seem to be in a fog and pitchers are pressing. And is this the worst bullpen in club history?
•Angels hitting will be good again, and soon. There are too many good, smart hitters in the lineup for a rejuvenation to not occur. But the bullpen remains doomed by offseason inattentiveness to that very important segment of the roster.
•Angels manager Mike Scioscia is very good when it comes to getting his position players those keep-them-fresh days off during the long season. But the team needs to string together victories and establish momentum right now before it's too late (going into Tuesday's game, eight games out of first with 46 games remaining). Other than at catcher, it's time to go with a constant, pennant-chasing every-game lineup: 1. Mike Trout, CF; 2. Torii Hunter, RF; 3. Mark Trumbo, LF; 4. Albert Pujols, 1B; 5. Kendrys Morales, DH; 6. Howie Kendrick, 2B; 7. Alberto Callaspo, 3B; 8. Bobby Wilson/Chris Iannetta, C; 9. Erick Aybar, SS.
•The concept is to start scoring early. Every staff struggles some when working frequently with early deficits, and this Angels staff seems to struggle with that more than most.
•Remember the Trumbo-at-third base experiment? Eight games started there, 14 chances, five putouts, five assists, four errors. Trumbo's by-position breakdown: 44 starts in left field, 29 in right field, 10 at first base, the eight at third and 17 at designated hitter.
•There is a website called mikesciosciastragicillness.com that has nothing to do with the Angels. It's a daily-updated Dodgers fan site, humorously written. The website's name was derived from the lyrics of a "Talkin' Baseball"-style song on an old episode of "The Simpsons" ("Mike Scioscia's tragic illness made us smile, while Wade Boggs lay unconscious on the ballroom tile ...").
•As bad as things are in HaloLand, it's not as bad as what is happening with the San Diego Padres. A recent trip to Petco Park for a Mets-Padres game was reminiscent of a visit to a rest home. It's so quiet, if you're sitting in the top deck behind home plate you can hear the sound of the Wiffle ball being struck in that kids' field behind the left-field stands.
•Ranking California's five MLB stadiums: 1. AT&T Park in San Francisco; 2. Petco Park; 3. Angel Stadium; 4. Dodger Stadium; 5. that place where the Oakland Athletics play their home games. Dodger Stadium still is great, but AT&T, Petco and Angel Stadium are just greater.
•There is talk again of the Oakland A's moving to a to-be-constructed stadium in San Jose. A hitch in that plan is the San Francisco Giants will not relinquish their MLB-approved territorial rights to San Jose and Santa Clara.
•Torii Hunter Jr., son of the Angels outfielder, is the No. 14 prospect in the nation at wide receiver according to Superprep football recruiting magazine. Hunter is a 6-foot, 170-pound senior at Prosper High in Prosper, Texas, with a 3.8 grade-point average. He has offers from Arkansas, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and others.
•Dallas Cowboys 3, Oakland Raiders 0 on "Monday Night Football." Soccer has never been that dull.
•So ESPN's MNF broadcast team has shed Ron Jaworski and now is a two-voice team of Mike Tirico on play-by-play and Jon Gruden supplying compliments with some analysis. Tirico's calls and Gruden's personality can carry the broadcast fine, but it was a livelier broadcast with Jaws in the booth.
•The Raiders hired an outstanding offensive coordinator this year, Greg Knapp, who helped turn Matt Schaub into a good NFL quarterback during their time together with the Houston Texans. The Raiders won't be shut out, or even be held to single-figure scoring, at all during the regular season.
•You know the NFL replacement officials are missing a lot of stuff when you see this statistic — the Raiders were penalized only five times for 37 yards compared to the Cowboys' 12 penalties for 91 yards. The 2011 Raiders set NFL records for penalties (163, or 10 infractions a game) and penalty yardage (1,304).
•ESPN showed a graphic that informed how Oakland quarterbacks Matt Leinart and Carson Palmer won the Heisman Trophy at USC. Well, both played on Orange County high school teams that now are in the same league, the Trinity League, with Leinart at Mater Dei and Palmer at Santa Margarita. Leinart and Palmer both were good basketball players in high school, too.
•The highlight, for the Raiders on Monday was running back Darren McFadden. He showed that great burst on his two carries that totaled 20 yards and had an 18-yard reception. If he is healthy (missed nine games in 2011), he is going to be a Maurice Jones-Drew player this year for the Raiders.
•Speaking of much-talented-yet-oft-injured running backs ... there is no way San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews will be, as he spiritedly claims, ready for the season opener Sept. 10 at Oakland. He broke a clavicle on his first carry against Green Bay last Thursday, and had surgery Friday.
•Mr. Irrelevant, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Chandler Harnish, was 3 for 3 with a touchdown pass last week in a 38-3 victory over the St. Louis Rams of Anaheim. Pretty good debut for the 2012 final pick of the draft. The other Colts quarterback did OK — Andrew Luck was 10 for 16 for 188 yards and two touchdowns.
•Former Servite (and Notre Dame, and Raiders, and Cowboys and ... ) quarterback Steve Beuerlein again will be paired with former Lakers play-by-play guy Spero Dedes on CBS regional telecasts this fall.
•Don't invite Petros Papadakis and Roger Lodge to the same party, unless you have bouncers. Last week, Papadakis on the air at KLAC/570 called Lodge "a buffoon" and "a complete idiot." The cause: UCLA football coach Jim Mora said on Lodge's show on KLAA/830 that "We don't have murders a block from our campus" when asked, innocuously, by Lodge about UCLA's recruiting advantages.
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