Los Angeles Angels
*As always there are some hot Halos and right now they are Garret Anderson is hitting .436 in July and Torri Hunter has hit safely in 14 straight games, hitting at a .358 clip during that span. He has also homered in three of his last five games and has six homers to go along with 16 RBI in his last 10 games.
*We don't need to go into any more great detail on how amazing of a season K-Rod Francisco Rodriguez is putting together, but check this. He leads the Majors with 45 saves and is now on pace for 66. Bobby Thigpen, the current record holder recorded his 35th save on this date in 1990 - he finished with 57.
*Joe Saunders is getting the start Monday and is now 14-5 with a 3.09 ERA and one complete game to his credit. What a nice surprise he has been for the Angels as they have gone without staff ace John Lackey for most of the season. He has faced the Orioles twice this year already and while he is 2-0, he has allowed seven earned runs in 11.2 innings against the O's this season.
*Inconsistency has been the name of the game for Chone Figgins this season. He was struggling mightily a week ago and then he rattled out three hits on Wednesday, four on Thursday and four more yesterday. Those performances were sandwiched by two more 0-for's. DYK: He has 210 stolen bases since the start of the 2004 season, which ranks second in the American League to Tampa's Carl Crawford.
*Vladimir Guerrero had one really great stretch from June 8th through June 27th which saw him go 26-for-61 (.426) with six homers and 13 RBI. Other than that, he really has been pretty ordinary this season. In fact, his .284 batting average entering play yesterday was the lowest on August 3rd in his entire career. He also leads the AL by grounding into 21 double plays.
*Since joining the A's, Sean Gallagher is 1-0 with a 3.22 ERA in four starts. He does have three straight no-decisions in his last three.
*There are some interesting facts surrounding Greg Smith's season in Oakland. He has tossed seven or more innings six times and allowed two runs or fewer in 10 of his 22 starts. He has really struggled in July by going 0-for-4 with a 6.18 ERA in five starts during the month. He has picked off the most runners in the majors with 13 and those are the most by any pitcher since Andy Pettitte in 1997 with the Yankees.
*How about Santiago Casilla's season. He starts by throwing 17.1 scoreless innings, then develops an injury and lands on the DL. Now he has allowed 10 runs in his last 18 appearances (16 innings, 23 hits, 10 earned runs, seven walks, 12 strikeouts and four homers.
*Add Huston Street to the list of struggling A's relievers. He did notch a scoreless inning yesterday against the BoSox but in his last 15 outings he is 1-3 with a 5.19 ERA and a .308 opponents batting average. He has the lowest save percentage among AL closers and is tied for third in blown saves.
*That's the bad news in the Oakland ‘pen. On the other side of the token is Brad Ziegler. Ziegler has run his scoreless innings streak to an amazing 32.0 innings! That sets the Major League record for a consecutive innings streak at the beginning of a career. Even with these impressive numbers, they can't officially say they will be giving him save opportunities. My bet is that he'll see some down the stretch.
*Jack Cust is really struggling since the All-Star break, going just nine-for-43 (.209) with 25 whiffs in 13 games. His average is now .228, third lowest of all qualifiers in the league. His defenders point out the 20 homers. I still think that's too much to give up in terms of average.
*Mark Ellis is also really struggling. Over his last 24 games, he has just 15 hits in 93 at-bats (.161) and is now hitting just .235 which is right behind his teammate Cust for sixth lowest in the league. DYK: He is still hitting .301 on the road compared to .183 at home. He is on pace to set the Oakland record for lowest home batting average, held by Mark McGwire in 1991. Those of you that thought you could get away with a cheap second baseman and went with Ellis are paying the price now and wishing you went with Jose Lopez.
*Speaking of Jose Lopez and wishing you had him. He has hits in 24 of his last 25 games and his hitting .333 with four homers, 19 RBI and eight doubles in that stretch. He leads the AL with a .284 average with two strikes and leads the team with 27 two-out RBI. That ranks him in fourth already in club history for that statistic. Bret Boone holds the top three spots in his steroid-induced breakout 2001 through 2003.
*We always have fun Ichiro stats to throw out there. How about this: His is way down on his batting against left-handed pitching this year, recording just a .258 mark against them. In his career, he doesn't seem to have much of a problem, hitting .346. If you are looking for a true base-stealer, take a look at stolen base percentage. Ichiro ranks third at 92.1% (35-for-38). Also, look for him to kill the Twins as he holds a 17-game hit streak against them dating back to May 1st, 2006. During that time he is hitting .455 (35-for-77) with ten multi-hit games. Whew!
*The Mariners were not dealing Raul Ibanez at the deadline for a reason. He is still in their long-term plans. His 32 doubles this season is tied for fourth in the AL and marks his seventh consecutive 30+ double season. He is on pace for 47 this year, which would set a new career-high (37 with KC in 2002).
*For some reason Miguel Batista has something against going more than six innings in a start. Last year, he did it 23 of 32 starts. This year he has done so in just five of his 18 starts and only twice in his last 12. He is averaging 4.57 innings pitched this season. That doesn't even give him a chance to win. He also has a major problem in the first inning especially. He has allowed 20 runs on 25 hits while walking 18, striking out just 13 AND allowing a .308 opponents batting mark. I guess all this really does is affirm why he isn't owned in your league.
*Chris Davis hits bombs. He hit his 11th career homer in his 120th at-bat since his call up on June 26. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the only player to do so in less at-bats to start a career was Mike Jacobs who got No. 11 in at-bat number 97 with the Mets in 2005.
*Gerald Laird has six homers this season and four of them have come as a part of a multi-homer game. Last night, he hit numbers five and six on the season. I guess when he is seeing the ball, he is driving the ball. He has been hot recently, hitting 24-for-52 over his last 14 games and is now hitting .314, up from .266 before his trip to the DL.
*Can you believe that Vincente Padilla is still pitching in a big league uniform? Further, he is just three wins shy of tying his career-high of 15 set in 2006. His 12 wins are the most he has had through the end of July during any season in his career. Oh wait, I know how he is doing it. The Rangers "O" has provided him with the best run support of any pitcher in the game (6.50 runs per game).
*What can you expect from Matt Harrison when he makes his sixth career start on Tuesday? Nobody really knows. How is this for inconsistency: In his two wins this year he has a 2.25 ERA (three earned runs in 12 innings), but is 0-2 with a 12.41 ERA in his other three starts. Do the safe thing…stay away.
*Don't stay away from Frank Francisco who hasn't allowed a run in 17 of his last 19 games. He has a 1.35 ERA (three earned in 20 innings) dropping his season ERA to 3.15 from 4.56 and opponents are hitting just .143 in those 19 games. He also ranks sixth among all AL relievers with a 10.64 strikeout per nine-inning mark.
*We have mentioned some names to go along with Evan Longoria for AL Rookie of the Year and you can't ignore David Murphy. Despite a recent slump, hitting just .200 in his last nine games, he is still driving in some runs, notching seven in that stretch. He leads all AL rooks with 109 hits, 71 RBI, 28 doubles and 29 multi-hit games.
All statistical information was compiled by each team's Media Relations staff. All comments that accompany these figures are only that of me and not the organization. Any information provided by the Elias Sports Bureau is noted in the article.