Tag: C.J. Wilson

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Is the Angels’ window for contending closing?


After being swept out of the playoffs by the Royals last night Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto was asked if his team’s window for contending was closing and he strongly disagreed, telling Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com:

We had a fantastic season, won 98 games. Our desire was to win a world championship, and obviously we fell short, but I still feel really confident in the foundation of the players that were here. … We’re not a team that can’t sustain and can’t balance what we’re doing. We like the group of players we have; we feel like we’re a well-put-together team. Again, we fell short. Next year, with the full contingent, believing that we will have Garrett Richards back and in large part have a big part of the foundation of this team. We feel we’re tweaks and turns from being a very good team again. There’s no reason that will change.

Spending big on free agents Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, and C.J. Wilson has worked out horribly for the Angels and will continue to hamstring Dipoto, because he has very little payroll space remaining unless owner Arte Moreno approves a big budget increase.

With that said, Mike Trout is the best player in the league at age 23 and having him around erases a lot of mistakes and a lot of iffy payroll-related decisions. There’s no way the window is going to slam shut on a team coming off a 98-win season with Trout and a payroll approaching $200 million, but Dipoto has quite a few issues to address and not a whole lot of roster or payroll flexibility.

Pujols is signed through 2021, Hamilton is signed through 2017, and Wilson is signed through 2016.

Royals sweep Angels, punch their ticket to the ALCS

Eric Hosmer

The Royals rode a strong outing from “Big Game” James Shields and a relentless offense to take an easy 8-3 win over the Angels in Game 3 of the ALDS on Sunday, completing a series sweep and punching their ticket into the ALCS against the Orioles.

Shields fell behind early, surrendering a first-inning solo home run to Mike Trout in the top of the first. But the Royals countered, scoring three on Alex Gordon’s bases-clearing double to left-center in the bottom half. From there, the Royals would never relinquish their lead.

The Royals kept adding on, scoring twice in the third inning on Eric Hosmer’s two run home run, and twice in the fourth on a Mike Moustakas solo homer and a Lorenzo Cain sacrifice fly. Norichika Aoki made it 8-2 in the sixth with an RBI single.

Shields gave up another solo home run, this time to Albert Pujols, in the fourth, but that was it. Overall, he gave up six hits and two walks while striking out six. Cain helped Shields out twice with two spectacular catches in the top of the fifth inning that prevented the Angels from reducing their deficit.

Shields’ counterpart, C.J. Wilson, failed to make it out of the first inning, as Mike Scioscia chose to yank him with two outs in the bottom of the first. The Angels got the remaining 22 outs with seven relievers.

Once Shields departed, Kelvim Herrera tossed a scoreless seventh, Wade Davis allowed a meaningless run in the eighth, and Greg Holland nailed down the win in the top of the ninth, striking out pinch-hitter Hank Conger, inducing a ground ball that Omar Infante fielded with a bare hand, and fanning Trout for the final out.

Both the Royals and Orioles, having completed sweeps, now have a lot of downtime. The two clubs won’t match up for Game 1 of the ALCS until Friday night.

The Angels, meanwhile, will lick their wounds as they attempt to answer how they won the most games of any team in the majors during the regular season, but their $154 million roster showed up flat in the playoffs against a team that won nine fewer games and didn’t even win their division.

Royals head into the sixth inning with a commanding five-run lead over the Angels

Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, Billy Butler

The Royals have been doing it all in Game 3 of the ALDS as they attempt to finish off a series sweep against the Angels. They chased starter C.J. Wilson after scoring three runs on an Alex Gordon double in the first inning. Eric Hosmer hit a two-run home run in the third inning, and the Royals tacked on two more in the fourth on a Mike Moustakas solo home run and a Lorenzo Cain sacrifice fly, making it 7-2. Offense: check.

Something unexpected happened in the third inning. After Hosmer’s homer, Billy Butler walked, and then — you may want to sit down for this — he stole second base. It marks his first stolen base since July 5, 2012. It was also his last attempt at swiping a bag. Speed: check.

In the top of the fifth, the Royals flashed some leather as Cain made two spectacular sliding catches for the second and third outs. With runners on first and second and one out, Albert Pujols hit a soft fly ball to shallow left-center. Cain galloped over and made the head-first diving catch just before the ball could make contact with the grass. The next batter,  Howie Kendrick, hit a line drive to center field. Cain calmly strode in and made a feet-first sliding snag to end the inning. Cain emphatically pumped his fist and yelled something in celebration. As the Royals left the field, starter James Shields doffed his cap to Cain to show his thanks. Defense: check.

We’ve seen plenty of comebacks and big innings already in this young post-season, so nothing is certain yet. But the Royals are 12 defensive outs away from punching their ticket to the ALCS to match up against the Orioles.

C.J. Wilson fails to make it out of the first inning in ALDS Game 3 against the Royals

Division Series - Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Kansas City Royals - Game Three

Angels starter C.J. Wilson began his Sunday night start in Game 3 of the ALDS against the Royals with a 1-0 lead thanks to Mike Trout, who delivered a solo home run against James Shields in the top half of the first inning.

Wilson, however, quickly got into trouble, allowing back-to-back one-out singles to Norichika Aoki and Lorenzo Cain. After striking out Eric Hosmer looking, Wilson walked Billy Butler to load the bases for Alex Gordon. Gordon worked the count to 2-2 before smoking a line drive to left-center. The ball bounced off of the bottom of the wall, allowing the Royals to clear the bases. Butler slid home safely just ahead of the throw home, which also allowed Gordon to advance to third base.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia wasn’t giving his starter any rope. He strode out to the mound and took Wilson out of the game, bringing in Vinnie Pestano from the bullpen. Pestano got Salvador Perez to pop out to end the first inning.

There’s still plenty of game left, but the Royals are in a good position to join the Orioles in the ALCS after sweeping their opponents in the ALDS.

ALDS Game 3: Angels vs. Royals lineups

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Here are the starting lineups for Game 3 of the Angels-Royals series in Kansas City …

RF Kole Calhoun
CF Mike Trout
1B Albert Pujols
2B Howie Kendrick
SS Erick Aybar
3B David Freese
LF Josh Hamilton
DH C.J. Cron
C Chris Iannetta

C.J. Wilson will be on the mound, looking to put his disappointing regular season in the rearview. Hamilton is 0-for-9 so far in this series, but the Angels are going to stick with the $133 million outfielder. He appeared in just one of the Halos’ final 23 regular-season games due to shoulder, chest, and rib cage injuries.

SS Alcides Escobar
RF Norichika Aoki
CF Lorenzo Cain
1B Eric Hosmer
DH Billy Butler
LF Alex Gordon
C Salvador Perez
2B Omar Infante
3B Mike Moustakas

James Shields, who pitched against the A’s in the American League Wild Card Game, will be making his first start in this series. He owns a 5.26 ERA in 39 1/3 career postseason innings, which doesn’t quite fit with the “Big Game James” nickname, but the impending free agent right-hander has the opportunity here to pitch the Royals into the ALCS. Infante did not have a good regular season and looked lost at the plate in the first two games of this best-of-five set, but Royals manager Ned Yost won’t try Christian Colon at second base.