Manager rumor mill: American League edition

Maddoning: Good luck with that lunatic, Angels. (@Angels)

I started working on this … and then Joe Maddon got hired by the Angels. This crazy 24-hour news cycle, man. Well, if two teams aren’t enough for you, check out the National League edition, if you missed it.

Kansas City Royals

2019 Record 59-103
4th in AL Central
Former manager Ned Yost (2010-2019, 457-502 .477)

Career highlights Won the World Series in 2015, and apparently Ned Yost is the “winningest manager” in Royals history:

via Baseball-Reference

The Royals are like the sad cousins of the AL Central. I’m always comforted knowing that, though neither of my teams are in the World Series right now, they’re still not the Royals. I’ve been to Kansas City’s airport and I’m good without going back ever again (seriously, I’ve been on cleaner CTA buses). I also don’t believe Ned Yost resigned — he was fired. He coasted for far too long on the goodwill from his World Series win.

Royals rumors No. 1 on their list should be hiring a manager that isn’t going to let the team be the goon squad of the last few years. My favorite moment is still when Yordano Ventura tried to fight Mike Trout, who is not only very nice but also very strong.

Salvador Perez making a great save behind the plate (via MLB)

So who wants to manage the Royals? *touches nose*

I’d say Joe Girardi, but it turns out that he’s going to the Phillies, so who else needs a job? The Royals are poking around internally and have interviewed Mike Matheny, who you might remember from getting canned by the Cards in the middle of the 2018 season for endorsing goonish hazing behavior by his players (toward one another!) which basically negated anything good he did with the Cards. I’ve also heard that they interviewed Vance Wilson, so the Royals appear to be doing an internal promotion thing which … I don’t hate. You want someone who knows the players, the org, and all that good stuff.

Given that the Royals are up for an ownership change, we’ll see where this goes.


2019 Record 72-90
4th in AL West
Former manager Brad Ausmus

Career Highlights Anaheim has better weather than Detroit.

Angels news: Joe Maddon is no Mike Scioscia, guys, so have fun with that lunatic. Also, he didn’t get super managerial powers from the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant like Scioscia.

Now what?

So we know the Phillies, Cubs, and the Angels snapped up some guys. The Mets, Pirates, Padres, and Giants are still taking their time interviewing.

Knowing how the Mets have been, I’m expecting them to give lip service to manager interviews and pick someone who Jeff Wilpon can boss around. The Padres loves a good dumpster fire, so Ron Washington is a sure bet. The Pirates and the Giants are a little harder to figure out so I’m expecting a surprise (or for Dusty Baker to go to Pittsburgh, because he hasn’t been there yet).

Some teams that should probably clean house on the bench would be the Mariners, Rockies, Tigers, Orioles, Blue Jays, and the Marlins (can someone give Don Mattingly something to work with or set the poor guy free?)

The end?

So that’s it for managers. We’ll see where the rest of the offseason takes us, in the giant LinkedIn that is major league baseball …

Chisox get Caned, Calhouned and Bemboomed in 9-2 drubbing

Double trouble: Eloy Jiménez had a homer and narrowly missed a second, settling for a well-admired triple in the fourth. (Clinton Cole/South Side Hit Pen)

So, this was a bad, bad, bad, very bad game, on almost all counts.

While the Chicago White Sox seemingly had advantages in all areas — starting pitcher (potential, at least), offense (no Mike Trout for the Angels today), law of averages (hard for a .500 team to win a four-game series, even at home) — they played like they were wearing Kannapolis Intimidators uniforms today, falling 9-2 in Anaheim in a laffer.

Let’s get the couple of highlights out of the way. Eloy Jiménez, when not watching the flight of his colossal clouts

(bench him, Ricky, I dare ya!)

was putting just a smidge more extra juice on ’em to get ’em over the wall.

(no additional hustle, though … Ricky?)

Tim Anderson had another two hits, after being shuttled down to seventh in the order, but then, you know, he got picked off of second base, too.

(fifth inning, nobody out, runner on second, down just 4-1 … Ricky?)

So, I guess let’s tip a cap to the guy who just picked off Anderson up there, and held the White Sox in check on five hits, one earned, one walk (eight Ks) over seven innings, Griffin Canning, of the 6.28 ERA over the last seven games and Dylan Cease-esque 4.58 ERA for the season Cannings, stymied the White Sox all game long.

Cease, for his part, was not good: five earned in five innings, seven hits, a walk, six Ks and two long balls, swelling his ERA to 5.93. Ross “available for long relief” Detwiler detwilled it even worse, mopping up the final three frames, outpacing Cease with eight hits allowed, squeezing in four earned, whiffing just two and matching his starters walks (one) and homers allowed (two).

Angels Matt Thaiss, Kole Calhoun, Shohei Ohtani and Anthony Bemboom all went boom today against this mediocre pitching effort. Eight of the host’s nine runs came via the round tripper.

The White Sox fall to 55-68, a 90-loss pace. On an afternoon like this one, it’s amazing to think this club is still on a pace 10 games better than last season.

Is it too early to start talking about tomorrow? It’s not too early to start talking about tomorrow. It’s White Sox-Twins, Darren Black on your coverage for the 7:10 p.m. game, with a potential 1-6 trip staring the Chisox in the face.

White Sox trip Angels, 7-2, behind a McCann grand slam

Second salami of the week: McCann was the man, perhaps with a blessing from St. Walton. (@WhiteSox)

As much as the Angels tried to trip up the White Sox, with “70s Weekend” celebrated during the same game Bill Walton stepped in for color commentary on the Chicago broadcast, they failed. The South Siders prevailed, 7-2, thanks to a masterfully-pitched game, and timely hitting, baserunning … and bunting.

With Lucas Giolito on the mound, the White Sox ran into a jam in the first. After loading the bases with only one out on a single, hit by pitch, and walk, Giolito settled down and escaped the inning unharmed. He struck out Kole Calhoun on a deceptive changeup before getting Albert Pujols to ground out to retire the side.

In the top of the second, the White Sox had a failed threat of their own. With a runner on first and two outs, Jon Jay reached on a throwing error by pitcher Patrick Sandoval. Yolmer Sánchez drew a walk to load the bases, but Sandoval induced a flyout from Ryan Goins to end the inning.

However, a threat that did not come up empty occurred in the top of the third. Leury García doubled to lead off the inning, and Tim Anderson followed with this single to put the first run on the board for either side.

After a balk and a groundout that advanced him, Anderson found himself on third base. With one out, James McCann came up with an excellent opportunity to drive in an insurance run, but his grounder did not get the job done. However, Anderson was able to score on a wild pitch anyway to make the score 2-0.

The Angels cut their deficit in half during the bottom of the third. David Fletcher led off a line drive to left that Eloy Jiménez did not play properly. Fletcher ended up at third with a leadoff triple. Though Giolito put the rally on hold by striking out superhuman Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani hit an RBI single to drive in the first run for L.A.

The White Sox got back their insurance run in the fourth. José Abreu hit a leadoff double, and two bunts later he had crossed home plate. Jon Jay laid down a sacrifice bunt back to the mound, and Yolmer Sánchez placed one perfectly to drive Abreu home and reach first safely.

Though Giolito was sharp, that did not prevent Mike Trout from doing Mike Trout things. In the fifth, Trout launched a 438-footer to bring the Angels back within one. That was Trout’s 41st home run, as he continues his dominance over the baseball world.

Trout also had an outfield assist on a Jiménez fly ball in the sixth. James McCann attempted to advance to third, but Trout nailed him. The next batter, Welington Castillo, hit a sharp liner, and you will never believe who made a great play on it. That’s right; it was Trout. FanGraphs had Trout at 8.0 WAR, and Baseball-Reference had him at 7.9 entering today. Those numbers have surely increased since the start of play tonight. Mercy, what a player.

Giolito worked his way in and out of trouble in the sixth, as he pitched around a single and a walk to the first two batters he faced. Giolito struck out Fletcher to escape the jam, and his performance would end on that high note. Giolito’s line ended up as follows: six innings, six hits, two runs (both earned), three walks, 11 strikeouts. It is worth mentioning that the only team in the majors that strikes out less than the Angels is the Astros.

With the score still 3-2 in the top of the eighth, up stepped McCann, and a grooved, 1-0 slider was deposited way, way deep (446 feet, to be exact):

This was McCann’s second eighth inning grand slam in the past three games. I don’t have a stat for you about that, but I imagine it has been quite some time since that has happened.

After Giolito exited, Aaron Bummer and Kelvin Herrera did the heavy lifting for the final three. Neither of them allowed a run, so the White Sox won by a score of 7-2. As a result, the White Sox improved to 55-66, and the Angels fell to 60-64.

Later, the White Sox will play the third of this four-game series in Anaheim. That matchup will start at 8:07 CST, and Héctor Santiago the White Sox’s probable starter. WGN 720 will have your radio coverage, and Lauren Wilner will have your coverage here at SSHP.

Know Your Enemy: The Angels

Danny Glover sees Angels ... on the day before he was due to retire.
Have mercy, Disney, it’s our first day: Murtaugh, Dick Grayson, and a precocious tyke learn to believe in Angels.

Good day to you, Chicago White Sox fans! My name is Leonard Gore, and I’m one of South Side Hit Pen’s newest contributors! I got my feet wet over at South Side Sox, taking a look at the 2020 schedule, but I’ll be fitting into the rotation here for the rest of the season, and hopefully for many years to come! Check out my Meet the Players piece on site today to learn a little more about me. You can also learn more about me by following @Leonard42 on Twitter.

OK, enough chit chat, let’s get to the good stuff.

(Hold up. Before we get started, I have to once again give a whole heaping amount of praise for James “Yes He” McCann for gifting Sox fans the No. 1 White Sox win of 2019 so far. Wow just … one more look at that salami …

Now, back to your regularly scheduled Angels programming!)

Continuing on their tour of the AL West, the White Sox travel to the land of Mickey Mouse and the modern day Mickey Mantle to face Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels of Ana— wait … (checks Baseball-Reference) oh … that’s it. It’s just The Los Angeles Angels now! Evidently they jettisoned that clunky “of Anaheim” addendum after the 2015 season. That’s gonna save a ton of extra keystrokes. Know what? Heck with that pretentious, country-club name. They’re just gonna be the Angels.

Fun fact! Owner and not a telenovela villain Arte Moreno jammed in the Los Angeles prefix just in time to be relevant enough to get run over by four straight complete games in the 2005 ALCS (man, that’s a sequence of events that will never, ever happen again will it?)

Anyway, back to Trout and the 2019 Angels … or is it the 2018 Angels? 2017? I really can’t tell any of these Angels squads apart because even with the equivalent of Bo Jackson in Tecmo Bowl playing center field, the Angles have finished an average of 21 games out of first place in the past three-plus seasons in the admittedly-strong AL West. However, even with Rob Manfred all but pleading with the Angels to take at one of two flipping wild card spots, the franchise has taken the middling road to mediocrity and are slowly morphing Trout into my generation’s Ernie Banks. (Yes, I know the Angles made the playoffs in 2014 … but when you get swept by the Kansas City Royals (!), did your playoff even happen bro?)

Anyway, since I’m obligated to continue to writing about a baseball team that clearly got one of those wishes made true in a deal with the devil that turns out to have a sinister twist like … Trout sprouts literal gills, here are the 5 W’s and 1 How about the Angels of California:

Who are the Angels?
Other than Trout aka Good Homelander (go watch “The Boys” on Amazon, it’s amazing), you have the defending ROY Shohei Ohtani who was turned into a mere DH thanks to following the offseason Micker Adolfo Tommy John Plan, has been pretty much the same competent hitter which is … fine. Old man Albert Pujols has been consistent even in his obvious decline over the last few seasons, and even notched his 2,000th RBI (of course a dirty rotten Detroit Tigers fan got his hands on the HR ball). Tommy LaStella was doing a very good job rubbing his career year in the Cubbies faces before Jermaine Dye-ing his leg with a foul ball. Jonathan Lucroy got Jack Parkman-ed in Houston and was damaged enough to get cut and fail upwards onto the Cubs’ Ricketty (see what I did there?) playoff ship. Old friend Kevan Smith is doing Kevan Smith things.

Pitching-wise it is not pretty, with Ohtani unable to and of course, the untimely and tragic death of promising starter Tyler Skaggs. Remember Matt Harvey? Well a 7+ ERA and 2 HR/9 earned him a July DFAing. I could write about the rest of the chuckers, but honestly they’d have trouble even sticking in the White Sox rotation …so here’s a Trout highlight instead:

(I wasn’t gonna dump on Chris Sale at first, but he sided with Drake LaRoche so … fuck it. Enjoy!)

What are the Angels?
Trout and Ohtani dragging 23 other guys to perpetual 80-win seasons until the sun goes supernova.

Where are the Angles?
In their customary position waffling between third and fourth place in the AL West, thanking their Lord Mike Trout that the Seattle Mariners still exist.

When are the Sox playing the Angels?
It’s a four-game series so, there’s a good chance Trout hits 10 homers and the White Sox still find a way to split the series. Your probables are:

Thursday, August 15 @ 9:07 p.m. Reynaldo Lopez (7-9, 5.16 ERA) vs. Andrew Heaney (1-3, 4.89 ERA) … SSHP coverage: Janice Scurio

Friday, August 16 @ 9:07 p.m. Lucas Giolito (12-6, 3.42 ERA) vs. Patrick Sandoval (0-0, 5.59 ERA) *BILL WALTON KALEIDOSCOPIC COLOR COMMENTARY NIGHT* … SSHP coverage: Joe Resis, with Brett Ballantini tripping on mushrooms assisting

Saturday, August 17 @ 8:07 p.m. TBD vs. Jose Suarez (2-4, 6.57 ERA) … SSHP coverage: TBD

Sunday, August 18 @ 3:07 p.m. TBD vs. Griffin Canning (4-6, 4.86 ERA) … SSHP coverage: TBD

Why the Angels?
When the team was created in 1961, they played in Los Angeles proper and much like the Houston Texans, people were evidently no more creative back then even with all the psychedelic drugs available to them.

How do the Sox beat the Angels?
Either the Sox will be walking Trout 16 times or so this series, or just praying his at-bats come with nobody on base. Thankfully, he’s only one of nine Angels playing at any given moment (and a pretty massive one at that), so as long as he’s the only hitter getting his and Ohtani can be neutralized, this Angles team is basically the same outfit that has done the same shtick for the past few years: Be the team that hosting cities beg to have play them on the weekend to increase their attendance watching the closest thing to a truly 100% Unanimous Hall-of-Famer (sorry, Mariano) in real life.

With most of these games ending well after decent folk are sleeping, you’d be forgiven for catching the Twitter highlights the next morning, but you, dear reader, are not just any old fan. You are a White Sox fan goddammit, and no blatantly obvious hit job by the front office and their mouthpieces calling you “cowards” (really, Chuck?) and “trolls” is gonna stop you from watching a good six or seven innings before dozing off and wondering why George Foreman is selling crap you don’t need when you wake up from the couch at 3 a.m.

Even if you decide that, like Ralph Wiggum, sleep is where you get to be a Viking and choose it over watching the Sox try their best to not get blitzed by another West Coast team, that’s OK! We here at South Side Hit Pen will have you covered with game recaps by writers sufficiently caffeinated to get you all the details the next morning! And isn’t it always a pleasant surprise to wake up to good White Sox news now and then?

Go White Sox!

P.S. I can’t believe I made it this whole preview without bringing up the Sox drafting Jared Mitchell a pick before the Angels picked Trout! (ooooooohhhhhh crap 😩)

P.P.S. There are three or four instances where I called them the Angles. I bet you didn’t even notice!