Dave’s Free Play, Wednesday 6/19/13

  • June 19, 2013

0/5,  with 3 GIDP’s and a pair of K’s. That’s known as bottoming out, and in what has been an absolutely horrendous start to the season for Josh Hamilton, he hit rock bottom last night. The Angels are among the biggest flops in baseball this year, and while it’s unfair to pin the problems on one guy by himself, there’s also no question that Hamilton is just killing this team right now.

There just isn’t anything to like about Hamilton’s game. Quite frankly, while appearances can be deceiving, he almost looks disinterested these days. His approach at the plate is absurdly bad, and it’s not like Hamilton is a game changer in the field. Angels skipper Mike Scioscia has tried all kinds of moves to ignite his team and Hamilton as well, but nothing is working.

One things that is crystal clear at this point is that Scioscia has to get Hamilton out of the two-hole. He’s a massive liability getting that many plate appearances. Personally, I think Hamilton needs to sit out a few games, but I understand that’s tough to do when the guy is being paid monster dollars. At the very least, however, Hamilton needs to be moved well down in the batting order. I would not consider having him hit higher than sixth, and ideally the seven slot might be the best fit right now.

Again, Hamilton is not the only problem in Anaheim. But with the season getting away from the Halos, Scioscia has to start configuring the lineup to get his productive players the most plate appearances. That means an end to the waiting for Hamilton to get rolling, as at this point, it simply might not happen. With both Howie Kendrick and Peter Bourjos producing very nicely, it’s time to get that duo more AB’s. That won’t necessarily jump start the Angels back into a respectable position. But it has to be an improvement over what’s taking place right now.

———————-

I dropped two of my three baseball plays on Tuesday night. The free play also bit the dust as the normally solid Royals bullpen had a very bad night at Cleveland. Bounce back time tonight. Get the entire Wednesday card or try one week by clicking the “buy now” tab. Or get all the pertinent info on my monthly or seasonal rates by shooting me an email at cokin@cox.net.

—————————-

959 Pittsburgh Pirates @ 960 Cincinnati Reds 4:10PM Pacific

Take: Pirates

Jeff Locke has enjoyed tremendous success for the Pirates so far this season. To put it bluntly, he had been getting ridiculously fortunate until recently. The Locke metrics just weren’t very good and I was quite sure we’d be seeing a regression in place by now.

Instead, Locke has suddenly gotten everything together and over his last three starts, he’s been absolutely outstanding for Pittsburgh. The K rate has jumped, and the good luck that he was experiencing has been replaced by a recent run of rock solid efforts that are not misleading in any fashion.

Most pitchers pitching well below or above what their peripherals indicate will usually see a major correction that allows bettors to cash in either playing on or against. But every now and then, we’ll see a guy who just defies the numbers and actually goes from fortunate to just plain terrific. That’s Locke in a nutshell right now.

The Reds will counter with Bronson Arroyo, who has turned into what amounts to an automatic quality start. Arroyo is smoke and mirrors, as he can’t blow anyone away and I keep waiting for him to blow up and have a really bad game. But that’s not happening, and my guess is he’ll have another decent outing tonight.

Nevertheless, I’m on the Locke express this time. I think we’re likely to see a decent duel tonight given the form of the pitchers. But with Locke on fire and also backed by a lights out bullpen, I see backing the Pirates as the right way to play tonight.