Lincecum Not Quite So Brilliant In Anaheim

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Jun 23, 2016; Anaheim, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics shortstop Marcus Semien (10) celebrates with first baseman Yonder Alonso (17) after hitting a three-run home run against the Los Angeles Angels during the second inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 23, 2016; Anaheim, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics shortstop Marcus Semien (10) celebrates with first baseman Yonder Alonso (17) after hitting a three-run home run against the Los Angeles Angels during the second inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports /
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Last Saturday when the Oakland Athletics were losing to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at the Coliseum, Tim Lincecum looked magnificent.

He gave up one run on four hits in six innings, and he was dealing.  His split fingered fastball kept the Oakland Athletics’ hitters off balance, and they never could time Lincecum’s fastball. The Angels’ front office looked brilliant for taking a chance on the former Giants’ pitcher.  On Thursday night, the signing of Lincecum did not look quite so smart.

Lincecum labored through three innings and he gave up four runs on seven hits.  (It should be eight hits.  Stephen Vogt deserved a hit and an rbi in the second inning).  Almost every Oakland Athletics’ hitter had good at bats against Lincecum.  It was gratifying to see the A’s grinding out those at bats.  Oakland has a young team that is learning and growing.  Last week they were shut down, but in this game, Lincecum ended up throwing 83 pitches in just three complete innings.  Marcus Semien nailed “The Freak” for a three run blast.  Semien is now leading all American League shortstops in home runs.

Faithful readers will know that I am a big fan of Semien.  He has been working very hard with Ron Washington, and Semien has become a good fielding shortstop.  I have to admit that you might not see Semien on “amazing plays of the week.”  Nevertheless, he has become a reliable major league shortstop.  Semien has also hit 13 home runs.

Just for comparison’s sake, Troy Tulowitzki has 10.  Semien is making about $500,000 this year while Tulo is pulling down $20 million. Just saying.

Watching the Oakland Athletics play the Angels, it’s hard not to think about big stars and big contracts.  Back in 2012, Albert Pujols signed a ten year contract worth $240 million dollars.  In 2015, Mike Trout signed a six year contract worth $144 million dollars.

Overall, the Angels will spend about $177 million on their payroll.  It’s kind of funny, the A’s will spend $88 million which is just about half of the Angels’ payroll.  And the A’s and the Angels are in a virtual tie for the AL West cellar.

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It would be easy to say, “Just goes to show that you can’t buy a pennant.”  I wish that was true.  If you look at team payrolls, you will find that the Texas Rangers, San Francisco Giants and the Chicago Cubs are all spending about the same amount that the Angels are spending. Also, it is a little depressing to note that the teams spending the least are not winning very much.  Tampa Bay, Atlanta and Oakland have some of the lowest payrolls and also some of the worst records in baseball.

It’s hard to know the right answer, but this is my opinion.  I think the front office has to identify the key players on the team and invest in those players.  Josh Reddick is coming back to the Oakland Athletics on Monday to play against the Giants.  When Bob Melvin can add Reddick to the middle of the lineup with Khris Davis and Danny Valencia, then the A’s will be tough to face.  I would not mind watching those three guys hit together for the next five years.  It would sure beat watching Pujols jogging down to first trying not to pull his hamstring until the year 2021 like Angels fans will be doing.

Next: Opening Day Throwback

That’s my opinion, what do you think?

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