Middle threesome flourishing

Even in the absence of Vladimir Guerrero, no reasonable Angels fan can complain about the production the Angels have been getting out of the middle of their order.

Torii Hunter, Kendry Morales and Mike Napoli have been about as good as any middle threesome in the game.

Hunter (nine homers, 27 RBIs coming into Saturday’s game), Morales (six homers, 23 RBIs) and Napoli (six homers, 17 RBIs) have accounted for 21 of the club’s 27 homers and 67 of its 163 RBIs.

Hunter is slugging at a .613 clip, eight in the American league, and this is being done in a pitcher-friendly home park. Napoli (.585) and Morales (.537) also are slugging at impressive rates, in the general neighborhood of Guerrero’s career slugging mark of .575.

When Vlad returns, perhaps in the next week to 10 days, it would seem to make sense to slide into the No. 3 spot in the order, with Bobby Abreu moving up, as originally planned, in the No. 2 hole between Chone Figgins and Guerrero. That would keep Hunter, Morales and Napoli aligned in the middle of the order, Napoli with his ability to get on base (team-high .423 on-base percentage) setting up the bottom third.

When asked Saturday about the possibility of Abreu hitting second when Guerrero returns, manager Mike Scioscia said it has come under discussion in staff meetings. When your faithful correspondent volunteered to join those meetings and offer input, Scioscia had no response — perhaps his way of saying, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

Just trying to help, big guy.  .

1 Comment

Writing out this batting order is pure pleasure. I don’t care if Mike wants help or not . . . it’s easy as pie:

figgins, abreu, vlad, hunter, morales, napoli, rivera, kendrick, aybar

if Vlad’s in right, rivera is the DH.
If Vlad’s the DH, Rivera plays RF.

Napoli catches as much as he can. I’m not putting Mathis into this thing just so Napoli can DH. Doing so knocks out Rivera and he’s just starting to hit the ball. When Napoli needs a rest, he can DH if Vlad can play in the field. If Vlad can’t play in the field, Napoli gets a day off if he’s tired.

I’m kinda betting that this “catching is awfully wearing on Napoli” talk doesn’t play all that well with the skipper. I suspect he thinks that Napoli should be able to catch AND hit, since he came through the system as … well… a catcher.

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