2007 Preview: LA Angels
Charging the mound is no way to solve a problem, but if there was any positive outcome to last year's bench clearer between the A's and the Angels, it was that the Angels pitchers learned to quit fooling around and throw the batters something they can get hit by. But, it didn't sink in all that well, because they only hit 50 batters - tied for 26th in the majors. They also had only 14 batters who hit a batter - only the Tigers and Twins had fewer pitchers hit someone, though 4 other teams tied with 14 (including Astros' opponents Oakland, Seattle, the White Sox and Padres).
Craig Biggio has never been plunked by the Angels, and they only have one pitcher on the roster who's ever done it for another team. Hector Carrasco plunked Biggio for the Red in 1996. Ervin Santana led the '06 Angels with 11 hit batters, and John Lackey, who respects Jason Kendall's right to charge the mound, hit 9 batters. But not Jason Kendall.
The Astros visist where ever it is the LA Angels of Anaheim actually play for three games, June 18th-20th. That sounds like an excellent time for Biggio to get the 70th hit he needs this season to cross that 3000 hits milestone everyone seems so excited about. Biggio recorded his 70th hit last season on June 18th, and in 1991, he had his 70th hit on June 20th. That series could also be a good time for Biggio to record the all time record breaking 288th plunk of his career.
Hopefully Biggio won't have to charge the mound to get the Angels to plunk him the way Kendall had too - because it took them until September 24th to get around to hitting Kendall with a pitch anyway. Biggio won't have that much time to convince them. Aside from Kendall, last years Angels plunked Brian N. Anderson, Ron Belliard, Adrian Beltre (twice), John Buck, Jorge Cantu, Shin-Soo Choo, Joe Crede, Johnny Damon, David DeJesus, Mark Ellis (twice), Troy Glaus, Khalil Greene, Freddy Guzman, Travis Hafner, Todd Helton, Ramon Hernandez (twice), Derek Jeter (twice), Kenji Johjima (twice), Reed Johnson, Jeff Kent, Bobby Kielty, Ian Kinsler, Paul Konerko, Javy Lopez, Gary Matthews, Kevin Millar, Bengie Molina, Melvin Mora, Justin Morneau, Laynce Nix, Jay Payton, Jorge Piedra, A.J. Pierzynski, Jeremy Reed, Ivan Rodriguez, Richie Sexson (twice), Grady Sizemore, Chris Snelling, Ichiro Suzuki, Nick Swisher, Chad Tracy, Juan Uribe and Michael Young. Most of them did not have to charge the mound.