Joe Blanton’s next start for the Angels is to be determined.

Joe Blanton

Joe Blanton suffered his major-league leading 13th loss on Monday. (Associated Press)

Angels manager Mike Scioscia wouldn’t commit to Joe Blanton taking his next scheduled turn in the rotation Saturday in Oakland.

“We’re working on a couple of things now and we’re going to see where we are,” Scioscia said.

Blanton has allowed more home runs (24) and hits (157), and lost more games this season (13), than any major-league pitcher. Monday’s loss was the 10th game, and fourth in a row, in which Blanton has pitched fewer than six innings and allowed more than three runs.

“It’s about throwing good strikes,” Scioscia said. “I think he’s either yanking some fastballs into some hitting areas, or maybe he’s just missing with some of his pitches and getting into some tough counts. When he’s really good, he’s controlling counts and pitching to contact on his terms. He made some adjustments about four or five starts ago, and it looked like he was getting better fastball command. But he obviously doesn’t have everything together like he needs to. He’s working hard with Mike to find the consistency that he needs to repeat pitches, and it’s been a struggle for Joe.”

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Time Warner, Fox teaming up to broadcast 63 Angels games in Spanish.

Time Warner Cable announced it will carry Spanish-language telecasts of 63 Angels games beginning tomorrow night.

Fox Sports Networks will produce these games for distribution by local Time Warner Cable systems to its customers, which will air locally on channel 858.

The Angels’ broadcast team will feature Amaury Pi-Gonzalez providing the play-by-play and Jose Mota with commentary and analysis. Here’s the complete schedule:

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Daily Distractions: Mike Trout’s celebrity grows, Vladimir Guerrero’s quest continues.

Not long ago, fans voted online to determine who is “The Face of Major League Baseball.” The winner, of course, was Ezequiel Astacio Joey Votto.

Wait, you didn’t remember who won the most important bracket of March?

Votto’s victory vindicated his small-market heroics but it couldn’t land him in a national television advertising campaign called “I Play.” The five faces MLB chose for the campaign: David Price, Andrew McCutchen, Robinson Cano, Bryce Harper and Angels outfielder Mike Trout, whose video spot is linked above. (Apologies to the entire Midwest are in order.)

It’s another drop in the growing tide of Trout’s national celebrity. This off-season, he was featured on the cover of ESPN The Magazine, GQ and Men’s Health. You have to figure that he’ll get more exposure before he gets less. Ryan Seacrest seems to agree.

It’s also a refreshing affirmation that it’s possible to be a star simply by being really good at what you do. Trout isn’t as flashy as Harper, doesn’t play in as large a market as Cano, and hasn’t had as much time to establish himself as Price or McCutchen. He’s just a really good baseball player — maybe the best in the game — albeit one with a .313 on-base percentage (if you want to hold up his three-game sample size from 2013).

Playing in Los Angeles of Anaheim helps, too.

The Angels are playing the Texas Rangers in Arlington in about 10 minutes. Onto the bullet points:

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Daily Distractions: Making sense of Yu Darvish’s near no-no.

Yu Darvish

Yu Darvish, left, was removed after losing his perfect game with two outs in the ninth inning of Tuesday’s game against the Houston Astros. His next opponent is the Angels. (Associated Press)

On an off-day for the Angels, the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros created a compelling night of action in the American League West on Tuesday.

In case you missed it, Yu Darvish retired 26 straight Astros to start the game before allowing a single to Marwin Gonzalez in the bottom of the ninth inning. No longer are the Houston Astros completely anonymous. As the New York Daily News proclaimed, “YU BLEW IT.”

The pertinent question for the Halos: Are the Astros that bad, or is Darvish that good?

The right-hander joined a list that includes Dave Stieb, Mike Mussina and eight pitchers you might not have heard of who have lost perfect games in the ninth inning. Anyone can do it, even Armando Galarraga.

Ken Rosenthal and Mark Mulder blamed the Astros. Jean-Jacques Taylor and Bo Porter credited Darvish. Alan Ashby, the Astros’ color commentator, reacted with racial overtones (I think).

The Angels will find out soon enough whether Darvish’s stuff is for real. If he pitches on regular rest, he’ll face the Angels (and Jered Weaver) on Sunday in Arlington. The game is scheduled for a 5 p.m. national broadcast on ESPN2.

Some bullet points for a Wednesday morning:

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Forbes values Angels at $718 million, ninth-highest in baseball.

Angels logoThe Angels are worth $718 million, according to Forbes magazine’s annual value rankings of the 30 Major League Baseball franchises.

That’s a nine percent increase compared to last year, though Forbes estimates the Angels’ operating income at negative $12.9 million, down from a year ago.

The Yankees, Dodgers, Red Sox and Cubs top the list as baseball’s only billion-dollar-plus franchises.

The Phillies, Mets, Giants, Rangers, Angels and Cardinals round out Forbes’ top 10.

Here’s what Forbes wrote about the Angels:

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Angels select new public address announcer.

Michael Araujo was chosen to succeed the late David Courtney as the public-address announcer for Angels home games on Tuesday.

Araujo, a Rancho Cucamonga resident, was previously the public-address announcer at Galaxy home games at the Home Depot Center.

Courtney, the voice of the Angels for the last 18 years, died on Nov. 29, 2012 of a pulmonary embolism. He was also the voice of the Kings and Clippers at Staples Center.

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Angels, Fox Sports West announce spring training TV schedule.

The Angels and Fox Sports West announced their spring training TV schedule today. Fox Sports WestThere will be 23 live-game telecast between FSN and Prime Ticket.

The on-air personnel, according to the official press release:

Jose Mota will provide game analysis while Terry Smith calls the action. Mark Gubicza and Tim Salmon will also be on hand during select games to deliver analysis throughout the Spring Training telecast schedule. Following each game, Michael Eaves, Victor Rojas and Kent French will all rotate at the host position to lead post-game discussions with reports from Jaime Maggio and added analysis from Mota and Gubicza.

Here is the complete schedule:

DATE                     DAY        OPPONENT         TIME (PT)            TV                          

2/24                       Sun        VS Athletics        11:55 AM             FOX Sports West              2/26                       Tue        VS D’Backs          11:55 AM             FOX Sports West
2/27                       Wed      VS Giants             11:55 AM             FOX Sports West

3/1                         Fri           VS Dodgers         11:55 AM             FOX Sports West 3/3                         Sun        VS Cubs               11:55 AM             FOX Sports West 3/5                         Tue        VS Reds                11:55 AM             FOX Sports West
3/6                         Wed      VS Italy**            11:55 AM             FOX Sports West              3/8                         Fri           VS D’Backs          11:55 AM             FOX Sports West
3/9                         Sat          VS Rockies          11:55 AM             FOX Sports West
3/11                       Mon      @ Indians            12:55 PM             FOX Sports West              3/13                       Wed      @ Padres             12:55 PM             FOX Sports West              3/14                       Thu        VS White Sox     12:55 PM             FOX Sports West
3/15                       Fri           VS Mariners       12:55 PM             FOX Sports West              3/16                       Sat          @ Athletics         12:55 PM             FOX Sports West              3/17                       Sun        VS Padres            12:55 PM             FOX Sports West
3/19                       Tue        @ Brewers          12:55 PM             FOX Sports West              3/20                       Wed      VS Indians           12:55 PM             FOX Sports West              3/22                       Fri           VS Royals             12:55 PM             FOX Sports West
3/24                       Sun        VS Giants             12:55 PM             FOX Sports West
3/25                       Mon      @ White Sox      12:55 PM             FOX Sports West              3/26                       Tue        @ D’Backs           6:55 PM                FOX Sports West
3/27                       Wed      VS Rangers         12:55 PM             FOX Sports West              3/28                       Thu        VS Dodgers*** 7:00 PM                Prime Ticket

*Schedule subject to change
**Indicates World Baseball Classic Exhibition game
***coverage will begin at 6:30PM with “Angels Live” pre-game

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My failed romance with Baseball's Hall of Fame.

Bert Blyleven

Bert Blyleven has been accused of being Dutch and giving up a lot of home runs, but not of taking performance-enhancing drugs. (Associated Press)

Some kids want to be astronauts, firemen, architects, or all of the above.

I wanted to vote for the Baseball Hall of Fame.

That’s embarrassing to admit, because I should have known better. Architects make good money. They are also able to work with numbers that don’t lie. If Edgar Kaufmann’s house in rural Pennsylvania (better known as Fallingwater) didn’t have enough weight resting in the rest of its structure, its cantilevered deck would collapse into the waterfall below. There’s no ambiguity about those numbers.

I’m not a Hall of Fame voter; I don’t have the required 10 years’ tenure in BBWAA. But I know that my voting colleagues can’t place the same confidence in their numbers. Not when those numbers are statistics compiled by steroid users in a country that considers steroid possession illegal, in a game that didn’t enforce the same rules as its government.

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Daily Distractions: Debating the ex-Angels on the Hall of Fame ballot.

There are two former Angels making their first appearance on the Hall of Fame ballot this year, Steve Finley and Aaron Sele.

Finley played one forgettable season in Anaheim, batting .222/.271/.374 in 2005. The 40-year-old was the weak link in an outfield that included Garret Anderson and Vladimir Guerrero in their primes, and occasionally Chone Figgins. He was pushed for time at DH by Jeff DaVanon. Each of Finley’s 440 plate appearances that season served as a reminder that the World Series run of 2003 was firmly in the past.

But don’t let Finley’s Hall of Fame credentials be obscured by one bad season. By several metrics, he’s on par with Jack Morris — who, in some voters’ opinions, is the only worthy Hall of Famer on this year’s ballot (see below). My biggest gripe with those metrics is that they don’t consider playoff performances, which is the primary reason Morris got two-thirds of the BBWAA electorate to vote for him last year. Performing in the clutch counts for something, and I doubt Finley’s contribution to the Arizona Diamondbacks’ 2001 World Series championship is enough to keep him on the ballot beyond this year.

Sele is also on the ballot for the first time. His line as an Angel from 2002-04: 24-24, 5.20 ERA.

And then there’s Lee Smith, who recorded 37 of his 478 career saves in a California Angels uniform. If he isn’t a Hall of Famer, the same writers who leave Smith off their ballots need to re-evaluate how they view the save statistic. That’s not an endorsement or an indictment on either Smith or the save – just an observation.

There was plenty of Hall of Fame debate today with the final voting coming tomorrow. As I often say, there’s nothing like parsing through the moral crises of a bunch of cranky sports writers to start your morning off right …
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