Torii Hunter started the day penciled in the Angels' lineup card in the four hole with that still strange looking RF next to his name. But as the day progressed, Hunter's name was removed from the line and replaced by the much less productive Juan Rivera. The speculation was that Hunter was facing a suspension for losing his cool after getting ejected last night for arguing a strikeout call. After being tossed, Hunter launched a bag of balls onto the field from the dugout.
Apparently, that kind of behavior is good enough for a 4 game suspension. The suspension couldn't have come at a worse time for the Angels and Torii Hunter. While the Angels are desperately trying to hang in the AL West division race at 9.5 games out, Hunter has been scorching hot in August. In the first 5 games of the month, Hunter has a pair of home runs to go with a .550/.571/.950 line. I know 5 games means nothing in terms of sample size but a hot streak has to start somewhere.
In the meantime, Hunter will be replaced by some mixture of Juan Rivera and Reggie Willits. Rivera has seemingly given up on trying to be good at baseball this season mixing a .319 wOBA with a -3.9 UZR. Unfortunately for Angels' fans, that's the good news. Willits is sporting a .300 wOBA and his UZR is just a slightly better but still not good -0.6. You'd think the little, scrappy white kid would be a better player, huh?
I realize the Angels have no real shot at the playoffs this season. According to Cool Standings, the Angels only have a 2.1% chance of winning the West. I'm no scientist but that doesn't sound promising. It's a good thing I'm wildly delusional though. Go Halos!