Westworld: 'Moneyball' vs. Mikeyball

Westworld: 'Moneyball' vs. Mikeyball

ARLINGTON -- Welcome to Westworld, a weekly foray into the wild, weird and wonderful workings of the West divisions of the American and National Leagues, where so many interesting things often happen after all the major news organizations in this country have gone to sleep.

Here's a wake-up call straight from Angels manager Mike Scioscia to anyone doubting that his team can get the job done without the nouveau-chic, on-base-percentage-crazed "Moneyball" approach to offense.

The Angels have a bunch of free swingers in their lineup -- Vladimir Guerrero, Garret Anderson, Steve Finley and Orlando Cabrera come to mind -- and aren't going to draw many walks.

They're also not going to apologize for their brand of offense, which is built around aggressive baserunning, calculated situational hitting and constant pressure on defenses.

The Oakland A's, of course, have been molded into an on-base-percentage machine. General manager Billy Beane's strategy is to draw walk after walk, tire out pitchers, then slug away and drive in runs.

Stolen bases are scarce, wins are plenty. The cash-strapped A's have found a way to make the playoffs in four of the last five seasons.

Both organizations believe strongly in their philosophies and both have good points. One preaches patience, the other pressure.

The Angels might have ranked last in the American League and 28th in the big leagues in walks last year, but they won the division over the A's in the last series of the season. They also won the World Series in 2002, the year Scioscia first brought his situational game to the team.

"We all agree with on-base percentage, but 'Moneyball' doesn't tell the whole story," Scioscia says. "I put much more stock in getting into scoring position than on-base percentage. If you have team speed, you have to use it."

By Scioscia's numbers, the Angels ranked second in the Majors last year with 99 successful advances from first base to third on base hits. The Angels were thrown out six times trying that move. Scioscia says the A's only tried it 36 times and were thrown out twice.

"We want to stay aggressive and play 'little ball,' but only as long as we have the team to do it," Scioscia adds. "I just don't think you can cookie-cutter any team into a philosophy."

We'll soon see how the cookie crumbles in the AL West.

And now, the westerly winds blow us around both divisions for lasting impressions from the West Week That Was, starting with the AL.

Halo handbook: The last seven days were eventful for new Angels shortstop Orlando Cabrera, who started off slowly at the plate and was booed at home. No problem. Cabrera's won Monday night's game in Texas with his first Halo homer and drove in three runs in Tuesday's win. Maybe those boos will soon cease and Angels fans will remember that they've got a pretty solid shortstop.

A's train: Huston Street stormed into the big leagues after an eye-opening spring and hasn't let up. On Monday, he continued to shine by striking out four Blue Jays in two perfect innings. Already, A's closer Octavio Dotel is being targeted as Beane's next premier July 31 trade-deadline chip. That would be about as surprising as the end of Charlie Sheen's marriage.

Texas time: The Rangers' bullpen is a mess right now, with Carlos Almanzar still in the Dominican Republic because of deaths in his family, Frankie Francisco on the shelf, and R.A. Dickey now hurting, too. Texas blew a four-run lead in their home opener, prompting a local paper to run a huge headline that read, "Poison Pen." Ouch. They better get healthy in a hurry if they're going to rescue their starters like they did in 2004.

Mariner log: Ichiro Suzuki has continued his amazing offensive barrage of 2004 and Spring Training by getting 13 hits -- 11 singles -- in his first seven games. That's all well and good, but somebody's gotta tell the scoreboard operator at Safeco Field to come up with a better celebratory slogan than "Ichi-palooza." Seriously, what on earth does that mean?

And in the NL West ...

Dodger depot: At Chavez Ravine, it might be time for the Milton Bradley Revival Show. Bradley, who didn't exactly endear himself to the Dodger nation last year by running into repeated problems with umpires and fans, says he's reaping the benefits of anger management classes. He can hit a little bit, too. His clutch ninth-inning single -- and subsequent Jason Ellison error -- completed a remarkable comeback over the Giants in the Dodgers' home-opening win Tuesday.

They might be Giants: Everybody knows that San Francisco isn't exactly the youngest team in the Majors, but some of its young guys have had chances to shine. Pitchers Noah Lowry and Jesse Foppert, outfielders Ellison and Tony Torcato and infielder Lance Niekro are contributing and keeping the Giants afloat. Watch out when big boys Barry Bonds and Moises Alou return.

Pads and ends: Dave Roberts is a class guy and the Padres are missing his quick legs and quick bat while he's on the disabled list with a groin problem. But Roberts should have thought more before donning that Red Sox jersey while getting his 2004 World Series ring in Boston on Monday. Maybe the Padres are the forgiving kind, but it's hard to imagine someone not having a problem with that.

Snake pit: Troy Glaus has a fixed-up shoulder after surgery in 2004, fixed-up eyes after laser surgery before 2004, and a fixed-up outlook on what his Diamondbacks can do this year. The third baseman said he was certain Arizona could turn it around after its 111-loss campaign last summer; that's why he signed. (Oh yeah, and $45 million doesn't hurt, either). But his bat is backing up his words -- Glaus had an absurd 33 RBIs in Cactus League play and already has four homers for the improved D-backs.

Rocky mountain nine: Should they change the annual honor for the most outstanding first-year player to "Rockie of the Year?" Take your pick of Colorado kids who could take home the top honor this season: Will it be lefty starter Jeff Francis? Catcher JD Closser? Shortstop Clint Barmes? Or maybe third baseman Garret Atkins, once he gets healthy? After years of disappointment, the youth movement in the Mile High City is something worth watching.

Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.