Friday HaloLinks: LA Angels vs. Texas Rangers - California Uber Alles Edition

Stephen Dunn - Getty Images

Mountains of stuff for the final weekend of the 2012 regular season, starting with the Halos and meandering all about Major League Baseball - past and present.

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Golden State Baseball: Many of you who might be overlooking all this, but with only a last few days remaining in the regular season, California has 4 of its 5 teams still in the hunt for playoff spots. Only the Baltimore Orioles pulling a 2007 Colorado Rockies trick, and the Doyers struggling with major injuries this season, are keeping Our Great State from domination of the nation.

Mariners Series Review: Sucks to be us. Lots of money vested in lots of potential, and here we are still clinging to the caboose of the 2012 playoffs...getting our butts bounced and pounded on the train tracks of LOB...rocks and sparks of manager misses chipping up in our face...the coal smoke of pitching fail clogging our lungs. The station is just around the bend. Will our best Charlie Chaplin impersonation hold out, or will our Keystone Cop efforts against Tampa Bay and Cleveland this year finally catch up to us?? Whatever it is, we absolutely could not afford to allow our pitchers to get completely hosed by the worst hitting team in all of Major League Baseball (Seattle).

I did not hear the Tuesday broadcast, but I have seen a lot of video on that Justin Smoak HR that was reviewed and upheld. And I do not get it. It only makes any sense at all if, during the pregame discussions that the umpires and managers do at home plate to discuss ground rules of our ballpark, one of those rules that is clearly agreed to is: "A ball only has to clear the scoreboard to be ruled a home run, and it does not have to actually clear, you know, the home wall." Can anybody share anything that the announcers might have spoken during the broadcast that would explain that ruling?? Because, on the surface, that was total fail and even the replay got that wrong. And it's a wonderment to me that the media has not been mocking this right along with NFL replacement refs.

Wednesday, for the record, was only the 5th time in 2012 that the Halos had a walk-off victory to celebrate. And that is NOT because the Halos have not needed to come from behind very often. they are 3 and 61 when trailing after 8 innings.

Rangers Series Preview: For the record, we probably are not REQUIRED to sweep, but we MUST win at least two out of three. AND we still need a lot of help. How so? See Progress Report next.

Progress Report: Let's all hope my math sucks. I have been projecting 92 wins to make the AL playoffs for a month now (give me credit...most others have been claiming 90 or 91) and, with yesterday's loss, that number is only attainable via a perfect finish. The Orioles need only 3 wins to reach 92, and the A's only 4 wins. Basically, our Magic Number to reach the WC is FIVE. Any combo of 5 A's wins and Halo losses from here on out would be the "Official 2012 Playoff Elimination Event". All that remains for us is either (A) I am wrong or (B) the Halos are perfect. Hey, it's not impossible. They have won as many as 6 in a row uh...um...oh...well...twice this season already. CoolStandings, though, has us down to 13.8% odds of making the playoffs. (By the way, since the next time you read a Friday HaloLinks the race will be over and CoolStandings will have shut down forever, let me remind you all that visiting that site while things are still happening is pretty awesome.)

Field & Stream: As Mike Trout cools off with respect to hits and home runs, he continues to score. Scoring is, when one thinks about it, rather important in the whole scheme of things when it comes to winning baseball games. So pretty much all of us know by now that Mike Trout is up on the all-time Rookie leaderboard for runs scored in a season. His handicap, of course, is missing almost all of April. He still has a good shot at moving up from 5th to 3rd, or even 2nd, before the regular season closes out. But, already, his runs scored per game played parks him squarely behind the legendary Joe DiMaggio and into second place with .939 runs scored per gamed versus DiMaggio's .956. Trout is also tied with Vlad Guerrero for most runs scored in a season by an Angels player at 124, so that should be his own record any minute now. For the record, Miguel Cabrera is at a mere .690 runs scored per game played. Because, of course, he is so valuable.

Erick Aybar: Aybar is flaming hot, batting .329 since the All-Star Break which (according to the official team stats) would place him 5th in AL batting. But since August 1st, he is batting .352 and leads all the Majors.

Peter Bourjos: Bourjos accidentally made a Plate Appearance Wednesday night, marking the third such planning mistake on the part of Mike Scioscia since August 7th. Credit Bourjos with limiting the number of official At Bats to 1 so as to minimize any damage done to Sosh's doghouse. It's bad enough that Bourjos has scored FIVE RUNS WITH THAT ONE AT-BAT. A doghouse is a doghouse, after all, and needs to be protected at all costs. Stop it Petey. Just stop it.

Torii Hunter: Hunter is getting a national look based on his torrid second half (see what I did there?). Didn't he have a similar great second half last year? Maybe we will take a 50% pay cut for his services? No?

Dan Haren: Calling 5thStarter, calling 5thStarter: Landon Hall of the OC Register is on the Dan Haren returning to LAA case. Haren: "Of course I want to come back, but it’s not my decision. I’d like to redeem myself."

eBay Auction Of The Week: Just in time for the end of the August/September heat wave we all just endured, comes a California Angels Wall-Mount Thermometer. Something to hang next to your California Angels wall-mount clock!

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FRIDAY

Los Angeles Angels vs. Texas Rangers @ Rangers Ballpark in Arlington - 5:05 PM Start (FS-W)

Jered Weaver (R) 19-4 2.74 ERA vs. Ryan Dempster (R) 7-2 4.48 ERA

SATURDAY

Los Angeles Angels vs. Texas Rangers @ Rangers Ballpark in Arlington - 1:05 PM Start (MLB only)

Ervin Santana (R) 9-12 4.93 ERA vs. Derek Holland (L) 11-6 4.50 ERA

SUNDAY

Los Angeles Angels vs. Texas Rangers @ Rangers Ballpark in Arlington - 12:05 PM Start (FS-W)

Zack Grienke (R) 6-2 3.40 ERA vs. Yu Darvish (R) 3.90 ERA

Jered, my man, this is your chance to absolutely KILL IT. You have, what, two starts left to do something magical and try and catch David Price for the AL CY? I'm counting on you!!! As it is, Weaver leads the league with the best WHIP, the lowest BA against, and is third (barely out of second) in ERA. And he is tied at the top with Price in the oh-so-incredibly-important-(to-those-who-do-the-voting)-WINS category with 19. And, against Texas in a crucial series, here is a real showcase opportunity.

On Saturday, tag! It's our turn against Holland. We whomped him back in July 6-1 and lost to him back on the 19th 2-6. So this one belongs to Ervin.

Meanwhile, Yu Darvish regains his health just in time to make his start in the Rangers home finale after dodging skipping his start against the A's. Lucky him, since he is 1 and 2 against the A's with 1.300 WHIP and a 9.9 SO/9, but 3 and 1 against the Halos with a WHIP of 1.168 and 11.7 SO/9. Unlucky for him that he goes up against Greinke's final turn in the regular season to pad the off-season auction bidding for his services, so we got this one.

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This Date In Baseball History: 1902 - The Browns and White Sox choose to spend the final day of the season using nothing but position players as pitchers. This will mark the final time TWO position players record the winning and losing pitcher of record until this year, when the Red Sox and Orioles do same in their 17 inning marathon..........1919 - The Giants defeat the Phillies on the last game of the season in 51 minutes flat, letting everybody back then get a couple of hours off for fishing before returning to their day jobs. That marks the fastest game in MLB history..........1920 - Today marks the anniversary of the original indictment in the Black Sox scandal..........1930 - Babe Ruth returns to the mound for his first stint as a pitcher in in 9 years, almost to the day, and hurls a complete game victory as the Yankees defeat the Red Sox 9-3..........1941 - Batting .399955 at dawn of the final day of the season, Ted Williams elects to play in a double-header (here and here) against the A's to earn a legitimate .400 season (by rounding down, and not up). He goes 6-8 on the day and ends at .4057, recorded as .406..........1948 - 60,405 fans attend "Good Old Joe Early Night" in Cleveland. Joe Early was a night watchman..........1952 - Honing their reputation for FAIL, after 77 years Boston hosts the final game ever of the Boston Braves and wwatches the game go long, ending in a 5-5 tie when the game is called due to darkness..........1953 - The MLB owners agree to move the St. Louis Browns to Baltimore, where they will be renamed the Orioles and piss off we Halo fans 59 years later..........1955 - Elston Howard homers off of Don Newcombe in the World Series, marking the first time a black batter homers off of a black pitcher in the WS..........1959 - The Braves, now over in Milwaukee, lose the first game of a special three game playoff against the Dodgers for the NL pennant, in front of only 18,297 fans..........1965 - The Halos defeat the Red Sox 4-3 and hand pitcher Dave Moorehead his 10th consecutive loss to the LAA franchise, setting a new AL record..........1974 - Nolan Ryan leads the Halos with a 4-0 no-hitter against the Twins..........1975 - Exactly one year later TO THE DAY(!) Vida Blue, Glenn Abbott, Paul Lindblad and Rollie Fingers combine for a first ever four-pitcher no hitter, against the Angels..........2000 - Troy Glaus sets the AL record for home runs by a third baseman, with his 45th of the year..........2001 - Ismael Valdes of the Angels surrenders Alex Rodriguez' 50th home run of the season, making Rodriguez the first shortstop to hit 50 HRs..........2001 - David Eckstein, in the very same game against Texas, breaks Frank Robinson's rookie record for getting hit by a pitch, getting nailed for the 21st time..........2009 - The Angels clinch their 5th AL West title in 6 years, crushing Texas 11-0..........2011 - The Braves, harking back on the futility of Boston residency, become the first team in history to blow an 8 game lead in September, gutting their 8 1/2 game lead on September 5 over the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Wild Card race. The Still-Stuck-In-Boston Red Sox will end up blowing an EVEN LARGER lead, 9 1/2 games up as of September 3, and these two teams will drop the 1995 Angels to a mere third worst September collapse at 7 1/2 games as of August 31.

One At Bat: that One At Bat campaign that I referenced a few weeks ago, wherein the sports world was trying to lobby baseball to grant Adam Greenberg a second chance after getting beaned by the first big league pitch he ever saw, has come to fruition. Greenberg got a one day contract to play for the Marlins. Next week, when the Mets face the Marlins in Miami, Greenberg will get one at-bat, all thanks to a special agreement between the Marlins and Bud Selig. And Greenberg is scheduled to face, of all people, newly minted 20-game winner R.A. Dickey.

2013 AL West: Next year just got a little more interesting. The Astros signed Bo Porter as their new manager. And (hat tip to HBT) it turns out that Porter gave an interview to FanGraphs a couple of months ago, revealing himself to be quite familiar with the modern mathematics of baseball. "In the American League, it’s a huge advantage when you have a nine-hole guy who is like a second lead-off guy — a high on-base-percentage guy — because now you have three on-base guys in front of your three- and four-hole hitters."

MFY, Illegally Cheap Bastards - Servers in New York, working in Yankee Stadium, are taking the MFY to task for pocketing gratuities charged to, and paid by, stadium patrons. In one of my past lives I was a tipped employee, so I am somewhat sensitive to this deceitful practice. When it surfaces and the culprits are a consortium of the Yankees, the Dallas Cowboys, and Goldman Sachs, I say all victims take a scorched earth approach to restitution!

9 K's In A row! - Screw the Tigers, but holy moley!! Doug Fister struck out 9 batters in a row! That must have been a hell of a lot of fun to watch!!

UPDATE: I have been commenting about the battle between MLB and Washington DC in their efforts to force each other to serve baseball fans (here is what I was linking to). Selig forced the Nats to hold stand their ground and not pay for DC Metro service after hours for Nats playoff games, and the city held their ground also. So Living Social stepped in and volunteered to take care of it via private funding.

Travis Snider impersonating what Mike Trout does, every day:


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100 great baseball places to go and waste your employer's Friday morning...

88) Hall of wWar (The Hall Of Fame RE-populated by Weighted WAR)

89) Buy Athletes (What's Happening Financially in our Sports World)

90) Baseball Pilgrimages (Baseball Travel Guides and Team Stores)

91) The Baseball Cube (Stathead Paradise)

92) Baseball Quote Of The Day (Where To Get Lost Trying To Understand Yogi Berra)

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Jayson Werth - Masterful Troll!..........Cleveland Indians Bullpen - practicing their offseason career choice..........Cleveland Indians Manager - speaking of juggling, Manny Acta is now out of work (not because his players fart around, but because they stink) and so the MLB managerial juggling act has begun..........Boston Red Sox Manager - and (dangit!) the Red Sox look to be part of the juggling..........Bobby Valentine - The Red Sox search is probably starting immediately, what with Bobby V finding it wise to crack clubhouse beer jokes...........Terry Francona - is already being talked about for Cleveland, completing the circle. Sorry, those-who-hoped-for-change-in-Anaheim...(which apparently is a club that also included Francona, according to the article!)

And now, being the full service weekend linkage institution that we are, here is the obligatory moment we take out of each Friday for beer:

It appears that the season for beer festivities has peaked, boys and girls. The Big Wave of Opportunity might be behind us, and all you Kegger Kahunas are confronted with a scaled back list of events this weekend. Friday we have only the 13th Annual Oktoberfest By The Bay at Pier 48 in San Francisco (which runs all weekend), and IPA Fest at Tony's Darts Away in Burbank. Saturday replaces the IPA Fest with a Taste Of Brews at Sea Terrace Park in Dana Point. And Sunday concludes with the Green Flash Oktoberfest at Green Flash Brewing Company in San Diego and Schmaltz Brewers Dinner "World Tour" at Hopmonk Tavern in Sebastopol. Have fun!

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