Thursday Halolinks: Jered Weaver Makes Impressive Return, Angels Return To Being Impressive

USA TODAY Sports

Jered Weaver and the Angels returned to the winning side of baseball with Weaver's return from the disabled list.

Do you feel that? I do. This feeling is hard to describe, it's been so long since I've felt it. It sorta feels like the sun is a little brighter, the air a little sweeter, the caffeine a bit more jitter-inducing, all those things that make "optimism" so grand! Do you know why I'm all of a sudden feeling so happy? WEAVER. That long-hair, cross-firing, pitching stud gets me giddy. Oh...and Halolinks:

  • Welcome back, Weaver: Los Angeles Dodgers at Los Angeles Angels - May 29, 2013 - MLB.com. "The arm, he said, "hasn't felt this good in a while." The fastball, he believes, "was coming out a lot better than the radar gun was saying." And the location was, in his words, "uplifting." The Dodgers only made noise against Weaver in the fifth, when Andre Ethier broke up a perfect game with a leadoff double and Schumaker dropped a two-out bloop single into shallow center field. They loaded the bases later that inning, on a flare J.B. Shuck had a chance to catch and an infield single fielded deep in the hole by Erick Aybar, but Weaver got Crawford to ground out and limit the damage." And in case you were worried about his velocity (like I was), Weaver pitches Angels to 4-3 win over Dodgers - Yahoo! Sports. ''His velocity was good,'' Scioscia said, noting Weaver reached 91 mph. ''His fastball had that late life we're used to seeing. He knows what he can do out on the mound and he showed it.'' Weaver downplayed the speed of his pitches, saying, ''I don't buy into the velocity anymore. As long as you can locate and change speeds, it makes it all worthwhile. Six weeks off, your arm strength isn't going to be there.''
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  • I think the biggest thing Weaver brings to the club besides his ability, is confidence. Back from DL, Angels' Weaver beats Dodgers - Yahoo! Sports. "Weaver had not pitched since April 7, when he landed awkwardly on his arm while avoiding a line drive hit by the Texas Rangers' Mitch Moreland. Seven weeks later, he looked like his old self, allowing one run and five hits while striking out seven. He didn't walk a batter." So poo-poo chemistry, but this may be what some mean when they talk about the effect personality has on performance:Lyle Spencer: Jered Weaver's return to Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim restores stability - angels.com. "For me," said Mike Trout, the 21-year-old superstar in center field, "it's the way he competes out there. Every pitch, he gets after it. You know he's going to bring his 'A' game, and that's what he did. "I felt it in the clubhouse before the game, watching him get ready. I saw it in his eyes, how fired up he gets. It's the kind of thing a team feels. The ace was getting ready for battle. That's Weave. How can that not get you fired up?"
  • Here's something I have never understood; why do we care how a pitcher has done against a certain team over his career? Los Angeles Dodgers at Los Angeles Angels - May 30, 2013 - MLB.com. "Jason Vargas (4-3, 3.43 ERA) got an extra day of rest because of Jered Weaver's return to the rotation on Wednesday night. He's been flat-out dominant in his past five starts, posting a 4-0 record and a 2.25 ERA. Against Kansas City on Friday, Vargas went 7 1/3 frames, allowing five hits and two runs. But he has struggled a bit in the past against the Dodgers, having posted a 5.03 ERA." Which Dodger players have been on that team during each of Vargas' starts? Think about the Angels, the only full-time players in last night's lineup who were there four seasons ago are Howie Kendrick and Erick Aybar. How would a pitcher's career performance be relevant when the hitters change teams so often? Another thing I think is odd is the time of year and performance: Dodgers-Angels Preview - FOX Sports. "Jason Vargas routinely finds success in May, and the Los Angeles Angels are hoping that holds true for one more game. Vargas looks to conclude this month with another impressive performance as the Angels try to salvage a split of this four-game Freeway Series from the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday night. Vargas (4-3, 3.43 ERA) is 12-4 with a 2.78 ERA and .218 opponents' average over 27 games in May since 2009. He's shown little ability to carry that momentum into June, however, going 7-9 with a 4.33 ERA in 21 starts." Are we to think that once the calender turns to June Jason Vargas will become a different pitcher?
  • And finally, does a player's defensive position effect his offensive performance? Bourjos on brink of starting rehab assignment - angels.com. "The Angels' center fielder -- and for now, that's the position he's expected to return to, regardless of how well Mike Trout has hit since moving back to his original position -- ran the bases for the first time prior to Wednesday's game and manager Mike Scioscia said "there's no doubt" he'll begin playing in Minor League games next week." Did Mike Trout's switch to center cause his hitting to improve? What the Halo? Angels should leave Mike Trout in center field - FOX Sports. "Whether Mike plays center or left, it’s not connected with his offensive performance," Scioscia said, according to the Los Angeles Times. "Mike is a center fielder, no doubt about it. But with Peter playing well, you’re taking a burden off Mike. There’s less of a grind moving from center to left." I understand the "you don't mess with a winning-streak" mentality, but if Trout hits better because he's playing centerfield, I'd have to question his thinking...at least a bit.
  • Here's an interesting post: The First Pitch Swing Decision: Selectivity Versus Passivity - FanGraphs. "Hitters are swinging less often at the first pitch, but when they do swing, their production levels are significantly higher than they used to be. Taken together, this tells us that hitters are now less willing to swing at the kinds of 0-0 pitches that are not as likely to turn into a positive outcome. Hitters aren’t just taking first pitch meatballs down the middle, they’re taking the kinds of first pitches that used to result in outs and turning those pitches into strike one instead." And how in a round-about way it makes what Eric Wedge said the other make sense: Wedge discusses his sabermetric remarks - Seattle Times. "I’m all about getting on base, but I’m about hitting, too. People have to understand: You can’t go up there looking for a walk and expect to be a big-leaguer very long. Nobody’s stayed up here by just walking. You’ve got to hit, too. You can get deep in the count all you want, but eventually you have to hit. It’s just not a black and white thing like some people think. I can’t explain it any better than that."
  • Bring out your dead: DFA Tracker: Ten players await fates - MLB Daily Dish. "As teams continually tinker with their 40-man rosters, ten players await their fates after being designated for assignment."
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  • Just in case you missed this jackass: Rays suspend Josh Sale for Facebook post - FOX Sports. "Well, the latest incident involves Josh Sale, the 17th overall pick in the 2010 draft who has already served a 50-game drug ban for testing positive for methamphetamine and amphetamine. But Sale outdid himself with his latest transgression. The 21-year-old from Seattle was thrown out of a strip club for throwing change at one of the women working that night." And one of the Angels reaction: Angels debate existence of mermaids, but no denying they're happy to have Jered Weaver back - Yahoo! Sports. "The sincere question from one Angel: "Why would they throw you out for throwing 50 cents at a stripper?"
  • Trapped in the minors: Dean Anna - Why does nobody know this guy?
  • That is worse than "Umm":Shane Victorino Said "You Know" 72 Times In One Three-Minute Interview. "Last night's quote, from outfielder Shane Victorino, was "you know."
  • Bugs & Cranks " We’ve All Seen ‘Em: Landmark Fans. "Anaheim, though, might be the weirdest of all. The Dodgers used to have the guy in the booty hat who pointed the radar gun. But the Angels have none other than Lucifer His Damn Self, Mr. Scott Boras, esq. The uberagent buys the underground seats behind the plate and brings an entourage to each game. It’s like his own little Eva Braun-style dugout. Can you imagine what the Angels must get from Boras for those seats?" The upside of this post was the link to this article: Jim Stingl - Front Row Amy is center of attention at Brewers games. "Never mind that she's old enough to be their mother. In TV land, the camera in center field that shows each pitch softens her 43 years and bathes Amy in deep-tan hotness that obviously works even on teenage boys, not to mention middle-age guys I know who can't stop talking about her."
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