Things are getting pretty interesting, are they not? These scrubs have now ripped off 10 wins across their last 12 games. Must be managerial brilliance. Sure, it's been against other scrubs, but where were those who whine about the competition being easy, when these guys were getting their clocks cleaned by one 2012 playoff team after another after another?
And let's take pause for a moment. Think about it. With the return of Hanson and Weaver we are suddenly debating what to do with our overstock of credible starting arms. Joe Blanton has found a groove. Jerome Williams is shining. Jered Weaver is, well, The Jered Weaver. Tommy Hanson was solid before he stepped aside. C.J. Wilson ain't going anywhere. And Jason Vargas is killer (thanks, Jerry Dipoto!). At the risk of hyperbole, this staff potentially has somewhere within it a rotation just might barely work out.
Speaking of Vargas, it's time that he gets some serious consideration for moving up the ladder from #4 on our depth chart. In last night's 3-2 victory over the visiting Dodgers, he was masterful. 2 earned runs via 5 hits and 2 walks through 7 innings, finishing off with three K's in his final frame. That's a total of 6 earned runs over his last 4 games, 28.1 innings pitched. What's that, something like a 1.91 ERA? Solid Gold. that's a #2 starter right behind Weaver.
And Vargas manned up at the precise time, when Erick Aybar, Mike Trout and Albert Pujols went a combined 0 for 12. Thank the heavens for Future Batting Champion. Howie Kendrick plated all three Halo runs, going 2 for 4 and being driven in by Chris Iannetta, Alberto Callaspo and Chris Nelson respectively.
All this recent fun leads up to the news that the Halos have reclaimed 30% of the ground on Texas over the past two weeks. What was 12 games behind as of May 19th is now 8.5 games as we awaken this morning. Up next, being a .500 ball club!! Well, for 2013 at least...."Overall" is still out there in our future, as we are about 14 games below .500 as a franchise.
On To Angels Baseball!
- Mike Trout: Mike Scioscia was interviewed on the pending move to send Trout back to left field when Peter Bourjos returns. He sounds...uh...embattled? "I think it's a function of first of all getting some at-bats and getting comfortable, getting that Rookie of the Year mystique out of the way of where people were looking at what he was doing for the first two weeks of the season," Scioscia said. "And I don't know if anybody has connected the dots to say now he's hitting in front of Albert Pujols, where before he wasn't." So Trout needed to "get some at-bats"? Maybe that would have been something to get out of the way in Spring, instead of all the innings granted to the minor league system? Then that whole mythos of Great Expectations? What, they weren't there in 2012? They aren't there now? They only lasted for the two first weeks of this season? And those are the only two weeks Trout scuffled? Finally, whoa! What a shock! Pujols now bats directly behind Trout! Who snuck that one on us? When did THAT happen? Oh, right. Way back on April 11th. Where he hit a mere .253 from there to the end of April. I'm surprised Mike isn't invoking CERA again.
- C.J. Wilson: Wilson got a personal preview of his new bobblehead last night. The one that will be handed out on June 20th. Three weeks from now. You know, the C.J. Wilson bobblehead that is on sale on eBay already. Not as chill as his 2007 bobblehead, but I'll bet his hair smells nicer now.
- J.B. Schuck: Shuck, going 2 for 2 last night and moving his BA up to .300, is getting some love.
- The Cycle, redux: WTF? CBS Sports did their weekly recap of the Top 10 Plays Of Last Weekk and Mike Trout's Cycle came in at #2. Now, I am Ok with other legitimately great things being ranked higher than a Cycle. I'd be cool with that. But CBS picked Nate McClouth diving into the stands in Toronto, the play where he dropped the ball in the stands, crawled up the stairs out of view of the umpires and picked the ball back up, and then returned to the field claiming credit for the catch and the out, and got away with it!
- Chris Iannetta: Iannetta pulled 4 doubles out of his hat in the last three games. He has raised his BA from .198 on May 21 to .224 when the sun rose on today. 26 points in 9 days. Nice. And now a doubles machine.
None of you picked up last week's 1960's pennant. SO I DID!! You lose! (True story. It arrives any day now.) This week I found another vintage early 60's product. This time a 1962 media guide! Lots of fun stuff will be present within, concerning players, stats, and personalities of that era..
Friday, May 31 @ 7:05 PM, (FS-W / MLB.TV) Houston Astors vs. LA Angels - Angel Stadium
[Big Bang Friday, Trout Farm Section 101]
(LHP) 1-2 5.53 ERA versus (RHP) 2-1 3.86 ERA
Saturday, June 1 @ 7:05 PM, (FS-W / MLB.TV) Houston Astros vs. LA Angels - Angel Stadium
[Angels Rally Wig - Guinness World Record Attempt, Trout Farm Section 101]
(RHP) 4-4 3.71 ERA versus (RHP) 4-1 2.58 ERA
Sunday, June 2 @ 12:35 PM, (FS-W / MLB.TV) Houston Astros vs. LA Angels - Angel Stadium
[Family Sunday, Trout Farm in Section 101]
(RHP) 2-1 4.50 ERA versus (LHP) 4-3 3.95 ERA
This is the kind of weekend we have all been waiting for...a strong playing team amidst a run of 10 wins across their last 12 games, facing a rollover rabble of rough-edged rookies for a set of 3 easy wins. What could go wrong?
This Date In Baseball History: 1927 - Yesterday in 1927 there occurred an unassisted triple play. Today in 1927, for the second consecutive day, John Neun of the Detroit Tigers collects the final three outs by himself to secure a 1-0 victory over the Cleveland Indians. It will be 42 years until another unassisted triple play will be seen..........1938 - Lou Gehrig plays in his 2,000 consecutive game. In three years and 2 days from this point, Gehrig will pass away..........1964 - Gaylord Perry tosses 10 innings IN RELIEF, all extras, as the San Francisco Giants beat the new York Mets in the longest game in MLB history, 7 hours and 23 minutes across 22 innings...........1975 - Here's a fun one. The Houston Astros, on their way to a 15 - 3 trouncing of the Philadelphia Phillies, score 12 runs in the eigth inning. During this inning, Cliff Johnson steps in as a pinch-hitter and doubles. The Astros continue to bat around and Johnson comes up again, this time hitting a homer. Now for the interesting part. Johnson was not credited for a pinch-hit home run because he had already made a plate appearance, even though it was in the same frame..........1976 - Ted Turner suffers through the fall of another miserable loss as the Braves commit an error in the the 8th inning and watch the San Diego Padres rally for six runs. In response, he invites his patrons to come back the next night for another chance. All 2,994 of them. In fact, he invites them all back for free until the Braves win a game.........1997 - Ila Borders becomes the first woman to play in a Minor League Game..........1999 - Frank Pulli, umpiring a game between the Florida Marlins and the St. Louis Cardinals, unofficially launches the instant replay era by using a television broadcast replay to over rule a home run call. For the record, the MLB Front Office was not happy...........
Rounding Up The Major League News...
Business Of Baseball: Regular readers of WeekEnd Links know that I keep you all up date concerning the goings on of current and future baseball finances. Of particular interest recently has been the confluence of large media money and player payroll commitments. So, yeah, here in SoCal it's all about the Dodgers and Angels. For starters, here is an update on the Dodgers' TV deal, showcasing a rework of their contract that will cost them $1 billion in additional revenue sharing bills. One Beeellion Dollars. Ouch! But still, there will be billions left over so what's the worry? Well, like any extraordinarily inebriated master of the sea, what billions are left are generally wasted away on the frivolity of bad contracts. The Dodgers and Angels being the most guilty of late. "The Angels are the latest team to ignore the expensive lesson that paying a big name player in his 30s for the numbers he put up for someone else in his 20s is usually a bad investment. Strange, because they made the same mistake last year with Albert Pujols."
Corner Cases: Are you one of our Math Majors? Then you are gonna seriously love this link. It's all about tracking and measuring the propensity of umpires to call checked swings - which umps call 'em, which hitters get away with 'em, and which pitchers get the call. And there is an interesting sidetrack launched by a Bill James comment into how prevalent it might be that teams are tracking this and managing to it.
- Food For Thought: A few weeks ago 2pintsofbooze linked to this article on how the brain sees a fastball. The bottom line...it doesn't. "What we perceive doesn't necessarily have that much to do with the real world, but it is what we need to know to interact with the real world." Yeah. The brain pretty much makes real fast shit up. So it should be inevitable that we begin to start taking advantage of available technology and aid human beings assigned to judge events on the field. Lest anyone think that such a direction is fool proof and certain to ensure correct rulings, here is yet another looksee into the Fred Flintstone TV system currently in use. Knuckleheads.
Chi-Town: You may or may not know that there is some controversy brewing in Chicago concerning the desire of ownership to upgrade their stadium situation. Well, nothing proves a point like hanging giant tarps from a crane. Yeah. That should settle everything. Just ask Oakland. They know all about tarp usage to pull the wool over everybody.
- Window Shopping: The 2013 Amateur Draft is approaching, so let's get started on the chit-chat, shall we? To begin with, jump over to Fangraphs and get an introduction to some of the new rules involved. Notice that the Angels don't pick until 59th. Now, it's pretty easy to find somebody, somewhere, going off on how the draft is, fundamentally, mere garbage that exists exclusively so that owners can keep salaries depressed. But let's assume that we are going to have some process forever. Grant Brisbee goes into a novel alternative to a draft: an auction! For those who don't subscribe, my weekly copy of SI is in front of me and tells us all to pay particular attention to Clint Frazier and Austin Meadows.
Video Of The Week
(How Yankee fans come to be in this world...)
(Trouble viewing the video? Direct link here.)
This being Inter-league Week, before Tommy Lasorda bled Dodger Blue, he originally bled October Red..........The MSM continues to auger into the landfill of history, as the Chicago Sun-Times lays off it's entire photo staff. Oh well, everybody carries a cell cam these days..........Never underestimate the need of those with authority to lord that authority around when the target is soft and easy. NO CAMO CLEATS FOR YOU!.........There is just something not natural about a guy who has the power, the bat speed and the ability to react and adjust to any pitch delivered anywhere, and still muscle that ball over the fence. But Miguel Cabrera does all that, as seen in this amazing GIF.........Jon Heyman is a dick. But you probably already knew that..........Looks like Florida is getting pissy over losing Spring Training to Arizona..........OT: Who says guys can't multi-task???
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...
Friday: Today is simple. San Jose Original Gravity Public House. Almanac Farmer's Reserve No. 3 & 4 Release Beer Tasting Event. Done.
Saturday: Now here is a pretty good day. We start in Santa Rosa, at the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts. There you may enjoy Beerfest - The Good One..........Or, pop up in Turlock at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds for the Central Valley Beerfest............Not hot enough for you? Try Paso Robles, where the Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival will be held at the California Midstate Fairgrounds..........And, for all you hop heads, Draughts Restaurant & Bar in Thousand Oaks is a great place to park and enjoy an IPA Tap Takeover.
Sunday: Nothin'. Might as well go to the game.
BEER BONUS: How you know that you have chilled your beer just right.