D-Day Update: So we are getting even closer! My math suggests that the Angels will finish at or about 72 wins based on their current win/loss percentage. The current division leaders (Red Sox, Tigers and Rangers) are all already at 70 or better, and the two leading Wild Cards (Rays and A's) are at 67. Right now we all know that the Halos are suffering through a trial that they cannot possibly win, but it's possible that by the time you wake up next week to WeekEnd HaloLinks they could be Dead Team Walking, just waiting for The Gallows of Mathematical Elimination.
But on the road to perdition there is still some fun to be had. Take, for example, yesterday's 8-4 shellacking of the New York Yankees. We avoided being swept (although suffering the dustpan was embarrassing enough) as Chris Nelson got a little pissy at his ex-teammates, launching his first two home runs of the season - including what turned out to be the game winning 8th inning grand slam against the team that DFA'd him a little while ago after only 10 games. And it's fresh to hear happy talk coming out of the clubhouse: "I love the guys here, I love the organization," Nelson said, "and I just want to make my mark here."
And, I must confess, it feels nice to best a kid (Phil Hughes) who literally grew up in the shadow of The Big A as a passionate Yankee fan. For the record, HaloVet went to school with this kid. But, hey, we got C.J. Wilson and the MFY don't. In quality effort, Hughes outpitched by Wilson "After racking up 27 runs in their first three games against the Angels this week, the Yankees couldn't come up with the same big hits they got in Tuesday's and Wednesday's blowout wins."
On To Angels Baseball!
- The Scott Downs Project, PART 1: With the departure of Scott Downs, it occurred to me that we could now tabulate how Downs was used under the management and control of Mike Scioscia, versus how he might be able to contribute under any other circumstance. I chose to do that. For my effort, I chose to use his last three years in Toronto as the closest comps. Roughly the same age. Roughly the same health. Roughly the same opposition. Different colored uniforms. Different home fields. Different managers and coaches. The dye color on a uniform doesn't matter at all. If park factors make a difference, I will leave those for others to tune.
So let's get right to it. After assembling 6 years worth of outings, splitting them into the two groups of (1) Downs WITHOUT Sosh, and (2) Downs WITH Sosh, what do we have? Look at the chart below:
# BATTERS FACED REGARDLESS OF OUTCOME
|1 - 2||3 - 4||5 - 6||7 - 8||9 or more|
If we look at how Downs was used regardless of outcome (meaning those outings when he was effective AND those outings when he was not), we see that 12.71% of the time while not playing for Sosh, Downs was limited to only 1 or 2 batters. However, while under Sosh's control, Downs was limited to only 1 or 2 batters nearly twice as often at 24.38%. Was that because it was not possible for Downs to face more batters? Apparently not.. Free from Sosh, Downs was able to go 5, 6, 7, 8 or even 9 batters a combined 34.25% of the time. Under Sosh, Downs only witnessed 5 or more batters 22.5% of the time. (Keep in mind that the ~11% shift between 5 or more batters, versus 2 or less batters, is not ~11% more effort or work, since it is up to 9X more work to face that 9th batter than only facing 1.) But wait a minute, you say, this doesn't consider quality of each outing? What if Downs sucked twice as often as a Halo than as a Blue Jay?
Glad you asked. Next week...
- Jean Segura: In this article, one comment is about how we Angels fans are going to be regretting the loss of Jean Segura for years to come. I agree that we will be, but I don't agree that we should. We will be, because fans are short-sighted, selective in memory, fickle in faith, and imaginative in projecting alternate realities. It's how we are wired. But I am not so sure that we had a place in our roster for Segura at the time we leveraged him for one of the best pitchers in the game as a linchpin starter in a playoff race. We knew he was capable of being good. He reinforced that opinion in the 2012 Futures Game. That we couldn't keep Greinke is the Dodgers fault, but Segura secured for us a great pitching talent and a sporting chance by allowing us to use a good prospect which was blocked by the immediately preceding signings of Kendrick and then Aybar. We had just gotten a combined 8.9 WAR out of those two and now have them in team-friendly deals. Callaspo over at 3B had just given us another 3.3 WAR and was getting praise for his .366 OBP. Had we not traded Segura, I am not so sure that he would be flying around anybody's Major League Baseball field today. I would propose that, instead of ignoring Aybar/Kendrick/Callaspo of that time we think, instead, of the reality that the LAA minor league system generated yet another MLB MVP vote getter from a period when our farm system was being lambasted by experts as worthless.
- Josh Hamilton: Hambone, ostensibly hired for his potential to drive in runs necessary to win baseball games and make us a World Series contender (I really did have a hard time typing that phrase just now), instead has been racking up LOBsters at a phenomenal pace. Through last night's game he has driven in a grand total of 58 runs. Now, having only 17 home runs at this point in the season is lame enough for a guy who is a power hitter, and who should have had the HR title in the American league just last season. 10 of his 17 home runs have come with the bases empty. Simple logic tells you that those bases being empty at the time he hit those runs is not his fault. But what that logic fails to tell you, is whether or not he would have hit that same home run had there been runners on base. We will never know. But what we DO know is how many base runners were left out on the base paths when Josh completed his walk back to the dugout. In the month of April, we were introduced to our new Superstar with 65 runners left on base and everybody was worried, but expecting him to snap out of it at some point. That was 0.546 LOBsters per Plate Appearance. In May that number dropped to 29 (0.269/PA). June appeared to hold rather steady at 102 LOBsters, but his reduced number of PA's actually meant he was climbing again, at 0.441 LOBsters per PA. July? 91 LOBsters @ 0.407 LOBsters per PA. This month??? So far, 45 LOBsters at an amazing 0.763 LOBsters per PA!!! Overall, Hamilton has left 221 runners stranded in the course of 2013, and nearly 1/3 of those in the first half of August alone.
- Jered Weaver: Sucks to be him. "In the two years since Weaver committed to the Angels by taking a below-market five-year, $85 million contract, the team has progressively gotten farther from returning to October, rather than closer."
- Joe Blanton: I think that, as world record shattering levels of mind-boggling horrendousness that pitcher Joe Blanton has turned out to be, this suspicion of him gets more and more funny.
- Trout Porn: One thing that jumped out at me in The Youth Of Baseball link of above, is this comment from "cohnjusack"
"Mantle v. Trout — Age 20 – 21 (omitting first partial seasons for both players. Mantle was better at 19)
269 games, 199 runs, 307 hits, 61 doubles, 10 triples, 44 HR, 179 RBI, .304/.396/.515, 12 SB, 154 OPS+, 11.7 WAR
256 games, 213 runs, 331 hits, 59 doubles, 16 triples, 51 HR, 159 RBI, .327/.411/.568, 75 SB, 174 OPS+, 17.5 WAR
Trout, has 17.5 WAR his first two full seasons. Let’s say he ends this year with 8 (it’s at 6.6 right now, making this probably a bit conservative). That’s 18.9 over the course of his first two full seasons. How does that compare with other players who got off to historically great starts (first two full seasons)?
Albert Pujols- 12.1 WAR
Ichiro Suzuki: 11.2 WAR
Ted Williams: 13 WAR
Joe DiMaggio: 12.8 WAR
Scott Rolen: 11.1 WAR
Mike Piazza: 10.6 WAR
Dwight Gooden: 17.6 WAR
Cal Ripken: 12.8 WAR
Tom Seaver: 12.8 WAR
Frank Robinson: 13.4 WAR
Dick Allen: 15.1 WAR
Stan Musial: 14.7 WAR
Shoeless Joe Jackson: 18.7 WAR
The only players that come close are Joe Jackson and Dwight Gooden. The guy has, quit simply, put up possibly the best start to a career in major league history. "
- Power Fail: It could be worse. The Angels still have a ways to go before they hit absolute bottom in all of MLB. Not too very far to go, but…"They batted Chris Nelson ahead of Josh Hamilton in the lineup Tuesday. Needless to say, things haven't gone as planned."
Buy Stuff - Crazy-ass Baseball Finds On the Internet:
Angels themed drink coasters. But for some strange and non-hygienic reason, they are filled WITH GAME USED STADIUM DIRT!!!
Friday, August 16 @ 7:05 PM, (FS-W / MLB.TV) Houston Astros @ LA Angels - Angels Stadium, Anaheim
[BIG BANG FRIDAY, TROUT FARM IN SECTION 101, POST-GAME CONCERT QUEEN TRIBUTE BAND]
Saturday, August 17 @ 6:05 PM, (FS-W / MLB.TV) Houston Astros @ LA Angels - Angels Stadium, Anaheim
[TROUT FARM IN SECTION 101, POST-GAME CONCERT BEATLES TRIBUTE BAND]
Dallas Keuchel (LHP) 5-7 4.97 ERA versus Garrett Roichards (RHP) 3-5 4.04 ERA
Sunday, August 18 @ 12:35 PM, (FS-W / MLB.TV) Houston Astros @ LA Angels - Angels Stadium, Anaheim
[TROUT FARM IN SECTION 101, FAMILY SUNDAY, POST-GAME CONCERT H.R. PUFNSTUF TRIBUTE BAND]
Brett Oberholtzer (LHP) 2-1 2.57 ERA versus (LHP) 6-5 3.86 ERA
Is it just me, or have we all officially entered the realm of Weekend Series Of Who Gives A Shit? Will anybody do anything that might elevate any of these games to a level where they get more attention than a line item score on the ticker racing across the bottom of our national consciousness? A lot of teams are playing meaningful baseball. Even the Kansas City Royals. But all we can guarantee are video boards of hand-clapping. And admonishments to "make noise". And, of course, the rally monkey. All to help a 90 loss team strive to stay in front of a 110 loss team. Arte Moreno, I am unhappy with what you have done to my team of late. This should have been a breather in our stretch run where we gather up 3 precious and easy wins on our way to the 95 we will need to wrap up the West.
This Date In Baseball History: 1909 - Pittsburgh Pirates' second baseman Dots Miller launches a shot off of Christy Mathewson to the deep right field of a storm darkened Forbes Field, and just as Giants outfielder Red Murray snags the ball with an incredible grab, a flash of lightning lights up the entire field. The catch halts a furious Pirate rally and the halts the game as a tie as the storm launches its deluge. Although everyone present is stunned, there are some claims that Red Murray himself was knocked unconscious by the lightning (see, for example, Wilbert's book linked below). This is probably journalistic myth-making (Interesting note: I always try to cross check these entries elsewhere on the Internet. Many sites point to this happening on July 17 of 1914, including Wikipedia and a book by Warren Wilbert - see page 138 - But I was able to track down news reports of the time and repeated in Jason Aronoff's book "Going, Going...Caught!", readable online via Google, starting on page 62. It smells like time and distance have confused two games into one great play. But for now, I would suggest sticking to the 1909 date.)...........1920 - Ray Chapman of the Cleveland Browns is beaned by NYY pitcher Carl May. The pitch fractures his skull. Chapman will perish the next day and is the only MLB fatality due to play on the field..........1927 - Babe Ruth launches a home run completely out of Comisky Park..........1948 - On this date, in 1948, George Herman "Babe" Ruth passes away. The cause of death is cancer, but it might not be the version of cancer commonly assigned.........1954 - The first issue of Sports Illustrated is published..........1996 - The first MLB game ever played outside of the US or Canada is played - in Mexico, to avoid a conflict with the Republican National Convention..........2002 - In what might have ended up costing us Angels fans dearly, the MLB Players Association executive board votes to strike on August 30th. With just hours to spare on the target date of the 30th, the strike is averted. And the season, and post-season, is played on.
Rounding Up The Major League News
- Replay Replay: Word is that we will be getting expanded Instant Replay for the 2012 playoffs. I am not the first to mention this, but it is kind of stupid to launch something completely new at the most critical time of the season. Why they don't work out the kinks in ST games is beyond me. But now we are hearing that the system is going to work via manager challenges. And I am not the first person to make the point that this is frikkin' ridiculous. It's simple. MLB needs to get ALL the plays right. MLB owns the umpires. It's MLB's job to make the umpires get ALL the calls right, even if it needs video replay to help them do it. It's not the job of the managers to force the MLB's umpires to get the calls right.
- Other People's Money: In the great game of rich people slurping at the trough of taxpayer's money - the one that already has the City of Oakland and the City of San Jose being hogtied by their gonads and pulled in a three-way between Lew Wolff, Bill Neukom and Bud Selig - comes word that Stuart Sternberg of the Tampa Bay Rays is about to get Uncle Bud to intercede on his behalf with the City of St. Petersburg, Fla.
Video Of The Week
(The Greatest Wiffle Ball Catch Of All Time. Watch very carefully, though, as the home plate umpire fails to understand the basic principal of making a catch over the wall.)
(Trouble viewing the video? Direct link here.)
What every Halo Fan needs: Mr. Burns impersonating Mike Scioscia T-shirt..........The Human Factor, ain't it quaint? We certainly don't want to lose any of this color to the game of baseball! Here is a rundown of the different ways that the balk rule is interpreted, and mis-interpreted...........It's one thing to go out onto the field and round up an obstacle. It's another thing altogether to figure out what the heck to do with it once you have it. I suspect that Commissioner Gordon would know what to do with a bat!.........The infamous Chicago White Sox promotion, "Disco Demolition", as a cartoon..........How to take the intentional walk, and have it go horribly wrong............Ahh, good ol' Torii. Some things are just magical, and never change..............These are an awesome first step, but I would love to see a lot more Negro League merch!!!
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: Stone Brewery will be hosting their 17th Anniversary Brewers reception as part of their Invitational Beer Festival to be held at Cal State San Marcos.............In San Francisco, the Salesian Boy's 7 Girls Club is staging a Charity Beer Tasting & Food Event...........(If you are in San Francisco, I would presume that beer would be served, of course, during The America's Cup World Series.)
Saturday: the Stone Brewery 17th Anniversary celebration continues with their Invitational Beer Festival.
Future Forecast: Let's keep these up and handy from here on out to the dates of the events, shall we? Ladybug has shared some finds worthy of our consideration. First off is the Delicious Chili and Brewfest on The Queen Mary in Long Beach. Ladybug links us to The Living Social online deal...........Second is the Ultimate Beerfest OC on October 19th at the OC Fairgrounds. Again, Living Social..........
BEER BONUS: Fan catches foul ball with his beer. Let's hope that the beer lost was Miller Lite or some such..!