Tuesday Halolinks: Where was this team 4 months ago?

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Angels seem to be finally doing all of the things right in order to win games. Why now?

Geez, is it me or did that seem like it lasted FOREVER?  You can decide which "that" I'm talking about; it could be last night's marathon 3 hour 58 minute 365 pitch 9-inning game, or the Labor Day weekend, or with this being the first day that my kids are back in school, the long summer vacation.  Regardless, I'm glad to get back into another week.

I'm glad the Angels are finally doing well, except it makes me wonder what this season would be like had they started playing like this sooner.  Now I have mixed emotions as to whether winning now is a bad thing.  False hope leading into next season and a lower draft pick

My family and I drove to Milwaukee Friday to see the Angels play the Brewers.  We had originally planned on spending the night and catching Saturday's game too, but thanks to Harley Fest, there wasn't a room within 20 miles of the stadium (thanks Salty for the heads up).  Here are a couple shots from the game:

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Kole Calhoun's home run

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The right field foul pole.

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Sausage race.

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Gubi and Victor getting the scoop.

One fun thing happened with my 7 year-old daughter; as we were trying to decide where to get something to eat, a woman asked her who her favorite Angel player was.  She answered "Mike Trout."  The woman replied, "That's my boy.  I'm Mike Trout's mom."  And it was.

  • Tampa Bay Rays vs. Los Angeles Angels -  September 02, 2013 - ESPN. "Richards (5-6) gave up a run and two hits while striking out six in the opener of a four-game series. The seven walks matched Richards' total from his previous five starts combined, but the Rays stranded eight runners while he was in the game and 12 altogether. "You can look at the final score and all that stuff, but we saw 103 pitches while he was in there and only had two hits. That's where our biggest problem is right now," manager Joe Maddon said.  Too Passive? : baseballmusings.com.  "The Rays batters drew nine walks against the Angels Monday night, but lost 11-2. LAnaheim starter Garrett Richards walked seven, but struck out six in five innings, allowing just two hits. The Rays went 1 for 11 with runners in scoring position."
  • This isn't all together true, the Angels have been hitting the ball fairly well this season.  Rays-Angels Preview - Yahoo! Sports.  "Moore will run into an Angels (64-72) offense that has finally clicked during an underachieving season. They recorded 16 hits in Monday's win and have scored 50 runs while winning nine of 10. They're 29 of 78 (.372) with runners in scoring position during that stretch, including an 8-for-17 performance on Monday."  Their situational hitting has been (one of) their downfalls in 2013.
  • 16-hit attack powers Angels past Rays - Yahoo! Sports.  "Shuck was one of six Angels players with at least two hits in the game, but he suffered the indignity of a weak flyout against Fuld, who never pitched in high school or college but hit 86 mph on the stadium radar gun. "It's a lose-lose situation," Shuck said. "It's fun for the guy pitching, but it's never really fun for the guy hitting. You're supposed to get a hit, and if you don't ... what are you gonna do?"
  • I completely agree with Dipoto's comment here: Former Halos prospect Jean Segura proving worth on Crew - angels.com.  "Looking back, Dipoto said, "I absolutely understand what the criteria was when we made the trade and why we made it." To evaluate it fairly, he believes, you have to look at the Angels' situation at the time -- four games out of first place, leading the American League Wild Card race and in desperate need of starting pitching. "With Jered Weaver on the mend [earlier in 2012], with Dan Haren and Ervin Santana having very up-and-down seasons, the separator for us was going to be adding someone who was healthy and consistent at the top of our rotation," Dipoto said. "To his credit, Zack Greinke delivered what we believed we were acquiring, and unfortunately, we didn't fulfill our promise as a team and fell short of the goal."  You have to look at the entire picture to understand that the deal was a good one.  Had the Angels made the playoffs, bolstered by Greinke's performance, people would be talking about the trade working for both teams.  It wasn't Greinke's fault the Angles missed the postseason.
  • Uh-oh: Jonah Keri ranks the MLB teams - Grantland.  "If the Red Sox can do it, and the Jays can do it, the Angels can do it too, right? Well, not necessarily. The Angels' biggest problem is a dearth of young talent. Other than Mike Trout, the Halos sorely lack under-25 players with star potential on either the major league roster or in the minors."
  • Within this post is word the Angels' minor league success: Butcher finally seeing rotation reach potential - angels.com.  "The Double-A Arkansas Travelers clinched a playoff spot on Friday. At 37-30, they have a three-game lead in the Northern Division of the Texas League. The Triple-A Salt Lake Bees (78-63, with a four-game lead in the Pacific Northern Division of the Pacific Coast League) and Class A Inland Empire 66ers (68-69 overall) also previously clinched postseason berths."  Will this translate into major league success?  Probably not unless the club gets a few more players on this list: Yahoo Sports' all-minor league team - Yahoo! Sports.  "Twenty-seven teams are represented. (Sorry, Milwaukee, Toronto and Washington.)"
  • This is a very interesting article: Malcolm Gladwell: Do Genetic Advantages Make Sports Unfair? : The New Yorker. "Major League Baseball also permits pitchers to replace the ulnar collateral ligament in the elbow of their throwing arm with a tendon taken from a cadaver or elsewhere in the athlete’s body. Tendon-replacement surgery is similar to laser surgery: it turns the athlete into an improved version of his natural self. But when it comes to drugs Major League Baseball—like most sports—draws the line. An athlete cannot use a drug to become an improved version of his natural self, even if the drug is used in doses that are not harmful, and is something that—like testosterone—is no more than a copy of a naturally occurring hormone, available by prescription to anyone, virtually anywhere in the world."
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