The Angels have won 6 straight spring games, and look to keep winning ways in place as the regular season is less than a week away.
Lee than a week! That's right folks, the 2014 MLB season starts in six days. Yeah, I know, the Dodgers and Diamondbacks have already played two official games, but who really even noticed? And how weird is that anyway? The Dodgers played two games that'll count towards their "real" season, and then play a couple against the Angels this weekend that don't.
By the way, have you noticed Grant Green's awesome porn-stache?
No, wait. That's not him. Here he is:
Anyway, on to some Halolinks:
It's been mentioned before, but it's worth saying again; how awesome would it be for Hamilton and Pujols to be their old selves again? It looks like the possibility is becoming a reality: Josh Hamilton looks strong in Angels' win over Giants - angels.com. "Hamilton, who strained his left calf during a baserunning drill Feb. 26 and didn't make his Cactus League debut until March 17, laced two doubles and scored a run for the Angels to put his batting average at .391 through seven games." Also over at Angels.com is a post looking onto the looming roster decisions: Decisions loom for Angels' bench, bullpen - angels.com. "There are so many combinations that we're looking at right now," Scioscia said. "Obviously we're going to need a versatile infielder; your second catcher will be on the bench. And how those other bats fall in will be something that we're going to determine this week." The Angels could pair the right-handed bat of outfielder Collin Cowgill with the left-handed bat of infielder Ian Stewart, or the left-handed bat of outfielder J.B. Shuck with the right-handed bat of infielder Grant Green, or go with two backup outfielders in Cowgill and Shuck. Left-handed-hitting outfielders Brennan Boesch (can opt out of his Minor League deal for an immediate Major League opportunity by Sunday) and Matt Long (batting .432 in 44 Cactus League at-bats) also remain in camp."
Did you know J.B. Shuck leads baseball with the most triples (5) during Spring Training?
Here's a post which states some obvious observations: Pitching is the key for Angels - Yahoo Sports. "The bullpen could be good if all the candidates are healthy, but they have not yet been healthy this spring, and the starting rotation is nothing if not young and inexperienced. If the Angels get solid performances from two of their three young starters in Hector Santiago, Tyler Skaggs and Garrett Richards, they can potentially squeak into a playoff spot, but they would be a lot better off if they could acquire a seasoned starter at some point this season."
C.J. Wilson has struck out a major league-leading 28 batters in 21.2 spring innings.
My thoughts on this are the deals been done, they're just waiting to announce it: Trout says lack of long-term deal won't affect play - The Orange County Register. "Since news of the negotiations first broke about a month ago, the two sides have kept quiet about the progress of the talks. "I haven’t heard anything," Trout said Monday. "Nothing." Trout said he didn’t know if a lack of news about the negotiations was a sign there had been an impasse: "I don’t know if it’s good or bad. I’m just getting ready for the season, worried about getting off to a good start."
We love him because he's so awesome, and he's so awesome because he does stuff like this: Angels' Mike Trout says he's fine after rolling left wrist - latimes.com. "Trout, the American League most valuable player runner-up in 2012 and 2013, gave the team a scare Sunday when he rolled his left wrist under his chest while attempting a diving catch in the outfield. Trout’s glove came off his hand and he got up slowly, but he remained in the game. Though he sat out an 11-4 exhibition win Monday over the San Francisco Giants, Trout said that he’s fine and that the off day was scheduled. "I think the rug burn hurt more than the fall," Trout said. "I’m not sore or anything today. I’m good to go."
Should Trout bat lead-off or second? Does it really matter? Why does Mike Trout bat second in the Angels’ lineup? - For The Win. "Mike is really a multi-dimensional offensive player," Scioscia said. "He’s not just a leadoff guy who’s going to bring on-base percentage. He’s got an element of power. He’s got an element of being able to drive in runs, and we’re definitely going to be able to set the table for him better batting No. 2 than batting leadoff." Trout, for his part, doesn’t seem to care all that much one way or the other as long as he’s in the lineup. "Wherever Scioscia wants me, that’s where I’m going to hit," Trout said. "It’s not going to change my approach at all; I’m just going to keep my same routine and go from there." Managers have fretted about configuring the most effective possible batting order for over a century, but baseball’s advanced math suggests lineups don’t actually matter nearly as much as the players that form them, and that an optimized lineup might mean only a handful of extra runs over the course of a season."
Some interesting answers in this player poll: Anonymous MLB players have strong opinions on rule change -- ESPN The Magazine. "If Mike Trout were a free agent, what salary would you pay him? What about Miguel Cabrera? Average answer for Trout: $27.8 million per year. Average answer for Cabrera: $27.3 million per year"
Dave Cameron clears up some arbitration/free agency stuff. Next I hope he answers that question about when the figures for a team's payroll is calculated: The Myth of Six Years of Team Control - FanGraphs Baseball. "The reality is that the rules, as they are written, give Major League teams control over a player’s rights for seven years, not six. And seven years of control is and has been the norm for nearly every player in MLB."
Poor Rangers: Darvish's Opening Day chances growing slimmer - texasrangers.com. "The Rangers are planning to meet on Monday night to discuss their pitching situation. But it appears likely that Saunders will be in the rotation even though he was dealing with a "dead arm" on Sunday and allowed nine runs in 1 1/3 innings in a start against the Padres. "He told us he was dealing with a dead arm and that's common," manager Ron Washington said. "He came in a few weeks behind everybody else. Otherwise he would been through it already."