Wednesday Halolinks: Angels fall further behind in young season

Anotehr one bites the dust. - Jeff Gross

The plan for the Angels heading into Spring Training was to not get buried in an early season hole. Yeah, how's that working out?

The rollercoaster ride continues for us fans, and now it's gotten microscopic.  I had written previously about how the team would win one game, lose a game, win a game, etc.  Now we get to suffer through in-game ups-and-downs as they take the lead, lose the lead, re-take the lead, tie the game, and then the big drop at the end where they lose the game. Wheeeee!  Here's your tilt-a-whirl Halolinks:

  • The Angels have 26 hits in 125 at-bats (.208) with runners in scoring position.  The club has hit .204 (11 for 54) when there are RISP with two outs, while Oakland has hit a paltry .161 (9 for 56) in the same situation.  (By the way, the league has hit .230 with RISP, and .201 with 2 outs).  So let's ignore the numbers and go with something completely made up: Oakland Athletics vs. Los Angeles Angels - Recap - April 15, 2014 - ESPN.  "The American League-leading A's have won four straight and eight of nine largely because of their strength in tough situations, a product of back-to-back playoff appearances. Even Trout's dramatic two-run shot off Sean Doolittle didn't shake Oakland's belief."  Okay, I'm being somewhat unfair with that comment.  The A's are hitting .244 (33 for 135) with RISP, so they are getting hits when needed, just not as much in those clutch situations.
  • Much like the previous night's game that featured Ernesto Frieri blowing the save, games like last night are going to happen.  I'm not trying to be overly optimistic about the Halos, but I am trying to be realistic.  Did you really think Joe Smith was going to go the entire season without giving ups any runs?  The last thing I'd write is "turn the page", but let's look at the bright side, at least the team came back to tie the game after Smith's poor performance: Even Trout can't save Angels bullpen from itself - The Orange County Register.  "Joe Smith was Tuesday’s primary culprit, allowing all five batters he faced to reach base when he entered with a 7-6 lead in the eighth. Left-hander Jose Alvarez followed and gave up another hit, and only right-hander Michael Kohn could shut the door – after the A’s scored four runs."
  • However, never let the opportunity to say something generic pass you by: Oakland Athletics at Los Angeles Angels - April 16, 2014 - MLB.com.  ""We're at a point in the season where you're just under .500, but it could be worse," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "I think if you look at all the things that haven't clicked, we're going to be excited when this team starts to fire on more cylinders than it is right now."  Will those cylinders start firing once the meaningless game of April are done?  Oh wait, there's more: Oakland Athletics at Los Angeles Angels - April 15, 2014 - MLB.com.  "It's part of the journey of a season, and you have to absorb it," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said, his club 6-8 after losing at home to the A's for the 15th time in the last 21 games. "As much as you hate to lose those guys, our challenge right now is really to get some chemistry in our bullpen," said Scioscia. "And that's the biggest impact that we have moving forward."  Life is a highway, I'm gonna ride it all night long....  Wait, did he say "chemistry"?  Ah, and all along I thought it was "roles".  One final quote: Dropped in batting order, Freese snaps slump - Yahoo Sports.  "After hitting a home run in the first inning April 8 in Seattle, Freese went on a 1-for-20 slump before Tuesday, striking out nine times in that span. "We have to get David in a comfort zone, and sometimes changing the neighborhood helps," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said..."  Maybe he just sucks.
  • And the hits just keep on coming: Angels Afterthoughts: Calhoun to DL: Angels Blog: Orange County Register.  "After grounding out to second to lead off the final frame, the Angels right fielder stepped on a divot just past the base and immediately began limping. He had to be helped off the field by team trainer Rick Smith. "I didn’t see a replay or anything, I just rolled it and it hurt real bad," Calhoun said. "It’s just a freak thing, you know?"  Yeah, we know.  Oh, and DDLR joined Hamilton and Calhoun on the DL (no, I didn't forget about Burnett.  I just figure he's the landlord of the DL and will always be tehre): Halos place De La Rosa on disabled list - angels.com.  "Dane De La Rosa was placed on the disabled list Tuesday, two days after the Angels optioned him to Triple-A Salt Lake. The club determined that the 31-year-old right-hander was injured after sending him down to the Minors. And since an injured player can't be optioned, they voided the move and instead put him on the 15-day DL, retroactive to April 13."
  • Neat-o: Athletics-Angels Preview - Yahoo Sports.  "Oakland (10-4) leads the majors with a 94-75 road record since 2012 - a big reason why the team is the two-time reigning AL West champion."
  • I've got to admit, this commercial is pretty cool: World premiere! Bryce Harper's first Gatorade commercial is liquid fun - Yahoo Sports.  "The special effects of the liquid Gatorade world are impressive, and the creators seem to have captured Harper's personality perfectly. And no matter how much "Welcome to the Jungle" by Guns N' Roses is played (and played), it always gets your attention."
  • I'm going to keep on linking to posts about available pitching.  Maybe one day they'll feature the words, "The Angels have signed..."  Astros To Designate Lucas Harrell For Assignment - MLBTradeRumors.com.  "Indeed, in 2012, he threw to a 3.76 ERA in 193 2/3 innings, with a 57.2% ground ball rate and 6.5 K/9 against 3.6 BB/9. But last year was a struggle, as Harrell managed only a 5.86 ERA in 153 2/3 innings, and both struck out and walked 5.2 batters per nine. He has had a rough start to the current season as well." However, the pitcher is out of options and will have to be place on the MLB roster.
  • Obviously, the Angels aren't the only team losing in dramatic fashion.  heck, they're not even the only team with "Los Angeles" in their name: Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco Giants - April 15, 2014 - MLB.com.  "The Dodgers had taken a 2-1 lead into the bottom of the ninth inning, when the Giants tied it. Uribe homered in the second inning, then doubled and scored the other Dodgers run on an RBI pinch-single by Turner in the seventh. With one out in the bottom of the ninth, Pagan singled off the foot of closer Kenley Jansen. Belt bounced a double inside third to score Pagan with the tying run. In his last five appearances, Jansen has allowed runs in three of them and blown two of his last four save opportunities."  Nor are they the only team who has a player get hurt by sliding head-first: Mike Napoli suffers dislocated left ring finger - HardballTalk.  "Napoli suffered the injury while diving into the second base bag after advancing on a wild pitch in the top of the ninth inning."
  • Another interesting post: Overuse of young pitchers fueling MLB's Tommy John surgery problem - Tom Verducci - SI.com.  "The epidemic of elbow and arm injuries to pitchers will get worse, and there is almost nothing major league teams can do about it. That's because much of the damage to pitchers is occurring before they sign professional contracts. The greatest threat facing pitching in the major leagues is the American system of treating teenage pitchers, with its emphasis on velocity, travel tournaments and showcases. "Major League Baseball gets the blame for pitchers getting injured," said Glenn Fleisig, research director at the prestigious American Sports Medicine Institute in Birmingham, Ala. "But the fact is these pitchers definitely have some damage in their arm when they get them."
  • Selig also acknowledged that the paint chips he ate as a child did not contain lead: Bud Selig says replay system is 'remarkable' with 'little controversy' - CBSSports.com.  "According to Baseball Savant, there have been 89 replays so far this season, 29 of which resulted in the call being overturned. That number is surprisingly low considering teams have access to video review before the challenge is issued. You'd think more calls would be overturned in that case."
  • Man does spectacular trick shot through moonroof while driving a car.  "David Kalb can bounce two basketballs through a moonroof while driving a car, which to me is more awesome than scoring a three-pointer while driving the same car, but whatever. I guess that people love the scoring more than the bouncing."
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