Thursday Halolinks: Angels pitch themselves over .500

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Angels finally moved over the .500 mark by beating the Indians yesterday afternoon to complete a 3-game sweep.

Yippee!  Yahoo!  Hurray!  The Angels are finally a winning team!  With their win yesterday, and by sweeping the Indians, the Angels have finally moved over the .500 mark.  With a record of 15-14, the Halos winning percentage stands at .517, while the club sits just 3.5 games behind the division leading Oakland A's (and a half game behind the Rangers).  How did the Angels get over the .500 hump?  Excellent pitching...
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Okay, maybe it was a couple of different things that contributed to their winning ways, such as having one of baseball's best offenses.  Or, making a change in late inning pitching match-ups by removing Ernesto Frieri and inserting Joe Smith into the 9th inning spot.  But truthfully, the team's pitching has improved to the point where we fans can almost expect a win from whichever starting pitcher is taking the hill. Here's today's tidbit from the Angel's game notes:

HALOS PITCHING COMPARISON:
Starters ERA in April 2013 – 5.26
Starters ERA in March/April 2014 – 3.58 (161 IP – 64 ER)
Relievers ERA in April 2013 – 4.26
Relievers ERA in March/April 2014 – 4.42 (77.1 IP – 38 ER)

With an off-day on Thursday, lingering above .500 is guaranteed for at least two days.  Hazzah!

  • Back when Spring Training opened, the club's priority was to get off to a better start than the previous two seasons.  Gotta give Mike Scioscia and the coaching staff some credit for getting that goal accomplished: Cleveland Indians at Los Angeles Angels - April 30, 2014 - MLB.com.  "From 2012-13, the Angels had the fourth-worst April winning percentage. This year they finished at 14-13, heading into an off-day on Thursday and six home games against the Rangers and Yankees thereafter. It marked their second winning April in the last six years and their first winning record since Opening Day of 2013, representing the longest drought in Angels history since the mid-1970's."
  • I noticed this while watching yesterday's game, the club seemed to be having fun.  There was a lot more smiling and what seemed like joking around amongst the players.  Angels sweep Indians, creep above .500 for first time since '13 - The Orange County Register.  "A 7-1 win over the Cleveland Indians in a Wednesday matinee at Angel Stadium secured a series sweep and gave the club more momentum than at any point in recent memory – or not-so-recent memory. The Angels (14-13) hadn’t been over .500 since the second day of the 2013 season, when they were 1-0. "It’s where we want to be, for sure," center fielder Mike Trout said. "We’re having some fun right now."  Good chemistry creates winning...or is it winning creates good chemistry.  No matter, they're winning.
  • C.J. Wilson pitched one of the best games of his career yesterday.  The Angel broadcasters repeatedly mentioned that Wilson was trusting his fastball, leading to a more economical game.  In other words, he wasn't nibbling: Cleveland Indians vs. Los Angeles Angels - Recap - April 30, 2014 - ESPN.  "Mechanically, I got into a little more of a groove as the game went on," Wilson said. "The first couple of batters I felt good, but the ball was sailing on me a little bit. Then as I got more into the flow of the game, I was able to keep the ball in the strike zone more often and tried to expand later in the count when I had the advantage."
  • In yesterday's Halolinks I mentioned there were some heated words between Jered Weaver and Scioscia.  At the time I couldn't find any video of the exchange, but this morning this was out there:Weaver_pissed
    Check out the looks on the other players' faces.  J.B. Shuck looks like he's watching his parents fight, while Erick Aybar looks like he's about to crack up.  The look on Howie Kendrick's face is one of extreme terror.  Weaver getting used to Angels shifting - angels.com.  "Weaver had an animated discussion with Angels manager Mike Scioscia about shifting after the fourth inning, then glared at the dugout after Brantley's double. But the ace right-hander said Wednesday that it was only a heat-of-the-moment circumstance, and that there are no problems between him and the coaching staff."  Here's the video:
  • Texas Rangers at Los Angeles Angels - May 2, 2014 - MLB.com Preview.  "Kendrick -- like Calhoun, in many ways -- isn't a prototypical leadoff hitter, but Scioscia mainly wants someone who can get on base consistently to maximize the opportunities Mike Trout and Albert Pujols have with runners on base. Kendrick entered Wednesday with a solid .295/.378/.419 slash line. "It's not that big of a deal," Kendrick said of leading off. "I go out and put up the same at-bat, with the same approach."  Except when I hit a ground ball to short it's only one out, not two.
  • It looks like David Freese might be coming out of his slump, but Peter Bourjos is still having a tough time in St. Louis: Slumping Bourjos faces tough task - Post-Dispatch.  "Bourjos, 27, has started once in the past week. He’s caught in a zero-for-16 spiral that has lowered his average to .160 and chewed into the club’s planned playing time for him."
  • The Angels were rumored to have attended his workout, but it appears they're not interested in signing the reliever: Hanrahan market includes Tigers, Yanks, Red Sox, Rangers, Rockies - CBSSports.com.  "Hanrahan, almost exactly a year removed from Tommy John surgery, looked close to being ready to help someone when he threw for teams a couple weeks ago, hitting as high as 92-93 mph on the gun. Scouts said he appeared to be in excellent shape."
  • The Dodgers have been around a long time: Los Angeles Dodgers at Minnesota Twins - Apr 30, 2014 - CBSSports.com.  "The Dodgers join the Giants, Cubs and Braves as the only franchises to win 10,000 games."
  • Be prepared to lose a few hours at this website: Los Angeles Angels - PitcherGIFS.com.  "Every Pitcher Visualized"  If you've wondered what each pitch thrown by any pitcher looks like, here's the site for you.  Here's the Royals' rookie pitcher Yordano Ventura breaking the sound barrier:
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