Tuesday Halolinks: Relief pitching could be the key

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

If the Halos are able to improve their reliever's performance, this team could be formidable.

It was a nice win for the Halos last night as they are once again one game over .500.  Sitting at 16-15, the Angels are 2.5 games behind Oakland and just 1/2 game behind the Rangers for second place, however Seattle remains within 1/2 game of dropping the Angels into fourth place.  If you're a stat person, the club has the third-best run differential in the majors, trailing Oakland and Colorado, resulting in a Pythagorean record two games better at 18-13.  The signs are there for a great season.  I just think we need to sit back and watch as it unfolds.  Oh, and until then, read your Halolinks:

  • Isn't is strange when something completely out of the ordinary happens?  The Angels aren't much of a base on balls sort of team, yet it was exactly that that put them ahead in last night's game: Angels walk their way to win over Yankees - The Orange County Register.  :In the eighth inning of a tie game at Angel Stadium, the Angels drew five consecutive free passes and six in all to score three runs off three Yankee pitchers and top New York, 4-1. “I don't think you see that many times,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “Our guys showed some patience on some tough pitches.” It was the first time in at least 30 years the Angels had drawn six free passes in the same inning. They had been averaging fewer than three a game before Monday."
  • I've said it before; Weaver is a beast: New York Yankees at Los Angeles Angels - May 5, 2014 - MLB.com.  "If this were any other start this season, Jered Weaver doesn't even get a chance to work out of the bases-loaded, none-out jam that set off a tornado of emotions, bled into a six-walk inning by the offense, and rallied the Angels to a 4-1 win over the Yankees."  Will Jered Weaver be the next Jack Morris-type pitcher who "can win the big game" (if you believe in that sort of thing).  Although the headline to this post references Joe Smith's sickness prior to entering the game, there's this bit about the Weaver/Scioscia dynamic: Angels Afterthoughts: Puking in the 'pen - Orange County Register.  “I think that I showed Sosh that I wasn’t losing anything out there,” Weaver said. “In starts before, he could tell that I was getting a little tired. My mentality is to stay out there as long as possible, but he’s the manager and he makes the moves. It’s been frustrating. I’m a guy that likes to go out there and throw 100, 115 pitches and I haven’t been able to do so, so it was nice to be able to prove to him that I was still feeling fresh and strong, and it was nice of him to show that confidence to be able to get out of that jam.”
  • Once the front office gets the relief pitching straightened out, this team will be very good: Angels might find some relief right in their midst - Los Angeles Times.  "The relievers ranked 11th in the American League with a .729 OPS (on-base-plus-slugging percentage) allowed and gave up 11 home runs, third-most in the league. They are the primary reason the Angels are 2-7 in one-run games. But the Angels could find relief in the most unlikely of places — their farm system, which Baseball America rated as the worst in the game going into 2013 and 2014."
  • Could the following quote from Scioscia be a glimmer of hope that the Angels' manager might be willing to use the team's best relief pitcher based on leverage rather than role?  Frieri close to regaining closer role - Yahoo Sports.  "Our optimum bullpen is really with Ernie back in the ninth inning and being able to move Joe Smith around," Scioscia said. "But we need some bullpen depth to evolve before we can push Joe that far."  Or is leverage one of the roles he considers?
  • Mike Trout: Strikeout Machine.  Calm down, I'm just kidding (sort of)  Forcing a Reason to Worry about Mike Trout - FanGraphs Baseball.  "In his first full season, he struck out about 22% of the time. Last year, he struck out about 19% of the time. This year he’s struck out about 28% of the time, showing up on the first page of the strikeout-rate leaderboard. At the same time, his walk rate has gone a little down, so it’s not simply a matter of ending up in a lot more deep counts. For Trout, this obviously isn’t a thing that’s killed his productivity, but it’s a thing that’s different."
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