Thursday Halolinks: Tyler Skaggs returns, but offense fails

Jonathan Daniel

The Angels end their 6-game road trip with loss to Chicago.

Wednesday night's game was one of those games that should just go in the loss column and be forgotten about.  It was one of those games where you do almost everything right, but run up against an opponent who play justabitbetter than you do, and comes out on top.  No team will ever go 162-0, mark this one down as a loss and move on...or turn the page...whichever.  Here's your loser Halolinks:

  • Did you notice?  Mike Scioscia left his reliever in the game even though he had pitched the previous inning.  Yep, Mike Morin pitched to one batter in the 8th, and then came back out for the ninth.  Despite pitching decently, Morin ended up losing the game, yet it still feels like progress is being made in Scioscia's bullpen management: Angels falter in ninth, waste strong outing by Skaggs - The Orange County Register.  "Alejandro De Aza, who entered earlier as a runner for Paul Konerko, started the winning rally with a one-out single off Morin (2-2). Conor Gillaspie followed with a broken-bat single past a diving Albert Pujols at first base to put runners on the corners. The Angels then brought in Kole Calhoun to replace right fielder Collin Cowgill and serve as the second baseman as part of a five-man infield. Garcia, batting for Moises Sierra, lined a 2-1 pitch to left to drive in De Aza."
  • Another positive that can be taken away for this game was the performance of Tyler SkaggsLos Angeles Angels at Chicago White Sox - July 2, 2014 - MLB.com.  "The Angels (47-36) split their six-game road trip and failed to gain ground on the A's, instead staying 3 1/2 games back of first place in the American League West. But Wednesday's series finale provided a couple of important positives. Josh Hamilton hit a homer and took away another. In the first inning, he leaped above the left-field fence to snag Gordon Beckham's deep fly ball. In the eighth, he belted a changeup from White Sox lefty John Danks to right field to tie the game at 2 -- his second homer in as many days, after going 23 games without one. And Tyler Skaggs was as efficient as he was effective in his first start off the disabled list, giving up only two runs in 7 2/3 innings while throwing 70 of his 87 pitches for strikes."
  • Don't look now, but the AL West race is getting a bit tighter: MLB Recap - Seattle Mariners at Houston Astros - Jul 02, 2014 - CBSSports.com.  "The 35-year-old Young has bounced back after missing the 2013 season after shoulder surgery. His eight wins are second on the team behind ace Felix Hernandez and he has a 3.11 ERA. It's the first time he's won eight games since winning nine in 2007."  If you're stats kind of person you'll notice the Mariners have a better run differential than the Angels, and the two teams are almost the exact opposite when it comes to playing on the road and at home. 
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  • Wait, what?  The Halos have an extra starting pitcher?? Angels' six-man rotation remains for one more turn - Yahoo Sports.  "A doubleheader Tuesday that was caused by a rainout made the decision easier, creating a need for six starters in a five-day span to keep all arms adequately rested. Now those six starters will get one more turn in the rotation. "With doubling up on starters with a doubleheader, we'll have to get one more guy in there to make sure that somebody will pitch on normal rest," Scioscia said Wednesday, before the Angels failed to sweep the Chicago White Sox by losing 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth inning. "You wouldn't want one guy coming back on short rest."
  • So, this Mike Trout kid might be pretty good (yeah, this joke is getting old): Los Angeles Angels' Mike Trout earns second American League Player of the Month Award - angels.com.  "Trout, the Angels' sensational young center fielder, was named the American League Player of the Month on Wednesday for the second time in his career. Trout batted .361 (30-for-83) with 18 extra-base hits last month. He also scored 20 times and drove in 21 runs for the Halos. The 22-year-old had seven homers in June, and he led all qualifying AL players in on-base percentage (.471), slugging percentage (.759) and extra-base hits. Trout also ranked second in walks (18) and third in homers and total bases (63) last month, and both his batting average and RBIs were among the top four players in the league."
  • No, I mean, he might be REALLY good (sorry, I used it again): The five longest home runs of June, with new king Mike Trout (Videos)  - Yahoo Sports.  "Trout, the Los Angeles Angels all-everything outfielder, overtook Giancarlo Stanton in late June as the owner of the most mammoth homer of the season so far — by five feet. So it follow that Trout also owns the longest homer of June in our monthly review."
  • Yesterday began the international frenzy period.  Angels sign young Dominican outfielder Sala - angels.com.  "The Angels kicked off the international signing period on Wednesday by agreeing to terms with 16-year-old Dominican outfielder Johan Sala, an industry source confirmed to MLB.com. According to Baseball America, the contract is worth $300,000, leaving the Angels with just over $2 million left in their international spending pool. The Angels made no comment on the signing. Sala, who played in the International Prospect League, is said to have a quick bat and an aggressive approach at the plate, along with above-average speed that allows him to play center field."  I suppose "frenzy" is the correct word when describing the Yankees day: Yanks open international signing period with spree - MLB.com.  "According to industry sources, New York agreed to terms with several highly regarded international prospects, including shortstop Dermis Garcia, ranked No. 1 on MLB.com's Top 30 International Prospects list for a $3 million signing bonus, along with Dominican third baseman Nelson Gomez (ranked No. 2) for $2.25 million, Dominican outfielder Juan DeLeon (No. 5) for $2 million, Venezuelan outfielders Jonathan Amundaray (No. 7) for $1.5 million and Antonio Arias (No. 9) for $800,000. Additionally, sources indicate the Yankees also agreed to terms with Korean shortstop Hyo-Jun Park, ranked No. 13, for $1.1 million, along with Venezuelan shortstops Wilkerman Garcia (No. 14) for $1.35 million and Diego Castillo (No. 16) for $750,000. The Yankees also agreed to terms with Venezuelan catcher Miguel Flames, ranked No. 25, for $1 million, and they added outfielder Frederick Cuevas from the Dominican Republic for $300,000. In all, the Yankees spent more than $14 million on those players alone."
  • I agree with this, but only because Joe Smith is on my fantasy team.  My opinion would probably differ if the Halos go out and acquire a pitcher like Huston Street.  I'm one of those people who don't care about saves, but rather using your best reliever in the highest leverage situations.  Phil Rogers: Angels should stick with atypical closer Joe Smith - angels.com.  "Smith's back story is interesting. While most pitchers lose velocity when they drop down from an over-the-top delivery, Smith's fastball actually improved when he switched his delivery before his sophomore season at Wright State. His command improved too -- a combination that turned him into a prospect. His four-seem fastball peaked with an average of 92.4 mph in 2010, and is at 90.5 this season. But it's his two-seam sinker that is his bread and butter, and that's a pitch that batters put into play. He gets a lot of ground balls, not strikeouts, and it remains to be seen if Scioscia can get comfortable with the idea of a closer who pitches to contact."
  • What's up tonight?  Astros-Angels Preview - Yahoo Sports.  "The Angels return home having won 12 of 13 in Los Angeles and seek their first seven-game win streak in their ballpark since August 2006. Matt Shoemaker (5-2, 4.50) will take the mound looking to bounce back the worst outing of his career. Shoemaker went 5-0 with a 3.00 ERA in his first seven starts before allowing eight runs and 11 hits in four innings of Friday's 8-6 loss to Kansas City. The right-hander won his previous two outings while giving up three runs and striking out 16 in 15 2-3 innings."  This is pretty cool: Houston Astros at Los Angeles Angels - July 3, 2014 - MLB.com.  "[Jonathan] Singleton, originally from Lakewood, Calif., says his parents and extended family will be in attendance at the game along with some friends. "I'm very excited. It's pretty much my hometown, for the most part," Singleton said. "Anaheim's really not far from where I'm from, so it'll be a lot of fun."
  • Hey look, here's an Angels' outfielder robbing a home run...not named Trout:
  • I hear this Tulowitzki guy is the best player in baseball.  Here's more evidence.  D.J. LeMahieu's glove flip and Troy Tulowitzki's cannon lead to spectacular double play - Yahoo Sports.  "In the first inning, Washington's Anthony Rendon bounced one up the middle that appeared ticketed for center field but, LeMahieu was able to cut it off with a nifty backhand. Almost in one motion as he tumbled to the ground, LeMahieu flipped the ball on the backhand from his glove to Troy Tulowitzki, who caught it with his bare hand as he pirouetted over the bag and then fired to first base to nip Rendon and complete a most sensational 4-6-3 double play. The play was over in the blink of an eye, which makes the precise manner in which they were able to execute each difficult aspect of the play even more impressive. A simple bobble by LeMahieu or off target flip likely results in Colorado not even recording one out. If Tulowitzki mishandles it or double clutches, it's certainly not a double play, and the possibility of a big first inning exists. Don't overlook Tulowitzki's throw either. The accuracy and velocity directly following the spin are remarkable, and he needed every bit of both to complete the play"  Go watch the video, it is actually a pretty amazing play.
  • I added this highlight only because Nelson Cruz's reaction is pretty neat: Leonys Martin Robs Nelson Cruz Of Homer, Impresses Cruz.  "Tonight, Rangers outfielder Leonys Martin made a brilliant catch at the wall to rob former teammate and current Orioles outfielder Nelson Cruz of a home run. Even Cruz had to acknowledge Martin's effort."
  • And a sad story: SC Featured: Toe Nash - ESPN.  "ESPN Video: Jeremy Schaap reports on the story of Toe Nash, the former Devil Rays prospect who once drew comparisons to Babe Ruth."
  • And finally, for those of you curious as to how the Rick Springfield concert was last night, let me just say...my panties are still wet. 
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