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Will June Cure Angels Woes, More Gnome News. Halolinks

Mariners-Angels Preview - 5/28/10 - FOX Sports on MSN
Kazmir (3-4, 6.09 ERA) has struggled at times in his first full season with the Angels (23-26), but turned in a strong effort in his last outing, surrendering three runs and three hits over seven innings of a 10-7 victory at St. Louis on Saturday. He retired 17 straight at one point. "That's the way he can pitch," manager Mike Scioscia said. "He has the potential to do that every time out.'' So does Lee (2-2, 3.44), although he is coming off one of the worst starts of his career. He matched a career high with eight runs allowed while giving up a season-high 11 hits in a 15-8 win over San Diego last Friday. Lee, though, appears to have a good chance to get back on track Friday. He won his last three starts against Los Angeles with a 1.80 ERA, pitching complete games the last two.

Below this is a link to an article about the Angels easy June schedule. Tonight is the first game against "easy" teams, however this easy team has a very good pitcher going for them. Let's hope the Angels are on the right side of a 2-1 ballgame.

L.A. Angels: June May Be Their Ticket To October - Bleacher Report
The Angels had an unusually tough schedule to start the season. They have already played Boston, Tampa Bay, Detroit, Minnesota, St. Louis, Texas and the New York Yankees a total of 29 times in their first 49 games. In those 29 games against contending teams, the Angels had a record of 8-21. Against all other opponents, they are an amazing 15-5. Considering that lopsided statistic, June might be just what the doctor ordered for the Angels—a steady prescription of anemic teams to find their stroke against. In fact, their next 14 games are all against Seattle, Kansas City, and Oakland.

June might be a good month for the Angels, but just as important, the Rangers play just one team (Tampa Bay) with a winning record during the entire month of June. In fact, the combined record of the teams facing the Rangers in June is 173-207 and include the Brewers, Astros, Pirates, Mariners, and, umm, Angels. The above post states that we shouldn't be surprised if the Angels come out of June 10 games above .500, but don't be surprised at the end of June that the Rangers are 8 games ahead of the Halos.

Prospect Watch: Alex Gordon - FanGraphs Baseball
The Kansas City Royals have a very interesting player currently learning how to play left field for their AAA affiliate in Omaha. At 26, he might be a little old for the league, but there’s no denying his production. Alex Gordon, the Royals former third baseman, has put together a .377/.515/.688 line in about 100 plate appearances with the O-Royals.

Hey, I've got an idea. How about trading Brandon Wood to the Royals for Alex Gordon? Both players would get a fresh start with new organizations, which may put them both back on track to becoming exceptional major league players.


Angels trying their own patience -
This year? The numbers show the Angels are every bit as patient, averaging 3.91 pitches per plate appearance.But patience hasn't meant production. Entering Friday night's game against Seattle, the Angels rank 12th in the AL with a .313 on-base percentage, 12th with 139 walks and seventh with 214 runs. "That's my argument — sometimes you have to be more aggressive," batting coach Mickey Hatcher said. "When you're swinging good and a team is scared of you, you're probably going to draw more walks and your on-base percentage is going to go up. "Instead of trying to work the count all the time, you might have to open up a little more and fire on those fastballs. We might get one pitch to hit in an at-bat. We have to hit it."

Oh God, Mickey Hatcher just said something that I agree with. All these years, it was me who "didn't get it" when Hatcher talked about being aggressive and not being concerned with the Angels lack of patience at the plate. Now, about those first pitch strikes...

Thomas Boswell - Pay attention to the count, baseball's hidden treasure
With less than two strikes, the average hitter is a superstar in every count. It doesn't matter whether the scoreboard says 0-0, 1-0, 2-0, 3-0, 0-1, 1-1, 2-1 or 3-1. In those counts, the average big leaguer is a .339 hitter, comparable to Stan Musial, and is a .549 slugger, comparable to Hank Aaron.

I need to look into this a little deeper, but I think this is the reason Angel pitchers are doing so poorly...they always seems to be behind in the count, and as the above stat shows, they're facing Stan Musial instead of Mark Teahen.

Angels' Broadcast Team Makes Choices for Mid Summer Classic - LAANGELSINSIDER.COM
Had a chance to catch up with Angels broadcasters Victor Rojas, Mark Gubicza and Jose Mota to get their picks for the 2010 American League All-Star team. How different are the their picks from Major League Baseball fans?

There was a Fanshot of this article, but in case you missed it.

Annette John-Hall: Garden gnome giveaway is no all-star - Philadelphia Inquirer
"He's there to protect your garden," affirms Kevin Sklenarik, the team's director of operations. Fans are sure to "enjoy them and display them in their gardens." Well, OK. I can laugh with the best of them. But, hmm. This is all starting to veer dangerously close to lawn-ornament territory, and we all know that history. The original jockey statue, standing proud and usually carrying a lantern, shepherded runaway slaves to safety during the days of the Underground Railroad, explained Charles Blockson, curator of the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection at Temple. But as time went on, lawn jockeys were often caricatured as a stooped-over black man with dark skin and painted-in white eyes and big red lips. They were usually displayed on lawns of homes in the South and served no real purpose other than to diminish African Americans. So you can understand why this Howard gnome thing creeps me out, even if the team's intentions were to tout its former star.

I think this is a case of a writer looking for something that just isn't there. Which is more racist, producing a garden gnome of a black player, or claiming a garden gnome of a black player is racist?

MLB plans showdown with umpire Joe West - Yahoo! Sports
Earlier this week, Joe West’s personal publicist sent out a mass email offering up his client for interviews.He seems to have forgotten the cardinal rule of umpiring: stay invisible. Anonymity is godliness to baseball’s arbiters, and Joe West is an infidel, an attention whore of Lady Gaga proportions whose proclivity for theatrics shames the umpiring profession.

About time.

Scary sight: Cubs' Jeff Baker loses vision, can't see line drive go by - Yahoo! Sports
The Chicago Cubs removed infielder Jeff Baker(notes) from the game in the eighth inning Thursday because he lost vision in his right eye. Even more frightening, they pulled him after he failed to react — Baker didn't move his feet a molecule — on a line drive that went right past his position at third base.

This is pretty freaky. No word yet as to what actually happened to Baker to cause him to lose his eyesight.

Blake voices complaint about Lilly - News
Blake, after his sixth-inning single, argued with first-base umpire John Hirschbeck to the verge of ejection and was still hot after the game. "I know the guy doesn't have the fastest fastball and he's trying to get any edge he can, but the guy is just cheating," said Blake. "John wouldn't at least tell him to get on the rubber or move to get a better look at it. That's what made me mad."

This is strange. Blake asks a good question, why didn't the umpire do anything about this?

Chris Young: ‘I never saw (it). I just felt it’ -
When Chris Young last threw a pitch to Albert Pujols, it was May 21, 2008, and it was the third inning and it was a slider down and away, the kind of pitch that another batter likely would’ve flailed at or let go. Pujols, being Pujols, somehow lined it right back up the middle. Right off Young’s face.

Albert Pujols is cool.

Coyotes' staff starts with righty Roach -
If the choice were his, Donn Roach would be pitching somewhere in the minor leagues and on the long road to the majors, possibly with the Los Angeles Angels. Instead, he was on a 525-mile bus ride Thursday to Colorado for the Junior College World Series. Roach, a sophomore right-hander, will start for the College of Southern Nevada (49-14) when it plays Pitt (N.C.) Community College (41-11) at 6:30 p.m. Saturday in the first round of the 10-team, double-elimination tournament. Roach, drafted by the Angels in the 40th round in 2008, said he was ready to go pro out of high school. His parents, Donn and Julie, had other ideas. With a fastball that touches 94 mph and an effective curveball and splitter, Roach has a school-record 131 strikeouts over 103 1/3 innings. He's also a workhorse with a resilient arm. In his two postseason starts, Roach has totaled 248 pitches.

248 pitches in two games!! Is Dusty Baker the manager of this team? Although I do think today's pitchers are somewhat "coddled" with pitch counts, almost 250 pitches in two games for a community college pitcher does seem excessive. Oh, and there's another player on this team who is pretty good. Some kid named Bryce Harper catches Roach, and might have a major league future.

Taunting Tony Horton The Day After He Slit His Wrists: A Cleveland Fan Repents
I'm not enough of a drama queen to tell you that Tony Horton and my memories of the 1970 season haunt me, or that I sought to salve my guilt or redeem my sin by finding him. Which isn't to say that I don't regret my assholery—I do indeed—but that as my personal pantheon of cruel and shabby behavior goes, this ain't exactly the star attraction.

This article has nothing to do with anything other than being an entertaining read. If you're into that sort of thing.

Old Hoss Radbourn reviews a book about Old Hoss Radbourn - Big League Stew - Yahoo! Sports
I quite appreciated the large number of illustrations and daguerreotypes. Small images of many of the book's key characters are placed adjacent to their descriptions, usually from a score card or old tobacco card. (I'll note with some pride the two separate daguerreotypes of yours truly presenting a mischievously placed middle finger — the first this had ever been captured on film.)

I'll add this book to my list of "must read".

May 28 - BR Bullpen
1957 - With an unanimous vote, National League owners grant permission to both the Dodgers and Giants to relocate their clubs to the West Coast if they so desire.
2000 - For the first time in franchise history, the Angels hit four home runs in one inning, with Darin Erstad, Mo Vaughn, Tim Salmon and Garret Anderson supplying the fireworks.
Happy b-day to the world's greatest athlete and the man who gave us one of the best world series moments...
1887 - Jim Thorpe, outfielder (d. 1953)
1957 - Kirk Gibson, outfielder