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Oakland Bests Ervin Santana, Is Rob Neyer Real? Halolinks.

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Cahill leads A's past Angels 6-1 - Yahoo! Sports
Cahill gave up six hits and one walk, lowering his ERA to 1.33 in his past four starts. He got a standing ovation from the crowd of 12,328 when he finished, topping the 7 1-3 innings he pitched last year against Arizona. "It was pretty cool," he said. "We don’t have the biggest crowds so when they’re into the games like that it shows they’re paying attention. It was pretty special." The A’s struck for two runs in the fourth and three in the fifth against Santana (6-4), who came into the game with an 11-2 record and a 1.50 ERA in 19 career appearances against Oakland. His ERA was the lowest any pitcher with at least 10 starts had against the A’s and he had never given up more than three runs in a single start. "I made a couple mistakes but that doesn’t really matter because I have to refocus and just pitch," Santana said. "That’s going to happen a lot. Nobody’s perfect." The Angels finish their 14-game road trip with a three-game series in Los Angeles against the Dodgers. They are 8-3 so far on the trip. Santana allowed five runs—four earned—and seven hits in five innings— his shortest start of the season. "Ervin wasn’t that far off. Those guys did a good job when they got some guys in scoring position," manager Mike Scioscia said. "I certainly don’t think he pitched as poorly as maybe his linescore is going to show."

A couple days ago I wrote that the Angels loss to Oakland was just one of those games where one of the team's best pitchers had to endure a game of doink hits and seeing-eye grounders. Same thing yesterday. Teams are going to have games like this, but here's one thing...YOU CAN STOP IT NOW. I suppose it could be worse, imagine the highlight of your day is realizing your team isn't much of a draw at home, and getting the 12,000 that do show up to show their appreciation is pretty cool. Highlights? How about this: Wilson knocks in Rivera with a single - Bobby Wilson drives in a run with a fifth-inning single to left field. There's your highlight.

MORE LINKS AFTER THE BREAK...

Angels-Dodgers Preview - FOX Sports on MSN
The Dodgers look to improve to 9-2 on their homestand with their fifth straight win Friday night when they open the Freeway Series against the Angels, who have won two of their last three series at Dodger Stadium. The Angels may not find it any easier to hit against Chad Billingsley (6-3, 3.80 ERA), who is 4-1 with a 2.77 ERA in his last six starts. He gave up three runs in six innings of a 9-3 loss to the Braves on Saturday. The right-hander is 1-2 against the Angels despite a 2.89 ERA. The Dodgers lost both of his starts against them last season. The Angels counter with Joel Pineiro (4-6, 5.23), who snapped a three-game winless streak Sunday despite a shaky start against Seattle. The right-hander gave up four runs and nine hits in six innings of a 9-4 win, giving up three runs in the first. Pineiro is 2-0 with a 3.38 ERA in three starts against the Dodgers, including one against them last season while with the Cardinals in which he gave up one run in eight innings of a 3-2, 15-inning win.

I suggest the Angel clubhouse guy install a tin foil lining in each of the Angel player caps to ward off any oogly-moogly cosmic spell that the Dodgers might cast on them. Just in case.

Angels lose, and absorb the loss of Kendry Morales for season - latimes.com
Even with Thursday's loss, in which Ervin Santana gave up five runs — four earned — and seven hits in five innings and had his five-game win streak snapped, the Angels have won nine of 12 games since Morales was hurt. But do they have enough offense to absorb the loss of their most potent bat, a switch-hitter who led the team with a .290 average, 11 home runs and 39 runs batted in, for the rest of the season? "That's a hot tamale, boss," center fielder Torii Hunter said. "You can't answer that. I think we have enough. We've been doing it for the last couple weeks. It would be cool to get somebody, but we don't have to. We've got to play our game, do what we have to do.""If Tony finds something to improve the team, he'll act on it," Scioscia said. "If Mike is playing well at first, that will add depth and make us better. Right now, in talking to Tony, nothing is imminent. But I don't think Tony would put anything on hold if it's the right move for us."

Bummer.

Friday Filberts - SweetSpot Blog - ESPN
Sure, it was probably foolish for the Dodgers' owners to spend more than $100,000 (probably a lot more) on a mentalist. But more foolish than this?

The "this" Neyer is referring to in the last line is this: Most Americans Believe in Guardian Angels - ABC News
Researchers found that a belief in guardian angels, affirmed by 55 percent of respondents, is a phenomenon that crosses religious, as well as regional and educational lines.

I'm not sure I believe in Rob Neyer any more. Actually, I did hear a rumor he died in a car accident a couple years ago, and the staff at ESPN replaced him with a look-a-like, much like the Beatles did with Paul McCartney in the late 60s. If you take every 6th letter from Buster Olney's preseason preview from 2008, it reads "I buried Rob". Also, if you read Jason Stark's column from July 5th, 2007 backwards, it reads "Turn me on dumb man". The third indication Neyer no long is with the living is I once got an email reply from him saying he'd join HH for a live chat. "It sounds like fun" was his response. However, when I asked him (repeatedly) when would be a good time for him to do the chat, I never again got a reply. Obviously something happened to him. Yet the biggest proof that the real Rob Neyer no longer writes for ESPN is the consistently poor posts he's created over the last couple years. I've written before that the main reason I had paid to become an ESPN Insider was to have access to Neyer's writing, but recently most of his posts are just piggybacked link-posts without any insightful commentary. This is one of the reasons I've been following Craig Calcaterra more this season than ESPN. Calcaterra consistently provides a post that is entertaining and informative. Something the real Rob Neyer used to do.

Why Your Son Should Be An Angel - FutureAngels.com
I can't tell you if your son should leave school or a full-time job opportunity to play pro ball. You need to be honest with yourselves about that. Not every young man is ready for the pressures of pro ball. Minor league baseball is a business. It's not like high school or college, where he played two or three times a week. In pro ball, he'll be paid to produce results. He may work eight hours a day, but those hours could be 3 PM to 11 PM, 10 AM to 6 PM, or other bizarre hours. He may not get an off day for three weeks. He will be riding a bus much of his daily life, sometimes for 14 hours in a trip to the next stop. He will no longer be a student. He will be an entertainer. That means he will be in the public spotlight. Immature behavior that might be charming as an amateur may get him suspended, fired or even worse embarrassed in the media. He will have to participate in random drug testing. Don't think it can be beat. It can't. And when he's caught, his name will appear in media reports of ballplayers suspended for violating the drug rules.

Our friend Stephen C. Smith at FutureAngels with an interesting article about why the Angels minor league organization is so good. (Cap tip to Sam Miller at the OC Register for this post)

Boston Red Sox - Lowell a real nowhere man - The Boston Globe
At least one of his teammates, former Angel John Lackey, has taken to good-natured clubhouse banter that demonstrates how little Lowell has seen the field. "Lackey’s getting all over me,’’ said Lowell, "saying, ‘Tell Sosh [Angels manager Mike Scioscia] I say hi,’ all that stuff.’’ The Angels are lacking a true first baseman since Kendry Morales fractured his leg in celebration of a walkoff home run. Los Angeles could be where Lowell finds a home, instead of languishing on the Boston bench. "I thought about it a little with the Angels,’’ Lowell said. "I don’t know what the thought process is of other teams. I don’t know what they have in the minor leagues. [Jeff] Mathis is coming back, they’re going to have three catchers, maybe they want to keep them all on the roster. There are a lot of dynamics I’m probably not aware of.

Hey Lackey, you can see Sosh wave to you on TV next October while you're sitting out this year's playoffs. The Lowell to the Angels stuff has been beaten to death, but I wanted to give some attention to the Lackey quote. Seems like he's fitting right in with Douchebag Nation.

As M's fall apart, heat on manager is misplaced - HardballTalk - NBC Sports
But while it's tempting to pour the heat onto the manager, general manager Jack Zduriencik should share it, or even carry the bulk of it. As golden as his touch was in his first year on the job, Zduriencik got very little right heading into this season.

Remember all of the preseason talk about how great Jack-Z is. And how the Mariners were going to win the division because of the fantastic deals their GM was pulling off? Yeah, I remember.

Ozzie, players know changes are coming - Chicago White Sox Blog - ESPN Chicago
A major-league source confirms to ESPNChicago that although the Texas Rangers have serious interest in Pierzynski, the team’s extreme money problems convolute taking on any salary in a contract like Pierzynski. He’s still owed over $4 million in 2010, and he’s a free agent after the season.

Pierzynski to the Rangers? The Perfect Storm?

Lady Gaga Hates CitiField, Sympathizes With Chipper Jones - Walkoff Walk
She joins Mets fans in getting pissed off while there.

This story is making the rounds on all the blogs...may as well put it here too.

David Letterman's top 10 little-known facts about Stephen Strasburg - Daily Pitch: MLB News, Standings, Schedules & More - USATODAY.com
"He has four incredible pitches. He has a 91 mph changeup. He has a curveball -- the only way you can see this curveball is if you actually have seats in the parking lot. It breaks that severely. "And," Letterman joked, "I spent seven years of my life in the Dominican Republic as a scout, so I know what I'm talking about." This was Thursday's Top Ten List -- The Top 10 Little-Known Facts About Stephen Strasburg:

June 11 - BR Bullpen
1990 - Nolan Ryan pitches the sixth no-hitter of his career, extending his major league record, as the Texas Rangers beat Oakland 5 - 0. Ryan was the first to pitch no-hitters in three different decades, to accomplish the feat for three different teams and, at age 43, the oldest to throw one.
1995 - Lee Smith sets a major league record with a save in his 16th consecutive appearance, pitching a scoreless ninth inning to preserve the Angels' 5 - 4 victory over the Orioles. Smith breaks the mark of 15 straight set by Doug Jones in 1988.
Happy b-day:

1858 - Tony Suck, catcher (d. 1895) Arguably the single worst major-league baseball player ever. Yes, EVER.

Speaking of Suck:

Los Angeles Angels
Erick Aybar, SS 4 0 2 0 0 1 2 .267
Howard Kendrick, 2B 4 0 0 0 0 0 3 .255
Maicer Izturis, 3B 4 0 0 0 0 1 1 .244
Torii Hunter, CF 4 0 1 0 0 0 1 .283
Hideki Matsui, DH 4 0 1 0 0 1 1 .260
Mike Napoli, 1B 3 0 0 0 0 1 1 .262
Juan Rivera, RF 3 1 1 0 0 1 1 .237
Michael Ryan, LF 3 0 0 0 0 0 2 .222
Bobby Wilson, C 2 0 1 1 1 0 0 .192
Totals 31 1 6 1 1 5
Batting
2B - Hideki Matsui (10, Cahill), Juan Rivera (10, Cahill)
RBI - Bobby Wilson (1)
2-OUT RBI - Bobby Wilson (1)
CS - Torii Hunter (5, 2nd base by Cahill/Suzuki)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
E - Erick Aybar (9, Throwing)
Oakland Athletics
Eric Patterson, LF 5 0 0 0 0 2 3 .216
Daric Barton, 1B 4 2 1 1 1 0 1 .283
Ryan Sweeney, RF 2 3 1 1 2 0 0 .320
Kurt Suzuki, C 4 0 2 1 0 0 0 .274
Jack Cust, DH 3 0 0 1 0 1 4 .274
Kevin Kouzmanoff, 3B 4 0 2 1 0 1 2 .272
Gabe Gross, CF 4 0 1 1 0 0 4 .281
Mark Ellis, 2B 4 0 0 0 0 0 2 .277
Cliff Pennington, SS 3 1 2 0 1 1 0 .207
Totals 33 6 9 6 4 5
Batting
2B - Ryan Sweeney (15, Santana)
SF - Jack Cust (1)
RBI - Daric Barton (23), Ryan Sweeney (28), Kurt Suzuki (29), Jack Cust (9), Kevin Kouzmanoff (32), Gabe Gross (10)
2-OUT RBI - Kevin Kouzmanoff (12), Gabe Gross (6)
SB - Kurt Suzuki (1, 2nd base off Santana/Wilson), Cliff Pennington (8, 2nd base off Santana/Wilson)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Pennington-Ellis-Barton, Suzuki-Pennington
E - Cliff Pennington (7, Throwing)
Los Angeles Angels
Ervin Santana (L,6-4) 5 7 5 4 2 3 0 3.52
Trevor Bell 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 4.20
Scot Shields 1 2 1 1 1 0 0 6.86
Jason Bulger 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 3.74
Pitches-Strikes - Ervin Santana 107-68, Trevor Bell 13-9, Scot Shields 19-10, Jason Bulger 16-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ervin Santana 7-6, Trevor Bell 1-0, Jason Bulger 1-2
Batters Faced - Ervin Santana 25, Trevor Bell 3, Scot Shields 6, Jason Bulger 4
Oakland Athletics
Trevor Cahill (W,5-2) 8 6 1 1 1 4 0 2.91
Andrew Bailey 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 1.80
WP - Trevor Cahill (2)
Pitches-Strikes - Trevor Cahill 107-73, Andrew Bailey 15-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Trevor Cahill 14-4
Batters Faced - Trevor Cahill 29, Andrew Bailey 3
Game Information
Attendance - 12328
Game Time - 2:27
Temperature - 66
Umpires - Home - Chad Fairchild, First Base - Eric Cooper, Second Base - Bill Miller, Third Base - Mike Reilly