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Inside Dan Haren's Splitter, What Was The Hurry? Halolinks.

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As far as I know, no one on the Halos Heaven staff has ever been issued press credentials, and I don't think anyone has even asked for them except me. A couple years ago I sent a request to the Minnesota Twins for an upcoming series against the Angels and couple weeks later someone from the Twins organization called me to let me know that my request had been denied by the Angels. I was told it was the Angels policy not to issue credentials to bloggers. No big deal, but if If I were ever to request credentials again, the reason would to be so I could write an article like this one: Split decision: Haren a rarity among Angels pitchers - The Orange County Register. In this article, Bill Plunkett uses his access to provide information that otherwise wouldn't be known without that "face-to-face" contact.

STORY CONTINUES AND MORE LINKS AFTER THE BREAK...

The Angels are apparently not the only organization that feels this way. Haren said he started throwing a splitter during his days at Pepperdine. But after the Cardinals made him their second-round draft pick in 2001, he was told not to throw it anymore. "They didn't want their pitchers throwing it," Haren said. "So I stopped throwing it for awhile. But after a year or two, I went to them and said I gotta throw it. They just said, 'Don't abuse it' and I don't really throw it that much." Haren said the number of times he uses his splitter "really varies from game to game" based on situations and matchups with opposing hitters. "It could be anywhere from 10 to 30 in a normal game," said Haren who throws between 110 and 120 pitches most starts. "Thirty would be a lot."

These type of articles go a lot further in informing readers than the typical, "He's in the best shape of his life" or "We're taking it one game at a time" type posts or another blog post about what a writer had for lunch in the press box. Plunkett does a good job relaying information that is both interesting and entertaining.

I know this is old news (Angels' Pineiro, Downs activated from disabled list - Yahoo! Sports), and it's really not a big deal, but I was wondering what was the hurry in DFA'ing Bulger if Pineiro wasn't going to start until Saturday? The Angels have 10 days to trade Bulger, who I think does have some trade value, so why start the clock two days early? Is there any advantage in activating Pineiro two days before his scheduled start? Suppose something strange happens during Friday's game, something weird like it goes 15 innings. Wouldn't having Bulger (or Palmer for that matter) around be useful? You know, just in case? As I wrote, it's not a big deal, but unless there's a good reason not to wait, why not use every advantage regardless of how small or unlikely the need?

Ex-Angel Grich is a no-brainer Hall of Famer - The Orange County Register
While no single statistic can tell you everything about a player, WAR comes closest. And, according to the WAR model published by Baseball-Reference.com, Bobby Grich -- worth 67.6 wins in his career -- is the third-best position player ever who is eligible for the Hall of Fame but isn't in it.

This Sam Miller article is something every Angel fan should get behind.

Angels: Don't look for Angels' Peter Bourjos to take over leadoff spot - latimes.com
"Peter has the potential to hit first or second, but there's a lot more going on in the one-two spots than the eight-nine spots," Scioscia said. "It's something I think Peter will grow into, but we have some pretty good options with Aybar and Izturis."

I think Scioscia is doing the right thing batting Bourjos in the bottom third of the order, especially while Izturis is getting on-base at an acceptable level. I also like that Scioscia is giving Bourjos "tastes" of the leadoff spot every-once-in-awhile, just to give him some experience. Well played, Sosh.

Also within this article is this tid-bit regarding the Angels relief pitching:

Since giving up 11 earned runs and 21 hits, including six home runs and 15 walks in 181/3 innings (5.40 earned-run average) of the first five games, relievers have given up 10 earned runs and 34 hits in 561/3 innings of the last 20 games for a 1.60 ERA.

A strong bullpen is an Angel play-off team tradition.

Here are a couple power rankings, both have the Angels at #7:

Power rankings: Where exactly did CarGo go? - Yahoo! Sports
#7 - Angels ask Wells to lose some weight, you know, if they’re going to have to carry him all year.

MLB Power Rankings - Top 30 MLB Baseball Teams - FOX Sports on MSN

Angels' draftee drafted by Titans - CBSSports.com
One of the biggest early surprises in the first round of Thursday night's NFL draft was Tennessee taking Washington quarterback Jake Locker with the eight overall pick. That means the Angels lost their $250,000 gamble.

Well, I guess it was "just" $250,000.

Here are two really good (and FREE!) articles from Baseball Prospectus:

Spitballing: Cracking the Scouting Code - Baseball Prospectus
But that bell curve is meaningless without further processing. The fundamental building block of baseball is runs, from which you get wins (and from there, you can derive dollars). The 20-80 scale contains numbers without backing, and the "five tools"—hit, hit for power, run, throw, field—all have separate weightings.

Baseball ProGUESTus: Fantasy Baseball's Founding Fathers - Baseball Prospectus
Fantasy baseball is a product of childhood solitude, when idle youngsters furtively build sandlot castles in their feverish minds, but it is an obsession that has found fertile ground in adulthood as baseball statistics have grown more complex and expressive. Schoolyard arguments about favorite players are now settled by quoting stats with bewitching acronyms like WARP. Almost every action on the field can be quantified, and fantasy games allow fans to see these magical numbers light up for their own players. This vicarious thrill encourages deeper immersion in the sport, until fake owners know more about 18-year-old prospects than their own mothers. It is a frightening and wonderful addiction.

Yankees' Curtis Granderson donates $50K worth of equipment to South Bronx baseball, softball teams - NY Daily News
Enter Curtis Granderson. Searching for a way to help city kids, the Yankees' center fielder contacted the PSAL and discovered what coaches, players and schools across the city have known for years: There's a shortage of bats, and not just in baseball. Standing next to newly installed schools chancellor Dennis Walcott at South Bronx HS Thursday, Granderson announced that he had donated 300 Louisville Slugger bats to the baseball and softball programs in the PSAL. The contribution is worth approximately $50,000, according to a PSAL official, Tyrone Parker, who listed metal bats at a retail cost of $300 apiece and wooden bats at $60.

Too bad he isn't available.

25th anniversary of a dominant pitching performance - The Hardball Times
Twenty-five years ago today, one of the greatest pitching performance in baseball history occurred: Roger Clemens set a record for strikeouts in a nine-inning game when he fanned 20 Mariners. Clemens’ mark has since been tied three times, including once by Clemens himself, but it’s still an impressively long time to hold the record. Steve Carlton first struck out 19 batters in nine innings, a mark that lasted 17 years. Before that, Bob Feller’s 18-K game mark stood as the record for 31 years, but that’s the only one-game nine-inning record to outlast Clemens’ achievement.

Clemens may have turned out to be one of the biggest jerks in baseball, but he was also one of the most dominating.

Baseball's Longest-Tenured GMs - MLBTradeRumors.com
Ever wonder which GMs have held their positions the longest? Or how many GMs were with their current teams a decade ago?

Just in case you were wondering.

Retired Uniforms by Division: American League West - Beyond the Box Score
Nolan Ryan's uniform is retired twice among AL West teams: for the Angels and the aforementioned Rangers. Nolan Ryan's number is also retired on the Houson Astros, making Ryan the only player whose number has been retired on three different teams.

Pretty graphs!

April 29 - BR Bullpen
Events, births and deaths that occurred on April 29.
1902 - Baltimore Orioles infielder John McGraw is hit by pitches five times, but home plate umpire Jack Sheridan refuses to allow him to take first base. In the ninth inning, McGraw is hit for the last time and sits down in the batter's box in protest. American League president Ban Johnson will suspend McGraw for five games.
1923 - The New York Yankees sign 20-year-old prospect Lou Gehrig to a contract paying him a salary of $2,000 and a bonus of $1,500. Yankees scout Paul Krichell had watched the Columbia University star blast a 450-foot home run against New York University one day earlier.
1997 - Chili Davis of the Kansas City Royals becomes the 75th major leaguer to hit 300 home runs.
2005 - The Washington Nationals exercise Jose Guillen's $4 million contract option for 2006. Guillen, who was acquired in a trade with the Angels after feuding with manager Mike Scioscia, appears to have found a home in Washington thanks to a very pleased general manager, Jim Bowden.
Happy b-day:
1951 - Rick Burleson, infielder; All-Star
1952 - Bob McClure, pitcher
1970 - Glenn DiSarcina, minor league infielder