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Thursday Halolinks: Once A Problem, Bullpen Now A Strength With Ernesto Frieri

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Don't look now, but the Angels have won two in-a-row! Celebrate with some links:

  • Here's an interesting tidbit: Los Angeles Angels at Oakland Athletics - May 23, 2012 - "It was both their first extra-inning victory and their first in their last at-bat all season." That information kind of makes some sense considering the Angels seem to rely on their pitching to get them their wins. Their formula so far this season is score a couple of runs and hope the starting pitcher can throw a shutout. I don't put much stock into what a team did the previous year, but last season, May was the Halos worst month. They finished 2011 by going 57-48 (.543) and remained in play-off contention for most of the season. This year, the Halos have bounced back from an ugly April to being 2 games over .500 (12-10) in May. Not to be overly optimistic, but it does look like the club has fixed it's bullpen problem, which would go a long way in late inning comebacks and extra-inning wins.
  • Speaking of bullpen fixing, it looks like Angels' GM Jerry Dipoto knows how to address a problem: The Angels may have found their closer in Ernesto Frieri - HardballTalk. "He’s been flat-out dominant in all of them. For the modest price of Alexi Amarista and Donn Roach, the Angels appear to have found the right-handed reliever they needed, and with Jordan Walden also having turned it around, the bullpen has suddenly become a strength, rather than a weakness. Score one for new GM Jerry DiPoto, who saw plenty of Frieri while with the Diamondbacks." If Frieri is the real deal as a closer, the Angels now have three shutdown arms (Downs and Walden) available late in the game, in effect, shortening the game to six innings. How good has Frieri been since joining the Halos? Angels 3, Athletics 1(11) - FOX Sports. "Frieri hasn't given up a hit while striking out 19 in 8 2-3 innings since being acquired from San Diego on May 3. ''I was waiting for this for a long time with the Padres and they wouldn't give me a chance,'' said Frieri, a 26-year-old righty who has pitched parts of four major league seasons. ''The Angels trust me a little more. Mentally, I was ready.'' And: Ernesto Frieri slams the door shut on Athletics in Angels' 3-1 win - "Frieri struck out three of four batters in the 11th inning Wednesday for his first big league save, nailing down the Angels' 3-1 victory over the Oakland Athletics that featured Alberto Callaspo's clutch two-out, two-run double in the top of the inning. Only six of the 32 batters he has faced with the Angels have put the ball in play." Pretty nice start to his Angels career.
  • I'm thinking of adding a new feature to Halolinks called "Say What, Mike?" As many of you know, I have frequently have an issue with the meaningless quotes Angels' manager Mike Scioscia often spews. I realize that's his job...kind of, but sometimes the words that come out of his mouth seem to be random bits of other regurgitated sentences. Here's today's "Say What, Mike?": Callaspo provides big hit in Angels' 11-inning victory - Yahoo! Sports. "We had it going in spring training, but obviously we haven't played to the level we need to or want to, but we're not looking for instant gratification, we're looking for the grind. This is going to be a process. This is not going to be anything where you turn this thing around in a heartbeat. We're in it for the long haul." Instant gratification would have happened last month. It's too late for that.
  • Does a players success or failure carry over for more than a couple seasons? Angels-Mariners Preview - Yahoo! Sports. "Haren is 10-5 versus Seattle for his most wins against any club, and his 2.60 ERA in 19 starts versus the Mariners is his best against any opponent he's faced more than nine times." In this example, does Dan Haren do well against the Mariners just because they're the Mariners, even though many of the players are not the same as they were a couple of years ago?
  • I'm not too sure this is a good thing: Hunter likely to rejoin Angels next week - The Orange County Register. ""We'll continue to be in touch with him and see how it works out," Scioscia said. "It's still open-ended. Where we talked over the weekend that it might be on this road trip, it's going to take a couple more days after that. What day exactly it's going to be, we're not sure." Okay, I'm being selfish. I really like watching an outfield of Trout, Bourjos, and Trumbo.
  • More fodder for Gubicza! Actually, this is a very interesting article: Famous and infamous come alive in Chance's stories - FOX Sports. "In the days long before kids with rocket arms were heralded, Chance staked a claim to being the best high school pitcher of all time. He still holds Ohio records for wins (52), winning percentage (just one career loss), consecutive wins (32), no-hitters in a season (eight) and in a career (17). He used to show up at youth games in bib overalls, long before he led West Salem Northwestern High School to the 1959 state baseball title and started on the 1958 team that won the state basketball championship."
  • NEWHAN ON BASEBALL: Scioscia Needs Pujols More Than Mattingly's Magic. "The Angels are not dead in the American League West, but the relationship between General Manager Jerry DiPoto and Scioscia pretty much is, as I have written before. DiPoto's firing of hitting coach Mickey Hatcher, a handy scapegoat for the team's staggering start, ended the idea of pre-game lunches with Scioscia, whose contract extends through 2018 but may be wearing a different uniform by then. The players know DiPoto is in charge now, and that doesn't help in a situation where Scioscia has drawn more media questioning of strategical moves than in any of his 12 previous seasons."
  • I wonder who these "people" are? Bud Selig -- No need for more MLB replay for now - ESPN. "MLB sought to increase video review this season to include trapped balls, fair-or-foul rulings down the lines and fan interference all over the ballpark. But it requires approval of MLB and the unions representing the umpires and the players, and any expansion was delayed until 2013 at the earliest. "I've had very, very little pressure from people who want to do more," Selig said."
  • Yankees could be up for sale soon, as rumors swirl in baseball and banking circles: sources - NY Daily News. "However, according to the sources, who requested anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the situation, the recent sale of the Dodgers to a group that includes NBA legend Magic Johnson is just one reason why the Steinbrenner family may be looking to sell the team, which experts estimate could be worth up to a stunning $3 billion."
  • Here are a couple interesting posts from The Hardball Times: Don Drysdale’s two-for-one special. "As part of his repertoire of intimidation, Drysdale offered a notorious guarantee: you hit one of my teammates, I hit two of yours. This pledge ended up sanitized for public consumption, changed to "Knock down one of mine, I knock down two of yours." The players heard the original version, though, and his fellow Dodgers liked it. It meant Drysdale was standing up for them, protecting them, letting any potential opposing intimidators know in advance the price their teammates would pay. This principle of massive retaliation set Drysdale's reputation in stone, during his career and long beyond it. But reputation is one thing, and actual performance is another. Did Drysdale practice what he preached?" And: Visualization: Vertical spray chart. "A vector would be completely horizontal if the batter only hit ground balls, while a vertical vector would mean that the batter hit only fly balls. A batter who hit an equal amount of ground balls and fly balls would have a vector pointing 45° above the horizontal, with all other angles corresponding to different ground ball/fly ball ratios accordingly. The length of each vector is mapped to slugging percentage, to get sort of a proxy for power."
  • And finally, spend the day with Sam Miller! BP Announcement Blog: Baseball Prospectus Day at the Big A - June 16, 2012