Halos Hit The Road, Visit The Rockies: Interleague Play is upon us once again as the Los Angeles Angels open a 3 game set in the Mile High city of Denver, Colorado facing the Colorado Rockies. If my survey of BBR is accurate, this is the first trip to Coors Field for the Angels since 2001 when they swept the Rockies by scores of 6-5, 10-3 and 11-3. They did play the Rockies in 2006, 2009 and 2010 but I see those as all being in Anaheim. All time, the Angels are 153-116 against the NL in Interleague play, and 63-30 since the start of 2007, which is best in MLB. Specific to the Rockies, the Angels have won 11 of the last 15, 16 of the last 21.
Fun Colorado Laws: Some Texans felt a little put upon a couple of weeks ago, so to prove that I am not uniquely showcasing their particular waste of vast, empty space I am sharing some fun stuff about yet another cowboy state. Some of these are state wide, some just peculiar to certain municipalities. But all are truly strange: Car dealers may not show cars on a Sunday...........It is illegal for a woman wearing a red dress to be out on the streets after 7 PM..........It is illegal to bring your horse or pack mule above the ground floor of any building..........The dog catcher must notify dogs of impounding by posting, for three consecutive days, a notice on a tree in the city park and along a public road running through said park..........It is unlawful to lend your vacuum cleaner to your next-door neighbor..........You may not drive a black car on Sundays..........It is illegal for a man to kiss a woman while she is asleep..........It is illegal to let a dandelion grow within the city limits...........Cats may not run loose without having been fit with a taillight.
Hill Climbing Update: Right now there are 9 teams in the AL within 4 wins of each other. Even with 2 Wild Cards, that is a crowd. Four of those teams are going to get shut out. If we assume that it is going to take at least 92 wins to make it into the post-season (a number I plucked out of thin air), here is a breakdown of winning percentages required by each of these 9 teams to get there:
So, basically, over the remaining ~100 games the race is on to play .600 ball or better. (If the target is 93 wins, the Halos number becomes .615. At 94 wins it's .625 and at 95 wins it's .635.) That is totally doable, in and of itself. The problem, however, is that it is totally doable for all 9 of those teams. Odds are that it is going to require something much better than that, or we are going to have some major tiebreakers to solve. I will keep this updated now and then as this starts to sort itself out.
Retro: Here is a pretty cool postcard for sale on eBay that is an aerial photo of Anaheim Stadium under construction, which is not something you run across every day.
Howie Kendrick is taking a new approach to his plate appearances, and is pretty excited about it. This must mean that he is going to keep on swinging, and swinging, and swinging...
Mike Trout basking in the sunshine of Sports Illustrated, which has him on top of the AL RoY race to this point.
Mark Trumbo is apparently upsetting the sliderulers at Fangraphs, who see him as one of their overachievers likely to falter from here on out. Trumbo is hitting an an extraordinary 180 in weighted Runs Created Plus, and they would rather he come in at something closer to 114 (100 being average, 120 being exceptional).
Chris Iannetta is almost back, taking batting practice and throwing this week and getting himself ready for a return in the next couple of weeks.
MORE NEWS AND VIEWS OF THE REST OF THE BASEBALL WORLD AFTER THE JUMP....
LA Angels vs. Colorado Rockies @ Coors Field - 5:40 PM Start (FS-W)
C.J. Wilson (L) 6-4 2.54 vs. Alex White (R) 2-3 5.60
LA Angels vs. Colorado Rockies @ Coors Field - 1:10 PM Start (FS-W)
Dan Haren (R) 3-6 3.52 vs. Jeff Francis (L) 0-0 0.00
LA Angels vs. Colorado Rockies @ Coors Field - 12:10 PM Start (FS-W)
Ervin Santana (R) 2-7 5.33 vs. Christian Friedrich (L) 4-1 4.50
Rarified air - where NASA reminds us that curve balls don't curve, sliders don't slide, yet fly balls do fly - is good news/bad news for this Halo squad (Quick Trivia Question: what MLB ballpark is the SECOND highest in elevation? Click here for the answer.). On the upside we have power that might break out in Albert Pujols, Kendrys Morales, Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo. Hell, maybe even Torii Hunter gets some accidental action here. On the down side, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana look to get seriously burned for their particular pitching styles.
This Day In Baseball: 1955 - the Dodgers send Tommy Lasorda to Montreal to make roster room available for some kid named Sandy Koufax coming off the DL..........1961 - Eddie Mathews, Hank Aaron, Joe Adcock and then Fran Thomas become the first big leaguers to hit 4 consecutive homes runs. They still lost..........1965 - Rick Monday becomes the very baseball player ever drafted, in the first ever MLB draft, being taken by the Kansas City A's..........1968 - Dodger Don Drysdale's scoreless inning streak ends at 58 2/3..........1977 - Nolan Ryan K's 19 batters for the California Angels and gets a no-decision in the Halos victory..........1979 - The Royals draft both Dan Marino and John Elway using their 4th and 17th picks..........1987 - Don Sutton, pitching for the Angels, loses to Phil Niekro of the Indians, for only the third time that two 300 game winners face each other..........2001 - ex-Halo Damion Easley hits for the cycle for the Tigers and Jered Weaver's older brother picks up the win..........2007 - Alberto Callaspo (!) of the Diamondbacks is tagged out by Julio Lugo of the Red Sox using the hidden ball trick while leading off of first base..........2008 - Rich Harden of the Oakland A's burns through Maicer Izturis, Howie Kendrick and Garret Anderson using only 9 pitches to get three K's.
Ah...Here We Go...East Coast Media Fights Back: We can't have all the Greatest Prospect In The Game news boiling forth from the Left Coast now, can we? Ken Rosenthal takes the lead in the rehabilitation of the image of Bryce Harper, who suddenly is the epitome of maturity and a leader among men. Nobody argues Harper's talent, but most do argue his emotional outlook and attitude - both as a primal turnoff AND as a potential liability that might impact how much Harper realizes his potential at this level. And that has been a drag on his Q factor as Trout has been ripping up the AL and slowly working his way past RoY and now drifting in the general direction of garnering a couple MVP votes. Well, the only way a shadow can fall upon the east is if the sun is setting on their story lines. Rosenthal, acting like a media dog who has already lifted his leg and claimed this particular fire hydrant, looks to be carving out a new career path for himself with young Mr. Harper (here and here). Expect, in the coming years, more hagiography like this. Let's hope Harper lives up to it all.
Baseball Updating Drug Rules: Of course, there are more Ryan Braun reactions in the newly agreed upon policy changes. But there is also an intriguing focus on the number of MLB Players who claim to suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder, and/or Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. I had not heard of this before, have you? In this country, we apparently have ADHD rates of between 3% and 7% among children. But this same link also shows that the rates could be well higher, and climbing. Boys could run higher than 13% and North Carolina is seeing a high of over 15%. (That is just among US children, international rates may differ.) So if the actual numbers among MLB players are jumping out as unusually high, whet the heck are they? 30%? 40%? Do we have 1/4 to 1/3 of all the players currently in MLB taking medicinal treatment for ADD/ADHD, a treatment which may have performance enhancing effects???
Excellence In Education Department: Go check this out at Yahoo! Sports. A total uniform ...uh..."mishap". I can just imagine the phone call home to let folks know he was playing: "Look mom! Look dad! I made it to the Big Leagues!! Aren't you proud?! Call all the family! Call all the relatives! Tell them that our family name finally made it to prime time TV!!!"
And, unbelievably, it got worse. Not just the name, but check out that ERA!
Scott Boras Is Unhappy: The day shines a little brighter today, because Boras is pissy that he could not exploit the built in market inefficiencies that exist between players and franchises, purging clubs of insane amounts of cash in the form of extravagant signing bonuses through the 2012 draft. Looks like the cartel on the owners side outflanked the cartel on the players side, costing Boras his normally expected annual windfall in stupid money. Welcome back to the economy, Scott!
Shenanigans!: Speaking of the draft, here is a sweet little pre-draft tidbit about how some clubs were considering gaming the whole thing. "There were even reports of teams trying to circumvent the system by entering non-prospect names, like team interns, to draft and then pay them a minimal amount in order to divert bonus money elsewhere. That plan was caught and thwarted by Major League Baseball." And here you thought that "Special Assistant" was just a figurehead!!!
Courtesy of Deadspin, "Old Hoss 1K884 Base Ball: You just HAVE to click here and play with with this sim a little while!!! I won't say another word and spoil your fun...but go...just go...NOW.
!NEW FEATURE: Five great places to go and waste your employer's Friday morning...
1. The Greatest Team in the History of Minor League Baseball. (Make sure to read about the post-season, and how the league decided to try and deal with the juggernaut!)
2. Negro League Baseball History. (You probably didn't know that baseball started out racially integrated.)
3. The Most Amazing Multi-Dimensional Baseball Strike Zone. (Everything you always suspected about the vagaries of subjective authority are true!)
4. This place studies uniforms, so you don't have to!. (This entire site is loaded with amazement - such as Astros ground crew once wore space suits! - but this particular entry is especially topical, don't you think?)
5. The Battle For Chavez Ravine. (Video, with audio. A six minute introduction to the epic story behind how Los Angeles obtained the land for Dodger Stadium.)
Bud Selig Logic Fail: Step (1): move the Astros to the AL West and balance the divisions. Step (2): change the schedule to make it even more unbalanced than it already is now...........What's more important? Having a foul ball come right to you, and you alone, in a real Major League baseball park during a real Major League Baseball game, or talking on your phone to the one random friend you have that has no idea it's baseball season?..........Throwing Down the Gauntlet: Chris Perez of the Cleveland Indians tweets a challenge to sabremetricians everywhere. Looks like we have found the next Joe Morgan..........Baseball Prospectus Tater Trot Tracker: Timings place our Kendrys Morales as the slowest around the base paths after a dinger in all of baseball (for that day...stay tuned!).
And now, being the full service weekend linkage institution that we are, here is the obligatory moment we take out of each Friday for beer:
Colorado's huge beer fest isn't until early October, which is unfortunate to get lost in Oktoberfest season when they have such a great micro-brew industry (yes, America, there is more to Colorado beer than Coors and Fat Tire). Oddly enough, Pennsylvania seems to be HUGE in beer festivals during the month of June, for some strange reason (see the BeerAdvocate calendar, which keeps track of all this stuff for me). Whatevs. We have a fairly good festival of our own this weekend at the OC BBQ & Music Fest, with beer tasting, at the OC Fairgrounds. Something to do between games!