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Wednesday Halolinks: Who's To Blame? Starters? Relievers? Mike Scioscia?

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You know, it could be worse...the Red Sox players in revolt, Stephen Strassberg inning limitations, famine, living in Texas, A.J. Pierzynski, and even half-empty glasses. You have Halolinks, what else do you need?:

  • When Greinke dotted Santana, I thought, "Finally. The Angels have a pitcher with some balls." Greinke gets 1st win for Angels, 9-6 over Tribe - Yahoo! Sports. "Greinke was cruising with a 4-0 lead before hitting cleanup hitter Carlos Santana on the backside with two out in the fourth. Teammate Howie Kendrick was hit by Ubaldo Jimenez in the first inning, and plate umpire Phil Cuzzi issued a warning to both benches.Before plunking Santana, Greinke had hit only one of 1,010 batters over his previous 39 starts and 247 innings." There's been a debate running here at HH about if it's right to hit a batter on purpose. You know the two sides; "The batter might get hurt" (you have to say that with a whiny voice) and "It's old-school" (spoken with a gravelly, cigar roughened baritone). I'm more on the baritone side, but I do understand the alto reasoning. However I think last night's butt-beaning was a statement, not only to the Indians, but to his teammates that Greinke's an Angel.
  • This is funny. The OC Register thinks it's the starters, while the LA Times feels the relievers are the problem: Scioscia: Poor starting pitching 'holding us down' - The Orange County Register. "And Scioscia points directly to that starting rotation — "the heartbeat of our club," as he frequently calls it — as the main reason the Angels have slid to the fuzzy edges of the playoff picture." Angels' Mike Scioscia is looking for relief - ""It's been bad," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "Our bullpen has been really struggling." The bullpen's ERA had, before Tuesday's game against Cleveland, ballooned to 6.07. Said reliever Jason Isringhausen, 39: "I'll be the first one to admit, I don't have the stuff anymore to pitch in the eighth inning." Wait a minute, let me fix that for you Jason, "I don't have the stuff anymore to pitch in the eighth inning." There. Fixed.
  • Oh, okay. I get it. So the starters' not doing their job is causing the relievers to not be able to do theirs. Got it: Cleveland Indians at Los Angeles Angels - August 14, 2012 - "We're getting length -- good length -- and that's going to be critical to us playing well during this pennant stretch," Scioscia said. "As these guys hopefully get their game back, get their command back, we're going to get better results out of our starters, which will help our 'pen, also." That bullpen, which came in with a Major League-worst 8.37 ERA in August, almost allowed the Indians back in it, with LaTroy Hawkins surrendering an eighth-inning, two-run homer to Casey Kotchman to make it a three-run game. But Kevin Jepsen and Ernesto Frieri recorded the final four outs." You know what? I think they both stink. The starters need to get their "length" on, while the relievers need to be able to pitch an inning without giving up a handful of least most of the time.
  • Even with that bloated ERA, the Angel offense should also get some of the blame. That 5.24 ERA that the starters has tossed out there is bad, but not so bad, and most teams wouldn't be able to overcome being outscored so often. But the Halo offense is potent. And as we saw last night, giving up 5 runs shouldn't be an automatic loss. Scioscia remains optimistic about playoff push - Yahoo! Sports. "After surging into contention at the end of May and through most of June, the Angels have been a losing team since June 28. Their 19-23 record since then is largely attributable to a rotation that has not pitched up to its reputation. With Zack Greinke's four-run, seven-inning outing Tuesday, Angels starters have a 5.24 ERA (142 earned runs, 243 2/3 innings) and only 18 quality starts in the past 42 games."
  • I waiting to hear that Ervin Santana is also a fake identity. I know he was born "Johan Santana", but someday word is going to get out that his real, real name is something like "Gary Gopherball", or "Sergio Tanksalot", or "Ima Inconsistentpitcher". You know, something more appropriate: Cleveland Indians at Los Angeles Angels - August 15, 2012 - "After pitching in the Majors for six season under the name Fausto Carmona, Hernandez was arrested outside the U.S. consulate in the Dominican Republic in January for identity fraud and prohibited from returning to the United States until he obtained a visa on July 21, which forced him to reveal his true age (31) and name. Hernandez will face an Angels club looking to turn the page on what has been a rough few weeks. Santana (5-10, 5.82 ERA) was charged with five runs (four earned) in 6 1/3 innings on Friday against the Mariners for a no-decision, putting his ERA at 5.82 and his Major League-leading home run total at 28."
  • Indians-Angels Preview - Yahoo! Sports. "The right-hander (Gopherball, I mean, Santana) is 1-8 with a 5.03 ERA in 13 starts versus Cleveland, including 0-3 with a 3.66 ERA in six at home. He allowed 10 runs in 8 1-3 innings while going 0-2 against the Indians in two road outings this year."
  • God, I hope so: The battle of urgency and patience - ESPN Los Angeles. ""It's better than what you think. You look at the numbers and, yeah, it looks bad. But we look at our team and we're like, 'Wow, why panic?' Because we know we're hitting the ball hard, it's just not our turn." "Every day (I'm shufflin'?), we feel like we're good and have a chance to win," he said. "Today, everything dropped for us."
  • Walden, Downs likely returning by end of week - "Angels relievers Scott Downs (strained left shoulder) and Jordan Walden (neck and right biceps injuries) continue to progress in their rehab assignments, making it seem likely that both will return by the end of the week."
  • Blue Jays Sign Jeff Mathis To Contract Extension - MLB Daily Dish. "The Toronto Blue Jays have signed catcher Jeff Mathis to a two-year, $3 million extension with a $1.5 million club option for a third year, the team announced (via Barry Davis of Sportsnet)." If you take the money out of the equation, who would you rather have on your team, Jeff Mathis or Vernon Wells? In other words, if you only had to pay each player $10 to be on your team, and you can only have one of them (yeah, I know, why would you want both?). Who gets the sawbuck? To me, Mathis doesn't look too bad.
  • A few ago, I got a subscription to Baseball Prospectus. The problem that I now have is; I don't know what content is free or behind their paywall. So if you can't follow this link, I apologize, because this is typical, outstanding Sam Miller: Baseball Prospectus - Transaction Analysis: Mathis for Smart People? "Once a month or so, I look up Jeff Mathis’ catcher ERA. When Mike Scioscia started talking about Jeff Mathis’ low CERA, back in 2008, Mathis had been behind the plate for only 1,000 or so innings, and Scioscia’s claims were easily brushed aside. But it’s been four years since, and in four years of monthly check-ups, the doggone thing just keeps sitting there, staying real, or at least looking real. Crapping unicorn turds all over my living room. Real enough."
  • And this is typical, bad Jeff Miller: Miller: Angels sinking toward their darkest day - The Orange County Register. "The fans also want pitching coach Mike Butcher fired or worse, believe this is all Vernon Wells' fault and probably wouldn't mind seeing Mickey Hatcher re-canned." I don't venture too far from Halos Heaven. It's very rare that I meander over to AngelsWin, so I don't know if those guys have the same feeling about the Angels' season as we do. But anyway, it sure seems like bad-Miller is parroting the sentiment viewed in most of HH's comment sections.
  • Keeping track of Mike Trout's main MVP contender: Detroit Tigers vs. Minnesota Twins - Recap - August 14, 2012 - ESPN. "Cabrera got his 100th RBI with a seventh-inning single off Casey Fien, becoming the third player in Tigers history to collect at least 100 RBIs in five or more consecutive seasons."
  • The F-Bomb and Gary Carter: Did the late Mets catcher invent the phrase? "After he started cursing, I walked away and I said, 'Why are you cursing at me?' He said, 'I talk like that.' I said, 'OK, guttermouth.' "Carter said he has been thrown out only twice in the majors, both times by Eric Gregg. "That was when I used to use the F-bomb." I want to be credited with coming up with the phrase "See you next Tuesday". I honestly...yes HONESTLY believe I was the first one to use it back in the early 1980's.