Last night was, by my standard anyway, gorgeously bad baseball in multiple directions. Craptastical. It's pretty common to look the other way when one's team comes out on top, but holy cow. The box score is an adventure straight out of Wiliamsport (LLWS being my theme today). Boston blew a 5 run lead AND committed two bone headed errors AND struck out 12 times while drawing but a single walk AND scored in the 8th and 9th and 10th innings and still lost. The Halos struck out 9 times, left 12 runners on base, garnered 14 runs on 20 hits but barely held off the Red Sox at the end after blowing 3 leads whilst burning through 7 pitchers and rendering at least three of them useless for the opening game tonight in Detroit. I would spend some web photons laying out the crimes committed with the strike zone, adding the umpiring to this folly and enabling the onslaught, but some of you have taken notice of this recent focus of mine so I shall refrain.
Progress Report: With 5 teams in the running for 2 AL Wild Card slots, it would be fair to presume that something around 92 wins might be a reasonable target to get into the post season. For the sake of this paragraph, let's assume that to be true. Where do our Halos stand? Not so good. At the start of today Tampa Bay needs to win at a rate of 59% to hit 92. Pretty solid. Baltimore, Detroit and Oakland are all tied with the need to win at a 66% clip. One of them might be assumed to do better than the others. That leaves the Angels, who must do something they have failed to do all season: win 73% of their remaining games and go 27 and 10. Impossible? No, Coolstanding.com has them up to 14.9% odds after last night. But even that 73% win rate might merely put them in a lottery cluster of three teams scrambling for two spots. Simply put: we gotta get hot. We're talkin' September 2007 Colorado Rockies hot.
Field & Stream: Planet Baseball is now awash with Mike Trout Super Stats, magazine covers, and replays upon replays. I would just be dogpiling at this point. But I will point out that Trout just spent his first series in Fenway, surely a childhood dream of every Little Leaguer, going 6 for 14 with 3 runs scored, 3 walks and 2 stolen bases. And last night he raised his August BA from .304 to .330. But let me echo something that mattwelch observed concerning Trout's SI cover: from the end of his sleeves all the way to his fingernails, Mike Trouts arms and hands look more like those of a 59 year old coal miner. And we shall see if the latest Mike Trout god moment is his ability to overcome the SI Cover Curse.
Erick Aybar: Our favorite knucklehead is blazing since coming back off the DL. Including last night's game he is batting .406 with 3 homers, a triple, a double and 4 stolen bases.
Jered Weaver: Yahoo plucks up an interesting factoid, from Elias. Weave now has 98 wins in his first 200 games with a 3.24 ERA. Only one other active pitcher has better numbers after his first 200 games: Texas Rangers reclamation project Roy Oswalt, who was 104 wins @ 3.07 ERA through his first 200 games with the Astros.
eBay Auction Of The Week: 1942 Seattle Post0Intelligencer page featuring the PCL game between the Seattle Rainers and the Los Angeles Angels.
Los Angeles Angels vs. Detroit Tigers @ Comerica Park - 4:05 PM Start (FS-W)
Zack Greinke (R) 1-2 6.19 ERA vs.Rick Porcello (R) 9-8 4.67 ERA
Los Angeles Angels vs. Detroit Tigers @ Comerica Park - 4:05 PM Start (FS-W)
Dan Haren (R) 8-10 4.90 ERA vs.Doug Fister (R) 7-8 3.67 ERA
Los Angeles Angels vs. Detroit Tigers @ Comerica Park - 10:05 AM Start (FS-W)
Ervin Santana (R) 7-10 5.46 ERA vs. Max Scherzer (R) 4.27 ERA
It's times like this that I feel as if I am playing 5 card draw, and I have just asked for 4 new cards. And all I have on my mind is "Who am I kidding? Everybody knows my hand sucks and unless these cards sprouted out of the Grotto at Lourdes, this hand is a loser." So what could possibly be worse than Zack Greinke's 7.00 ERA over his last three games? Oh, yeah, Dan Haren's 7.62. And then, what the hell? Ervin Santana is Man On Fire. So I don't know anything but to slowly turn over those 4 new cards and hope for my miracle.
This Date In Baseball History: 1919 - Ray Caldwell of the Cleveland Indians is struck by lightning and knocked unconscious while pitching with 1 out remaining in the 9th inning. He refuses to leave the game and sticks around to collect the final out, besting Philadelphia 2-1...........1940 - Ted Williams pitches the last two innings and allows one run on only three hits as the Red Sox lose to Detroit 12-1, trying to save their bullpen for any use in the upcoming latter game of a doubleheader..........1951 - Bill Veeck arms 1,000 home fans with YES/NO signs such that they can vote on in-game managerial decisions, which lead to a 5-1 victory for the St. Louis Browns (3 years prior to becoming the Baltimore Orioles)..........1960 - Vin Scully, clearly understanding just how Dodger fans need to follow by listening to the game from their stadium seats while using a radio (and paying attention to Scully rather than using their own eyes), gets the crowd to stand and shout "Happy Birthday, Frank!" to umpire Frank Secory..........1963 - The Little League World Series is broadcast for the first time as California (Granada Hills) defeats Connecticut (Stratford) for California's third consecutive LLWS title (the 1963 champs featured future World Series MVP player Rick Dempsey)..........1971 - Ernie Banks hits the last home run of his career..........1976 - Bill Freehan hits his final home run of his career (not really such a big deal, other than it echos that of Ernie Banks)..........1989 - Pete Rose is banned from baseball, for life..........2006 - Sean Casey of the Cincinnati Reds grounds out - to left field!..........2008 - The Angels beat the Twins 5 - 3 as Dennard Span strikes out looking to end the game. Span then tosses his bat and helmet as the Angels celebrate, and plate umpire Brian Gorman promptly ejects Span from a game that is already over.
Little League World Series: Is anybody besides me following this year's tourney? Personally, I still get a kick out of watching baseball executed by players who are truly vested in the outcome of winning, and have zero distractions concerning personal statistics to drive some next FA contract. There are no games set for today (Friday), but California (Petaluma) has advanced to the semi-finals, as they defeated Texas (San Antonio) 11-1 in a mercy killing, showcased by a grand slam by Hance Smith.
Anti-Tarps: This is an interesting development. Bill Plaschke over at LAT dives into the plague that is the Dodger Stadium Experience. In the case of the Dodgers, their new-found problem is too much popularity and the solution they are discussing is downsizing the possible stadium seating. This is interesting, considering the history up at Oakland, where they had the very same solution to the exact opposite problem. It's also rather odd that after more than 60 years it's finally occurred to some folks that there is insufficient infrastructure there to handle the target fan load.
Knuckleballers: I am pretty sure that this is not going to be at the top of your NetFlix watch list. You may have to work a little to get this one. Filmmakers Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg will be launching a documentary about professional knuckleball pitchers titled "Knuckleball!" (clever, I know) at the Tribeca FIlm Festival. You can pre-order your own personal copy, though.
One small step in retreat for MSM: One giant leap forward for our Blogosphere. Another hat tip to Deadspin, as they dive into the new reality of Seattle newspapers not sending out beat reporters on the road for the balance of the regular season. The remaining full-time beat writer shall be a blogger.
What's The Most Important Thing In Your Life? Department: Your baby child? Your brand new snow cone? Or an MLB foul ball?
Five great places to go and waste your employer's Friday morning...(jumping to beer rather early this week)
1) 7 Great Beer Gadgets (I vote for the USB Beer Cooler)
2) 10 More Beer Gadgets (The Bike Caddy. Definitely need me one of them)
3) 20 MORE Beer Gadgets (The cap. Gotta have the cap. Why does this not come in red, with a Halos logo??)
4) Crafter Beer Gadgets (Red Solo Cup Beer Koozie. Why didn't YOU think of this?)
5) 30 FINAL Beer Gadgets!! (Arcade Cabinet-Keg Cooler. Every dorm needs at least one. )
MLB finally intervenes on the Konerko infield hit and overturns the result! - Oops. Not the Konerko play we cared about..........MLB players have spoken - and they all agree with MLB fans: ARod is the phoniest dude in the league..........SF Giants dodged at least one Melky Bullet - September 8th was going to be Melky night with Melky T-shirts, and the Commissioner's office worked just fast enough to allow the Giants to cancel the order prior to printing..........Robots? Did somebody ask for robots? - Probably not the kind of robot you were hoping for, but at least ONE managed to slip past Uncle Bud.
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:
Friday night at Church's Pub and Ale in San Marcos will see a "Firestone Night Double Ale DBA Launch".............Saturday is the busiest day this weekend, starting with the "Beer Con" beer festival at Fifty-Seven Degrees in San Diego..............the Fullerton Arboretum is hosting "Brews, Blues & BBQ"..........Lighthouse Park in Long Beach is hosting "Taste of Brews"..........and anyone feeling all hoity-toity is engouraged to visit the Cavallo Point Lodge up in Sausalito, which is hosting "Charcuterie & Beer"..........On Sunday we have a trio of possibilities, beginning up in San Francisco with the "Ale Industries Beer Dinner" at The Dark Horse Inn..........Folks in or about Sherman Oaks are invited to attend the "Bootlegger Brewery Tasting & Tunes" at FABS Corner Cucina..........And our final weekend offering is the "Brewmasters Dinner with Alesmith Brewing Co." at Beachwood BBQ & Brewing in Long Beach.