Hey, that's pretty cool. With their 5-2 victory last night, the Los Angeles Angels swept the Boston Red Sox for the 2012 season. Let me repeat that, since this is a great feeling that is a long time coming: THE ANGELS WON EVERY SINGLE GAME AGAINST THE 2012 BOSTON RED SOX!!! If only this were Saturday, when my f-bomb counter resets. This is the gift that shall keep on giving for the next 7 months around the water cooler at the office, considering how it is that I work for a Massachusetts-based company. Oh, sweet sweet sweet. That level of ownage is pretty unique in the AL this season. Only the Chicago White Sox have the chance to match that as they are still up 3-0 over the Tampa Bay Rays. (On, by the way, the streak is now 8 consecutive wins going back into 2011.)
It's not all good news. Howie Kendrick was pulled in the 6th inning with a sore right knee. As I compose this, there is no further news. I will update when I wake up and learn more.
Progress Report: As I wrote prior, it's my opinion that with so many teams in contention and so many of them playing well, it should take 92 wins to qualify for the post-season. Some of you disagreed. Go ahead. It makes for lively discussion. But this is my party and I am standing on 92.
To get to 92 wins, Oakland needs to run the table at a 59% winning rate. Baltimore needs to run at 63%. Tampa Bay at 68%. Detroit at 72%. The Halos have to run out at a 74% clip. The good news is that over the past 9 games they have been winning at a 78% rate. So they just need to keep this up for another 31 games. Awesome!
Meanwhile, according to CoolStandings, the Halos have benefited from their good week and Tampa's struggles and seen their playoff odds rise .07% from last week's 14.9%, now standing at 15.6%.
Field & Stream: Trout, to me, is slipping into Guppy-hood, and something is fishy with his at-bats. The kid is spending a lot more time lately with the lumber left to burden his shoulder. After tearing up the Red Sox staff at Fenway, Trout saw a total of 53 pitches during this recent three game stretch at home. He stood there and stared at 38 of them (17 of those were called strikes). Of the 14 times he actually swung his bat, only 9 of those went forward into the field of play. In each of the first two games Trout saw 8 consecutive pitches where he failed to swing the bat. At one stretch in last night's game he went 6 pitches staring at the ball. I don't know, but this does not appear like an offensive shark.
Kendrick and Aybar: Alden Gonzalez goes further into the signing of extensions for Howie and Admiral. Ok, Dipoto makes some solid statements in support of his actions. For my part, I agree that the extensions were smart, but for a more back-handed reason. We all know that a major upgrade to the bullpen arms represents the primary off-season need this winter. What better chip than an affordable and qualified MLB player under club control?
Pitching Prospectus: Don't look now, but Zack Greinke has now tossed back-to-back strong starts. Ervin Santana has had only one horrible outing in his last 8. Wilson, Weaver and Haren all had a decent outing in their most recent trips to the mound. Ernesto Frieri seems to have righted the ship, with merely his 2 earned runs in the 14-13 win over the Red Sox blemishing his record post August 1. (Interestingly, though Frieri isn't seeing much work of late. Last night was his first appearance in a week.)
Remember Bobby Wilson?: Yeah, didn't think so. Landon Hall of the OC Register goes into Chris Iannetta and his workload since coming back off the DL. Wilson has only started 6 games all month.
NOTICE: Active rosters expand from 25 to all 40 players on Saturday! Look for fresh faces.
eBay Auction Of The Week: Ok, this is different. As you might expect, I spend a lot of time on eBay searching for stuff for all you guys and gals, so I see a ton of baseball cards and plastic mini helmets and player jerseys, etc. And I see a lot of pins, some of them pretty interesting. But this set is truly original. Perhaps best suited for one of those oldsters you see at the ballpark wearing 100 pins on his ball cap. But it is also truly rare, and provides pretty sweet variety for those imaginative enough to deal.
ALL THE FUN STUFF AND THINGS TO DO AFTER THE JUMP...
Los Angeles Angels vs. Seattle Mariners @ Safeco Field - 7:10 PM Start (FS-W)
Dan Haren (R) 8-10 4.82 ERA vs.Kevin Millwood (R) 4-11 4.28 ERA
Los Angeles Angels vs. Seattle Mariners @ Safeco Field - 1:05 PM Start (FOX)
Ervin Santana (R) 7-11 5.45 ERA vs. Felix Hernandez (R) 13-5 2.43 ERA
Los Angeles Angels vs. Seattle Mariners @ Safeco Field - 1:10 PM Start (FS-W)
Jered Weaver (R) 16-3 2.85 ERA vs. Hisashi iwakuma (R) 5-3 3.40 ERA
For the love that is All That Shall Be Named Holy we gotta clock this Millwood jokester. This guy has not been relevant since 2009, and LAA has been denied a chance (so far in 2012) to partake of the feast that he has been handing out randomly all season. Iwakuma, in that completely obvious First-Time-The-Angels-See-A-Guy-Hold-The-Halos-To-6-Hits (and three runs over 7 complete innings), got away with one. ONE. This was one of Dan Haren's blowouts (giving up 5 earned runs in 3 and 1/3rd) so our attention was spent elsewhere. But I predict that Iwakuma shall not be as successful this second time out against the Angels. And Weaver is overdue for a major shutdown outing. Something with only 1 hit. Or less.
That just leaves King Felix. We ain't Tampa Bay. We got to him our last outing. We can do this again. And with Ervin heating up this might actually turn out to be the best match-up of the weekend.
This Date In Baseball History: 1946 - Johnny Pesky, in his first season back after three years of military service in WWII, clocks his 52nd and 53rd hits of August setting a then franchise record for the Boston Red Sox, and the question for August 2012 is whether or not anybody cares..........1959 - Sandy Koufax strikes out 18 SF Giants and sets an NL record for a 9-inning game..........1969 - Morganna "The Kissing Bandit" jumps the fence in Atlanta and dashes out to kiss Clete Boyer, who responds by ending a 1 for 17 slump and going 8 for 15..........1990 - Ken Griffey Sr. and Ken Griffey Jr. become the first father-son act to appear in the same lineup, and both score a run..........2001 - Little League Baseball strips the New York All-Stars of all their tourney wins after discovering that starting pitching sensation Danny Almonte was over age. Although too late for California (Oceanside), which lost their semi-final match to the cheating New Yorkers, 8 years later those younger kids Almonte preyed upon are going to extract their revenge.........2001 - Larry "Crash" Davis dies at the age of 82. Yeah, the REAL "Crash" Davis!.........2004 - The Cleveland Indians defeat the New York Yankees 22 to zip, tying the all-time mark for largest defeat in a shutout..........2008 - David Eckstein is traded from the Toronto Blue Jays to the Arizona Diamondbacks as the D'Backs look to get ready for the postseason. A week later the D'Backs lose their 1st place position and never recover, failing to make the playoffs at all, thus denying them the use of that Eckstein playoff magic.
Baseball In The Fabric of America: Here is an ongoing tale revealing how one small town made a commitment to regain relevance, and chose baseball as the vehicle to re-establish themselves within American society. And then, Hurricane Andrew put that very same town right within it's bulls-eye and wreaked utter havoc. 20 years later the town is still missing, and the stadium created to attract baseball now stands as a crumbling shrine of abandoned lives. And, this being America, all along the way there were lawyers. Lots and lots of lawyers.
The Rise Of The Expos!: I sure hope this rally grows some legs. Abandoned Montreal Expos fans are calling on all their tribe to occupy a section of Rogers Centre this Sunday. Good for them. I shall always admire the Montreal Expos' ability to draft and develop the most amazing talent.
The Juicing of Baseballs: Hey, guess what? MLB may - emphasizing "may" - really have juiced the baseballs to amp up home runs after all! Ok. So it is NOT definitive. But the idea that MLB allows for such a wide variance in standards combined with something fishy going on with the "pill", tells me all I need to know. Leave humans alone to do something in secret that is favorable to their own interest, and...
Baseball Fans Strike Out. Again: You may have missed this, but the Dodgers are not the only MLB team with violent dickwad fans. Surprisingly (or not, if you have followed this sort of stuff in the past. Or even further back.) But this past week two fans got into it in Toronto and a fan fight leads to a sucker--punch fatality. And it was all over the Jays' pitching staff. Bejeebus.
Who knew the ASG was a Thang?: This past week saw the announcement that Minnesota got themselves the ASG in 2014. I'm thinking "Ho hum. I wonder what the weather will be like in now-domeless Minnesota?" (Fairly warm with a good chance of rain, to be precise.) But then I just started Googling around the 2015 ASG and discovered just how many fans were coveting this "event". The 'Nats think they have it in the bag. Cincinnati thinks that hosting it is necessary. Miami is praying. San Diego has their supporters. The bidding must be fierce!
Houston Carnival Show: It must be State Fair season. The Astros are the very worst team in Major League Baseball this season, and it ain't even close. With a month of games remaining in 2012, the 'stros are going to get eliminated any second now. So what's their plan of action? Wait a couple more weeks and run out their side show freak Roger Clemens to draw attention away from the Houston Texans. And I'm like, what, that J.R. Richard outing didn't impress?
On the upside, these are the guys we are set to play this weekend:
Five great places to go and waste your employer's Friday morning...
1) The Baseball Guru (This site is loaded with hours of material, and the author takes questions)
2) The Top 5 Wacky Baseball Video Games (You wanted robots? You got robots!)
3) A Review of The Weirdest Baseball Cards (You land back on EastSpiN, but this clickage is a risky game!)
4) Cook Like a Pro...Baseball Player (Including Albert Pujols' favorite chicken dish)
5) Baseball Criminals (So much for 'role models')
Rangers winning in spite of themselves - Roy Oswalt cleared waivers...........Murder Acquittal - Seattle Mariner's Greg Halman murderer was acquitted in Amsterdam for reasons of temporary insanity.............Smartest versus Most Stupid - BusinessWeek loves the Rays, not so impressed by the Halos (but their web tool is cool!)..........One At Bat - Here is a feel good way for you to get directly involved in the game. Check it out. Now!...........Still Too Cool For All Of You - Jimmie Rollins benched again, and he knew this one was coming..........Good Guys Are Immortal - Bob Uecker gets a statue today. Funny, funny guy. (FYI, ignoring my chance to date his niece set me up for 30 happy years with Mrs. Stirrups.)
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:
This weekend we are good to go, starting out with the Dogfish Head 120 Minute & Tap Takeover at Steingarten LA on Friday night..........Saturday in Torrance we have the Alpine Village Craft Bier Fest at Alpine Village, running from 3pm to 10pm (Google hard, because they cut back their sessions and the Alpine Village web site is often down)..........On Sunday up at Mission Plaza in San Luis Obispo we have the Brews & Bites 2012..........Long beach enjoys the Drink Good Beerfest (aptly named) at the Factory Gastrobar............La Verne offers up T0rin0's 4th Annual Labor Day tasting at T0rin0's Playhouse...........and out at Newhall you can pick up The Belgians Are Coming at the Repertory East Playhouse.
Labor Day Weekend: I saved the Best for Last! Friday Saturday AND Sunday you can treat yourself to the Orange International Street Fair. This event typically draws 150,000 people and featured cultural foods from all over the globe (well, Ok, "pretend" international food as prepared by Soccer parents and Kiwanis) with live entertainment and a significant amount of readily available beer choices, including that of several local establishments, all within walking distance. Best of all, it's 5 minutes from the Street Fair to the Stadium, should you be seeking something to do and/or fill your belly before/after a game!! And, atypically, it's supposed to be rather mild weather for this year's edition of the outdoor festival!