Rangers Series In Review: 3 wins and 3 losses since last we gathered here at Friday HaloLinks is simply NOT going to get it done. Going 1 and 2 against TexAss just sucks. Especially when we had the chance to put them on the brink of losing the Division lead, potentially causing all kinds of problems with the function of their windpipes. To me, the series was summed up with two events, both in last night's game. First, Howie Kendrick comes up in the bottom of the second inning, not a soul on base and already two outs recorded. And on the first pitch he chooses a bunt attempt. Of all the worthless times to try to sneak your way to first base, Mister Future Batting Champion. That was like a giant alarm bell going off in my head proclaiming "Man the lifeboats! Every man for himself!!" Who really is in control of defining how we approach at-bats around here? Anybody? Hello?
The second moment came in the 6th, when Mike Scioscia apparently caught some fan comment coming from behind the dugout suggesting he consider using the previously abandoned Pete Bourjous as pinch runner for Mark Trumbo in a one run game. So he used him. Strategy. Use your fleet footed great defender who happens to hit better than Trumbo has been over the past 6 or 7 weeks. Huh. And it paid a dividend. Including, even, a clutch hit from the catcher position. Only about 40 games too late, while the Halos lost 18 of them.
I saw no evidence of any attempt at situational hitting, and little evidence that there was a real purpose behind the stewardship of these resources. And, of course, listening to the post-game interview even at this late date there is STILL no appearance of any sense of urgency.
Progress Report: So, for anyone who has been following along with this particular paragraph in Friday HaloLinks, you will know that for a while now I have been proclaiming that it will take at least 92 wins to make the 2012 AL playoffs. And except for the relative debacle of the AL Central, that appears to be dead on. After the last week's worth of games, by that line of reasoning the Rangers and Yankees appear to be locks as they need to win only 23% and 46% of their remaining games, respectively. The Orioles and A's need to win 54% of their last games, so they look extremely strong. Only a tank will keep them out. Or a miracle by the Halos or Rays, who need to win 92% and 100% of their games, respectively, AND have Oakland/Baltimore tank. So, casting over to CoolStandings, they are now pretty much in agreement with what I have been predicting:
|Team||Wins||Losses||Expected Wins||Playoff Odds|
Yeah. We're toast. About the only thing we have to look forward to would be to sweep the White Sox, but that would lift Miguel Cabrera into the playoffs, and lock up the MVP for him. I can feel an epic rant welling up from deep within for an upcoming edition, creating the bookend to my season opening clarion call predicting greatness.
Field & Stream: Trout stats have pretty much dried up along with Mike's offense. I think we all would have rather seen this funk in some earlier months and traded the past 4 weeks for his July, but it is what it is. He has been closer to hsi own 2011. Unless Trout snaps off a hot run and regains the BA lead, thus denying Cabrera that coveted "Triple Crown", the buzz is going to be "what have you done for me lately". And the tide of media support is turning. Craig Calcaterra of Hardball Talk goes so far as to take the route of parody and channel Ted Williams to make his case for flip-flopping on behalf of Miguel Cabrera as MVP.
Albert Pujols: By now we all know that Pujols and his wife Dierdre are parents again. What I have yet hear from anyone is the suggestion that maybe Arte should sit down and have a chat with young Albert. Going forward, perhaps Albert and the missus might think about considering some more care and creativity during conjugal events in the months of December and January. You know, what with September and October traditionally being rather critical to his choice of careers and all. Just sayin'....
Kole Calhoun: Now here is an official scorekeeper report (from earlier this week) that you just don't see every day:
Singles on a line drive? No big deal. Singles on a line drive to catcher? Line drive to catcher? That takes some serial skilz. Nice job, kid!
C.J. Wilson: Wilson is our candidate this year for the MLB Roberto Clemente Award. I guess that Vernon Wells must not be getting credit for that charity clause in his contract. Meanwhile, Wilson got called into the principle's office. (Some might not like to read me saying this because they tire of my paying attention, but Wilson was denied the top and bottom 4" of the zone on Wednesday. So what the hell is a guy gonna do?)
eBay Auction Of The Week: Unused postcard, circa 1966, aerial photo of Anaheim Stadium. Sweet!
ALL THE FUN STUFF AND THINGS TO DO AFTER THE JUMP...
Chicago White Sox vs. Los Angeles Angels @ Angel Stadium - 7:05 PM Start (FS-W)
Jake Peavy (R) 11-11 3.26 ERA vs.Ervin Santana (R) 8-12 5.08 ERA
BIG BANG FRIDAY
Mike Trout - 2012 A.L Rookie Of The Year Candidate Poster
Chicago White Sox vs. Los Angeles Angels @ Angel Stadium - 6:05 PM Start (FS-W)
Jose Quintana (L) 6-4 3.69 ERA vs.Dan Haren (R) 11-11 4.41 ERA
Chicago White Sox vs. Los Angeles Angels @ Angel Stadium - 12:35 PM Start (FS-W)
Gavin Floyd (R) 10-10 4.50 ERA vs.Jered Weaver (R) 18-4 2.79 ERA
Angels Team Photo
FAN APPRECIATION DAY!
Well, last week I was fairly prescient! After diving into how the 2012 Halo rarely come back and pull out a victory while trailing after the 7th inning, they immediately respond in the Friday game by pulling out a victory while trailing after the 7th. Further, I detailed how the pitching staff rarely loses a game while having the lead after the 7th inning, and then Frieri converts a 9th inning save into a 9th inning loss in the span of about 60 seconds.Finally, I predicted wins Friday and Sunday and pointed to the need for some serious gut-check time on Saturday while going up against a very hot pitcher with a very hot pitcher of our own. Sure enough, the squad won on Friday and Sunday and Saturday was Greinke over Guthrie in a close one at 2-0 until that catastrophic Frieri minute. So last week was my blind squirrel moment.
This week is a lot of fair to middlin' arms and I expect offense o'plenty. All the way up to what we see out of Chicago on Sunday, when they get shut down by Weaver bidding for some late-season headlines. Trout needs about 6 hits out of these opponents. And somebody needs to plunk a Chicago catcher. Just for me.
This Date In Baseball History: Oh, man. Synchronicity Day!! This is going to be fun. Stick with me and watch how things echo through history on this day: 1896 - Connie Mack announces his retirement as a player in order to take a job as manager of the minor league Milwaukee Brewers..........1934 - Paul Dean becomes the 5th rookie to pitch a no-hitter, beating the Dodgers 3-0..........1952 - The Boston Braves play their final game in Boston, before moving to Milwaukee and becoming the Milwaukee Braves..........1954 - Rookie pitcher Bob Grim wins his 20th game..........1959 - Warren Spahn records his 20th win for the 4th consecutive season..........1964 - The Phillies lose to the Reds in Connie Mack Stadium. The Gene Mauch led Philles will lose the next 9 consecutive games too and blow a 6 1/2 game lead with only 12 games left in the season ..........1970 - Vida Blue becomes the 11th rookie to throw a no-hitter..........1971 - Dave McNally records his 20th win for the 4th consecutive season..........1986 - Rookie Jimmy Jones defeats Bob Knepper by throwing a 1-hitter in his MLB debut, defeating the Houston Astros..........1988 - Bob Knepper throws his own 1-hitter on this same day while pitching FOR the Houston Astros..........2001 - Baseball returns to New York City for the first time after 9/11, as Mike Piazza homers for the Mets and they defeat the Braves, now playing out of Atlanta..........2008 - New York City says good-by to "The House That Ruth Built", never playing baseball there again..........2010 - Roy Halladay becomes the Phillies first 20 game winner since Steve Carlton as he defeats the Braves. Halladay becomes the 17th pitcher to win 20 games in both leagues.
The AL West, In Beast Mode (UPDATE): I do believe I started something with my posting in last Friday's HaloLinks concerning the dominance of the AL West. First we see Lyle jumping on board. Perhaps he must have started reading HH again. And now Aaron Gleeman of HBT joins the party and casts the wider net of MSM across the Intertubes. Folks, the reason I pointed this out last week is to call your attention to future seasons. If you thought these past 3 seasons have been tough, you better buckle your seat belts. Once we get the Astros, each current AL West team might be expected to pick up another 6 to 8 wins.
Uncle Bud, Manning Up: In the ongoing saga of future California A's of San Jose, Bud Selig has decided that he needs to intervene and, essentially, strong arm the issue. LA Times' Bill Shaikin hints at some directives aimed at the Giants or A's, but I suggest that we keep an open mind. Selig is, IMHO, just as likely to find some reason to go after San Jose or Oakland and squeeze them for more money. It's the MLB Way, after all.
Interesting Lesson in Basic Geometry: Some folks over at Fangraphs went looking into the 2013 schedule for winners and losers, and have figured that the winners are those teams in the Central divisions. To them this must be a startling discovery. To the rest of us who passed 9th grade geometry, we pretty much already knew that stuff in the middle is closer to either side than is the stuff on the perimeters. Geometry. It must be some conspiracy.
MLB Fan Cave: I don't know if anybody else here has been following along, but our Ricardo is still hanging in there, one of the three remaining Dwellers.
A Pioneer Hangs Up His Keyboard: Jon Weisman, one of the trailblazing baseball bloggers, retires his blogging efforts on behalf of Dodger fans everywhere. We, fans of a superior ball club, must tip our hats out of respect for helping to make what we do, possible.
Hollywood: Clint Eastwood's Ode to Old Timey "I've seen 4,000 games with my own eyes" movie Trouble With The Curve looks to be in trouble. 55% on RottenTomatoes is a fast exit to the VHS shelves of Blockbuster Video, which would all still be around if Old Timey patrons got be kings of modern technology.
Big, Tough Security Guard Interferes With Totally Ballin' Ball Girl:
100 great baseball places to go and waste your employer's Friday morning...
83) Flip Flop Fly Ball (Anybody who fails to click this link and browse must surrender their Internet User Badge for the weekend)
84) Sullivan's Sluggers (Baseball Horror Graphic Novel)
85) Creating Baseball Graphics (Learn to create your own baseball graphics)
86) Baseball Swing Analysis (an iPod, iPhone, iPad swing recorder and analyzer for all us common-folk to use)
87) The Baseball Reliquary (Where the weird relics of baseball shall live forever)
You might have missed a couple of unfortunate things going on in KC while we were in town - First we had an attempted murder, then suicide before one of our games........The local law-enforcement also went to bat against under-aged drinking........... On more upbeat short stops - Try following past pennant races In Reverse ..........Jeff Kent goes on the DL - First episode of Survivor!..........Ten More Years of
Jack Joe Buck - Fox extends MLB contract through 2021..........How did I miss this? - Our future AL West mates from Houston are so screwed up, they publicized the participation of Joe Neikro, Niekro having passed away in 2006 - in the Astros Legends Luncheon recently.
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:
A beautiful weekend as Beer Fests get into high gear, nearing harvest season and Oktoberfest and all! Friday kicks off with the following: The Beachwood Farmhouse Ale Festival is running at Beachwood BBQ & Brewing in Seal Beach while the Dogfish Head Night occurs at Beachwood BBQ in Long Beach..........and down San Diego way you all have Johnny Brown's 25th Anniversary at Downtown Johnny Brown's...........On Saturday the lineup is: 26th Annual Ventura County Oktoberfest still goes strong..........Anaheim's OC Fest of Ales is in, of all places, Anaheim..........Beachwood Farmhouse Ale Festival in Seal Beach..........Better Weather Fest 2012 is in Los Angeles..........Also in Los Angeles is the Firestone Walker Night at Blue Palms BrewHouse..........Again in Los Angeles is Walker's Wild Ride Beer Tour & Pub Crawl (at various, by definition)............Bottle Share social gathering at Nanobrew's in San Diego..........California Beer Festival moves along and now appears up in Novato..........And the Placerville Oktoberfest is running up in, of course, Placerville..........Sunday we conclude with: Beachwood Berliner Brunch at Beachwood BBQ in Long Beach..........Beauty Of The Barrel Charity Beer Event takes place at The Victorian in Los Angeles..........and for all you IPA hop-heads the IPA Fest kicks off at Tony's Darts Away in Burbank. Have fun!!