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Wednesday Halolinks: Angels Continue Quest For Post-Season, Grail Still Out Of Reach

Despite recording 20 strikeouts in win over Seattle, the Angels remain 2 GB for final wild card spot.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

The Halos' theoretical chances for making the playoffs has gone up since this weekends low of 9.4%. With eight games left to play, the problem remains in the fact they must rely on other teams to help with their post-season quest and time is running out.

American League Wild Card
Baltimore 88 67 .568 -- 82.6% 71.5%
Oakland 87 67 .565 -- 80.9% 72.6%
Los Angeles 85 69 .552 2 24.9% 24.6%
Tampa Bay 84 70 .545 3 12.6% 12.3%
Chicago 82 72 .532 5 48.1% 0.1%

  • Being part of a team that has made the nearly impossible sprinting comeback to reach the playoffs, LaTroy Hawkins compares the 2012 Angels to the 2007 Rockies: Seattle Mariners at Los Angeles Angels - September 26, 2012 - ""Being on a team like I was in '07, me and Iannetta, where we went on a long run, I know it's still a possibility," Hawkins said. "It's been done before. And this team is way better than the team I played on, that's for [darn] sure. Way better. So, I know we can go on some type of run like that."
  • To watch this club play so well now gives me mixed feelings. On one hand, these wins feel very satisfying and the playoff push is exciting, but the other hand has the feeling, "What took so long? Where was this team all season?" Anyway, I suppose it's just the spoiled fan in me that thinks this way. Last night's game was fun to watch. Despite Crash Davis thinking "strikeouts are fascist", I like 'em: Fan-fest breaks out at Big A with record-tying night - "But Greinke isn't really a big fan of the strikeout. "I used to try to strike everybody out," he said. "The No. 1 problem with it is it just takes too much energy sometimes and wears you down for later in the game, whereas if you're just attacking and are not trying to strike everybody out, usually you're fresh for later in the game." In relief of Greinke, Garrett Richards struck out the side in the sixth. Then Kevin Jepsen recorded a couple of strikeouts to end the eighth inning. Then Ernesto Frieri recorded two more to end the ninth, striking out a swinging John Jaso to give the Angels a fourth straight win and a little history." Except for Downs' poor performance, the bullpen looked great...what took so long?
  • The team made history in recording those 20 K's, as they are the only team to use more than one pitcher to get the record: Greinke registers 13 of Angels' record-tying 20 K's - Yahoo! Sports. "The 20 strikeouts match the major league record for a nine-inning game, also accomplished by the Chicago Cubs on May 6, 1998, the Boston Red Sox on Sept. 18, 1996, and the Red Sox again on April 29, 1986. Those games only involved one pitcher (Kerry Wood for the Cubs, Roger Clemens twice for the Red Sox), while the Angels used five pitchers."
  • Although his Angels career started rather shaky, Greinke has more than earned his place in my heart: Angels 5, Mariners 4 - FOX Sports. "In all, Greinke has 16 wins this season, tying his career high. The nine-year veteran has a 3.40 ERA in 12 starts since joining the Angels in a trade with Milwaukee on July 27. He was 9-2 with a 3.44 ERA in 21 starts for the Brewers." Does that mean he'll return to the club next season? According to MLB's Alden Gonzalez it means the Angel front office will put in a good effort to re-sign Greinke at the expense of possibly losing Santana and Haren: Question of the Day, 9/25 … " Gonzo and 'The Show'. "Do you think it’s better to resign Zack Greinke, or Dan Haren and Ervin Santana in the off season? — @alexanderck12. The Angels’ preference, I’m told, is still to resign Greinke. A source familiar with the team’s thinking told me recently that he expects the Angels to cut ties with both Santana and Haren this offseason and focus their efforts on signing him to a multi-year extension." Letting Haren go seems a little far-fetched considering the Angels must pay him $3M if they don't exercise his 2013 option.
  • Hey Zach, watch those energy might go blind: Seattle Mariners at Los Angeles Angels - September 25, 2012 - ""I was jumping all over the place today," he said after a 5-4 win over the Mariners, which helped the Angels maintain relevance in the American League Wild Card race. "I think I had too much energy drinks going into the game and couldn't control myself out there a couple times."
  • This is the one remaining game I don't feel too confident in the Angels chances. C.J. Wilson hasn't been stellar, while Felix Hernandez has: Mariners-Angels Preview - Yahoo! Sports. "Looking for a fifth consecutive victory, the Angels hope C.J. Wilson can bounce back from a rough start and help them continue their recent success versus Seattle's Felix Hernandez on Wednesday night against the visiting Mariners." It looks like Mike Scioscia has the same thoughts as it looks like he's using Wilson as his "sacrificial lamb" to the playoff Gods in his matchup with King Felix: Rotation changes as Angels make final push - ESPN Los Angeles. "With the rotation set the way it is now, Jered Weaver and Greinke, the Angels' top two pitchers of late, will pitch the weekend series at Texas. It also puts Weaver in line to start the season finale at Seattle -- a game that could hold playoff ramifications -- then Greinke could pitch a one-game playoff on three days’ rest if necessary or the Oct. 5 wild-card game on regular rest." If the final game has any meaning, at least the team has their best chance with Weaver.
  • I thought this was surprising. Not in how well Hunter is doing this season, but that he's never hit .300 before: 3 up, 3 down: Angels 5, Mariners 4 - Los Angeles Angels Blog - ESPN Los Angeles. "Right fielder Torii Hunter had a two-run home run among his two hits and also scored twice. He was 2-for-3 for the game, raising his season average to .306 and keeping him on pace to bat over .300 for the first time in his career." If Mike Trout wasn't being Mike Trout, I think Hunter would've easily been the Angels MVP.
  • Can't those Rangers do anything right? Oakland Athletics at Texas Rangers - Sep 25, 2012 - "Kottaras hit a leadoff homer in the 10th inning and the A's moved within four games of the division lead by beating the first-place Texas Rangers 3-2 Tuesday night." Seriously, George Kottaras?
  • Reading this gave me the "willies": Oakland Athletics pitcher Brandon McCarthy recalls moments after liner to head - ESPN. ""I just remember kinda after, once I was on the ground, it sounded like a jet was flying close by," McCarthy told ESPN The Magazine on Tuesday in his first interview since the incident. "I could hear just a ringing. It sounded like a jet was about to take off close. I kept asking is there a plane overhead? What is that noise I am hearing? It was mixed with that and the ringing. I don't remember anything else. But those are the two things that stuck out."
  • It's good to see that the end-of-season stress hasn't effected Mike Scioscia's ability at creating meaningless quotes: Angels' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 26, 2012 - "We've talked ever since we've been in this situation of controlling what we can control," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "What you really want to guard against is not playing to the level you need to and having an opportunity and not being where you need to be to take advantage of it. So, we need to keep winning." Not controlling the controllable, and not guarding the unguarded causes opportunities to be lost. Conclusion: WIN.
  • So you're telling me there's a chance? The Angels are Creating Outs in September - FanGraphs Baseball. "The Angels weren’t this good a month ago. To get a clearer look, I turned to the game logs. Over these past 22 games the Angels have surrendered 118 hits on 522 balls in play for a .226 ball in play average (BABIP). As it turns out, coincidentally, this stretch of .226 BABIP from the Angels is the best that any team has put up over any 25-day stretch, in the entirety of 2012."
  • The Hardball Times: Occam’s Razor and pitching statistics. "In that study, the advanced ERA estimators fell short of strikeouts and walks, despite adding in other components that are supposed to add "greater explanatory value." And suddenly, Occam's Razor seems extremely relevant. Is a simpler estimator actually better than any of the more complicated metrics?" And: The hangover effect. "Well, the Pirates collapsed right after losing a 19-inning game, and the next year they collapsed right after winning a 19-inning game. Could the moral be, don't play 19-inning games? More generally, might it be that engaging in extremely long baseball games, win or lose, has a deleterious effect on teams in subsequent games? How long might this adverse effect last? And does it make a difference whether you win the marathon or lose it?"
  • Photo: Babe Ruth alive and well, dining on steak in New York City (OK, it’s just a really good lookalike) - Yahoo! Sports. Cousin Buster (not really) does his thang: "Willis "Buster" Gardner of Oberlin, Ohio, made the drive with his wife of nearly 56 years, Cecile, to New York City in order to defend his title from 2007 and the inaugural contest in 2002. And defend it he did; a panel of judges unanimously named him the winner. "No one looks more like the Babe than I do," Gardner said." Funny, I always say, "no one looks more like a babe than I do", but I'm the conceited Gardner of the family (not really again).
  • There used to be a Piggly Wiggly near where I live, but it closed. Maybe Lesbian Fight Night might've saved it: Tuesday Night Fights: This Dallas Slobber-Knocker May Be "The Zapruder Film Of Drunken Lesbian Fights". "Huge Lesbian fight at Dallas Gay Pride 2012."The fight site was along the parade route, "across from Walgreens," one spectator says, and that surprises us, because normally, a fight of this caliber would occur in front of a Piggly Wiggly."
  • I think once you realize you're not "all that", life becomes easier: Hal Chase Dreaming: What goes around Twitter comes around - Baseball Nation. "If you are a writer, singer, actor, or painter, or aspire to any field in which your work must be on exhibition, you have to be prepared for boos as well as cheers, for both bouquets and brickbats; sometimes, there are a lot more of the latter than the former." It might be different for those who have actual talent, but for people like me who work hard to be mediocre, we're a little more thick-skinned.
  • At first I was all "Bitch, be glad fo' whatcha got", but then I was all, "Damum woman, whatcha been thinkin' wit dat lame settlement?" (Apparently, my mind converts to ghetto-man when dealing with divorce stuff) Jamie McCourt sues ex-husband over value of divorce settlement - "The pair's marriage was dissolved in October 2010, and Jamie McCourt received $131 million. The new court papers claim that after the sale and subtraction of relevant debts, Frank McCourt's assets turned out to be worth $1.7 billion, well over 10 times the amount Jamie McCourt received." And here I thought after my recent divorce I made out because I got to keep the good kitchen utensils.