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Thursday Halolinks: Angel Playoff Hopes Still Alive With Seven Games Remaining

The Angels remain 2 games back for the second wildcard spot with just 7 games left in the season.

Stephen Dunn - Getty Images

Seven games make one weak. Or they'll make or break the Angels' season as they chase down their West Division rivals. Of course the Angels aren't just chasing Oakland and Texas, they're just 2.5 GB the Orioles who have 6 games remaining. Those six games aren't going to be a cakewalk for the surprising O's, they play 3 in Boston and finish the season with 3 games at home against the hot Tampa Bay Rays.

American League Wild Card
Baltimore 89 67 .571 -- 85.1% 74.7%
Oakland 88 67 .568 -- 83.9% 69.4%
Los Angeles 86 69 .555 2 22.2% 21.4%
Tampa Bay 85 70 .548 3 10.4% 10.2%
Chicago 82 73 .529 6 27.4% 0.1%

  • This is far from over as 4 teams vie for two spots: Angels' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 27, 2012 - "With seven games left, the Angels -- a season-best 17 games over .500 after their fifth straight win -- still sit two games back of the A's for the second AL Wild Card spot and 2 1/2 back of the O's for the first. The Rays are one game behind them, while the Rangers are five games better in the AL West."
  • As I've written here before, it's too bad the club waited until this late in the season to start playing like a playoff team: Angels 4, Mariners 3 - FOX Sports. "Something has been happening constantly for Hunter, the 37-year-old outfielder and unofficial team captain who hopes to be re-signed this winter. He has been spectacular down the stretch of his fifth season with the Angels, contributing 23 RBIs in 23 games - none bigger than the two that he conjured against Seattle." Had the Halo bullpen performed at this level throughout the season, the wildcard chase dramatics would be moot: "Ernesto Frieri (4-2) pitched the ninth for the Angels, whose bullpen didn't allow a hit in 3 1-3 innings after C.J. Wilson's departure." Ah, what might have been.
  • There's a lot of talk about how well Torii Hunter has been playing, but Erick Aybar should also be getting a little more love: 3 up, 3 down: Angels 4, Mariners 3 - ESPN Los Angeles. "Erick Aybar is another player who has been on a tear as of late for the Angels. His .357 clip since the start of August ranks third in the majors and first in the AL and he is batting .332 since the All-Star break, which is good for eighth in the AL. On Wednesday he hit a two-run double to left to score Kendrys Morales and Alberto Callaspo and give the Angels an early 2-0 lead." His 2-run double in the second inning took a small amount of pressure off the team, giving them a lead in the must-win game.
  • This is it, the last home game of the regular-season. Hopefully there will be Gazelle3_mediummore games left to play in 2012: Mariners-Angels Preview - Yahoo! Sports. "In their regular-season home finale, Hunter and the Angels look to complete a three-game sweep of the Seattle Mariners on Thursday." "We're just laying in the weeds right now,'' said Hunter, a free agent at the end of the season. "They're the gazelle."
  • I sure hope the Angels and Hunter will be able to work something out for next season. I'd hate to see Hunter wearing Dodger-blue: Seattle Mariners at Los Angeles Angels - September 26, 2012 - "Torii Hunter, a free agent in November, may be playing out his final days in an Angels uniform right now. His mission, clearly, is to extend that as long as possible. "That's out of my mind right now," he said. "I really want to be here, but that's something individual right now. The team is all I care about. Once the season's over with -- whether it's the next couple of days or in November, when I'm in Disneyland -- we'll see what happens."
  • Today's game features Dan "Exercise My Option" Haren and the tough Hisashi Iwakuma (7-5, 3.41 ERA). Mariners-Angels Preview - FOX Sports. "Dan Haren (12-11, 4.35 ERA) has been pretty impressive down the stretch as well. The right-hander has won four of his last five decisions after holding the White Sox to two runs over six innings Saturday in a 4-2 win.Haren has faced the Mariners three times in 2012, and he didn't allow an earned run over 16 innings in two starts at Safeco Field. In his lone start in Anaheim, however, he gave up seven runs while lasting a season-low 3 1-3 innings in a 7-4 loss Aug. 11." I hate crap like this; on one hand, Haren has done really well against the Mariners this season...except in Anaheim...where this game is being played. Ugh!
  • I also hate crap like this. Obviously, Texas isn't trying to lose their games to Oakland since they're only 3 games ahead, but if they were...this is what it'd look like: A's win 9-3 at Texas, only 3 games back in AL West - Yahoo! Sports. "After Cespedes' one-out triple, the A's had three consecutive singles. The last was Josh Donaldson's grounder up the middle that then rolled under the glove of center fielder Josh Hamilton for a two-base error, making it 4-0. Derek Norris tripled to left-center on a liner Hamilton appeared to misplay and let get over his head." Josh Hamilton. JOSH HAMILTON. Josh f^cking Hamilton! The way this guy reacts to chemicals, be it meth, cocaine, caffeine, or sugar, someone needs to feed him a huge turkey dinner so the tryptophan causes him to pass out for the rest of the season.
  • If the Angels are lions, and the A's are gazelles, what does that make the Rays? Vultures waiting to dine on the carcasses? They're hot right now, and as they head into Baltimore, Angels' fans should hope they stay hot, but damn...lose a few in Chicago, will ya? Tampa Bay Rays at Boston Red Sox - Sep 26, 2012 - "Carlos Pena and Ben Francisco hit back-to-back, tape-measure homers in the fifth inning on Wednesday night to lead the Tampa Bay Rays to their seventh consecutive victory, 4-2 over the Boston Red Sox."
  • Let's hope Josh Chemical overcomes his lapses in baseball talent to help his team beat the A's: Athletics-Rangers Preview - Yahoo! Sports. "The A's look to conclude this four-game series with a third straight win against the Rangers in Arlington on Thursday. Oakland (88-67) is two games ahead of Los Angeles for the AL's second wild-card spot, as it tries to return to the playoffs for the first time in six years." I hate rooting for the Rangers.
  • Sorry for all of the Oakland links, but this was pretty interesting: A’s and Ks: Chris Carter whiffs as Oakland sets AL team record for strikeouts - Yahoo! Sports. "Pratt adds that Oakland came into play Wednesday having scored 339 runs since the break, second-most in the AL. Before the break, they were last in the AL in runs scored. And they struck out less frequently in the first half." Did they change their approach or just get hot? You know what makes it worse? This: A's making history with 5 rookie starters - Baseball Nation. "At this moment, the Oakland Athletics' rotation consists of five rookies. In order, beginning Wednesday night: Jarrod Parker, Travis Blackley, A.J. Griffin, Dan Straily, and Tom Milone." The hitters strikeout a ton and their rotation is full of rookies. For the love of God, are you kidding me?
  • Joe Madden kissing him some Arte ass: Scioscia continues to drive Angels' ship - ESPN Los Angeles. ""The ownership is important," Maddon said. "Arte's the best. He's always treated me well and all the front-office people I've had great relationships with, but Scioscia has really provided stability. Before that when I was there, it was a revolving chair and a revolving managerial situation." But yeah, Madden would be fun to have as Angels manager.
  • With Greinke, Always More Questions Than Answers - FanGraphs Baseball. "As I watched Greinke carve up many of the Mariners hitters he faced Tuesday, it was clear that a big part of his success comes from sticking to a specific plan of attack against hitters. Against hitters on either side, Greinke routinely attacked the outside corner, mixing in changeups against the lefties, curveballs against the righties and the changeup against both." The biggest question is, "How much money does he want?"
  • Weaver: OK if Greinke paid more to stay - "Reports have linked Greinke to a deal worth roughly $125 million over six years, and some have wondered whether the Angels would be willing to pay another pitcher more than Weaver, who's the clear-cut ace of this staff. "I don't think it's up to me, really," said Weaver, who, like most players, isn't particularly comfortable talking about the business side of baseball. Asked if he'd be OK with the Angels signing Greinke to a larger contract, Weaver simply said: "Whatever they have to do to make our team better." Weaver is the best. Not at just pitching, but as a guy you want on your team.
  • Just think what Jeff Mathis would be doing if he had the benefit of hitting in a lineup with Trout and Hunter. When it happens, you'll see: Lyle Spencer: Albert Pujols reaps the benefits of Trout, Hunter as teammates - "Pujols, for all his talents and iconic status, is no media magnet along the lines of Hunter. The first baseman keeps a strict routine and doesn't particularly enjoy the daily repartee with media types. Surely, he would not have appreciated having to dissect his first two months as an Angel on a regular basis. Having landed in a mid-sized media market, in Orange County, he avoided that aggravation with the assistance of Trout and Hunter. What Trout did, when he arrived on April 28, was immediately shift the focus from the veteran superstar to the beaming new face atop that powerful, incredibly swift chassis. Pujols' struggles became a sidebar to the lead story, the incredible exploits of Trout." Although this link has nothing to do with the former Angels' catcher, I'll use it as a reason to post the Sad Mathis face:
  • Another reason for the Angels' late-season run: Angels: Morales' comeback more than expected - The Orange County Register. "This year's numbers represent a marked decline from Morales' MVP-level production in 2009, his only full season in the majors before this year. But he has indeed become more productive as the rust has worn off. Fourteen of his 22 home runs have come since the All-Star break and Morales has raised his slugging percentage nearly 50 points since the start of August."
  • The 2012 Season In Inside Home Runs - FanGraphs Baseball. "What I couldn’t believe at the time was how Aybar turned on a pitch that looked so very inside. If you pause the highlight at just the right moment, it looks like the pitch is about to hit Aybar in the arm. " Or the dick.
  • Oops: Some College In Minnesota Painted Its Midfield Logo On The Wrong Yard Line
  • Ass: ESPN Personality Rob Parker Pissed Off Every Intelligent Baseball Fan On The Internet Today [UPDATE]
  • Fun: The greatest lines in baseball-movie history - Baseball Nation. "God, I love baseball." - The Natural