The first Tuesday of September is glorious; the Angels gain a game on the A's, the kids are back in school, love abounds, and Halolinks are here:
- Since that horrible series against Tampa Bay in Anaheim on Aug 16-19, the Angels have allowed more than 5 runs just once. Over that same course of games, the Halos have averaged almost six run a game. Now that the pitching appears to have been righted, the club looks like it can go on an impressive winning streak: Los Angeles Angels at Oakland Athletics - September 3, 2012 - MLB.com. "The Angels find themselves in this uphill climb because of their underachieving rotation, which posted a 5.71 ERA during a 42-game stretch that began July 3 and saw the Angels go 17-25. The starters have been better lately, though, with a combined 3.47 ERA over the last 13 games."
- One of the small things that has made a huge impact on the offense is the bottom third of the order. Over the previous couple years, and at times early in this season, the 7-8-9 hitters were an offensive black-hole. And although this might mean a little more Wells time, it seems like the timing of Wells' hot-hitting works out just fine: Chris Iannetta's 3 hits lead Angels past A's - Yahoo! Sports. "Wells earned himself another start Tuesday from manager Mike Scioscia. The outfielder missed 55 games this summer with a right thumb injury and is no longer a constant in the lineup since returning July 27. ''The biggest thing is when I do get a chance to play just try to do what I can to help this team win, whether it's in the box or on the field,'' Wells said. " I think most fans don't have a problem with Wells getting playing time as long as he contributes. However, the blind-faith Scioscia has shown when Wells hasn't pulled his weight is what causes the frustration: Wells has accepted new role with Angels - The Orange County Register. "He's a much better player than we've seen the last two years," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said after Monday's game, a statement sure to cause eyes to roll among Angels followers."
- Angels-Athletics Preview - FOX Sports. "The Oakland Athletics' prolific offense went down quietly in losing the series opener with the Los Angeles Angels. Their bats could have more trouble Tuesday night against scheduled starter Zack Greinke, who appears to be finding his groove with the Angels." Prolific offense? Oakland has scored 576 runs this season...the A.L. average is 599. The A's are also below average in all three slash-stats. What has kept them in the pennant race is their pitching as Oakland has allowed the second fewest runs in all of baseball. So the story shouldn't be how their offense was shutdown, but rather, how the Angels' offense overcame their outstanding pitching.
- Los Angeles Angels at Oakland Athletics - September 4, 2012 - MLB.com. "The main thing is not worrying about messing up. I was already doing so bad, so one more bad game is not a big deal," Greinke said. "So I was just kind of pitching and letting things happen. It's been working good the last two games, doing it that way." Greinke's right: The righty is pitching to a 1.84 ERA in his last two starts, a return to the Cy Young Award-winning form that made him one of baseball's most highly coveted arms prior to the Trade Deadline." One more piece of the puzzle falling into place.
- Depending on who you ask, the severity of Weaver's "injury" is different. Weaver's like, "No big deal", while Scioscia is, "We'll have to wait and see if he makes his next start". What is interesting is how Weaver's spot in the rotation is lining up with the post-season: It's 'wait and see' for Weaver on next start - angels.com. "Weaver, 16-4 with a 2.86 ERA and an American League-low 1.029 WHIP, is expected to be counted on a lot this month. The Angels' ace was penciled in to make seven September starts, lining up mostly on normal rest in order to maximize his usage and line up for either the regular-season finale or, if his team gets there, the Wild Card elimination game."
- Trout Porn: September will shape Trout's impact on history - angels.com. "Despite spending the first month in the Minors, Trout is already the first rookie and youngest player ever to combine 25 homers with 40 steals in one season. With seven more steals, he'll take the overall franchise record (48, by Gary Pettis in 1985). With 11 more, he'll tie Ty Cobb (53 in 1907) for the most by a player in his age-20 season. Trout can join Cobb in an even more distinguished way. Only Cobb and Al Kaline finished a season doing what Trout is doing with exactly one month left -- leading the league in batting average during his age-20 season." It's been a wonderful season for Trout, but there's still 28 games left to play. Over his last ten games, the rookie phenom has hit just .205 with 14 strikeouts in 44 at-bats. He has just one extra-base hit in those games, but he has scored 9 runs. Don't stop now Mike!
- Torii Hunter has been the Angels' second-half MVP: At 37, Hunter goes back to roots as Angels' No. 2 hitter - Yahoo! Sports. "Hunter has batted .351 (97-for-276) in the spot since moving there in early June. It's the highest average of any No. 2 hitter in baseball. But it is not just the advantages created by Trout's frequent presence on the bases and Pujols' menacing presence in the on-deck circle that have boosted Hunter. Hunter agrees and says he has cut down his swing and returned to his roots since July, resurrecting his old game in his new role. "That was in my game coming up when I was younger," Hunter said. "I was batting leadoff, second. I bunted, hit-and-ran. I was stealing bases, everything. Then I showed a lot of power in 2001 (27 home runs). That's when they said, 'This guy can hit for power. Let's bat him 4, 5, 6.'"
- Baseball Video Highlights & Clips - LAA@SEA: Iannetta scoops and flips for dazzling play - angels.com. "9/2/12: Chris Iannetta scoops a roller up the line and in one motion flips the ball over the head of the baserunner just in time for an out." Iannetta is batting .386 (22 for 57) with 12 RBIs over his last 16 games."