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Wednesday Halolinks: Greinke Trade Starting To Payoff, Angels Go For Sweep

OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 04:  Zack Greinke #23 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitches against the Oakland Athletics at Coliseum on September 4, 2012 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 04: Zack Greinke #23 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitches against the Oakland Athletics at Coliseum on September 4, 2012 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
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I love you, I'm just not IN love with you...but we'll always have Halolinks:

  • After a somewhat bumpy beginning, the deal to acquire Zack Greinke is looking better and better: Los Angeles Angels at Oakland Athletics - September 4, 2012 - "A combined four earned runs over your last three starts tends to give you a better attitude about that sort of thing. Greinke has turned it around after struggling shortly upon arriving from Milwaukee. So has everyone else on the staff, going from a 5.71 ERA in a 42-game stretch that began July 3 to a 3.15 mark over their last 14 games." That's the good news -- the Angels rotation seems to have righted itself. However, as with most things in life, there's the bad news: "Over that 14-game stretch in which the rotation has been better, the Angels have won 10 games. But they've gained only one game in the American League Wild Card standings, where they're still 3 1/2 back of the second spot with only 26 games left." The club is doing what they need to do, they're just going to need a few breaks to go their way. If they continue to get starts like last night's, 3 1/2 games should be "do-able": Angels 6, Athletics 1 - FOX Sports. "Greinke pitched seven sharp innings to win his third consecutive start and the Angels beat the Oakland Athletics 6-1 on Tuesday night. ''You could see it coming his last couple of starts, just finding the release point,'' Scioscia said. ''He did a great job of commanding the counts better. I thought he threw the ball exceptionally well tonight.'' Greinke (4-2) scattered four hits, struck out four and walked two in his most recent gem. ''The Oakland game here I was throwing all sinkers and that's not really my game. Then I was trying to throw too hard the next two starts. So just trying to go back to normal, and it worked out good.''
  • I think it's interesting when people will say, "It's too early to worry about these games" or some variation on the "There's a lot of season left to play" platitude. How important are those early-season losses looking now? Los Angeles Angels at Oakland Athletics - September 5, 2012 - "The Angels cut another game off Oakland's Wild Card lead on Tuesday, with a chance to move within 2 1/2 games if they can complete a series sweep in Wednesday's finale at The Coliseum." The Angels have played 136 games with 63 losses. If they had just held on to win 3 of those close games, there wouldn't be any talk about "trying to make the playoffs".
  • I don't want to jinx anything, but today's game is looking to be slightly favorable for the Halos. The hitting should do well against McCarthy: Angels-Athletics Preview - FOX Sports. "Morales has hit .385 (10 for 26) in his last six road games against the A's. He is 3 for 4 with a double and a home run versus scheduled Oakland starter Brandon McCarthy (8-5, 3.10 ERA). Teammates Torii Hunter and Howie Kendrick are a combined 13 for 38 (.464) with six doubles against the right-hander, who allowed five runs and 11 hits in seven innings of a 6-0 loss at Los Angeles on April 16." While Dan Haren needs to build on his last start: Angels-Athletics Preview - Yahoo! Sports. "The Angels are 5-3 this season at Oakland, where they have not swept a series since Oct. 2-4, 2009.Oakland's attempt to end its current skid will come against ex-Athletic Dan Haren (9-10, 4.98), who is 0-3 with a 4.85 ERA in his last four starts against former team, including 0-1 with a 3.55 ERA in two home outings in 2012. Haren, however, won for the first time in five starts overall Friday when he allowed a run and five hits in seven innings of a 9-1 victory at Seattle."
  • Either the team truly doesn't know what's going on with Weaver's shoulder, or they're being ultra secretive: Sore shoulder may delay Jered Weaver's next start - Hopefully Weaver will be able to stay on track with his rotation spot. This post points out how he'll line-up in three of the next series openers..."That would have enabled Weaver to start against the wild-card-contending Tigers on Friday night, the opener of a three-game series against division-leading Texas at home on Sept. 18, the opener of a three-game series against the Rangers in Texas on Sept. 28 and the regular-season finale in Seattle on Oct. 3." As also pointed out in the post, if the Angels are able to clinch a wildcard spot before Weaver's final start, he'll be available to pitch the one-game playoff.
  • A couple of interesting tidbits in this Angels News post:
    Conger is back, but what does future hold for him? - "No, the 24-year-old Conger won't take away any playing time from starter Chris Iannetta, who came into Tuesday batting .386 with 12 RBIs over his last 16 games. But this is looking like the offseason when the Angels must make a definitive decision on whether Conger will be a big leaguer for them or trade bait. It's a decision that could affect whether Iannetta returns next year. The Angels and Iannetta hold a mutual $5 million option for 2013."
    "Nothing's official yet, but if Weaver doesn't pitch this weekend, it would probably be Ervin Santana starting Friday, C.J. Wilson going on Saturday and Zack Greinke pitching Sunday's series finale, the Angels at least having the benefit of a Thursday off-day to keep everyone on normal rest."
  • Today's Trout Porn:
    Another month, another award...ho-hum:Trout's awesome August earns him rookie honor - "Trout was named the AL's best rookie for the month of August, his fourth straight time earning the award. That marks the most in the AL since Ichiro Suzuki won five with the Mariners in 2001."
    Here's an interesting article about keeping Trout long-term: What would a Mike Trout contract extension take? - The Hardball Times. "The problem for the Angels is that Trout's 2012 campaign has been unprecedented; his value, which was already extremely high before this season, has risen exponentially. A Longoria-esque six-year $17.5 million deal with three club options, is no longer within the realm of possibility. Trout has been too good and it would take so much more than that to lock him up."
  • He may want to stay, but Torii Hunter may be pricing himself out of a job: Can the Angels afford to re-sign Hunter? - The Orange County Register. ""I’ve told them openly and I’ve said it publicly and I’ll say it loud – I want to stay with the Angels," said Hunter who has entered the final month of the five-year, $90 million deal he signed as a free agent in November 2007."This is where I want to be," he said. "I want to retire as an Angel." However, Jerry DiPoto has the upper hand and seems willing to play it, "He knows the circumstances. He knows there is pending free agency. He knows that is a position of depth in our organization. … It’s not an easy decision and it’s not a decision we’re going to make quickly or take lightly. Torii is a big part of what this organization is about, what it has been and what our club is right now."
  • Yesterday was the 19th anniversary of Jim Abbott's no-hitter:
  • Geez, it was one good game!: Angels' Wells settling into reserve role - Yahoo! Sports. "He's a much better player than we've seen the last two years," Scioscia said of outfielder Vernon Wells." Sure, we've all learned to expect this type of quote from Mike Scioscia, but come on, seriously?...Dollars aside, Wells in lineup makes sense - Steve Fryer - OC Varsity. "This is going to be a minority opinion, but the Angels' Vernon Wells looks like he still can be an everyday player who will put up strong numbers – for the Angels or some other team. His swing and other mechanics sure appear fine." Uh sorry, but no.
  • I'm really excited about this: Major league baseball schedule for 2013 has new wrinkles - "in the first season in which interleague play is scheduled each day, the Angels are set to open with an interleague game — at Cincinnati on Monday, April 1. The American League West is set to face the National League Central, with the Angels playing a home-and-home series with the Chicago Cubs, a home series with the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals and a road series with the Reds and Milwaukee Brewers." Every season, the first thing I do is check to see if the Angels are playing the Brewers in interleague games, and not since 2002 have the Halos been in Milwaukee. It's kind of goofy how important this is considering Milwaukee is almost twice as far away from me as Minneapolis, and the Angels play the Twins every season. But there's just something cooler about seeing your favorite team in your home state.
  • If You're Going To Miss Your Receiver, You Might As Well Drill An Official In The Head
  • MLB Considering Changes To Roster Expansion - "The current plan would still allow teams to expand rosters in the final month of the season but would require clubs to designate which players are eligible before each game. The most popular scenario being discussed is to expand September rosters to 30, with each club's 25-man roster on August 31 being locked in throughout September. Locking in the rosters at the end of August would prevent teams from de-activating the starters not pitching in a particular game in order to load up with four additional minor leaguers."
  • The next two links give hope to us short, fat guys: 350-pound relief pitcher Jose ‘Jumbo’ Diaz steals third base in minor-league game (Video) - Yahoo! Sports. "Yes, that's 350-pound relief pitcher Jose "Jumbo" Diaz pulling off a clean heist of third base in the eighth inning. Your eyes did not deceive you. Now, here's the unusual scenario which led to him not only getting a very rare plate appearance, but the opportunity to stun everybody with his Billy Hamilton impression." And: Diamondbacks Call Up .381-Hitting 4th Outfielder - Baseball Nation. "So why haven't the scouts loved him? Well, he was a 19th-round draft pick. That's strike one. And he's listed at 5'8", which means he's probably 5'6" or 5'7". That's strike two. Fortunately, because all he's done is play brilliantly since signing with the Diamondbacks, there hasn't been a strike three and he keeps getting promoted."
  • If you watch this video, play attention to what the announcers are saying about the path of the ball. Ramirez claims the ball hit his finger, but the two announcers keep pointing out how the ball was nowhere near his hand. Yet, as they continue to show the replay, you can see the ball go right by his finger: Aramis Ramirez strikes out swinging, without ever swinging (Video) - Yahoo! Sports. "Home plate umpire Mark Carlson had to make a quick decision based on that first look and the listen, and with very little hesitation ruled the ball hit the bat, meaning Ramirez was out on the unluckiest of all possible strikeouts." I understand we men have selective hearing, but selective sight?
  • This is gearing up to be a pretty cool race in the East: It’s all tied atop the AL East standings - HardballTalk. "Baltimore smoked Toronto 12-0 and the Yankees lost to the Rays 5-2 on Tuesday, setting up a tie for first place in the AL East. The Rays closed to within 1 1/2 games by beating the Bombers for the second straight day."