We won't be reading any "Angels In First On Fourth" headlines this season as the club is 8.5 games out of the top spot in the A.L. West, but after last night's win over the Cardinals there's a feeling this might be the team we were waiting for. There's plenty of time for the Angels to get back into the race, and if this recent 7-game winning streak is any indication, life definitely gets better after 81. Three games under .500? Not a problem. Eight-and-a-half games out of first? Here we come...but don't forget your Halolinks:
- St. Louis Cardinals at Los Angeles Angels - July 2, 2013 - MLB.com. "It's a question that has been asked all season, and it's especially relevant now. The Angels have won seven in a row, their second-longest winning streak of 2013. They're three games below .500, giving them their best winning percentage since being 1-1 on April 3. And they're 8 1/2 games out of first place, which represents their smallest deficit since May 30. They're still far -- but getting closer." The club had signed the two biggest free agent hitters over the past two off-seasons, but last night it was death by a thousand cuts. Little cuts. And you know what? Doesn't matter when Jered Weaver pitches like Jered Weaver: Weaver snaps winless streak as Angels keep rolling. "The Angels scored all their runs in the second inning and finished with nine hits — all singles. It marked the first time since June 29, 2011 that they won a game without an extra-base hit, but it hardly mattered. When teams are hot, they find new ways to win."
- Okay, I know, you're saying, "But this winning streak includes 3 wins against the Astros. The Astros suck!" And then I'll reply, " Shut up fools, the Tigers WERE in first place, and the Angels just won against the best team (okay, second best team) in the National league. Sit back and enjoy the dealings of Jerome Williams." St. Louis Cardinals at Los Angeles Angels - July 3, 2013 - MLB.com. "With Jason Vargas still on the disabled list due to a blood clot in his left armpit area, Jerome Williams will start for the Angels. The right-hander is making consecutive starts for the first time in nearly five weeks. He is 4-3 with a 3.51 ERA in 9 starts this season." Besides, it looks like the Cardinal starter is faltering a bit: Cardinals-Angels Preview - Yahoo! Sports. "Facing the scuffling (Shelby) Miller (8-6, 2.79 ERA) could prove beneficial for Los Angeles and Pujols as he's 1-3 with a 6.38 ERA in his last four starts. The right-hander has also posted an 11.05 ERA in his first set of back-to-back defeats." Time for those cuts to become deeper.
- I don't know why the author of this post comes to his conclusions, but it's still an interesting story: Albert Pujols Contract Tells on Two Teams - Yahoo! Sports. "If the roles were reversed and Pujols cemented his Hall of Fame credentials in his twenties with the Angels, then went free agent after his age 31 season, there's almost no question that it would have played out the same way. The Angels would have signed Pujols to another huge contract."
- Albert Pujols leads LA Angels' tribute to Stan Musial in Anaheim - angels.com. ""Stan Musial was a great player, a legacy, but he was a better person," Pujols said. "I think he always needs to be remembered, not just in St. Louis, but all over the country." So far, that is exactly what has happened as "Stan the Man" has been honored in some way, shape or form at various stadiums this season."
- Yes Josh, this is a story; ANGELS FYI: Josh Hamilton appears to be chewing tobacco again - latimes.com. "Is there a correlation between Hamilton's surge and tobacco use? "I don't know what you're talking about," Hamilton said. "It could be anything. It could be one of those protein bars. Is this really a story?"
- Start print those World Series tickets! Madson resumes throwing off mound in Arizona - angels.com. "Madson, confined to throwing off flat ground for about a month, threw three bullpen sessions in Tempe, Ariz., while the Angels were on a six-game road trip last week. The 32-year-old right-hander is throwing off the mound once every three days, with his next turn coming Thursday, and hopes to appear in rehab games again in a couple of weeks."
- Neato: San Francisco Giants vs. Cincinnati Reds - Recap - July 02, 2013 - ESPN. "Bailey threw his second in 10 months and led the Cincinnati Reds' infield celebration with arms raised after a 3-0 victory over the San Francisco Giants." And: Homer Bailey and testifying to Patience, Big Arms - Baseball Nation. "Tuesday night, Homer Bailey pitched the second no-hitter in his career and joined this fairly exclusive list. But Bailey also joined a far more exclusive club. Here's the complete list of pitchers who have thrown two no-hitters, with nobody else throwing a no-hitter in the middle: Addie Joss (Hall of Fame), Johnny Vander Meer, Allie Reynolds, Warren Spahn (Hall of Fame), Nolan Ryan (Hall of Fame), and Homer Bailey"
- This is really informative as I've often wondered just exactly what the difference is between levels. Now we know: Understanding minor league levels - The Hardball Times. "Each minor league level offers its own unique brand of competition. To an even more specific extent, each league has its own identity, but even though the Carolina League may favor pitching and the California League may favor hitting, their levels of competition are roughly the same."
- How dare they honor a Yankee? The nerve of 'em! And they're doing it ON THE FIELD! Twins give Mariano Rivera rocking chair made of broken bats - Yahoo! Sports. "The Twins even named the rocking chair made of broken bats they gave to Rivera before playing the New York Yankees at Target Field: The Chair of Broken Dreams, they called it."
- I blame MLB.tv: Why do baseball ratings continue to trend downward? - SBNation.com. "Matchups aren't as good, but why does Fox's baseball coverage keep dropping in the ratings, despite a move to primetime?"
Sorry, for the first time in my life I'm going camping. This means there will not be a HaloLinks tomorrow, but enjoy your Fourth of July! If I'm not lost in the forest, or killed by swarms of mosquitoes, I'll see you next Tuesday.