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Wednesday Halolinks: Angels still winless, Scioscia still questionable

Okay, the entire loss isn't on the Angels' manager, but when a player doesn't want to talk about in-game strategy, there's something wrong.

Jeff Gross

I'm shocked, I tell you.  SHOCKED!  If I had $10, I would have bet it all that C.J. Wilson and the Angels were going to beat the crap out of the Mariners.  After his very good spring, and the way the Angels have been hitting, I thought a halo win was a sure thing.  So much for sure things...except Halolinks, you can bet on them:


  • What was so surprising about last night's game was how Wilson reverted back to nibbling.  I was impressed with his Spring Training performances because he went after hitters and seemed to have developed a sense of how important it is to throw strikes: Seattle Mariners vs. Los Angeles Angels - April 01, 2014 - ESPN.  "Wilson, who had a career-best 17 wins last season for the Angels, needed 95 pitches to get through the first five innings against Seattle. He gave up eight hits and had eight strikeouts, including the 1,000th of his career."  And yet, apparently it's his manager who may have control over some of his pitches: Burned by Smoak, Angels fail to recover against Mariners - The Orange County Register.  ""Right now if you are looking at their lineup, going into it, Robinson Cano is the guy you want to try to minimize as much as you can," Scioscia said. "Give Justin Smoak credit. He got some big hits last night and got some big hits tonight. If he continues to hit, Robinson Cano will get some pitches to hit, but right now you’re going to want to make Justin Smoak swing the bat instead of Robinson." Left-hander C.J. Wilson might not have felt quite the same. Asked if it was "weird" to walk a left-handed hitter to get to a switch-hitter, Wilson said: "Yes. No more questions on that." It seems Wilson wasn't too happy about having to walk Cano, and rightfully so.
  • Sure, it's only been two games, but isn't this what we fans were afraid of...a bullpen that can't prevent runs?  Seattle Mariners at Los Angeles Angels - April 1, 2014 -  "C.J. Wilson gave up six runs in 5 2/3 innings, one night after Jered Weaver allowed four runs (three earned) in 6 1/3 frames. The offense went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position, one night after going 0-for-5. And Michael Kohn gave up two ninth-inning runs to blow the game open, one night after Kevin Jepsen and Nick Maronde gave up six for the same effect. The Angels are 0-2 for the first time since 2001."

  • Tonight is Santiago's first start as an Angel, and the time we'll see if I'm anywhere close to being right about him being one of the saviors of the season: Seattle Mariners at Los Angeles Angels - April 2, 2014 -  "This will be Santiago's first full season as a starter. He throws five different pitches, including a screwball that he wants to use more often this year, though he knows he needs to lower the 4.6 walks per nine innings he averaged the last two years."  I don't know why I feel this way, but I do.  Kind of like my Joel Pineiro fixation I had a couple of years ago.
  • There's been a whole lot written about Don Baylor and his freaky injury sustained before Monday's game.  One of the things I think is really weird is the Angels' front office's thinking they need another hitting coach.  From all indications, the problem isn't the hitting.  Why aren't they so concerned about the pitching staff?  Heck, if I were in charge there'd be an entire group of pitching "consultants" hanging around the clubhouse: Angels' Baylor out of action but still in the game - The Orange County Register.  "It’s still too early for the Angels to know how long before Baylor can return to the ballpark, but it will be months before he’s fully recovered. In the meantime, they summoned Paul Sorrento, their minor league hitting coordinator, to join Hansen in the majors. "He was with us every day in spring training," Hansen said of Sorrento. "He’ll fit in fine. He teaches pretty much similar techniques. He’s been around the guys a couple years now as the hitting coordinator."  Anyway, it seems Baylor has done some good in his short time with the club and will be missed:  Lyle Spencer: Freak injury shows Don Baylor's toughness -  ""In the dugout during games, his presence, his demeanor, is really powerful. He stands up for us. He's not afraid to bark at umpires if he thinks you're not getting treated right. It's going to be a tough loss, a tough one to swallow."
  • This picture is fake (a great April's Fools day joke), but I really wish it were real:
  • This photo is real, but I really wish it were fake:  Dumb Red Sox Fan With Misspelled Sign Is Just Too Perfect.  "Oh my. This is almost more than I can handle. The sign, the camouflage hat, the shit-eating grin. Look upon the face of Red Sox Nation, America, and weep.
  • There's a tweet above about this, but I wanted to add this clip.  How great is this that a team shows how much it cares about their fans?  And why doesn't this happen more often?  Meet the MLB team whose players greeted fans at the gates on opening day | Big League Stew - Yahoo Sports.  "In this new era of baseball, it's nice to see the Tampa Bay Rays holding onto a wonderful opening day tradition: When the gates open for the first game, players are there to greet fans, scan tickets and even get hugs. It's something the Rays have done since their first season and it's something they did Monday before Game No. 1 of the season against the Toronto Blue Jays."
  • It only took two days for the MLB's stupid challenge system to cause a call to be missed and not corrected: MLB Recap - San Francisco Giants at Arizona Diamondbacks - Apr 01, 2014 -  "In the fourth inning, the Diamondbacks' A.J. Pollock raced home on a passed ball and was called safe by home plate umpire Eric Cooper. Replays showed Giants pitcher Matt Cain appeared to tag Pollock before the runner crossed the plate. But there was nothing Giants manager Bruce Bochy could do about it. He had used up his challenge moments earlier in a failed attempt to reverse a safe call on a pickoff attempt of Pollock at first."
  • Ha-ha: Blacked out of watching Dodgers on TV -  "The Dodgers game had just ended, and I had missed it. All of it. Every pitch, every hit, every Vin. My Tuesday afternoon quest to watch the Dodgers' first domestic appearance on their new SportsNet LA channel had finished in fast-food failure. Bad enough that this new channel reaches only 30% of Los Angeles. On the first day that would test the effect of the Dodgers' decision to cut a TV deal that has cut out the majority of their fans, the channel reached 0% of me."