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Tuesday Halolinks: Raul Ibanez shows how to stay positive

It's time for the Angels to get optimistic about their 2014 playoff chances.

Rob Carr

I think it's time for me to be a bit more optimistic about the Angels' chances for this season.  Although I nothing to base this optimism on, a change of attitude most definitely make the season more enjoyable as it will make me focus more on the positive things the club is doing rather than some of the less than optimum moves and plays that I've noticed most teams make.  So, with that thought in mind, here are a couple "good news" tidbits:
- Since 2007, Halos are 86-45 in Interleague Play, tops in all of MLB in span;
- The 29 total HR is the most in MLB (LAA totaled 24 HRs in  April in 2013);
- The club has homered in 15 of 18 games;
- There are 12 Angels with a HR – most in MLB;
- 49% of runs (48/98) scored via HR – 3rd in MLB;
- 39 of the Angels’ 84 runs allowed this season have come with two outs (Oops, how did that one get in there??).

  • It seems that Mike Scioscia isn't the only manage who stays within the roles he has set for his players.  The Nationals' manager, Matt Williams, seems to have allowed his role playing to possible cost his team a win: Ibañez does damage as Angels top Nationals - The Orange County Register.  "So in the top of the eighth, after the Angels had tied the game, 1-1, on Erick Aybar’s single, Scioscia played the Ibañez card with two outs and the bases loaded. Washington rookie manager Matt Williams stuck with Clippard, instead of calling for one of the three lefties he had available, and Ibañez made him pay. Ibañez drilled his changeup into left-center, clearing the bases."  Los Angeles Angels vs. Washington Nationals - Recap - April 21, 2014 - ESPN.  "Nationals manager Matt Williams did not have a lefty reliever ready to go, in anticipation of Ibanez being used there, because he wanted Clippard to get through that inning. "Clip's been the eighth-inning guy here for a long time," Williams said. "Certainly (his) track record indicates that he's good against lefties. He's just as effective against left-handers as he is right-handers. So I want to stay with him there."
  • It's possible the only reason Ibanez is getting the start in the field is because of the injuries to Hamilton and Calhoun, and becuae the game is being played in a National league park, but hopefully this doesn't become more common.  Los Angeles Angels at Washington Nationals - April 22, 2014 -  "Ibanez figures to start in left field on Tuesday, in the second of a three-game series that will see Angels 22-year-old lefty Tyler Skaggs match up against Nationals 25-year-old righty Taylor Jordan."
  • It looks like I'm not the only one taking the optimism path to the season: Scuffling Freese gets break from lineup in series opener -  ""Things will be great -- real soon," Freese said. "I'm excited about that. Sometimes things feel further away than they really are. I'm right around the corner. It's not my swing. It's what I'm swinging at. That's the first thing that a lot of guys forget to look at. A lot of guys think it's mechanical. You just have to have hard-nosed at-bats, take your walks, hit stuff hard, and you'll like the outcome."
  • I'm surprised this hasn't gotten a little more attention.  It was just a couple years ago that the mainstream media-types jumped all over a blogger for asking if were possible Raul Ibanez's early season success were PED-related, and now, this post brings up the issue with Albert Pujols, who has never been linked to anything illegal.  Albert Pujols' 500-Homer Chase Is A Bore, But That's Baseball's Fault - The Shadow League.  "I can’t say he’s dirty. However, if all of his success is "legit," then the fact that his accomplishments aren’t moving the crowd, in light of everything that has transpired the past 15 years, is an indictment on the game and not the players. MLB is experiencing the calm before the collapse. While TV deals and taking advantage of lower to middle class fans who must budget for a day at the ballpark like it’s a week-long summer vacation has the league on top fiscally, the sacred value of baseball records has been considerably diminished. Baseball will never be the same. The homer will never be viewed the same. That’s just foul."
  • Here's an interesting post:
    Here's why young pitchers don't get better as they age. -
    .  "Notice specifically that for the events that are positive for pitchers -- strikeouts and swinging strikes -- their line never lives above zero. That means that, as a population, pitchers do not improve their strikeout rate as they get older. The best thing that you can say for a pitcher is that he might improve his walk rate a bit until he turns 31 (see the green line), but his overall performance (represented by FIP) won't generally improve."
  • Look who's back" Mets add Bobby Abreu to roster, send down Andrew Brown -  "Abreu will mainly be a pinch-hitter for the Mets and occasionally play in the outfield. His patient hitting approach — he has a career .396 on-base percentage and had a .404 OBP for the Phillies this spring — matches the organization's tactics."
  • W.P. Kinsella on 25th anniversary of Field of Dreams - ESPN.  "When the movie went into wide release and came to my then-hometown of White Rock, British Columbia, I set up a table in the lobby of the local theater to sell books as the crowd exited. But before that, each evening, I stood at the back of the theater as Kevin Costner and Dwier Brown, Ray and John Kinsella, played catch; and as I did, I came to realize the absolute power of the great movie that Phil Robinson had created. For every night, one could hear the sniffling and snuffling of the audience, and the unabashed and unashamed tears that flowed as the universality of the father-son dynamic touched even the most indifferent hearts. I realized that my writing coupled with Phil Robinson's genius had made that happen."