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Thursday Halolinks: Seattle sweeps Angels to start season

This wasn't the way it was supposed to be. We were going to be happy. We were going to spend the summer together, celebrating life. Now what am I going to do?

Harry How

Wow.  After watching the Angels go 0-3 to start the season, all I can write is "wow".  And not the enthusiastic, "I'm so excited!" kind of "wow", but more the "you've got to be kidding me" sort.
There are those who say, "It's only three games.  There are still 159 games left."  And while typically I'd agree with that comment, we've lived through the last couple of years that saw our favorite team's season over by the end of April.  There are those of us who see that 0-3 as a sign of impending failure rather than an unfortunate series of events.  After their fun Spring Training jaunt, I was excited about how well I thought the Halos would do this season, and although I still remain hopeful that the season can be entertaining, there's that nagging voice in my head that keeps whispering, "It's going to happen again.  They're going to break your heart."  But unlike most doomed relationships, let's hope that this fickle bitch decides we're still worth her time, because I want this relationship to work.

  • What can I say, those games were bad.  Not Michael Jackson bad, but BAD.  Angels hit hard again as Mariners complete sweep - The Orange County Register.  "The Angels scored eight runs in three games, hitting 1 for 19 with runners in scoring position. They allowed 34 hits and 26 runs – at least eight in each game. A big culprit was the relief corps, as the bullpen allowed 12 runs in eight innings, a 13.50 ERA."  How did the Mariners score 26 runs?  Because: Cano gets 1st RBI with Mariners in win over Angels - Yahoo Sports.  "Angels pitchers gave up 17 extra-base hits and 15 walks in the series."  So what does that leave us?  A manager who's hoping that his team's luck will improve in order to get better: Angels Afterthoughts: Another bad start? - Orange County Register.  "That will improve," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "I think the approach is sound. Sometimes pitches are made that you roll over on or you don’t get quite where you want to hit them. We hit into our share of double plays this series." Three of them, to be exact. Not an overwhelmingly high amount, considering the Mariners hit into two while managing to score 26 runs, but, yes, the Angels are going to get more lucky as time goes on."  Okay, that wasn't Scioscia's quote about luck, but I think it's interesting he points out that double plays had a factor in the club's losses.  As pointed out in the article, the Angels hit into only 3 DP, mainly because there was never anyone on base to get forced out at second.  That's the reason they lost, not because of the many double plays.
  • How bad is your team's start when you're anguishly awaiting the return of Dane De La Rosa to fix your team?  De La Rosa, Burnett throw in simulated game -  "I'm getting antsy," said De La Rosa, who's working his way back from a right forearm strain suffered March 6. "When we get everybody healthy, together at the same time, we're going to be a shutdown bullpen."  Uh-huh.
  • Yes, Albert, that'd be awesome! Pujols concerned with championships, not milestones - The Orange County Register.  "Right now, what’s important is putting a ring on my finger with this team," Pujols said before Wednesday’s game. "At the end of my career, I can look back on what I’ve accomplished in my career, but right now, I’m concentrating on helping this organization win a championship."
  • They were once Angels:  Boston Red Sox at Baltimore Orioles - Apr 02, 2014 -  "David Ortiz and Mike Napoli homered, John Lackey threw six sharp innings and Boston ruined the Baltimore debut of Ubaldo Jimenez with a 6-2 victory Wednesday night."  I watched the A's - Indians game yesterday just to see how well Kazmir was throwing (I have him on my fantasy team), and was very impressed.  His fastball was consistently in the 91-92 mph range, while he pounded the strike zone.  In fact, at one point in the game he needed just 16 pitches to get through two innings (eight in each).  Cleveland Indians at Oakland Athletics - Apr 02, 2014 -  "Kazmir allowed just three hits and no walks in 7 1/3 scoreless innings, striking out five."
  • It looks like the Halos picked up a fairly decent pitcher off of waivers, and added him to their 40-man roster: Waiver Claim Wednesday: Carlos Triunfel, Michael Brady, Bobby LaFromboise, Pedro Beato - MLB Daily Dish.  "Brady will be assigned to Double-A Arkansas. Brady, a 27-year old Orange County product, has spent four seasons in the minors with the Marlins, posting a lifetime 12-8 record and 2.18 ERA in 174 appearances. In 49 appearances last season with Double-A Jacksonville, Brady was 2-2 with a 1.53 ERA, 9.3 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9 in 53 innings. He will provide minor league depth to start the year, but could get a chance to join the major league bullpen as the season progresses if he performs well."
  • Jeff Sullivan takes a look at Tuesday night's game: Playing the Matchups By Not Playing the Matchups - FanGraphs Baseball.  "Yeah, you’d rather face Smoak than Cano, and while doing so requires you put another runner on base, the intentional walk is a low win-expectancy swing. Nothing seems strange, except for one thing."
  • Interesting article: Green light: a study of 3-0 swings - Beyond the Box Score.  "Since 2008, there are just over 3500 swings on 3-0 counts. Not surprisingly, Albert Pujols has the most, with 81."
  • I know we're past the whole prediction thing, but I thought this one was sort of interesting since they all picked Oakland to win the West and Mike Trout to be the A.L. MVP: MLB Daily Dish Staff Predictions - MLB Daily Dish.  "As for awards, the MVPs were pretty easy. Almost everyone has Trout taking the award this year, and it's tough to bet against the best player in baseball."
  • Does anyone else think he probably had it coming? Lenny Dykstra sues Los Angeles County, alleges jail beating - ESPN.  "Dykstra filed the suit seeking unspecified damages against the county and several Sheriff's Department employees, saying his head was slammed against the wall, his teeth were knocked out and he was kicked and beaten until he was "barely breathing." The suit says the jail system, where a federal probe has led to 20 recent indictments of sheriff's employees, is "fueled by abusive violence, and manipulated by hopeless liars."
  • When you're Derek Jeter, you get to have dinner with some interesting folks: Derek Jeter of New York Yankees honored by Houston Astros - ESPN New York.  "Prior to Tuesday's opener, Jeter dined at Clemens' son's restaurant, along with Clemens, President George H. W. Bush, his wife Barbara and Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. Jeter had never met the former president and first lady. "It was cool," said Jeter. Peterson is friends with Clemens, according to Jeter, which is how he completed the eclectic group."
  • Had I not watched the first three Angel games, I would have used this as a metaphor for the A's season.  I should probably hold off on that: A's Fan Eats It And Eats It Hard.  "This gentleman took a concrete bellyflop while chasing a foul ball at this afternoon's game in Oakland. He seemed fine afterward, so there's no need to feel bad about watching this for the 17th time."
  • I know this isn't baseball related, but I still thought you might find this interesting: More House, Less Booze: How Spending Changes From Age 25 To 75 - Planet Money - NPR.  "As anyone who has been 25 and not 25 can tell you, spending patterns change over the course of adult life. We made a graph to track changes in spending on alcohol, housing, food, travel and more."
  • And since I mentioned Michael Jackson a little earlier, hopefully you find this was entertaining: Videoclip without music makes Michael Jackson look like a sex offender.  "Okay fine, it's a little stalker-ish and creepy at SOME points but all those snaps and hee hee's and the way he moves more than makes up for it. He's the king, after all."