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Wednesday Halolinks: Let's hope 13 is a lucky number

The Angels have lost 13 games, but wait...they've also won 13. It's a sign!

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"This new Stones song is boss!"
"This new Stones song is boss!"
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Was it just me, or did last night's game seem to go on forever?  And not only that, although the Angels won, it also seemed like they lost.  A long, losing night instead of a satisfying win.  Maybe that's it, even though the club won, the way they won wasn't satisfying.  There was none of this:

And the shaky pen was somewhat...shaky.  Oh well, put it in the win column.  The Angels are again at .500 with a 13-13 record.  With a win tonight, they'll have swept the Indians, and gotten themselves over the .500 mark for the first time in 13 months.  Thirteen!  Here's your Halolinks:

  • At the end of the season, someone is going to go back and look at all of the challenges to tally the exact win-lose outcomes due to reversed or over-ruled calls.  Depending on how closely this analyst looks at the data will determine if this game will be counted in the Angels favor, or if it will even be noticed, but regardless, the new instant replay system is changing the game: Angels get the calls, then hold off Indians - The Orange County Register.  "Two critical calls were reviewed, and one of the keys to the game was the Angels won theirs and the Indians lost theirs. The Angels got two runs out of their successful challenge in the fifth inning, while the Indians had the potential tying run stranded on base in the eighth after they lost one."
  • I had another "eye-roll moment" last night when I saw the Angels' batting order, but who am I to complain since it seemed to work out [insert stopped clock comment here]:  Indians-Angels Preview - Yahoo Sports.  "Kendrick hit in the leadoff spot for the first time this season, becoming the fifth player manager Mike Scioscia has started at the top of the order. ''Scioscia's not afraid to mix things up with our lineup. Howie's a guy who's done it in the past, and he doesn't have any problem being in that situation,'' Albert Pujols said. Kendrick is 13 for 47 (that's .277) with two homers, 10 RBIs, four walks and eight runs scored when starting atop the lineup (that's a .333 OBP), and the Angels are 9-3 in those games (and that's .750 winning percentage)."  He's a genius, a GENIUS I tell you!
  • I like watching baseball, and I do watch a lot of games.  However, I have to admit, even when the game is on, my attention will wander.  So someone please help me because I didn't see any of this shift beating bunt stuff, nor the exchange in the dugout: Cleveland Indians at Los Angeles Angels - April 29, 2014 -  "Angels starter Jered Weaver didn't have his best stuff but battled through 5 1/3 innings. He also appeared to engage his manager between innings after the Indians got a couple of bunt singles against the Angels defensive shift -- although both Scioscia and Weaver downplayed the encounter....Only those in the dugout knew the volume of the Weaver-Scioscia exchange after the fifth inning. "It wasn't [about] anything major ... baseball in general," Weaver said. "We talked about a couple of things," Scioscia said. "I think Weav was frustrated when the bunts were laid down. He's an emotional guy. "No, it wasn't an issue."
  • And speaking of defensive shifts, Angels have no plans to shift gears - The Orange County Register.  "The Angels have allowed opponents to hit .267 on balls in play this year, compared with .306 last year. The slugging percentage is down from .382 to .333. "From spring training on, you’ve seen guys get more comfortable (with the shifts)," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "As we get more comfortable, we will shrink the field even more and make the plays we need to." Oddly, the Angels are actually allowing a slightly higher average (.257 vs. .252) on ground balls this year compared to last year. Coordinator of player information Nick Francona, one of the key staffers in charge of using the data to determine when the Angels shift, said he believes that part doesn’t tell the story. "There are a lot of factors that go into that," Francona said. "Early on you are looking at a fairly small sample size. We want the batting average on ground balls to be as low as possible, but thus far we do view our shifting as a success. While that is an important metric, that’s not the only metric."  Those damn statistics!  Always lying to us, making us look bad.  Screw 'em!  Just wait, at the end of the year when the batted ball data shows the opponent's batting average on ground balls dropped from .252 to .2519, they'll be calling the move a success.
  • You know that guy who's going to write the article about instant replay I mentioned earlier?  His next post will be about how well (or poorly) the defensive shifts worked.  Why MLB teams are shifting on defense more than ever - Tom Verducci -  "The count was 2-and-0 to Mike Trout on April 4 in Houston, and when he looked up, he couldn't believe what he saw: The Astros had shifted their infield to put three infielders on the pull side. "Me? The way I hit?" Trout said. "I was surprised." Trout's approach to hitting is based on letting the ball travel and hitting the ball up the middle or over the second baseman's head. What did the Astros know about the centerfielder of the Los Angeles Angels to cause such a shift that was so odd it shocked Trout himself?"
  • Things are going better for Angels this April -  "The bottom line can be found in the records, and in the standings. The Angels last year ended April with a 9-17 record, and they were eight games out of first place. In 2012, they ended April with an 8-15 record, nine games out of first. They're not crowing now, not at 13-13. The Angels are in search of their first playoff berth since 2009, but they have taken the first step toward the more immediate goal — a September that matters. You cannot win a pennant in April, but you can all but lose one."
  • On deck: Indians at Angels, Wednesday, 4 p.m. - The Orange County Register.  "Did you know: Angels relievers had allowed 50 percent of inherited runners to score before Tuesday’s game. The major league average is 30 percent."  Uggalee.
  • Remember Kevin Frandsen?  Yeah, the guy who played 3B for the Halos a couple years back...kinda reminds me of David Freese, but a lot less costly?  Anyway, he plays for the Nationals: Kevin Frandsen makes behind-the-back catch off fence that's hard to believe - Yahoo Sports.  "An infielder by trade, Frandsen made a freaky, no-look, behind-the-back catch from a carom off the fence while playing left field. Frandsen's play on a double by Jason Castro was slick enough to keep a runner at third base and stop the Astros from scoring — momentarily, anyhow."
  • The Angels are one of the top scoring teams in the majors, but a returning Hamilton should help them anyway, right?  Because he can pitch in the 8th inning, right?  Right?  Josh Hamilton to resume baseball activities, may be ahead of schedule - HardballTalk.  "Josh Hamilton took one-handed swings yesterday and is expected to resume baseball activities next week. That is, unless you consider one-handed swings to be baseball activities. That may stretch the definition — one-handed swings are pretty boss, but they’re not that useful in games — so let’s just go with the official line here."
  • Let's see shifts, instant replay, and TJ surgery.  The story-line of the 2014 season so far: Is MLB in the midst of a Tommy John epidemic? - ESPN.  "According to research by Jeff Zimmerman and Jon Roegele for the invaluable website, we've already seen 14 major league pitchers undergo Tommy John surgery just this year....And this is happening in a sport that averaged fewer than 16 of those surgeries per year between 2000 and 2011."
  • I lost a whole lot of respect for Sports Illustrated: Tigers' Max Scherzer upset with SI over cover - USAToday.  "We were aware Max didn't want to discuss his contract situation in detail, but at no time did we make any promises how we would mention it in the story or how we wouldn't, or where we would use it, whether it would be on the cover or whether it wouldn't."