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Thursday Halolinks: Weaver and Pujols keep up winning ways

Both players reached career milestones in Angels' 2-1 win.

Harry How

It was an all-around good night for the Halos, Weaver dominates, Pujols goes yard, and the club moves six games over .500 (4.0 games behind Oakland).  Cersei is pleased:

  • I realize this win came against the Houston Astros, but a win is a win regardless of which team it's against.  And remember, it was these same Houston Astros who won 10 of 19 against the Angels last season: Houston Astros at Los Angeles Angels - May 21, 2014 -  "Weaver needed only 94 of them (pitches) -- along with Erick Aybar's two-out RBI single and Albert Pujols' 505th career home run -- to beat the Astros and continue to trend upward. Over his last seven starts, the 31-year-old right-hander has allowed just nine earned runs in 47 2/3 innings, walking 12 batters, striking out 34 and seeing his ERA drop from 5.79 to 2.85. Every five days now, Weaver is getting noticeably better, stronger. It's showing up in his fastball command, it's showing up in his pinpoint location, and, as was especially the case in Wednesday's series finale, it's showing up in the way he can maintain his stuff deep into starts."
  • To me, Weaver always seemed like the type of guy who was never having much fun.  This year, it seems Weaver is kinda enjoying himself: Weaver pitched 2-hitter in Angels' win over Astros - Yahoo Sports.  "''It was definitely exciting to run out there for the ninth and hear the fans,'' Weaver said. ''That's what you pitch for - to go deep into games and finish it off.'' Weaver struck out five, walked one and retired 17 of his last 19 batters - including 10 straight after giving up a leadoff homer to George Springer in the fourth."  It must be those endorphins: Weaver flexes his muscles, goes the distance in Angels' win - The Orange County Register.  "Since Weaver switched to a different lifting program – more free weights – he’s gained strength and endurance and even velocity on his fastball. The result is a stretch as good as any in his career. Weaver pitched a two-hitter against the Astros, his first complete game since Aug.6, 2012, the season in which he finished third in the Cy Young race. In his past seven starts, Weaver is 5-1 with a 1.72 ERA."
  • On top of Weaver's resurgence, we can add a healthy, hitting Pujols: Pujols homers, Weaver deals as Angels beat Astros - Yahoo Sports.  "Pujols broke a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the sixth inning by pounding a 2-1 fastball from right-hander Collin McHugh (2-3). The ball hit the roof covering the players' bench in the Astros' bullpen in left field. With his 13th homer of the season and the 505th of his career, the first baseman passed Hall of Famer Eddie Murray on the all-time list."
  • Smart thinking on the coaching staff to give Trout back-to-back days off: Trout given first day off of '14 with ailing hamstring |  "The move was precautionary, and since the Angels don't play on Thursday, Trout can get two full days off his feet. "It's not serious," Trout said prior to Wednesday's series finale against the Astros. "I know it's not serious. It's just a little sore."  It sounds like he's going to be fine:
  • There's that depth (sort of) we were hoping for at the beginning ofthe season: Angels send Santiago to Triple-A - The Orange County Register.  “We still have high expectations for Hector,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “Right now, the only course of action for Hector is to go down and work things out and to pitch. ... The overriding issue with Hector is to go down there, find his delivery, repeat pitches, get that continuity and consistency he had in the spring, make pitches on a more regular basis. Once he does that, commands counts better, you’re going to see a guy who is a major league pitcher.”  Plus, it looks like the bullpen will soon be getting deeper too: Kansas City Royals at Los Angeles Angels - May 23, 2014 -  "Relievers Dane De La Rosa (right s/c joint irritation) and Sean Burnett (elbow surgery) each tossed scoreless rehab outings on Wednesday. Burnett came in with two runners on and one out in the sixth inning for Double-A Arkansas. Burnett got a strikeout and a flyout, giving him five consecutive scoreless outings. In Triple-A Salt Lake, De La Rosa picked up a save, giving up a hit and striking out one batter in the ninth inning. It was De La Rosa's first outing since he felt soreness on May 10 and received a cortisone shot to reduce inflammation."
  • Yesterday, I linked to a post looking at the value of draft picks.  Here's the second part: The Net Value of Draft Picks – The Hardball Times.  "For example, only 15 percent of players drafted in picks 41-50 will actually total three or more WAR before they hit free agency, and those players produce an average of 12.6 WAR. Instead of looking at these picks as averaging a 2.2 WAR player, we need to imagine it as a lottery ticket giving the team a 15 percent chance of getting a 12.6 WAR player and roughly $74 million of net value."  And this nifty chart:

    Draft Pick Chance of 10+ WAR Player Chance of 3+ WAR Player
    1-5 35% 55%
    6-10 25% 43%
    11-15 23% 41%
    16-20 17% 32%
    21-30 11% 23%
    31-40 7% 15%
    41-50 7% 15%
  • If the Angels are going to win the West division, they're going to need the A's to stop being so lucky: Oakland Athletics vs. Tampa Bay Rays - Recap - May 21, 2014 - ESPN.  "This is how well things are going for the Oakland Athletics: They had only one hit -- and won. "Sometimes that's all you need," manager Bob Melvin said after the A's won for the 11th time in 12 games, beating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-2 on Wednesday night. Brandon Moss hit a solo homer for Oakland's only hit, and the Athletics took advantage of walks and two errors to win their fifth straight."  The whole organization is full of wizards practicing...
  • True story; a couple of months ago I had a physical.  Being a male over the age of 40 (by about 10 years), I got the pleasure of having my prostate checked.  My first stop after the doctor's office was Goodwill where I picked up a George Michael CD.  Coincidence?  A’s trying to get George Michael for Coliseum appearance - Oakland Athletics : The Drumbeat.  "the Oakland outfielder has brought Michael’s sax-heavy ballad “Careless Whisper” back into cultural relevance. Reddick is using the song as his walkup music"
  • This kid's got a future.  In what I don't know, but he's going to be very popular with the ladies: Boy Pulls Off The Smoothest Foul Ball Trick To Impress Girl Behind Him.  "One kid at last night's Blue Jays-Rangers game got the best of both worlds: An MLB foul ball and the attention of a girl sitting in the row behind him." 
  • Here's a nice story...well, after we found out the kid who got hit on the noggin was going to be okay: Carlos Gomez of Milwaukee Brewers visits child struck by ball - ESPN.  "The boy, who has not been identified but was said to be 8 years old, was sitting behind Atlanta's first-base dugout Tuesday night when he was hit by Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez's liner in the seventh inning. Gomez looked toward the stands with concern, while Braves pitcher Julio Teheran crouched on the mound and grimaced. The boy was hustled up the aisle and later transported to a hospital. "I wanted to see him. I wanted to talk to him. Today I had the opportunity to go, and at least mentally I feel good. And I can perform today. Because I was so upset." Two members of the Braves, third baseman Chris Johnson and catcher Gerald Laird, went to the hospital right after the game. The child was asleep but Johnson dropped off a bat signed by the entire Atlanta team, while Laird signed one of his gloves for the youngster."
  • A look at MLB's new player motion tracking system - Ben Reiter -  "This season, MLB's digital technology division is testing a new camera-and-radar-based system in three ballparks — Citi Field in New York City, Miller Park in Milwaukee and Target Field in Minneapolis — that measures and tracks with extreme precision almost every movement players make: Their exact positioning, how fast they run, how quickly they field and release balls, how hard they hit and throw them, the lengths of their leads and the efficiency of the paths fielders take to fly balls. Bob Bowman, the president and CEO of MLBAM, expects to have the system up and running in all 30 stadiums by Opening Day 2015."