The Angels hosted the Atlanta Braves for three games back in 2008 (winning 1 of 3), and again in 2011 (winning 2 out of 3). But you have to go back to 2005 to find the last time the Angels played in Atlanta, where they won 2 of 3 right about this very time of year. Considering that the Braves are building a new stadium
as far from their black fan base as close to their future economic growth opportunities as they can get, this will probably be the last time that the Halos compete in the shiny, newer, Turner Field.
And, watch out, the Aaron Harang that the Angels beat the hell out of in 2013 when he was with the Mariners, is not the same Aaron Harang now that he is pitching for the Braves. Oh Lucky Day!
- Mike Trout: Mike Trout Resurgence update. From May 18th through June 11th, Trout is batting .362 / .422 / .638 / 1.059. he has 25 hits (including 5 doubles, a triple and 4 home runs) and 10 walks against 15 K's. And the whatever-happened-to-Mike-Trout? articles have all disappeared. Trout is carrying a 3.9 fWAR to date (3.6 bWAR), and the Angels have played 65 games. that projects out to 9.72 fWAR on the season (9.1 bWAR), but only if Trout were to have 2 1/2 more slumps just like he already had this year. If one assumes that trout will NOT have that much slump in his 2014 future, Trout will finish above 10 fWAR and bWAR again. This recent run has already put him back in the hunt in pretty much every offensive category in the AL. Trout is back in the Top 10 in Runs Scored, Doubles, RBI's, Walks, On Base Percentage, Slugging Percentage and OPS. And he is in the Top 20 in Hits, Triples, Home Runs, and Batting Average.
- Ernesto Frieri: Frieri has reclaimed one of Scioscia's cherished Roles: 9th inning Closer. It's true that he still throws pretty much nothing but a fastball, but it's also true that this approach is now working for him much better that it was at season's start. "He’s now settled back into his ninth-inning role, having allowed just four earned runs in 19⅓ innings. In three straight games from June 7 to June 9, Frieri closed each out, allowing just one hit while striking out seven of the 11 batters he faced." Life could be worse than having two effective arms (along with Smith) to call upon late in close games. And the middle relief guys aren't such hacks, after all (ignoring, for the sake of sanity, the hot mess that is Fernando Salas).
- Cam Bedrosian: Cam is going home, to pitch in front of friends and family. And his family, of course, includes the pretty damned good Steve Bedrosian. And father Steve's advice? "Pitch with your hair on fire". I like it! As it happens, that is the key to Cam's success: stop worrying about managing his pitches and just let 'er rip. "Thinking it could help his control issues and knowing that Steve [Bedrosian, his father] made a similar transition in his career, the Angels moved Cam to the bullpen after two bad starts in 2013....Steve said the move worked like a light switch. His son no longer had to worry about going seven innings and keeping his pitch count low. No more conserving himself. He could just go out there and let the fastball fly....After a short stint with Inland Empire, Cam spent 10 dominating weeks in Double A, ringing up 30 strikeouts with just six walks in 18 innings."
- Success Breeds Contentment: Win a few games and people stop saying bad things about you. Funny how that is. "...it is with some confidence – and in deference to an old primate's false hopes – that we report the Angels are beginning to look a little like his Angels again. Through 64 games, that ending on Collin Cowgill's 14th-inning home run Tuesday night, they had posted their best record – 36-28 – since 2008."
- Memes: It's kind of a bummer that this week's flurry of baserunning boners, those that enabled Yoenis Cespedes to showcase his cannon, has resulted in an Internet thing: greatest throws in history. Even more heartbreaking is how this particular list keeps coming back to Angels, before and after but never in a moment of Halo Glory.
- Bits & Pieces: From official team game notes, "Since April 21, Erick Aybar’s .326 (59/181) clip is tops by a Major League shortstop (min. 175 AB) while his 29 RBI rank second among MLB SS (30; Troy Tulowitzki)" ...........Don't look now, but at 36 wins the Angels have the 5th most wins in all of Major League Baseball. 1st are the Giants (43 wins), then the Brewers and A's (40), and the Blue Jays (39)............Anybody else notice that nobody is screaming at Kevin Jepsen this season?
This Date In Baseball History: 1905 - Christy Mathewson pitches his second no-hitter..........1913 - Christy Mathewson celebrates the anniversary of pitching his second no-hitter, by pitching the 300th win of his career..........1924 - Taking a page out of Manny Machado's future book, Bob Meusel responds to being plunked by a pitch by throwing his bat at pitcher Bert Cole. Both benches clear, fans join in, then the police. 30 minutes later, with the chaos still ongoing, the game is called a forfeit..........1947 - The inaugural Hall of Fame game is played. Even though it is shortened to just 6 innings due to rain Ted Williams still clobbers two home runs...........1948 - Yankee faithful celebrate the Silver Anniversary of Yankee Stadium, and rise to sing a chorus of Auld Land Syne as Babe Ruth's number is retired. The Babe will die in two months..........1957 - Don Drysdale hits Johnny Logan in the ribs with a pitch, clearing the benches and getting both players ejected..........1957 - Art Ditmar of the Yankees, throws a pitch behind the head of White Sox Larry Doby, resulting in a brawl that includes fisticuffs from Billy Martin, who came rushing back in during the lull after the initial exchange. You may be noticing a trend, as Doby, Martin and two others were ejected..........1973 - The long-term Dodger infield of Garvey, Russell, Lopes and Cey play together for the first time..........1973 - THE Doc Ellis does something else weird in his career. He walks Dick Dietz, without ever throwing him a single pitch. Ellis goes 2-0 on Sonny Jackson and is lifted for reliever Ramon Hernandez. Jackson is then immediately pinch-hit for, bringing in Dietz. Hernandez throws two more balls and Dietz takes first base, but the walk is officially assigned by rule to Ellis...........1998 - the Angels set a franchise record with 8 doubles in one game, besting the Rangers 18 - 6...........1999 - Angels pitcher Omar Olivares ties an MLB record as he plunks four separate Diamondbacks in one game. Olivares is only the 19th pitcher to do this. The 18th pitcher to do this was Steve Sparks, who accomplished his feat just three weeks earlier, while pitching for the Angels..........2001 - The Yankees, having decided to play by their own rules and remove the lower portion of the screen on their left-field foul pole for the benefit of fan viewing angles, lose a game to the Expos on a homer that wasn't, as proven by video replay. the screen is immediately replaced..........2003 - Roger Clemens, matching Christy Mathewson, records the 300th win of his career...........2010 - The Angels complete a 14 game road trip by going 11-3, closing out the trip with their first-ever sweep at Dodger Stadium. Jered Weaver gets the chance to strike out his older brother, Jeff.
By the way, yesterday (the 12th) was the anniversary of the very first interleague game. That first game occurred in 1997 between the Rangers and Giants.
- Rangers Fans are Idiots: There. I found it. The one thing that I would possibly find to be worse than the stadium scoreboard operators constantly having to coach the home town fans in how to clap and cheer and make noise in support of the team. Yep, I found it, and it has happened in Arlington. It's scoreboard operators having to tell their home town fans to not do something, lest they keep injuring themselves. It turns out that Rangers fans can't even be trusted to ignore the game at hand safely, as they keep causing injuries in the stands while doing the wave. I'm hoping that it is just an inside joke there in Texas, because you just can't make this shit up.
- Blacks in Baseball: It's true that American born blacks are not as represented in Major League baseball as they once were.Hardball Times dives into this with Part 1 of The Declining Share of African-American Baseball Players. It's a lot of demographics work. I am not qualified to comment on the extrapolations being done, but one section struck a chord: "The biggest drop in expected player turnout to actual player turnout was in California............the share of players from California by decade has remained roughly constant, but players have come from Southern California more over time, and fewer players have come from the Bay Area, where the share of black children born was relatively higher............Orange County produced only two players born in the 1940s but has had 68 players born in the 1970s and 1980s, and it is one of the wealthiest and most white areas in the country. Only one of the 103 players born in Orange County between 1940 and 1989 was black...........Historically, many California-born players have come from the Bay Area and Los Angeles County, where there are large shares of black residents, but these have given way to wealthier counties and (relative to the Bay Area) mostly warmer counties. The steadily rising share of players from Orange County over time is symbolic of the trend within California and in the nation overall, as many of the most talented and wealthiest youth players have had the opportunity to hone their skills year-round." IN other words, it's the economics, stupid.
Some of you know I have been bitching about the missing Jim Fregosi patch on our uniform all season. Notice how quick the Rays are to show their respects for the late Don Zimmer. That's how a Big League Franchise does things, folks.........In the odd event that some of you get distracted by the World Cup now underway in Brazil, here is something brilliant upon which you may feast your senses..........Jerry Dipoto fan boys (and that includes me), should never forget that at one time Jerry really wanted to get this guy to save our bullpen..........Mowing grass is hard work, Part II..........Texas Rangers scoreboard operators, trolling the Miami Heat..........Ewww. I love me my off-the-wall bobbleheads, but this Jason Werth version is more than creepy..........Baseball pick-off plays, as portrayed by the campus Thespian Club..........With the NBA and NHL almost exhausted of their seasons, baseball can celebrate summer?..........Sabremetrics hits the world of baseball cards!...........Go ahead, Verlander, stay confident. It seems to be working out well for you so far.
And now, being the full service weekend linkage institution that we are, here is the obligatory moment we take out of each Friday...for beer...
Friday: Grunions are running in SoCal, FWIW. In my day, that was an all-night beer and bonfire fest. It's probably turned into some reservation only, ticket required, 5 fish limit by flashlight only and in controlled areas cordoned off far from private residences. Alcohol prohibited. No flash photography............Live Oak Music Festival is going on in Santa Ynez Valley.
Saturday: Barrelhouse Brewing does a Tap Takeover at Draught's Restaurant & Bar in Thousand Oaks..........LQ Wine in La Quinta celebrates Father's Day Weekend with a beer tasting event..........The Monterey Beer Festival is running at he Fairgrounds in, of all places, Monterey............Sonoma is doing a Sonoma Parlor Chicken BBQ and Microbrew Festat The Historic Plaza...........Live Oak Music Festival is going on in Santa Ynez Valley...........The Playboy Jazz Festival runs today and tomorrow at The Hollywood Bowl.
Sunday: Pyramid Alehouse, Brewery and Restaurant in Berkeley is hosting a Father's Day All-You-Can-Eat BBQ, while their sister store in Walnut Creek is doing a Father's Day BBQ Cook-off. Beer shall be served at both venues............Live Oak Music Festival is going on in Santa Ynez Valley............The Playboy Jazz Festival runs today at The Hollywood Bowl.
BEER BONUS: The World Cup of Beer!