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Thursday Halolinks: Garrett Richards strikes Houston, Zimmer passes

Garrett Richards ended the Halo's 4-game losing streak in historic fashion on a night when baseball loses a familiar face.

Hulton Archive

Our long, tragic nightmare is finally over -- the Angels' four-game losing streak ended when the Halos shutout the Houston Astros.  On a night when franchise-player Mike Trout was out of the line-up again due to a sore back, and aged Raul Ibanez manned  left field, a pissed off Garrett Richards mowed through the Houston batting order.  Let's have some Halolinks:

  • Wednesday night's game was Richards' best game ever.  According to the Bill James Game Score, Richards' posted a 83, matching teammate Jered Weaver's brilliant game against the same Houston team on May 21st.  (Here's a list of 2014's top games): Los Angeles Angels at Houston Astros - June 4, 2014 -  "Richards pitched eight shutout innings against the Astros, in a start that almost singlehandedly snapped the Angels' season-long four-game losing streak. He struck out nine batters -- including seven in the first four innings, and three of them on nine pitches in the bottom of the second -- and walked none. He gave up only four hits. And he threw 80 of his 107 pitches for strikes, giving him the highest strike percentage for an Angels starter throwing at least six innings this season. As Astros manager Bo Porter said: "We ran into a buzz saw with the other guy tonight."
  • Angels' Richards strikes back, baffles Astros - The Orange County Register.  "Manager Mike Scioscia also said he saw a different Richards in the days leading up to this start. "He was (ticked)," Scioscia said. "He didn't take that outing in Oakland lying down. He worked hard and wanted to get back out there on the mound and he pitched a great game." Richards snapped the Angels’ four-game losing streak, one that he began with his disaster in Oakland. On Friday night, the first game of a showdown series with the first-place A’s, Richards gave up five runs and lasted only 10 batters, getting knocked out before finishing the first inning."
  • As Rev pointed out, Richards' perfect second inning was historic: Garrett Richards pitches immaculate inning, fourth of the 2014 season - Yahoo Sports.  "For the second time this week and fourth time this season, an MLB pitcher joined the immaculate inning club. It's an elite group. Before Wednesday, only 70 pitchers since 1889 had accomplished the immaculate inning — three batters, three strikeouts, nine pitches. Make it 71. Los Angeles Angels pitcher Garrett Richards achieved immaculateness in the second inning of his team's win over the Houston Astros."
  • The latest in the "WTF is Scioscia thinking" department is his continued play of Raul Ibanez: Angels Afterthoughts: Reading tea leaves - Orange County Register.  "The Move – who to go down when the Angels call up an extra pitcher – is likely to be made sometime this week (but not Thursday) and Mike Scioscia may have given a clue when he made out his lineup tonight. Assuming that releasing Raul Ibanez is not an option – and my sense is that it isn’t, not now anyway – the choice is between C.J. Cron and Grant Green. With Ibanez in the lineup because the Astros started a righty, Scioscia had room for either Cron or Green, not both. He chose Cron, even though that meant having Ibanez in left field instead of DH. Take that for what it's worth."  And: Los Angeles Angels at Houston Astros - June 5, 2014 -  "Angels designated hitter Raul Ibanez batted seventh on Wednesday, the lowest in the order he's hit against an opposing right-hander this season -- but he was in the lineup nonetheless. The 42-year-old left-handed hitter entered Wednesday's game with a .144/.255/.266 slash line, and has a couple of hot-hitting young players -- Grant Green and C.J. Cron -- competing with him for playing time. Angels manager Mike Scioscia wants to keep giving Ibanez opportunities, but it'll probably come lower in the lineup until he gets going. "The talent is still there," Scioscia said. "He just hasn't found the timing, so you want to keep giving him those opportunities."  Yikes.
  • In case you were wondering, and I know you were: Trout remains out, but MRI on back clean -  "The Angels' center fielder was told he merely has inflammation in his mid-left back, an ailment that isn't expected to land him on the disabled list."
  • I don't usually get excited about rookie call-ups, especially relievers, but for some reason Cam Bedrosian excites me...on a baseball level: Baseball Prospectus - The Call-Up: Cam Bedrosian.  "Immediate Impact: Given the state of the Angels bullpen, Bedrosian will be asked to contribute in a big way immediately. He’s getting more out of his arsenal now than ever before, but he could learn quickly what happens at the major-league level when a pitcher whose stuff can get flat misses his spot up. Look for Bedrosian to compete using his fastball-curveball combination while mixing in the hard slider to keep opposite-handed batters off-balance. The fastball’s success will make or break him."
  • Within this post, Jeff Fletcher takes a look at today's baseball draft: Trout being cautious, though back problem isn't serious - The Orange County Register.  "The Angels’ first pick last year was 59th (Hunter Green) and in 2012 they didn’t pick until 114th (R.J. Alvarez). The last time they had a pick in the top 15 was 2004, when they took Jered Weaver with the 12th pick. The last time the Angels picked in the first round, they got C.J. Cron with the 17th pick in 2011. Hall of Famer Jim Rice, Chase Utley, Stephen Drew, Scott Kazmir and Chris Carpenter are among the top players selected with pick No.15. In the 49 previous years of the draft, 23 of the No. 15 picks reached the majors, including 16 for more than 100 games."
  • 5 things to know about the MLB draft - Yahoo Sports.  "Some of the best picks in baseball draft history have come a lot later than the first round. Piazza, arguably the game's greatest slugging catcher, is the poster boy of this category. He waited until the Dodgers, as a favor to Lasorda (his godfather), took him in the 62nd round in 1988 - that's 22 rounds later than the draft even goes these days. Hall of Fame second baseman and current Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg was a 20th-round pick by Philadelphia in 1978. Eleven-time Gold Glove first baseman Keith Hernandez went in the 41st round to St. Louis in 1971. Other notable late-round picks include: Mark Buehrle (38th round in 1998), Jorge Posada (24th in 1990), John Smoltz (22nd in 1985), Don Mattingly (19th in 1979), Albert Pujols (13th in 1999) and Nolan Ryan (12th in 1965)." Getting to know some of the top prospects in the 2014 draft - Yahoo Sports
  • A couple of years ago, when my daughter was in kindergarten, I used to volunteer in her class for a couple hours a week.  It was nothing too hard, just basically keeping the kids under some sort of control.  Each week, just before I got there, the kids had a group of 3 or 4 older ladies who would come into the class and read to the kids.  It was a group of grandmas who read stories while the kids sat on the floor.  To me, this is what Don Zimmer was to the teams he coached for...the wise, old grandpa who helped keep the kids from putting paste in their hair. Baseball legend Don Zimmer dies at 83 - ESPN.  "Zimmer was still working for the Tampa Bay Rays as a senior adviser when he died Wednesday at a hospital in nearby Dunedin. He had been in a rehabilitation center since having seven hours of heart surgery in mid-April."
  • Without Don Zimmer, we wouldn't have Zimbear: