Although the Angels have dropped two straight to Baltimore, let's not forget, this Orioles team is leading the AL East division, four games ahead of the Yankees and Blue Jays. I'm not trying to make excuses for the Angels losses, as good teams should at least win half of their games against other good teams, but this team does have a 55-44 record and don't suck...like the Rangers. Here are your no more losing Halolinks:
- There's a saying that states, "good pitching will beat good hitting". I'm not so sure this is always true, but something has happened to the Angels offense against two, shall we say, not so top-flight pitchers. The Halos had had a 10-series home win streak going until last night. Baltimore Orioles at Los Angeles Angels - July 22, 2014 - MLB.com. "Twenty-four hours after Bud Norris gave up one earned run in 6 2/3 innings to put his ERA at 0.52 in five career starts against the Angels, Miguel Gonzalez allowed two runs in 7 2/3 innings, moving to 3-1 with a 2.23 ERA in four career starts against the Angels. Gonzalez was one out away from completing eight innings for the third straight time when Mike Trout cut the deficit in half with a two-run shot to center field, giving him a team-leading 24 homers and 76 RBIs -- one shy of Miguel Cabrera for the Major League lead. But Orioles closer Zach Britton recorded his second straight 1-2-3 ninth inning, and the Angels remained two games back of the A's in the American League West." Baltimore Orioles at Los Angeles Angels - July 23, 2014 - MLB.com. "In the first two games of this series between American League playoff contenders, Baltimore has proven immune to the dominating advantage the Angels have held at their home stadium this year. Now they just have to hope Anaheim native Chris Tillman can finish off his hometown team on Wednesday to complete the sweep. Baltimore's win on Tuesday snapped the Angels' franchise record of 10 straight home series victories."
- One of the reasons the Oriole pitchers did so well is they stayed consistent. Not consistent with their pitches, but consistent with their pitching routine:MLB Recap - Baltimore Orioles at Los Angeles Angels - Jul 22, 2014 - CBSSports.com. "For the second successive night, the Baltimore Orioles got a strong performance from a starting pitcher who spent the All-Star break in the minor leagues and stayed on his regular routine. It worked for Miguel Gonzalez, just like it did for Bud Norris. Gonzalez took a two-hit shutout into the eighth inning, Jonathan Schoop hit a home run and J.J. Hardy hit two RBI doubles to lead the Orioles to a 4-2 victory against the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday night. Gonzalez (5-5) was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk, where he was optioned on July 11 so that he wouldn't get stale after consecutive eight-inning no-decisions. Norris, who was optioned to Double-A Bowie on July 10, beat the Angels 4-2 on Monday night in his return to the rotation. "We're fortunate they both had [minor league] options," manager Buck Showalter said. "I think Bud was a day away from not being able to get optioned because of his service time, so it was a good catch by our front office." See, it's a team sport...and the team includes the entire organization.
- Three hits...from two players...one just recently recalled from the minors: Orioles put dent in Angels' bullpen - The Orange County Register. "Mike Trout made things interesting with a two-out homer in the eighth off Orioles starter Miguel Gonzalez, driving a curveball just past the high right-center wall. But the Angels had only two other hits on the night, singles by Efren Navarro." Also in the OC Register is this interesting tidbit about Mike Trout and steals: Stealing bases a timing issue for Trout - The Orange County Register. "In the longest barren stretch of his major-league career, four weeks have passed since Trout’s last stolen base, although he has been put into motion a few times since, including on the pitch that Albert Pujols hit for a tying RBI double against the Mariners on Sunday. Trout remains 10 for 10 on attempts in 2014, and an amazing 96 for 108 in his big-league career. The last time he was caught was Sept. 6, 2011. Put another way, the Angels have won 70 regular-season games since Trout has been caught."
- I thought this was interesting about the number of pitchers who have gone through the Angels' bullpen: Since April, bullpen shows mound of improvement - angels.com. "After nearly four months and a handful of other candidates, Joe Smith and Kevin Jepsen have finally found each other. The two Angels relievers are throwing partners now, bonded by the commonality of being two of only three bullpen members -- along with Fernando Salas -- remaining from the Opening Day roster. Jepsen went through three other throwing partners, Smith had four of his own, and the Angels' front office created a revolving door in the bullpen, using 29 different pitchers through the first 16 weeks and making three critical acquisitions in less than a month."
- No hometown discounts: Orioles' Tillman right at home in Anaheim - The Orange County Register. "Tillman enters his start in Wednesday’s series finale with a 2-0 record and 1.84 ERA against the team he grew up a "diehard fan" of." Tillman was born in Anaheim and is a graduate of Fountain Valley High School.
- Ian Stewart Accepts Outright Assignment – MLB Trade Rumors. "Angels infielder Ian Stewart has accepted his assignment to Triple-A rather than electing free agency, the club announced. Stewart was recently designated and then outrighted by the Halos after seeing his first MLB action since 2012."
- Thankfully, the A's were beaten by some Hoes, and the Angels remain two games out of first: MLB Recap - Houston Astros at Oakland Athletics - Jul 22, 2014 - CBSSports.com. "L.J. Hoes hit a home run with one out in the top of the 12th, and the Astros beat the A's 3-2 on Tuesday night for their first victory in four tries at the Coliseum this year."
- Could Cliff Lee be headed to Anaheim? I mentioned in yesterday's links that I felt the Agnels lacked the prospects to land the Phillies starter, but one never knows what could happen when Ruben Amaro is involved in trade-talks: Phillies trade rumors: Cliff Lee's no-trade list revealed - MLB Daily Dish. "Lee can block a trade to 21 teams as part of his partial no-trade clause, and Crasnick reveals that he can not block a deal to the Braves, Marlins, Indians, Astros, Twins, Mets, Padres, Nationals and Rays." "Did y’all get that on tape?" Cliff Lee ends postgame media session with loud fart - HardballTalk
- Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art— Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night: Why Do Angel Fans Flash Their Cell Phone Lights - Trout Baseball. "A seemingly spontaneous fan reaction has begun to take place at Angel Stadium in 2014. Fans flashing their cell phones by turning on the strobe light function on their smart phone LED lights. This doesn’t seem to be coordinated at all by anyone or any event. Angel Stadium officials via social media have requested that fans only do this during the Away Team at bats."
- First, acquire a player you need: Yankees Acquire Chase Headley – MLB Trade Rumors. "The Yankees announced that they have officially acquired Chase Headley from the Padres. The Yankees will send Yangervis Solarte and minor league right-hander Rafael De Paula to the Padres in return for Headley and $1MM."Put that player into the current game: Texas Rangers vs. New York Yankees - Recap - July 22, 2014 - ESPN. "Headley came through with a storybook swing at the stroke of midnight in his Yankees debut, hitting a game-winning single in the 14th inning to give New York a 2-1 victory over the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night."
- "Cuz I'm happy!" Oh wait, that's a Pharrell song...Jack White And The Chicago Cubs Experience. "It's the party of the century and Jack White is turned all the way up to 11 for it."
- Speaking of Cubs, they DFA'd a player who used to be pretty decent...Darwin Barney designated for assignment by Chicago Cubs - ESPN Chicago. "Barney hit .276 in his first full year in the major leagues in 2011 but his average steadily declined. He hit .254 in 2012 and just .208 in 2013. He lost his starting job to Bonifacio at the end of spring training this season and amassed just 204 at-bats this year."
- I'm sure Tulo is going to light up that DL. That's what the best player in the game would normally do: Colorado Rockies place Troy Tulowitzki on disabled list with hip strain - ESPN. "The 29-year-old All-Star shortstop was hurt while running out a grounder at Pittsburgh on Saturday night. He was held out of the next two games before being placed on the disabled list, retroactive to Sunday."
- I want my workload to be reduced, but get paid the same amount: Rangers' Yu Darvish Pushes for a Six-Man Pitching Rotation - NYTimes.com. "But Darvish said he believed that a shift to a six-man rotation by major league teams could significantly reduce the stress on all those elbow ligaments by giving pitchers a critical extra day to rest and limiting their starts. Darvish outlined his thoughts on the subject to Japanese news media outlets during the All-Star Game in Minneapolis last week, but he declined to expand on it further on Monday."
- Dumbest idea of the day: As shifts suppress offense, time has come to consider a rule change - SI.com. "Support of an "illegal defense" rule – or at least the consideration of it – is gaining some traction in baseball. Such a rule might stipulate, for instance, that you cannot have three infielders on one side of second base. A shortstop would be able to shift as far as directly behind second base on a lefthanded hitter, but no farther."