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Thursday Halolinks: Angels always have a chance to win

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With 31 come-from-behind wins, this team is never out of it.

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Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

I'm sure you've probably heard the old saying before, "good teams always find a way to win" or something along those lines.  Basically, the point that's trying to be made is the more a team wins, the better that team must be...and if that's true, this Angels team must be really good.  They lead the league in come-from-behind wins with 31.  You know what's crazy?  The club has won 60 games so far this season (they're 60-40).  So that means in more than half of their wins they were losing but were able to score enough runs (and keep the other team from scoring even more) to take the lead and win.  How is that happening?  My guess would be the team's improved relief pitching.  The Angels are right at the league average in save% at 68%, and have 13 blown saves.  Yet, as much as was written about how bad last season's bullpen was, that team only had 17 blown saves the entire season.  I haven't gone back and looked at when this season's blown saves occurred, but I'm guessing that most of them were during the first two months of the season when Ernesto Frieri was the club's ninth inning guy.  If that's true, with a more competent bullpen, those 60 wins could easily be 65.  Come from behind victories are cool, but I'm thinking the "new and improved" pen has this team prepped to go on an even better run.

  • Jered Weaver, stud baseball player: Baltimore Orioles at Los Angeles Angels - July 23, 2014 - MLB.com.  "Weaver scattered six hits, gave up a couple of two-out runs -- on a grounder that sneaked through the infield and a blooper that fell in the outfield -- and walked none during a six-strikeout performance. The veteran right-hander has now given up six runs in 21 innings over his last three starts, dropping his ERA to 3.43. On a night when his signature changeup abandoned him, his fastball command continued to get better. His average fastball has jumped from the 87- to 88-mph range in his last three starts. On Wednesday he hit 90 mph three times and 89 mph six times.  Within this article is a quote that seems to show what is really going on with this team:  "It's nice to have a team like this again, where everyone's together, picking each other up, cheering each other on, and that's what we're doing," Aybar said. "We're playing together, like we used to."  Humm, "like we used to".
  • I don't think throwing harder makes much of a difference with Weaver's success, but it is a good indication that he is healthy...and that's very important to the Halo success: Angels take a walk on winning side - The Orange County Register.  "Jered Weaver turned in another solid start, striking out six in eight innings while issuing no walks. He allowed six hits, five of which were singles. The Orioles got to him for one run in the third and one in the sixth, but he limited the damage and worked efficiently, throwing 72 strikes and 105 pitches in all. It was only the fourth time in 22 starts this season Weaver finished eight innings."
  • You know what's weird?  Although Street allowed a base runner, I was never worried he'd get the save.  And that's so much different than when K-Rod was the closer, or Fuentes, or Frieri.  I don't know why I had that confidence in him, but it sure feels good: That's one: Huston Street gets first save for Angels - angels.com.  "Street, aquired on Friday to serve as closer, finished Wednesday's 3-2 win over Baltimore with a 17-pitch ninth. He issued a one-out walk to Chris Davis but struck out J.J. Hardy and Jonathan Schoop to end the game."
  • Angels Afterthoughts: Aybar and Green: Angels Blog: Orange County Register.  "Utility man Grant Green said X-rays on the lumbar strain in his back showed nothing abnormal. He expects to be fit to return to major-league action as soon as his 15-day disabled list stint is up August 7."  Angels bring back Cron from minors after just two games - The Orange County Register.  "Cron was optioned to the Bees on Saturday to create room on the 25-man roster for newly acquired closer Huston Street. But Cron returned to the Angels on Wednesday when Grant Green was placed on the 15-day disabled list. In just two games with Salt Lake, Cron went 5 for 8 with one RBI and two runs scored."
  • Trout waiting for right time to unleash speed - angels.com.  "Scioscia said that Trout has been in motion a decent amount but that balls have either been put in play or fouled off. Scioscia also said that Trout's lack of steals is not due to Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton hitting behind him in the order." Dont_believe_you_anchorman
  • With success comes more coverage:Richard Justice: Angels have morphed into a monster team - angels.com.  "And now, just when some of us thought it might never happen, the Angels have morphed into a monster team. They're tied with the A's for the Major League lead in runs. Their bullpen is deep and talented after the acquisition of closer Huston Street from the Padres. And they have the second-best winning percentage and second-highest run differential in the Majors."
  • This is going to be a great game: Tigers-Angels Preview - Yahoo Sports.  "Both right-handers will try for a 12th victory Thursday night when the AL Central-leading Tigers look to avoid a seventh consecutive loss in Anaheim. Though Scherzer (11-3, 3.34 ERA) is 3-0 with a 1.87 ERA in his last five starts, Richards (11-2, 2.47) is 7-0 with a 1.25 ERA in his last nine."
  • Scary moment: Ruben Tejada Leaves Game After Taking Fastball To The Skull.  "Ruben Tejada left today's Mets-Mariners game in Seattle after being hit in the head by a 93 mph fastball from Taijuan Walker." 
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  • They just keep on winning.  Bastards: A's Cespedes homers twice, hurts thumb in win - Yahoo Sports.  "The Oakland left fielder hit two homers and drove in a career-high-tying five runs, leading the A's to a 9-7 victory against the Houston Astros at the O.co Coliseum."
  • Detroit gets a little better: Texas Rangers deal closer Joakim Soria to Detroit Tigers - ESPN Dallas.  "The Texas Rangers traded closer Joakim Soria to the Detroit Tigers for two pitching prospects Wednesday night. The deal is pending physicals and sends rookie right-hander Corey Knebel and right-handed minor league prospect Jake Thompson to Texas."
  • Trade rumors...if I were a betting man, I'd have money on Bartolo Colon returning to Anaheim: The Grand Slam: Bartolo Colon carries perfect game bid into seventh inning - Yahoo Sports.  "In what could possibly be his final start in a New York Mets uniform, Bartolo Colon gave interested teams plenty of motivation to make a deal for his services. The 41-year-old right-hander retired each of the first 20 Seattle Mariners he faced on Wednesday afternoon before Robinson Cano busted up the perfect game bid with a single. Colon ended up working into the eighth and allowed a pair of runs on three hits, but picked up the victory in New York's 3-2 win."  NY Mets trade deadline notes: The difference between Bartolo Colon and Daniel Murphy; Phillies' Jimmy Rollins on his future; Chase Headley arrives, wins game for Yankees - NY Daily News.  "Bartolo Colon could easily be pitching for another team next week, if another team will take him and most of his salary. And at this point, we would consider it an upset if were a Met beyond the winter meetings; every indication leads us to believe that the question is far more "when" than "if."
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  • So Who’ve Been the Victims — and Non-Victims — of Framing? - FanGraphs Baseball.  "So when people talk about framing, they talk primarily about catchers. Sometimes, they’ll talk about pitchers, often talking about specific batteries. Barely ever do people talk about the hitters. You know, the other people dealing with balls and strikes. The victims, as it were, in the case of good receiving. Or the non-victims, in the other case."
  • The next time I write something of any significance it's going to be about what happens when pitchers leavea the Angels' organization.  I have a feeling it'll read something like this: Pitchers who leave the Diamondbacks get better. Pitchers they acquire get worse. - HardballTalk.  "Specifically, how good pitchers who come to Arizona tend to do poorly, seemingly poor pitchers who leave Arizona tend to do well and seemingly poor pitchers who stay in Arizona don’t seem to improve."  Here's the referenced article: Arizona Diamondbacks must ask: Is bad pitching luck really about luck? "McCarthy isn't the only pitcher the Diamondbacks couldn't salvage. Among Ian Kennedy, Tyler Skaggs and Trevor Bauer, none has become a dominant major-league starter with his new club, but all are pitching better — and throwing harder — since leaving. What went wrong while they were here? Like McCarthy, right-handers Trevor Cahill, Randall Delgado and Addison Reed all joined the Diamondbacks and have had their results suffer."
  • Ha-ha: In a History of One League, an Ode to Watching the Minors – The Hardball Times.  "I remember: "Hey, Fielder," someone shouts at the 20-year-old round mound of Prince, "One man to a pair of pants!"   Because he's fat.  Fat guy jokes.  Almost as funny as fart jokes.