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Thursday Halolinks: Angels likely to be quiet during trade deadline

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It seems that the Angels have already done all of their dealings.

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Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Perception is such a funny thing.  Prior to the All-Star break, the perception was that it would only be a matter of time before the hot-hitting Halos would overtake the A's and move into first place in the AL West.  The perception was its hitting was fantastic, while the improved pitching staff would be good enough to keep the club in the game.  Now, since the hitters have cooled off and the starters have faltered, the perception has changed to that of "subdued panic".  Maybe those hitters aren't as good as they showed earlier this month.  Perhaps the starters won't be able to prevent enough runs for the weaker offense to overcome.  Maybe this team is only a wildcard-type of club.  Of course, this all might be my fragile mind's way of dealing with a couple of losses against some very good teams.  Enter the Halolinks of perception:

  • Ah, so it's not just me.  Jeff Fletcher has noticed the cooling off period too: Angels attempt to re-ignite offense fails in loss to Baltimore - The Orange County Register.  "It seems like so long ago, when the Angels slugged their way into the All-Star break as a finely tuned offensive machine, leading the majors in runs. Now, after the four-day break and 12 games into the second half, the Angels are scraping their way through a collective offensive malaise."
  • Oh look, someone else has perceived a reduction in the Angels' offense over the last two weeks: Los Angeles Angels at Baltimore Orioles - July 30, 2014 - MLB.com.  "The Angels are still only 2 1/2 games out in the American League West, and they still hold a comfortable cushion for the second-best record in the Majors -- they lead the third-place Yankees and Mariners by three games -- despite splitting their first 12 games since the All-Star break. But the pitching staff has very little margin for error these days, because the Halos' offense hasn't produced at the elite level it's capable of. The Angels finished the first half averaging a Major League-best 5.06 runs per game while sporting a .267/.334/.427 slash line. They've begun the second half by hitting .224/.284/.333 with an average of 3.25 runs."
  • Well there's the problem, the engine needs a tune-up: Angels' timing troubles contribute to slump out of the break - LA Times.  "In his last nine games, Trout, is five for 34 (.147) with two runs batted in and 13 strikeouts, his average slipping from .313 to .299. With the Angels trailing, 4-3, runners on second and third and two outs in the fifth inning Wednesday, Trout struck out on Gausman's 1-and 2 split-fingered fastball. "It was a pretty good splitty with some late movement," Trout said. "My timing is a little bit off right now. I'm picking up the ball late. The pitches I should be hitting, I'm seeing them late and rushing my swing."  Is it just me, or does anyone else think Trout should swing at one of those first-pitch fastballs at least once a game?  You know, ambush the starter with a healthy hack.
  • Yeah, like this: Richards' progress stalls; Scioscia shrugs it off - The Orange County Register.  "Two of the runs Wednesday came on a fastball that Adam Jones belted for a two-run homer in the first. Richards said Jones "ambushed" him by swinging at the first pitch. The other two came on balls that left-handed hitters David Lough and Ryan Flaherty poked to the opposite field in the fourth. "They got enough to keep them fair," Richards said. "They were good pitches. Whatever." Manager Mike Scioscia isn’t too concerned with Richards’ hiccup: "You’re not going to always put up the zeroes you want, but he pitched a good game and hopefully we’ll support him a little better and give him a better outcome his next start."
  • Could it be our perception of Richards as a good pitcher was wrong?  Angels muster only 4 hits in 4-3 loss to Orioles - Yahoo Sports.  "Despite giving up a two-run homer to Adam Jones in the first inning and two more runs in the fourth on opposite-field hits by David Lough and Ryan Flaherty, Richards (11-3) arguably pitched well to win. Instead, the right-hander absorbed his second successive defeat following a seven-game run that lasted nearly seven weeks."  No, I don't think so. 
  • Oh great, Bud Norris: Angels-Orioles Preview - Yahoo Sports.  "They appear to have the right man on the hill since Norris (8-7, 3.94 ERA) is 4-0 with a 0.52 ERA in five career starts versus Los Angeles. He's looking to beat the Angels for the second time in two weeks after limiting them to two runs - one earned - over 6 2-3 innings in a 4-2 road win July 21."
  • In case you haven't heard, today is baseball's non-waive trade deadline.  It doesn't look like the Angels will be very active, but you never know, maybe a Colon, Lee, or Joe Starter could have a halo by the end of the day: With trade deadline approaching, Angels likely to stand pat - LA Times.  ""Our biggest needs were in the bullpen, and I feel like we’ve addressed a lot of them," Dipoto said. "Right now, there’s a pretty good flow to this team. It works together. We’re not looking to do anything that would change the roster in a dramatic way."
  • This lady takes it off the chin and then loses her brew: Home Run Explodes In Woman's Beer Cup.  "At least three people tried to catch this home run—although "tried" might be a stretch for the guy in orange—and it eluded all of them. With all the hands in front of her face, this poor woman made no attempt whatsoever to catch the ball, and probably assumed at least one of the dudes around her was going to snag it. And yet, boom!" 
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  • Just wanted to point out an amazing pitching performance by Corey Kluber.  A complete game shutout, and only 85 pitches.  But what I find really fascinating is of the 85 pitches he threw, only 16 were balls.  Someone mention this to C.J. Wilson when he returns.  Seattle Mariners at Cleveland Indians - Jul 30, 2014 - CBSSports.com.  "The matchup between two of the top pitchers in the American League lived up to its billing. Kluber (11-6) held the Mariners to three singles and no walks while striking out eight. The right-hander threw 69 of his 85 pitches for strikes. ''You rarely see two guys that good and that on top of their game to boot,'' Francona said. ''The way Felix was throwing the only way to beat him was the way Corey threw. Sixteen balls? That's like, two an inning? That's phenomenal.''
  • After starting strong by winning almost $1100 on FanDuel, I've slowed down over the last week and haven't won anything significant in awhile.  The highest amount added to my account was a $14 win on Monday.  You can put your fantasy baseball skill to use here: FANDUEL DAILY FANTASY LEAGUES