Do you believe in "signs"? Do think things happen for a reason, or do they just happen? Last night, when Jered Weaver walked off the mound with back stiffness prior to the third inning, it could have been disastrous for the club for both last night's game and for the rest of the season. Instead, Matt Shoemaker came in and helped keep the Halos' home winning streak alive. Eleven straight home wins could be sign that this team is going to be around come playoff time. Overcoming the loss of your designated ace to continue that 11-game streak could be a sign. But the biggest sign? Prior to last night's win, the Halos rank second in AL in hits (806), 2nd in runs (432), 4th in doubles (162), 3rd in HRs (97) and second in extra-base hits (277)…Club is third in AL in slugging (.426). They are batting .295 (158/535) with 22 HRs and 6.1 runs (97 R) over their last 16 games and are batting at a .355 clip (33/93) with RISP the last 10 games. Halolinks:
- Winning is fun, except for that back stiffness stuff: Angels earn huge win for franchise, but Weaver leaves early - The Orange County Register. "Shoemaker helped the Angels win for the 14th time in their last 17 games, and for the 11th straight time at home. It’s their longest home winning streak since a club record 12-game streak in 1967." Jered Weaver leaves game early with back tightness in Angels' win - Los Angeles Times. "In between innings, it stiffened up a bit, and when he went back out, it was really knotted up," Scioscia said. "He was not going to be able to be effective. "For Weave to come out of a game, you know he's hurting. He wanted to continue to pitch, but there's no way we could take a chance right now with where we are and how well he's throwing the ball. We had to get him out of there."
- Rookies. Angels win fifth straight - Yahoo Sports. "Scioscia summoned Shoemaker to replace an injured Jered Weaver, whose lower back had tightened up. Scioscia waited. And waited. And waited. Finally, after a few awkward minutes, Shoemaker showed up, then shut down the Toronto Blue Jays for 3 2/3 innings to help the Angels win their fifth in a row, a 5-2 victory over Blue Jays. "He took the wrong way," Scioscia said. "Shoe was in the dugout with his spikes on, and when we said, 'Hey, we're going to Shoe,' he ran down to the bullpen (in the stadium tunnel) instead of coming out to the mound, so it took us a little while to track him down. ... Eventually, he just found us."
- I kind of picture Jered Weaver as the clubhouse "big brother". The guy who the younger players want to look up to and have respect from. So when I read the following quote, I'm pretty sure Matt Shoemaker got a special thrill when he heard/read it: Toronto Blue Jays at Los Angeles Angels - July 7, 2014 - MLB.com. "Shoemaker, who had last pitched on Thursday, made his third appearance on three days' rest this season, but neither of the previous two were as taxing. On June 7, Shoemaker tossed five innings four days after an inning in relief, and on June 11, he faced only one batter on three days' rest. "You talk about trying to earn respect points, and Shoemaker definitely did that tonight, going on three days' rest and not thinking he was going to pitch tonight," said Weaver, who expects to make his next start. "For him to step up and do what he did was pretty spectacular."
- With slight shades of 2002, the Angels keep winning, but so do the Oakland A's: Toronto Blue Jays at Los Angeles Angels - July 8, 2014 - MLB.com. "The Angels have won four games in a row, but so have the A's, who have maintained a 3 1/2 game-lead in the AL West. Opposing Dickey, Tyler Skaggs will be making his second start since coming off the disabled list (right hamstring strain). His return was about as successful as Los Angeles could have asked for -- he allowed just two runs on five hits and one walk in 7 2/3 innings with six strikeouts."
Editor’s Note: SBNation's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $18,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Tuesday night’s MLB games. It’s $2 to join and first prize is $2,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on Tuesday. Here’s the FanDuel link.
- Here's some good news, although hopefully the back issue doesn't keep popping up throughout the remainder of the season, like they sometimes tend to do: Weaver doesn't expect back flareup to linger - angels.com. "After the game, Weaver said he felt "80 times better" than he did when he came out and he expects to make his next start. The ace said he first felt pain when Adam Lind sent a comebacker to the mound for the second out in the second inning. He stayed in and got Dioner Navarro to fly out. "Kind of tweaked back the other way and kind of felt a little something," Weaver said. "Wasn't anything sharp or anything and didn't really feel anything in that next at-bat against Navarro, but I went back into the dugout and tried to stretch it out and it just tightened up pretty bad."
- Okay, here's the obligatory Mike Scioscia bash: Angels' Calhoun so hot he gets off the bench against a lefty - The Orange County Register. "Kole Calhoun was finally hot enough for long enough to break out of Mike Scioscia’s platoon. Calhoun got the start Monday night against Toronto Blue Jays lefty J.A. Happ, the first time Calhoun had started against a lefty since May 31. "I don’t know if there’s a player in our league hotter than Kole Calhoun right now," Scioscia said." If Calhoun is so hot, why did it take this long for Scioscia to play start him against a lefty? And if he's hitting so well, why would you want to risk him cooling off by sitting him FOR THREE STRAIGHT DAYS? "Before Monday’s game, Calhoun was hitting .374 over 122 plate appearances since May 29. Still, he’d started on the bench 11 times in that span, including as recently as three games in a row last week."
- This is very interesting: AL West Notes: Grilli, Angels, Aiken, Morales – MLB Trade Rumors. "Angels GM Jerry Dipoto discussed the recent trades his team has made. Regarding the team’s swap of Ernesto Frieri for Jason Grilli, Dipoto tells Bowden that he received a text message from Pittsburgh GM Neal Huntington, and the discussions took "about seven minutes" from start to agreement. The Halos’ interest in Grilli dates all the way back to his most recent run as a free agent, says Dipoto, who adds that the team discussed similar deals to this trade before making the move." Here's the interview where this came from: The GM's Office: Jerry Dipoto - ESPN Video - ESPN. "ESPN Video: Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto stops by the GM's Office to talk about the acquisitions of Jason Grilli and Joe Thatcher, whether the team is done making moves before the trade deadline, and why Garrett Richards should be an All-Star."
- As mentioned by AndyHogan14 in last night's Halos Heaven post game write-up (Matt Shoemaker Saves Weaver's Outing, Angels' Home Streak - Halos Heaven): The Angels are now the only expansion team to have a .500 record - HardballTalk. "But despite all of that expansion history, no expansion team sat at .500 or above as play began last night. With their win over the Blue Jays last night, the Angels are now even at 4,272 wins and 4,272 losses. Now, they aren’t the first expansion team to break .500. As Dbacks’ Vice President Josh Rawitch noted on Twitter last night, Arizona was 652-644 between 1998 and 2005, getting over the .500 hump and staying there for a time after their first couple of seasons. Such early success for an expansion team is unusual, however, and they have since sunk below sea level. The Angels were above .500 twice in their first four seasons, but they had not been at .500 in the aggregate since they were 1-1 following the second day of the 1961 season. They’ve spent over 50 years climbing out of the hole they dug. Pretty cool. Also cool, at least if you’re an Angels fan: they have the second best record in all of baseball this year and, since May 7, they top everyone with a 36-19 mark. This is a very good Angels team right now, folks.
- Look at this
fat-assportly fellow. (Oops, sorry SBNation for the lawsuit): Yankees Fan Caught Sleeping In Stands Sues Everyone For Defamation, "The litigious napper's name is Andrew Rector, and his complaint is something else. In it, he alleges that ESPN "opened an unending verbal crusade against the napping plaintiff" when he was put on the air, and that Shulman and Kruk unleashed an "avalanche of disparaging words" against him. According to the complaint, these "disparaging words" included "stupor," "fatty," "unintelligent," and "stupid."
- This is pretty interesting: The Biggest Media Company You've Never Heard Of - Forbes. "Launched in 2000 and the original piece of MLB Advanced Media, MLB.com was funded by the 30 clubs in an agreement that had them each investing $1 million a year over four years. The cost was targeted at $120 million. To the joy of the owners and MLB, the web presence for baseball started generating excess revenue in 2003, allowing them to invest only $70-$75 million before beginning to see a return on their investment. The 30 owners in baseball now get dividends annually based on direction of their board of directors and is reportedly expected to be $7-8 million per club for 2014."
- And speaking of lawsuits, this one actually makes a little sense: Former Giants Minor League Player Garrett Broshius Leads a Lawsuit Against Major League Baseball for a Minimum Wage - The Daily Beast. "MLB made 8 billion dollars last year, with revenue growing exponentially because of TV contracts. "If McDonald’s can figure out how to pay workers minimum wage, surely these teams can do it as well," says Broshuis. The suit he is bringing asks for minimum wage during the baseball season, plus overtime compensation. He notes that players aren’t paid during the long off-season, even though they are expected to do extensive workouts."