Am I reading too much into this, or are Angels' starters Matt Shoemaker and Hector Santiago a couple of the most gutsiest mo-fo's on the planet? I mean, really, who would have thought these two guys could be the salvation to the Angels' season? One night after Shoemaker shutdown the Marlins, Santiago goes out and pitches his head off, keeping the Halos in first-place. Sure, last night's win also took some hitting, but how much of an internal pick-me-up has these two studs provided the team by tossing back-to-back gems when it could have been the start of some dark days in Anaheim?
Here are your starry-eyed Halolinks:
- It seems Santiago and Shoemaker have something in common. Both pitchers throw strikes. Yeah, I know. No duh, all pitchers throw strikes, but Santiago and Shoemaker throw "good" strikes. The type of strikes that miss bats: Santiago pitches Angels past Marlins - Yahoo Sports, "Los Angeles, which earned its third victory in four games, remains one game ahead of the second-place Oakland Athletics in the American League West. Santiago, who lost his first seven decisions, improved his season record to 4-7. He conceded just three hits, two walks and one run while striking out six in 5 2/3 innings. "Everything was working: cutter, slider, changeup, screwball, sinker, fastball," said Santiago, whose last victory came in relief July 31. "Throwing everything for a strike, that was the important part."
- And what happens when you throw bat missing strikes? Miami Marlins at Los Angeles Angels - August 27, 2014 - MLB.com LAA Recap, "Back in mid-May, Santiago was still winless and Shoemaker was called up from Triple-A to replace him, a desperation move from a club searching for options in the back end of its rotation. Since the start of July, the two have combined to go 12-2 with a 2.36 ERA, giving up two earned runs or fewer in 13 of their 17 starts." At the end of June, the Angels were 5.5 games behind Oakland. Since July 1st the club has gone 34-18 and moved past the A's into first.
- Angels Afterthoughts: More Santiago?: Angels Blog: Orange County Register, "Hector Santiago has been so good that it’s natural to wonder if the Angels should be pushing him a little deeper. After all, with Garrett Richards out of the rotation, there are going to be plenty of innings for the bullpen to absorb, so it could only help the Angels if Santiago could get into the seventh or even the eighth. Not this year, Mike Scioscia said. "I don’t think Hector needs to be extended," the Angels manager said." Actually, with rosters expanding in a few days, there's really no need for Santiago to go deeper into games. That is, as long as Scioscia sticks to pitch count rather than innings, there shouldn't be a problem. Once Santiago reaches a certain pitch threshold, sure, bring in one of the solid Angels' relievers, but just because it's the 7th inning don't make a move just because that's what the Scioscia book of pitching roles tells you to do.
- Oh hey, did you hear? Mike Trout is pretty good: Angels phenom Mike Trout hits 30-homer mark again, in 30 less games - angels.com. "Trout blasted his 30th home run of the season on Wednesday night, tying his career high from 2012 and placing him in select company. The 23-year-old center fielder became just the fifth American League hitter to have two 30-home run seasons through their age-22 seasons, joining Jimmie Foxx, Ted Williams, Jose Canseco and Alex Rodriguez. ... His 30 home runs are tied for fifth most in the Majors, while his 94 RBIs rank behind only two players. Trout's slugging percentage is second and his OPS fourth in all of baseball." Here's something I plagiarized from another post: "Angels CF Mike Trout, by hitting his 35th double of the season Tuesday night, joined Joe DiMaggio, Orlando Cepeda, Alex Rodriguez and Albert Pujols as the only players in major league history who twice compiled at least 35 doubles and at least 25 home runs in a season before turning 23." Neat-o!
- It's also pretty neat-o that Trout has the team's best interest in the forefront, while also explaining why he's so awesome: Miami Marlins vs. Los Angeles Angels - Recap - August 27, 2014 - ESPN, "It's always cool to reach 30. But we have other things in our minds, like trying to reach the playoffs," Trout said. "We're still got a month left, so the only thing that's important is winning games." Trout, who leads the majors with 71 extra-base hits and 283 total bases, chased Miami starter Henderson Alvarez in the seventh inning with a one-out drive into the trees beyond the center-field fence to make it 5-1. "I feel good at the plate and I'm not chasing too many pitches," Trout said. "When I get in trouble, I get too anxious and I chase. But the last couple of games I've been feeling good. I don't try to hit home runs. I just try to put good swings on the ball and hope for the best. I've just been barreling some balls and they've gone over the fence."
- Here's what those other guys did last night: MLB Recap - Oakland Athletics at Houston Astros - Aug 27, 2014 - CBSSports.com, "The Oakland Athletics have rallied to win game after game this season after trailing late. So it was no surprise that they did it again on Wednesday night thanks to Sam Fuld's tiebreaking, two-run homer in the ninth inning that gave Oakland a 5-4 victory over the Houston Astros. It was their major league-leading 12th win this season when behind after seven innings and they've scored 28 runs against the Astros in the ninth this year." And: MLB Recap - Texas Rangers at Seattle Mariners - Aug 27, 2014 - CBSSports.com, "Odor homered off Erasmo Ramirez in the third inning to back Colby Lewis, and the last-place Texas Rangers beat Seattle 12-4 Wednesday to take two of three from the Mariners."
- Tonight starts an important 4-game set against Oakland in Anaheim. C.J. "Mensa" Wilson gets the first game: Athletics-Angels Preview - Yahoo Sports, "Wilson (10-8, 4.45) is still looking to win a season-best third consecutive decision after going without one in Saturday's 2-1 defeat. The left-hander, who threw 6 1-3 innings of one-run ball, is 5-0 with a 2.54 ERA in his last seven starts versus Oakland. He's baffled several A's hitters over the years, including Crisp (5 for 37), Josh Reddick (3 for 21), Josh Donaldson (4 for 24), and Alberto Callaspo (5 for 26). Wilson has posted a 1.96 ERA over his last three outings, but he owns a 7.46 mark in his last five at home." On deck: A's at Angels, Thursday, 7 p.m. - The Orange County Register, "LHP C.J. WILSON (10-8, 4.45) After a miserable stretch in the middle of the season, including a stint on the disabled list, Wilson has bounced back to post a 1.96 ERA in his past three starts. He got into the seventh inning and allowed only one run against the A’s last weekend. Current A’s have a combined .210 career average against Wilson."
- I hope this is true: Angels-A's rivalry shifts to Anaheim for four games - The Orange County Register, "I played in Oakland and their fans are awesome," said Huston Street, who came up with the A’s. "They put the fan in fanatic. You respect that as a player. You want your fans to be that way. Since I’ve been here in Anaheim, the fans are no different. This has been a lively place to play. ... They have been packing them in here for a long time. As an opposing player coming into Angel Stadium, we felt it."
- So who's going to start Saturday? Angels have few options left for Saturday's start - angels.com, "Roth appears the most likely to start, having thrown seven shutout innings on Monday, which would put him on normal rest for Saturday. In 22 starts at Double-A Arkansas, Roth is 11-7 with a 2.62 ERA. He has also appeared in two games for the Angels, allowing four runs in 6 2/3 innings. Rucinski, meanwhile, started Sunday's game for Arkansas, giving up four runs in five innings while recording 11 strikeouts. Like Roth, Rucinski has pitched for the Angels (two runs in one inning in July) and remains on the 40-man roster. Wolf is not currently on the 40-man roster (meaning the Angels would need to make room for him by potentially losing a player) and last pitched Sunday for Salt Lake. The 38-year-old veteran surrendered four runs on eight hits across seven innings." Angels still searching for starter: Angels Blog: Orange County Register, "Scioscia also conceded that Cory Rasmus, who has been with the team as a long reliever for most of the second half, is a candidate. Rasmus, 26, has a 2.68 ERA in 37 innings out of the Angels bullpen. The most pitches he’s thrown in a game is 51, which was on Monday. That 2 2/3-inning outing was also the most outs he’s gotten in a game. Still, Scioscia said he felt Rasmus could last five or six innings."
- What is the answer to 99 out of 100 questions? Money. Luxury tax limits Angels' options to fix depleted rotation - FOX Sports, "The Angels already have more than $140 million committed to 10 players in tax payroll (teams are charged the average annual value of multi-year contracts for tax purposes). Owner Arte Moreno is adamant that the team will not surpass the threshold, according to rival clubs that have spoken to the Angels. Thus, the team is in a bind."
- Is this the other possible answer? The Tigers and the Angels Needn’t Scramble for Help - FanGraphs Baseball, "They don’t need fill-in starting pitchers. They just need fill-in pitchers, and they’ll have plenty to choose from. Guys can be assigned situational or one- or two-inning stints, and fatigue shouldn’t be much of an issue, because there would be so many arms available. Beyond their current active bullpens, both the Angels and Tigers have several other pitchers on the 40-man rosters. Without getting bogged down in their specific identities, I think we can agree on one general idea: a 40-man-rostered player who isn’t on the 25-man roster is probably somewhere in the vicinity of replacement-level. That doesn’t apply to everybody, but on the whole, we’re talking about players too talented to let go for nothing. Replacement-level pitchers, over short stints, can be just as effective as decent starting pitchers over longer stints."
- What Reasons Are There to Not Believe in Matt Shoemaker? - FanGraphs Baseball, "Let’s say we knew nothing about Matt Shoemaker, other than what he’s done in the majors this year as a starting pitcher. As a starter, he’s thrown 96 innings. Now, 143 starters have thrown at least 75 innings. Shoemaker ranks 13th in K% – BB%, between Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta. He ranks in the upper eighth in terms of K% – BB% against right-handed hitters, and he ranks in the upper fifth in terms of K% – BB% against left-handed hitters. Shoemaker’s contact rate allowed is 75.3%. Let’s take a chunk out of the leaderboard: Zack Greinke, 75.1% contact Stephen Strasburg, 75.1% Matt Shoemaker, 75.3% Yu Darvish, 75.5% Garrett Richards, 75.6%. Based on that, there’s every reason to want to believe in him."
- If you're a regular reader of Halolinks, you'll notice I frequently link to Deadspin. Here's why: Yankees Catcher Gets Hit In The Dick, YES Thinks It Was His Collarbone.
Cardinals Fan Has No Idea He's About To Get Hit With A Flying Bat. "You'll know the guy who's about to get hit because he is the only person in the entire section who does not react to the flying tree limb headed right for them. He remains unphased, locked in on whatever daydream he is dreaming. His lady friend actually helps deflect the bat (and shares some of the impact) but he still gets hit in the dome and has no idea it's going to happen. Even when she raises her arms next to him, our guy's just hangin' out, staring into space."
I noticed that the hitter is A.J. Pierzynski. He probably realized the guy wasn't paying attention and flung his bat on purpose. Because, you know, he's that much of a dick.
- How well do you know MLB's oddest rules? - SBNation.com, "Think you're a baseball expert? Take our quiz and know for sure!"