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Tuesday Halolinks: Angels not celebrating yet

They may have made the playoffs, but the goal has yet to be achieved.

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

There it is.

You see that "z" in front of the LA Angels?  You know what that means, right?  That means the club will be playing at least one "meaningful" game in October, be it a 1-game wild card game, or a best-of-five divisional series, they will be in the playoffs.  Until then, here's some Halolinks:

  • I think the playoff-clinching thing is more for the fans than for the teams, as evident by the club's reaction to last night's win: Seattle Mariners at Los Angeles Angels - September 15, 2014 - LAA Recap, "The Angels now have an "X" next to their name in the standings, which is a good thing, because if you spent any time in their clubhouse after Monday night's 8-1 victory over the Mariners, you'd have no idea they had just become the first team in baseball to clinch a spot in the postseason. There was no champagne, no music, no celebrating; hardly even a smile. "Just one step," first baseman Albert Pujols called it. "We have three more to go."
  • They're right, the winning the division is the goal, but that doesn't make having a guaranteed playoff spot meaningless.  Seattle Mariners vs. Los Angeles Angels - Recap - September 15, 2014 - ESPN Los Angeles, "Manager Mike Scioscia made his priorities clear when he arrived at his postgame news conference table and unceremoniously swept aside three Angels caps with postseason logos attached to their sides. "Guys are aware that this is one little milestone that we need, and I think they're proud of that," Scioscia said. "But we have a long way to go. I think these guys know the bigger prize that we need to keep our eyes on."
  • Clinching the division sooner, rather than later would go a long way in preparing the team for the first round.  It will give the club an opportunity to give players a little time to recharge, and to heal lingering bumps and pains.  Red-hot Angels clinch wild-card playoff spot, eye AL West title - The Orange County Register, "Besides the fact that the Angels still have some work to do to clinch the division – their magic number is 3, meaning the soonest they could clinch is Wednesday – he now has a couple troubling issues to face. Matt Shoemaker and Albert Pujols both left Monday’s game because of injuries. Although it’s possible that neither is serious, they nonetheless cast a cloud of at least mild concern"
  • Sure, it'd be a bummer to have Pujols missing from the lineup, but can you imagine going into the playoffs with a 3-man rotation of Weaver, Wilson, and Santiago?  Yikes.  Shoemaker set for MRI after mild side pain -, "Angels right-hander Matt Shoemaker was forced to exit deep into his start on Monday night with what he deemed "a little side discomfort" on the left side of his rib cage, an ailment the rookie said he's "not really" concerned about. Nonetheless, he'll have an MRI on Tuesday."  Both players sound as if there's really not much to worry about: Pujols hopes hamstring cramp doesn't linger -, "I'm all right," Pujols said after his team's 8-1 win at Angel Stadium, which clinched a postseason berth. "Just a little cramp. They released some of the tightness. Hopefully I'll be ready to go tomorrow."
  • Sounds like the batting order will be back to full strength as early as tomorrow...that is if you think the last couple of weeks the batting order had anything wrong.  Hamilton eyes Wednesday return after 'breakthrough' day -, "Hamilton, who hasn't played since Sept. 4 with an injured right AC joint (shoulder area) and trapezius muscle, took swings off a tee indoors before taking three rounds of batting practice outside. He said there was "no pain, no soreness, just a little tightness."
  • It has been a mind blowing couple months: Mariners-Angels Preview - Yahoo Sports, "The Angels (94-56) fell four games back of Oakland on Aug. 10, but they've gone 26-7 since to leapfrog the reeling Athletics while opening a 10 1/2-game lead. They clinched at least a wild-card berth for the first time since 2009 and brought their magic number to three in the West with Monday's 8-1 win over the Mariners."
  • On deck: Mariners at Angels, Tuesday, 7 p.m. - The Orange County Register, "Did you know: Based on tickets already sold, the Angels’ final attendance will pass 3 million, marking the 12th consecutive year they’ve hit that milestone. The Yankees are the only team in the majors with an active streak that long.  On the other side of that attendance equation are the RangersFraley: Millions in lost revenue from ticket sales will impact Rangers payroll - Dallas Morning News, "Question: No one is going to Rangers games. How much will the lack of ticket revenue hurt the Rangers in free agency this offseason? Fraley: The rule of thumb is that, conservatively, each ticket sold is equivalent to $35 in revenue. That means the Rangers will lose about $13 million in revenue over last season because of the decline in attendance. That will impact the payroll."  That's an interesting tidbit of information.  If the Angels have 3 million tickets sold for 2014, that means they get roughly $105,000,000 in revenue.  Or about 60% of their payroll (based on $175M payroll).  Remember, they're also getting $150M a year from television broadcasting rights.
  • This is going to be pretty cool: MLB announces postseason plans, with various notable points - Awful Announcing, "Speaking of Fox Sports 1, they’re taking a page out of ESPN’s book for Game 1 of the NLCS. While the game airs on Fox, they’ll be airing a second-screen experience fueled by their new baseball portal, Just A Bit Outside. The broadcast will be branded "JABO presents: NLCS on FOXSPORTS1″, and will be hosted by Kevin Burkhardt. The alternate feed will focus on statistic and sabermetrics, and feature Rob Neyer, Gabe Kapler, and C.J. Nitkowski, among others."
  • There has to be more to this story than either side is saying: Angels part ways with scout involved in Trout pick -, "Greg Morhardt, a scout who played a key role in the decision to take Mike Trout in the first round five years ago, has been informed by the Angels that he will not have his contract renewed for 2015. The Angels declined to specify a reason for their decision to not bring Morhardt back."
  • Here's an interesting article from Gabe Kapler: Baseball's next big competitive edge - FOX Sports, "Teams need to be able to respond and adapt to front office data now, with the MLB talent they have on the field. The current situation often plays out with a great idea being discussed in a front office. Perhaps it’s around lineup construction. It’s backed by in-depth analysis and delivered to the manager. He pushes back. "This player would never go for it. He’s hit in the 3-hole his whole career. We will lose him." What happens? Often, the front office backs off, giving up on an idea that would otherwise give them an edge because one player isn’t comfortable. When the front office pushes the issue, it’s sometimes carried out grudgingly. The manager reluctantly makes a lineup change, doesn’t have the tools to explain it to the player and secretly hopes the move doesn’t work so he can go back to his comfort zone. "He belongs in the three hole, that’s why he’s not hitting." Doing things the way they’ve always been done is easier than venturing into uncharted territory."