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Tuesday Halolinks: Angels go back to schooling rest of A.L.

After a day off, the Angels look to continue their winning ways.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Today marks the first day of school for many kids, my 3rd grader included, and it also marks the beginning of the last month of the baseball season and the final push to October games.  With the way the Angels handled Oakland this past weekend, it seems school started a few days early for the A's, as the Halos taught them who really is the best team in baseball.  Here are your back-to-school Halolinks:

  • The Angels get a chance to stay hot against a team that is playing rather weak baseball and is going through some managerial/organizational changes: Los Angeles Angels at Houston Astros - September 2, 2014 - MLB.com Preview, "The Angels will have a chance to add to that advantage when they play two against the Astros starting Tuesday in Houston. Six straight wins have Los Angeles a season-high 30 games above .500."  C.J. Wilson gets first crack at continuing the Angels' winning streak: On deck: Angels at Astros, Tuesday, 5 p.m. - The Orange County Register, "Wilson dominated the Astros in his second start of 2014, but he has been roughed up by Houston’s hitters in his last two times against them. He has pitched better over his last four outings after a miserable six-week stretch, but his last start against Oakland was just all right. He walked as many hitters as he struck out – 19 – in August."
  • The Astros are at a weird point in their rebuilding process: Wanted: Major League manager...sort of. - FOX Sports, "Right after Bo Porter was hired I was told he was the only candidate who answered "yes"€™ to the question, "€œAre you OK with influence from the front office in every day decisions like setting the lineup?"€ There was a reason he was the only one who said yes, no one wants to manage a major league team where they are told what to do by someone who has never played the game or even done the job. There is balance here. Influences from front offices are part of the new equation in baseball and the game is smarter because of it. Clint Hurdle told me the Pirates utilize a sort of hybrid theory and it is working well in Pittsburgh. He is open to advanced metrics, he listens, he gets it and he and the front office work well together to implement the new school of thought."
  • And they're going about it in a new way: Extreme Moneyball: Houston Astros' Jeff Luhnow Lets Data Reign - Businessweek, "Crane had one overriding goal for the Astros, and that was to turn them into the St. Louis Cardinals. And he wanted to do it as quickly as possible. Luhnow’s pitch was what you might get if you put McKinsey in charge of a major league team: He wanted to go even further than the Cardinals or A’s in using data to guide the team’s decisions. So long as it yielded a winner, Crane was willing to go along. "If it takes more money, more computers, more horsepower, I’m ready to do it," he says. Together, he and Luhnow have embarked on a project unlike anything baseball has seen before. Luhnow has done to the Houston Astros what Mitt Romney used to do to steel companies while at Bain Capital: stripped them down with ruthless efficiency to build them back up again, stronger and better than before."
  • The A's were able to rebound a bit after last weekend's spanking in Anaheim" MLB Recap - Seattle Mariners at Oakland Athletics - Sep 01, 2014 - CBSSports.com, "The A's broke loose a day after manager Bob Melvin let them have it in a closed-door team meeting. He called his team's play ''embarrassing and ''pathetic'' after the A's totaled just four runs in the sweep at Anaheim."
  • And there's another team using a dominant bullpen to get into the playoffs: MLB Recap - Texas Rangers at Kansas City Royals - Sep 01, 2014 - CBSSports.com, "The Big Three - Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Holland - combined for 2 2-3 hitless innings after Ventura departed. The Royals are 54-3 when taking a lead into the seventh."
  • Isn't strange when you have a "Lyle" moment that actually turns out to be true?  Many of us here have commented that Mike Trout seems to like the low pitch, and wish he'd layoff the high ones.  Seems those perceptions were right: FG on Fox: Mike Trout and a League-Wide Trend - FanGraphs Baseball, "The general message being sent: Mike Trout has been absolutely killing pitches down in and beyond the zone. Yet, he’s been struggling against pitches up. You can see it in color form, as above, or you can see it in numerical form. Against pitches in the lower third of the strike zone this year, Trout’s slugged a spectacular .875. Against pitches in the upper third of the strike zone this year, Trout’s slugged a feeble .211. The former is among the best in the league. The latter’s among the very worst."