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Tuesday Halolinks: Angels' lead reaches 8 games

Hey everyone, the Angels are doing really, really good!

"Hmmm, 8 games, huh?  Sweet."
"Hmmm, 8 games, huh? Sweet."
Jason Miller

I'm sorry, but I'm still trying to wrap my head around it...It is September 9th, and the Angels have the best record in baseball, an 8-game lead over second-place Oakland, a 99.9% chance of making the postseason, and one of the best managers in the history of baseball (read below).  Really, look back at what we were talking about in May of this year.  Did you think this team would be at this spot in September?  Honestly?  I'll admit it, I was hoping for a winning season and at least some sort of race to root for.  At no point last spring did I think the club would be 32 games over .500 with 19 to play. One of the main reasons for the team's success is the bullpen.  From the Angels pressbox site: "Angels bullpen has logged a 2.39 ERA (252.2 IP – 67 ER) its last 70 appearances to rank second in all of MLB in span since June 20th (.211 BAA; 26/31 saves)… Bullpen logged a 4.46 ERA (.243 BAA) over first 69 outings (16/27 saves)…Since July 1, Halo bullpen has worked 3+ scoreless frames to end a game 17 times."

Surely, you can't be serious. Pinch me, I must be dreaming.

Pinch_me

Sit back and relax, here are today's Halolinks:

People-staring

  • Isn't fun watching a game when your team scores a bunch of runs?  It's almost masochistic when things like yesterday's fifth inning happens and the hits keep coming.  You almost, almost feel sorry for the other team until you realize the other team was the Angels the last couple years.  Los Angeles Angels at Cleveland Indians - September 8, 2014 - MLB.com LAA Recap, "The Angels amassed 34 runs in a four-game sweep of the Twins, then rung up a dozen more upon arriving in Cleveland for the makeup of a June 18 contest that was rained out. In doing so, Los Angeles improved its Major League-best record to 88-55 and increased its lead over Oakland to eight games in the American League West."
  • It was like one of the last rounds of a boxing match when you know the fighter is about to get knocked out: Angels' offense gets a serious test, earns an A - The Orange County Register, "And for the first four innings Monday, it looked like Salazar might be able to slow the Angels down, as he and Jered Weaver were locked in scoreless duel. In the fifth, though, the Angels erupted. They sent 10 batters to plate and scored six runs, two on Kole Calhoun’s 14th homer and three on Freese’s seventh, his first since July 27. It was the Angels’ second six-run inning in as many days."
  • I wish pitcher wins were an important stat...ah, who care's, I'm still going to think of this as a good thing: Los Angeles Angels vs. Cleveland Indians - Recap - September 08, 2014 - ESPN, "Weaver became the AL's first 16-game winner, and the Los Angeles Angels did all their damage against Cleveland's Danny Salazar in one inning for their fifth straight win, 12-3 over the Cleveland Indians on Monday in a makeup game."
  • When does Weaver's contract with the Angels run out?  Visiting Weaver feeds off energy at Progressive Field - angels.com, ""Watching games on TV from here [was] always a lot of fun for me," Weaver said. "I remember the [then-Major League record] 455 sellout crowds and all the excitement they brought to the park. As I said, I really do appreciate the history here." Weaver's road success at Progressive Field has become part of the 20-year-old facility's folklore. In 11 career starts, he owns a 7-1 record and 2.24 ERA, with the lone loss occurring on June 16."
  • Here come the "why they're such a great team articles from guys we've never heard of until now that the team is winning" articles: Sum of Angels parts are whole - angels.com, "Josh Hamilton has missed 55 games. No regular is hitting .300. Another starter, Tyler Skaggs, is also gone for the season with Tommy John surgery. All of which makes the ride that much more enjoyable. The Angels aren't one player or even four or five players. They're a couple dozen contributing in various ways. They're a creative general manager and one of the best managers in the history of the game."  Holy shit!  He's not just one of the best managers in baseball, but IN THE HISTORY OF THE GAME!  We're watching history, folks!
  • A young, hard-throwing reliever, huh?  Does he make the playoff roster?  Diaz strikes out two in MLB debut after callup - angels.com, "The 23-year-old reliever was recalled from Double-A Arkansas prior to the game, and he entered to start the ninth. He issued two walks and struck out a pair, including Jose Ramirez to end the contest. Diaz, who went 2-1 with 11 saves and a 2.20 ERA in 27 regular-season appearances for the Travelers, hit 97 mph with his fastball at Progressive Field."  In this "notes" post was a bit about the number of relievers the Angels had used this year: Angels' 2015 schedule includes six games vs. Dodgers - The Orange County Register, "Diaz became the 31st pitcher the Angels have used this year, extending their franchise record. Only three teams in major league history have used at least 31 pitchers in a season. The others are the 2014 Rangers and the 2000 Indians."  How to Build a Better Bullpen: Keep throwing stuff against a wall and wait for some to stick.
  • What could possibly be better than having this smoking hot team head into Texas to face the beat up Rangers?  Angels-Rangers Preview - Yahoo Sports, "The left-hander (Hector Santiago) went 1-7 with a 4.72 ERA in his 12 first-half starts but is 1-0 with a 2.28 ERA in his eight since the All-Star break even after a rough outing Thursday at Minnesota. He allowed four runs and a season-high eight hits over five innings and left without a decision as Los Angeles won 5-4. Santiago has gone 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA in three starts versus Texas this season after surrendering one run over six innings before Huston Street blew a ninth-inning lead in a 3-2 loss Aug. 17."  The more you know: On deck: Angels at Rangers, Tuesday, 5 p.m. - The Orange County Register, "Did you know: Tim Bogar, who is managing the Rangers after Ron Washington’s surprise resignation, was the Angels’ Double-A manager last year."
  • This is an interesting story, but to me the most interesting (and important) is that the Angels were there to witness it.  It's good to see the organization's presence in Latin America: Vladimir Guerrero's 15-year-old son is already hitting like his dad (Video) - Yahoo Sports, "Last week, he was scouted by the Los Angeles Angels, New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays, and they watched the younger Guerrero blast BP pitches over the fence. He's 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds, according to blogger Matthew Ball, who covers the Guerrero Baseball Academy." 3aec92d0-37ad-11e4-a146-afee81efcd61_vladvladjr

    Here's the video:

  • Like I wrote earlier, I almost feel sorry for them: The Grand Slam: Tyler Flowers, White Sox hand A's a stinging defeat - Yahoo Sports, "Whether you think one September loss (or win) can swing a team that much, you have to agree that the free-falling A's are nearing rock bottom after their 5-4 loss to the Chicago White Sox. It was Oakland's ninth loss in 11 games. On Aug. 9, the A's had a four-game lead in the AL West. On Sept. 9, they're eight games back in the division and have just a one-game lead for the first AL wild card."  The Oakland A's are finding out what it means to be "Buttercupped".
  • Cool story, bro: The History of Baseball in One Day – The Hardball Times, "I’d like to propose a new national holiday: Hall of Fame Day. Sept. 9 is a crucial date in every baseball season, when every win and loss takes on outsize importance as teams on the playoff bubble try to separate themselves from the pack. But it’s also a day with a connection to six iconic Hall of Famers, three who were born this day and three who died this day. You could tell a fair history of baseball by focusing just on the ninth of September."