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Friday HaloLinks: The Shoemaker is on the other foot.

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Matt Shoemaker has turned into a fly ball pitcher of the unfortunate kind. One whose fly balls fly further than the outer boundaries.

Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Shoemaker is having problems this year. Did you notice? Not quite the over-achiever of last year, though still capable of success (his previous start). Among his ills, Shoe struggles with the long ball, and Halo chicks don't dig it.

On the other side, Blue Jays' knuckleballer R.A. Dickey managed his best outing of the season against the Halos. He gave them a complete game victory. Or did the Angels batters? The Angels managed only 2 runs over the first 8 innings in an 8-4 loss, 7 Halo hitters went hitless, a combined  0 for 20. The good news is that this kind of performance allowed the Angels batters to hit .400 with RISP, stranding only 2 runners on base. BFD.

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The Weekend Series:

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim @ Boston Red Sox. Fenway Park. Boston, MA.

Day Game Time Probable Pitchers TV
FRIDAY 4:10 PM PDT Garrett Richards (3-2, 2.29 ERA) versus Rick Porcello (4-2, 4.26 ERA) FSW
SATURDAY 4:15 PM PDT C.J. Wilson (2-2, 3.06 ERA) versus Steven Wright (1-1  4.02 ERA) FOX
SUNDAY 10:35 AM PDT Hector Santiago (3-2, 2.25 ERA) versus Wade Miley (3-4, 5.10 ERA) FSW

Saturday looks like a nice night for an evening....

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Update on Albert Pujolshis wrist was bruised. Painful, but he could be back in the lineup tonight.

Mike Trout is much improved, which is what all of us who follow His Amazement already know (and what all his enemies certainly fear).  As Alden Gonzalez notes for the newbies:

On pitches on the upper third -- inside and outside the strike zone -- Trout entered Thursday batting .313 (10-for-32), while hitting three home runs and whiffing 14.5 percent of the time he swung. Last year, he batted just .082 (9-for-110) on pitches in that location, mustering only two home runs and whiffing on 36.2 percent of his swings.

"It's just not chasing," Trout said. "Not trying to do too much."

Overall, though, Trout is actually chasing more. He's swung at 29 percent of pitches outside the strike zone, up from 22.5 percent last year. But he's making contact at a higher rate, putting him on pace for 34 fewer strikeouts.

More specifically, he's making better contact up in the zone -- the place opposing pitchers frequently went to in hopes of exposing a rare flaw in Trout's game down the stretch last season.

Yeah. As we know, as we know. Most excellent results. But here is why I link to this - what comes next:

"I knew what they were trying to do," Trout said. "With all the technology, you know how they're trying to get you out."

In other words, Trout is using the technology! That would be video. That would be metrics. That would be analysis. That would be outstanding, and dangerous.

Sean Newcomb took his second turn for the 66'ers last night, and the report is excellent: 5 2/3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 4 K, 0.84 ERA.

Yesterday I posted a table that laid out the ratio of outcomes based on run differential, emphasizing the trend towards close games compared to last season. The numbers supported the POV, sure, but that was an incomplete thought. The missing information was whether or not this was any different from last year: what did last year actually look like? So, as a public service, here is the full comparison:

This is last year's totals:

2014-count-of-outcomes

This is this year, up through Wednesday:

2015-count-of-outcomes-30

While, certainly, there are small numbers at play and a long way to go, it IS true that we see more bunching in the middle so far, than last year.

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Can't beat 'em? Buy 'em!  Back again in Chicago, the Cubbies continue to make odd and unusual news.The latest concerns the Ricketts family (owners) and their neighbors in the 'hood. You, of course, know all about those rooftop bleachers that have become substantial enterprises in their own right, plying off content rights they really don't own (beyond Laguna-esque lines of sight that were long ago contracted and have since gone to court). Well, after all the brouhaha surrounding obstructions resulting from the stadium renovations and the new video board, the Ricketts have decided to just take a walk across the street and buy the damn things.

We haven't seen this in a while. Pitcher Will Smith of the Brewers got tossed for having a foreign substance on his arm.  "Smith said he placed a mixture of rosin and sunscreen on his right arm while he was warming up in the bullpen in order to get a firm handle on the ball on a cool and blustery night at Turner Field. He simply forgot to wipe it off, he said, when he was rushed into the game.  And Gonzalez pointing out the substance to the umps didn't sit well with the Brewers. At all." Yeah. What the hell are the Braves thinking, trying to make sure that the Brewers are playing by the rules??

Isn't there a reason they put big, leather, extensions on the hands of everybody who plays in the field during games of baseball? If so, then has somebody forgot to inform Matt Duffy about this reason?

The Dodgers find out that not all the Cuban prospects bring with them untold riches and production. Erisbel Arruebarrena is one contract that is not going to pan out.

In most ballparks one might find hot dog wrappers floating across the playing surface. Not San Diego, a fine city ripe with those of great-than-average means. There, apparently, the baseball stadium is littered with credit cards.