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Friday Links: Open season on Oakland

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After taking the series against Tampa Bay, the Halos come home for what should be the chance to push the A's out to 40 losses on the season.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Gotta feel better about winning the 3-game series in Tampa Bay and getting home in time to be gifted the cellar-dwelling A's. But, really, it's all in the execution. This team needs to take advantage of this series of softballs being tossed to them. 3 games against Oakland, then 4 against the D'Backs, then 3 more versus the A's, all leading up to a confrontation with Houston. We gotta win a huge cut of the upcoming 10 games and it's possible to have overtaken the Astros before we gather again for WeekEnd Links two weeks from today.

So here's to some hopeful links!

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Angels Baseball

The Weekend Series:

Oakland A's @ Los Angeles Angels, Angels Stadium, Anaheim

Day Game Time Probable Pitchers TV
FRIDAY 7:05 PM PDT Jesse Chavez (2-6, 2.51 ERA) versus Hector Santiago 4-3, 2.55 ERA) FSW
SATURDAY 7:15 PM PDT Kendall Graveman (3-2, 4.83 ERA) versus C.J. Wilson (3-5  3.92 ERA) FSW
SUNDAY 12:35 AM PDT Sonny Gray (7-3, 1.74 ERA) versus Matt Shoemaker (4-4, 4.86 ERA) (none)

From the official team Game Notes: "OAKLAND ON DECK: LAA leads 2015 series 4-3 (2-2 at home)…Angels have won 11 of last 15 overall matchups (9 of 12 at home)…LAA claimed 2014 series 10-9…Since 2008, LAA leads series 72-68…Since 2002, the Halos and A’s are nearly deadlocked across 256 games played (LAA leads 129-127)."

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Knock Knock Knockin' on Heaven's Door: We have a home run race on our hands, folks! After all this ain't The Mike Trout Show. Trout, who opened his season with a first at-bat home run, had a total of 12 entering the month of June. Albert Pujols had 11. But Albert has been hot of late. From May 28th up until last night he had hit 8 of them, jumping up to 11th place throughout MLB and 6th in the AL. Trout was right behind him with 5 in that same span, and being tied with Pujols in the overall rankings. So when Trout clobbered his 17th home run of the season last night, that pushed him back out in front of Pujols. Trout was now tied for 4th overall and tied for 2nd in the AL, now only 1 back of once-hot Nelson Cruz(18). Overall, basbeall is led by Giancarlo Stanton(22) and Bryce Harper(20). Well, Pujols was not going to be left behind, so Albert punched his own 17th bomb later in the game. And here we are. Pujols and Trout are knotted up, neck and neck, surging toward the leads not just in the American League, but in all of Major League Baseball. This could be a fun little battle to watch, and the kind of thing that carries a team into the playoffs...........Also, this puts Albert Pujols within 11 of Mike Schmidt and 15th place on the all-time career HR list.

MVP: Using the Tools. Hit for Power. And  Hit for Average + Speed.

Kibitzing on Kubitza: Easy, there, boys and girls. Just as we shouldn't have freaked out by the the silly mistake made by Kyle Kubitza in his Wednesday debut, nor should we get overly giddy about his superb turnaround on Thursday. Yeah, it will be fantastic if Kubitza fulfills my long unfulfilled dream of a killer offensive threat at the hot corner, but it's only two games. And Kubitza is a raw rookie. And Mike Scioscia is the manager. This is just a look-see into the future. Freese will be back soon and will own 3B for the rest of this year. Sosh does not allow any Wally Pipps in his world.............

Stadium Update: The Chinese developer, LT Global, ain't messing around with fairy-tale artist's sketches. Nor are they dancing to Arte's tune of The Waiting Game. Nope, they marched right downtown and filed applications to start construction. Of course, there are two road blocks: the City of Anaheim, which has a billion ways to subvert application approval for purposes of personal preferences on the part of any city official, and the Angels themselves, who still have contract rights to the parking slots that would need to be plowed under to make way for the development. Both obstacles can be solved with money (the former under the table, and the latter overtly). Or, there is probably some language loophole about "surrounding surface parking spots" that can side-step Arte's beef. But make no mistake, Arte and his team can no longer just sit around and watch the days pass...........

Misc: There are other ways to get your hands on light-hitting catching depth. Just sayin'..........Matt Joyce has blossomed offensively under the tutelage of Don Baylor, into the worst qualified player in all of baseball. And a good deal could be made of Joyce actually being the linchpin of the LAA 2015 season hopes.............Right when people were starting to worry about Garrett Richards, and not just one people, he goes out and regains his form............


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Elsewhere in Baseball

Ruben Amaro Remains Insane: Now we know why Cole Hamels is still a Phillie. GM Ruben Amaro has already declared that he needs to be "wowed" to move Hamels, who is under contract through 2018 with about $68mm remaining to be paid to him. Well, if the asking price by Amaro for a banjo hitting left fielder is to be believed, It sounds like the Phillies want entirely too much for Ben Revere, Amaro's measure for "wow" is beyond comprehension for us mere mortals............Probably more interesting to watch, is Amaro trying to find a sucker for Jonathan Papelbon.............This is the same Ruben Amaro who went into Draft Day with a strategy of drafting employee relatives. And this is the guy who claims that it's we fans who don't know shit..............

Robinson Cano, Sinking the Mariners?: Cano is turning into a ground ball hitter, and fading almost as fast as Big Pappy. "Cano smacked pitches into the dirt 46% of the time during his last year in the Bronx, 51% during his first season in Seattle, and 54% so far this year. The big league average, by contrast, is about 44%.Fastballs (57%) and changeups (63%) have especially grounded Cano. And, now that he’s in his early 30s...Cano isn’t legging out many infield hits: His batting average on ground balls has declined four straight seasons and currently sits at .192, nearly 50 points below the MLB average (.239)." And this does not bode well for a team that is carrying another $192MM on his head. We have our Pujols issues, but at least Pujols is still finding a way to keep producing.............

One GM's Opps is Another GM's Gold: The Angels had other options in Round 1 this week. The guy most likely to be chosen went 2 slots later and is already making Alex Anthropoulos, the GM of the Blue Jays, seem brilliant............

Lighten Up, Sabre-Swingers: Minor League teams know how to have all the fun. You know, MLB regulations prohibit such playfulness with uniforms, but that shouldn't stop the marketing department from using these kinds of ideas as promos and/or merchandise concepts. I already linked to a Hawaiian shirt jersey. But why can't we have an LAA Darth Vader jersey? Or how about a Grateful Dead grass jersey? Well, maybe not Full House jerseys. I mean, like LOOK AT ALL THESE POSSIBILITIES!?!? (h/t to UniWatch)............

Misc: Ten Best Walk-up Songs in 2015...........Life is deliciously good. Not only do the BoSux suck, but their sucky players are going off on their manager in public in defense of their sucky performance..............Tonya Carpenter, the lady hit by the bat shard in Fenwaya week ago, has been upgraded to Good Condition...............Will Ferrell's LA Angels baseball card will be available for sale starting next Wednesday............Baseball players shouldn't even think about touching an umpire, but an umpire tackling a baseball player is considered a good thing............

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