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HumpLinks: With Angels, streak ends in K.

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The Angels struck out 15 times last night, and only another home run from the red-hot Albert Pujols was there to remind us of the past week's offense.

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

OK, and with a major emphasis on the K-K-K-K-K-K-K-K-K-K-K-K-K-K. Rays' pitcher Chris Archer pitched a hell of a game. Mike Trout led all Angels batter by earning with 3 of them. Both sides did get 6 hits, but the Rays managed those hits far better than the Halos. We needed C.J. Wilson to be sharp. C.J. Wilson is rarely ever "sharp".

It's a fine line that Wilson walks, one that separates triumph from tragedy. Two outcomes, each very extreme from one another. One side is rewarding but merely interesting, like one of those overstuffed couches that you yearn to fall into from exhaustion while mall shopping during High Christmas Credit Card season. Feels great, but you wouldn't want to live with it every day. The other extreme might actually be bottomless. It's falling off a precipice and into a doom that you realize immediately, even though that final pain might still be well into your plummeting future.

Such was last night.

1st inning: out, single, out. Ball 1, a guy on, but 2 down and a lot of ways to simply finish and walk back to the dugout. All is quiet. BOOM. Off the ledge and into a 2-run home run. Instant deficit.

Innings 2, 3, and 4: three up, three down. Inning 5: 4 up, 1 walk and 3 down. Overall, neither overly efficient nor overly sloppy. Comfortable, if not beautiful.

6th inning: hit by pitch. Baby step towards the ledge. Force out, ground out, two down and runner on. Still a chance. Walk. Here it comes. Another walk. Lean out and look over the cliff. Feel the earth beneath your feet vibrate...single...the ground crumbles...score 2...you fall away into the abyss. Feel the air rush past your face as the distant ground below accelerates. Single, score 1 more. Now nothing is within reach, it's over. The chance, the game, the winning streak, already gone even though there remains 45 more minutes of free fall. It's now a long, boring, ride to doom.

Thus is C.J. Wilson. Link away. Link away.

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Angels Baseball

C. J. Cron, once the darling of Spring, is now again blistering hot while playing practice baseball. He is hitting .409 with a pair of home runs since being sent down to AAA. Sounds like Tempe, doesn't it? "Maybe it was the familiar surroundings. More likely is the fact he doesn’t have to worry in Triple-A about getting consistent at-bats. He said that was the biggest challenge he faced this year in the majors." Maybe. But, on the other hand, maybe it's the lack of Major League curveballs............

Albert Pujolshitting his 6th home run in 6 days, ties the legendary Jimmie Fox at 17th on the all-time career home run list..........

David Freese doesn't get on base much, but he is hitting homers and driving in runs, which is more than enough for him. None of the OBP stuff, or getting caught up in slash lines. "RBIs and runs are big, because that's what wins games. You have to outscore the opponent...You don't want to look at numbers, you don't want to chase numbers; that'll make for a long season. But when you're doing stuff to help the team, especially on a consistent basis, you'll be a lot happier with what you're doing." It's Freese's contract year, and I can hear his sales pitch at the negotiation tables already............

By this time you were most likely channel surfing, but recent call-up Edgar Ibarra took the mound for innings 7 and 8 and struck out 2 while walking 1. 19 strikes and 13 balls and a single base runner, make a promising opening towards the possibility of becoming the 7th-inning man in Mike Scioscia's top secret formula...........

Just something to keep an eye on: Mike Trout currently ranks 3rd in the AL in runs scored, with 39 (Josh Donaldson leads with 44). Trout has scored 11 of those runs in the past 12 games, so he is on a tear. Note that Trout has already led the AL in runs scored in 2014, 2013 and 2012 before that. And nobody in history has led either the NL or the AL in runs scored for 4 consecutive seasons............

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Elsewhere in Baseball

Joey Gallo had the MLB Grand Opening for the ages.  With his initial MLB at-bat, in the bottom of the first, he doubles a 1-1 pitch and drives in 2 runs. In his second at-bat, the bottom of the third, Gallo smacks the first pitch to deep left field for a solo home run. In only his third at-bat, in the 5th, Gallo doubles off the right field wall on a 2-2 pitch. It wasn't until his turn at the plate in the 6th inning that Gallo finally made an out, striking out swinging. In the 8th inning, he walked, scoring later. For the night, Gallo was 3 for 4 with 1 walk and 1 strikeout, scoring 3 runs and gathering in 4 RBI's. Welcome to MLB, Mr. Gallo!...........

Same Ol', Same Ol'. Seven games into The Most Amazing Comeback in the History of All Comebacks, Josh Hamilton reminds us that he remains little more than Josh Hamilton. Having absolutely nothing to do with the melodrama that surrounds the I'm-An-Addict predisposition, Hambone is already injured, even if only slightly, taking time out to deal with with muscle tightness in his hammie............

Lloyd McClendon knows how to get himself tossed in style. It's right there in the honorable tradition of Billy Martin, Earl Weaver and Lou Pinella. And Seattle fans, having very little to cheer about all year, finally got a chance to celebrate the first signs of life coming out of a Mariners dugout...........

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This is one guy with whom you do NOT want to fight for a foul ball............This must have been one kick-ass Little League team..........Alert Pujols let's out a little Freudian slip here concerning his inner feelings about young Master Trout.............Here is why the National League needs to fight off the Designated Hitter forever. Per Commissioner Rob Manfred: "Not having the National League Pitcher hit would deprive us of the entertainment that Bartolo Colon has given us this year.".................Each team makes mistakes in the draft, some by picks they make that are busts, and some by players they left on the board in order to take such a bust. Here are five of the Angels' worst. Can you think of any more? (and, for a postscript gag, click to see the very next slide.)..........C - A - L - Z - O - N - E ? Yet another cute and interactive to-do to keep the kids happy between innings?