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MondoLinks: Back in the saddle again...

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After months of frustration over events on and off the field, falling back as much as 7 games back of Houston in the AL West, we get a full reboot. We will being the second half a few percentage points ahead in first place.

Jennifer Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

May The Fourth be with uth...

7 games back on May 4th, 6 1/2 back on May 24th, 6 back on June 4th, 5 back going into July 4th, and now 1st place by percentage points as we roll through July 14th. After all that we have been going through, things look much, much better for where we might be when October 4th rolls around.

It's a slow news week. Things are gonna get tough for your truly here. So let's kick things off with my first plate appearance...links!

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Angels Baseball

The Upcoming Series:

2015 All-Star Week broadcast events - Great American Ballpark, Cincinnati OH.

Day Game Time Event TV
MONDAY 5:00 PM PDT Gillette Home Run Derby ESPN
TUESDAY 4:00 PM PDT 2015 All-Star Game FOX


Hangover Day

I'll get to this later

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Andrew Heaney: Heaney is smoking hot (yeah, yeah, I already have giddily confessed to being wrong on that). The kid has given us 27 1'3 innings in relief of Jered Weaver, with a 1.32 ERA and a 0.84 WHIP. When Weaver returns to the active rotation here post All-Star break, the question will be what do to about Heaney...or somebody else in the rotation. Now is when we get to a fantastic plot twist. Who here remembers 2006, when it was a fresh-faced top pitching prospect Jered Weaver who was the up and comer and blowing away opponents? Weaver won his first 4 starts between May 27th and June 13th. He was sent back down when Bartolo Colon came back from the 15-day DL. This was when another starter, Jeff Weaver, was stinking up the mound in his slot in the rotation, going 3-10 with an ERA of 6.29 before being shipped off altogether to St. Louis (where he would enjoy World Series status as a minor hero). See the echoes of time? Now it is Jered Weaver himself coming back from the 15-day DL, and the pitcher at-risk in the rotation is the brilliantly successful Andrew Heaney. In 2006 we held on to Jeff Weaver, which was a mistake. Ironically, the two starters who are having the greatest struggles and with the weakest results so far this season are Matt Shoemaker,...and Jered Weaver. Something has to give, and it won't be Weaver this time, either............

Hector Santiago: As we kept suggesting, Santiago and his Amazing Multi-Colored ERA (2.33) has made it onto the AL All-Star team, taking the place of an injured Sonny Gray. Mike Scioscia was thrilled to be the dude to tell him that he wouldn't be taking some time off to work on his tan: "I don't know if I've ever been more excited to just to tell a player that he's been selected. He's elevated himself through hard work to pitch at a level with anybody that's in our league, and it makes you feel good he's getting rewarded with this."............

Mike Trout: Trout's recent offensive surge (.364 with 10 home runs over his past 30 games, .389 with 14 RBI over his last 15 games, and .444 with a 1.000 SLG average over his last 7 games) has lifted his fWAR to 5.5 after 87 games. this puts him on track for 10.2 fWAR. His bWAR is 5.9, which would track out at 11 bWAR. That would top even his amazing 10.b bWAR rookie campaign in 2012. Just to keep up status overall, Trout sits at 34.5 career bWAR and in 5th place on the all-time franchise rankings. Bobby Grich sits just above him at 34.9 bWAR and Brian Downing is at 4th with 37.8 bWAR. Barring something big, Trout will own 4th place easily before the season is out. Alos, you might notice that Trout is now accelerating away from Josh Donaldson, who has been crushing it in Toronto, and is gaining hard on Bryce Harper, who has a monster month of his own. Also, Trout has taken over the AL Runs Scored lead. If he finishes at the top, it will be for the 4th consecutive season and that will be something nobody has ever done in the history of Major League Baseball..........

Prospect Sean Newcomb: Newcomb, our 1st round pick in the 2014 draft out of Hartford University in Connecticut, and currently out in San Bernardino with the Inland Empire 66'ers, pitched a clean and perfect 7th inning for the USA Futures side yesterday as the US team defeated the International team 10-1. Newcomb faced the minimum of three batters and went through the inning on 14 pitches...........

Prospect Nate Smith: Smith, drafted in the 8th round in 2013 out of Furman University in South Carolina and now with the Arkansas Travelers, took on Cuba for the U.S in the Pan-Am games and went 6 innings pitched while giving up only a single hit.............

Stonewall Stoneman: Bill Stoneman is back in business, and considering his options as trade-deadline season is about to open up this week as soon as the All-Star Game concludes on Tuesday If you can recall, Stoneman is famous for doing little in the form of player trades to jumpstart a lineup. And Stoneman gets himself right back into a comfortable position in his GM chair again: "It doesn’t matter if it’s July or January, if it helps you, you do it. If it’s not going to help you, you don’t do it just because people are hoping you do something. If you do something because people are expecting you to do something, and it doesn’t help you, why would you do it?"

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Elsewhere in Baseball

Texas Politicos: U.S Senator John Cronyn, from Texas, is happy to let the FBI and DOJ know that they are being watched in their investigation of the St. Louis Cardinals and their hack into the Astros' internal computer systems. This is not the least bit unusual, of course, but it's worth a bag or two of popcorn: " 'I hope that FBI and DOJ will take the ongoing investigation into any criminal activity seriously and ensure that any wrongdoing is fully investigated and prosecuted,' Cornyn said in an exchange with Deputy Assistant Attorney General David Bitkower, according to a news release from Cornyn’s office. ".............

Chat Him Up: Ask the Commissioner a question! "Continuing a popular tradition, Commissioner Rob Manfred will interact with fans from around the globe during a live chat, exclusively on MLB.com from the T-Mobile All-Star FanFest at the Duke Energy Convention Center this afternoon.  This will be Manfred's first time hosting the Town Hall Meeting, now in its 15th year. He'll make brief opening remarks, then answer e-mailed and audience questions from fans in attendance beginning at 1:30 p.m ET. Fans can submit their questions now at allstarchat@website.mlb.com." Don't be too surprised to find that there is a legion of screeners between you and the world to filter out anything truly provocative or insightful. It's what they do. It's why we have alternatives such as Halos Heaven..........

Pete Rose: Well then, I need to reconsider this whole thing, I suppose. If Snoop Dogg thinks Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame, then I guess that closes all arguments, yes? Well, Goose Gossage and Tommy Lasorda are not yet swayed..............

Happiness Points!: Oooh...check it out. Somebody far more qualified than myself has done a much better study between payroll and wins and found out that we should not be fooled by baseball's small-budget success stories. "...evidence suggests that the relationship between money and winning is as strong now as it’s been any time in the free-agency era.".............

Fan Spaz: Fan goes to baseball game. Fan gets tickets in target-rich zone. Home-town baseball player hits home run into target rich zone, and fan gets it. Fan spazzes out with excitement, tosses treasured baseball up in the air for somebody else to have.............

Billy Hamilton: In the Great Sneaky Tradition of Orlando Cabrera and Erick Aybarwe have Billy Hamilton punking the Marlins.............

Baseball Biz: If you can't beat 'em, sue 'em. Cable companies are fighting back against AT&T uVerse and DirectTV and their merger with all the Regional Sports packages they own - and the Cable companies are missing out on, by running to the FCC and complaining about (of all things) rising costs. They want the government to intervene and hold down prices. Gee. I wonder how they feel about having this same government stepping in and controlling their pricing structures, as well?.............

Lightning Take: Closing off with a quick bit of spark.............