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MondoLinks: Angels warming up for All-Star rest

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Is it happening again? Are the Angels getting flaming hot just in time to be sat back down for the extended All-Star break, only to come back out in late July cold as ice? Whatever happens, we all know Dipoto is to blame.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

You know that somewhere out there in the land of Halo fans there are throngs of talk radio callers absolutely convinced that this weekend's onslaught of offense is due to the firing of Jerry Dipoto. Certainly, there can be no other explanation. Dipoto was dragging down the offense either by force-feeding baloney statistics or causing discord in the locker room. Think about it: crappy offense with Dipoto running around the front office, the field, the dugout and the clubhouse...versus...MegaMan offense as soon as he is gone. How can there be any other explanation?

Lucky for me, those fans don't spend too much time working up the effort to type the extra-long URL that lands at Halos Heaven. Then again, there is that Facebook click-through thingy lately...

Meanwhile, it is safe to ask all of you: with 3 games down and 6 games left, is this the common super-hot run-up to the All-Star break that comes at the absolute worst possible time for their momentum? Notice that the team is now just 3 game out of first in the AL West, and only the Milwaukee Brewers (at 9-1) are hotter over their last 10 games that then Angels (8-2). The Angles are 16-9 since June 7th, so things are certainly clicking right now.

I love links!

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Angels Baseball

The Upcoming Series:

Los Angeles Angels @ Colorado Rockies - Coors Field, Denver CO.

Day Game Time Probable Pitchers TV
TUESDAY 5:40 PM PDT Andrew Heaney (1-0, 1.38 ERA) versus Chad Bettis (4-3, 3.67 ERA) FSW
WEDNESDAY 5:40 PM PDT Matt Shoemaker (4-7, 4.91 ERA) versus Chris Rusin (3-3, 4.27 ERA) FSW








From the official team Game Notes: "COLORADO ON DECK: Halos’ current roster batting collective .318 (156/491) vs. Colorado…Angels have won last seven games vs. Rockies…Halos have swept Rox five times (2015; 2012, 2001, 2000 & 1998) since inception of Interleague Play in 1997… Angels have won 16 of last 20 and 21 of last 26 meetings vs. Rockies…Angels are 13-6 at home, 9-2 on road (22-8 overall)."

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Crush the Rangers: This weekend felt real good. This was a Rangers team that was above us in the division, playing well, and starting to get guys back from the DL. And let's face it, this was a team of Rangers. Ugh. So to go into their own house and decimate them, embarrass and humiliate them, just felt fantastic! My son, RubixsQube sent me a text at precisely the moment I had the very same thought: with the Angels outscoring the Rangers 33 to 8 over 3 games (8 to 2 win on Friday, followed by a 13 to 0 total smackdown on Saturday, wrapping up with a 12 to 6 blowout yesterday), I wonder what this improved run differential does to their Pythag for the season?

C.J.Cron: Cron, among others, had a pretty good weekend. For the 3 games in Texas he hit .571 with 8 hits in 14 at-bats and 8 RBI. Since his return from AAA, he is hitting .409 with 9 hits in 22 at-bats and 9 RBI total over 6 games. So, yeah, Cron's big weekend was a key in the offensive explosion. This is the guy we were hoping we had coming out of Spring Training, and the guy we need to pick up the offense once we realized that we had a big hole where Hambone was supposed to be..............

Erick Aybar: Aybar, it should be said, was actually MORE key this weekend. Aybar was 9 for 13 - .692 - scoring 6 times and driving in 4 more. Aybar's biggest game was Friday, when he went a brilliant 5 for 5..............

Kole Calhoun: Calhoun himself was no slouch. He was 6 for 15 (.429) with 10 RBI. He also left 11 men on base, so that RBI total could have been even more astronomical! His game yesterday was a breath of fresh air 4 RBI's on Sunday to bookend his 4 RBI game on Friday made for quite a series............

All Stars: As already announced, Mike Trout was named starter for this year's All-Star game. Before I continue, what are the odds that he starts in left field in deference to Lorenzo Cain as center fielder? It makes perfect sense, of course, since FanGraphs continues to absolutely hate Trout's defense. (Let's be honest, Trout is horrible as a defender. The guy simply cannot go back on fly balls. Snark, snark. By the way, did you know that Trout leads all of baseball for center fielders with 232 put outs? And he has yet to make any sort of error? He also has the highest range factor? So, he is the most durable - most innings played - most successful and able to cover the greatest amount of the field. And yet he ranks as a zero on defense. Go figure. Somebody. Please. Because I hate defensive metrics.)...........Albert Pujols is a very serious contender to be named to the AL All-Star team as a backup, battling Prince Fielder (with a superior slash line) and Eric Hosmer (best defender, and KC Royal under Ned Yost). But Pujols leads the AL with 25 home runs (he is tied with Bryce Harper and Todd Frazier there behind Giancarlo Stanton, but with Stanton injured those three are going to battling for the MLB lead in a few more games). Anyway, we all know what chicks dig the most............Finally, Hector Santiago should have one more start (Thursday in Seattle?) to punch his ticket to Cincinnati. After yet another sterling outing this weekend, Santiago's ERA is 10th best in all of baseball, 4th best in the American League............

Jered Weaver: Weaver is coming along, but don't expect him to try and force anything this week. Expect to see him after the break. "Angels right-hander Jered Weaver threw his third bullpen session Saturday since going on the disabled list with left-hip inflammation. All signs still point to him returning after the All-Star break."..........

Angels GM: The problem with a Grant Brisbee is that he is a really talented writer who has the backing of a being on the side of the dominant baseball team of our time. You want to hate him for being insufferable, but he is too good for you to fall into that trap. Dammit. So here we go again, and Brisbee hammers home the whole problem with being the LAA GM. But if you want the gig, it could be yours. Here is all you need to know before you take the job...........

Hard Times: Just the fact that anybody can start asking this question is reason enough to know that things have gone horribly wrong in Anaheim. It was not that long ago when most of these people were considered to be running one of hte best franchises on all of pro sports. Now we have folk asking the question, and using reasonable data points to do it, that wonders if the Angels are now the worst organization in baseball?. For the record, that article, over at Outside Corner, actually comes from Garrett Wilson of Monkey With a Halo blog. So he is kinda one of us, but this is MWAH granted a public loudspeaker for lots of folks to hear..........

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Elsewhere in Baseball

Bo: At FanGraphs, in a Sunday Notes roundup, the lead is a nice level setting on the Dipoto-Scioscia split. the key, as David Laurila notes, has everything to do with data itself. Was the data that Dipoto getting all upset over worth all the angst? Anyway, the REAL reason I link to that story is the second part, about Bo Jackson. It's a short piece, but mind-blowing. I will only share this much: "Bo doesn't do rehab." Laugh my ass off!............

Hamboner: This is getting to be just too delicious. That Great Season of Vindication all the moralists were hoping for out of Josh Hamilton in 2015, rubbing our noses in it all? Yeah, um, ain't happening. Hamilton lost all of April and most of May with his off-season surgery and rehab, then gave the Ranger 7 games at the very end of May before going back onto the DL. He put up but a single game for the entire month of June, then sat again to rest up. See July, 2 games and a groin injury and possibly back to the DL. It's safe to say that the Rangers are OVERPAYING for their use of Hamilton's services this season...........

Knuckling Under: Meet a team of engineering students at the University of Toronto who never heard of Ian MalcolmThey tried to create a pitching machine that could throw a knuckleball, controlling all the variables possible and resulting in the very same pitch movement and path every time. They failed. "The students found that even the slightest change in conditions — from a small scuff on the ball to the tiniest tilt in its orientation — changed the pitch’s behaviour."  My guess is that we know have a generation of humans in college for whom the original Jurassic Park movie is something left for Turner Classic Movies............

All-Star Tidbits: Bryce Harper received the most votes in the NL...........Josh Donaldson received the most votes in voting history..............an FAQ on how the rest of the rosters are filled out.............Speculation on NL roster fillers..........Speculation on AL roster fillers...........AL starter highlights............NL starter highlights...........

Whiplash!: Neck and back pain lawsuits come to baseball, and MLB mascots will never go come into contact with fans again unless escorted by a phalange of lawyers.............

Baseball Biz: Here we go. You may have been picking up odd sounds coming from the outhouse out back concerning financial struggles and cost-cutting measures going on at EPSN and FOX Sports 1. These are two of the giants that drive cable bundle pricing in the first place, so it is important to follow the economic trade winds that fill their sails. So why are they feeling pressure on their margins? Ummm, probably because the very sports they cover are jacking up their prices. MLB, as but on example, has raised their rights fees 105%. So two things to think about here. First, from me, there is the idea that maybe cord cutters are going to see a short-lived salvation, since their path to the content merely leads them to a more direct relationship with the entities that are jacking up the prices in the first place. The second thing to think about comes from the article: "If the bursting of the bubble ever comes, maybe it isn’t going to come from an army of cord cutters and fans who have finally decided they’re paying too much for live sports.  Maybe it’s going to come from the networks themselves, who eventually decided that cutting costs everywhere else to foot the bill for live sports just isn’t worth it anymore."..........

Bobbleheads: Rob Neyer does an essay on the dwindling issuance of bobbleheads throughout Major League Baseball, and why that is a cheapskate mistake. I love the attention and the idealism. I should just point out one simple fact. While Neyer wants to believe that "...bobbleheads are the one giveaway that fans will be most excited about, and are mostly likely to keep for many years, even sometimes as family heirlooms. There are only a few thousand of this bobblehead, and they’re not making more of them. Ever." The reality is that I see bobbleheads in thrift stores and antique stores all the damned time. They are either tossed outright or stupidly re-marketed as some sort of profit opportunity as if the guy renting the consignment space in the local antique mall believed in following the Frankin Mint model. Some time in the recent decades bobbleheads lost their cache. People do get excited to get them, but that excitement does not last very long thereafter like it once did.........

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I leave you all with this short clip, from my weekend at Pismo Beach:

Pismo-Slo-Mo

I have several more that I will share. But for today that one is enough. That, and the photo below. We were sitting in the VIP section out on the pier, and those seats are so close to the launch site that it was raining shrapnel on us. Below is a photo of the pieces I collected from around me. Note the size! We saw at least one injury that required medical attention, and lot's of people, including our own party, were getting seriously dusted by the falling ash even to the point of taking personal measures of safety. While I concede that the Pismo show is among the very best I have ever witnessed, it might be a good idea to move the launch pad further out onto the pier in future years. Just sayin'.

Pismo-Shrapnel

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