I love the fact that a player who hits a walk-off has to reach, at least, 1st base. So you get images such as this, with a David Murphy hustling up the line for no other reason. His trip isn't very far, and the ball he hit is going all the way to the wall. It's not like there is any risk of the ball, even if not caught, making it back to 1st base anytime soon. And if it is caught, the inning is over anyway.
So the Angels wake up today only a half game out, which is pretty nice considering they are a lethargic 4- over the past 10 games. Thankfully, that has happened because the Astros have gone 3 and 7. How did that happen? Well, for one thing, they ran into an Oakland A's team that now has 51 wins, way back there 10 games behind in the race. The Astros pulled out a come-from-behind win on Thursday, then dropped 3 in a row to the lowly Oakland green and gold. We mention this because the Angels have just arrived in Chicago to play the White Sox. The White Sox, like the A's, have also won 51 games. So assume nothing, not even a Chris Sale that is suddenly getting shelled.
Stay focused. Keep seeking the offense. And read the links:
The Upcoming Series:
Los Angeles Angels @ Chicago White Sox - U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago, IL.
|Day||Game Time||Probable Pitchers||TV|
|MONDAY||5:10 PM PDT||Matt Shoemaker (5-7, 4.01 ERA) vs. Chris Sale (9-7, 3.52 ERA)||FSW|
|TUESDAY||5:10 PM PDT||Hector Santiago (7-5, 2.78 ERA) vs. Carlos Rodon (4-4, 5.00 ERA)||FSW|
|WEDNESDAY||5:10 PM PDT||Andrew Heaney (5-1, 2.45 ERA) vs. TBA ()||FSW|
From the official team Game Notes: "WHITE SOX ON DECK: Halos won five of six matchups last season…LAA has slightest lead in all-time series with White Sox at 356-352-1…Halos have won last three season series vs. Chicago…LAA has won eight of last 11 games at U.S. Cellular and is 11-5 in last 16 meetings at Angel Stadium."
Jered Weaver: Weaver admits that his head was not in the right place in the first inning yesterday. He did look far too much like the guy who was only so-so in his AA rehab starts. But it cannot be denied that he settled in nicely and ripped through the next 4 innings with ease. He faced the minimum of only 12 batters. Those in the stadium might have noticed on the scoreboard, even while he was getting outs, that Weaver's curveball was little league speeds (averaging 67mph). Weaver says he's not too worry about it for the time being, but it's only a matter of time...........
David Murphy: Murphy either needs to prepare himself for his post-playing career as a clairvoyant, or as a major league manager. He knew the moves that Showalter was lining up to make well before the Orioles skipper was tasked to make them. "Manager Buck Showalter summoned left-hander Brian Matusz. As Murphy sat on the bench talking to C.J. Wilson, he wondered whether the game might come down to him. Matusz struck out Kole Calhoun, who bats left-handed. Murphy, who bats left-handed, saw no right-hander warming up in the Baltimore bullpen. He knew the Angels had no right-handed hitter to bat for him. He told Wilson the Orioles probably would walk Trout intentionally, then walk Pujols intentionally, setting up the matchup between left-handers, but putting the potential winning run at third base." By the way, did you catch that? C.J. Wilson is still hanging with the club, sitting in the dugout, talking with his teammates. So who the hell is whispering about him?............
Cute: Mark Saxon quotes Dodgers manager Don Mattingly as propping up Andrew McCutcheon by saying that Cutch reminds him of Mike Trout. That's pretty fun when you realize that McCutcheon, one of the very best ballplayers in the National League, is almost 29 years ole - nearly 5 years older than the guy he reminds Mattingly of.............
Speaking of Trout: Mike Trout is still learning how to be dangerous. Well, not the Mike Trout that goes 0 for 5, but the REAL Mike Trout. Trout has learned how to get within an inside pitch and hit opposite field home runs. "Trout knew he needed to be able to shorten up if he wanted to have success against harder pitches in. It would appear he's shortened up, and his numbers are fantastic. His numbers are always fantastic, but that's an achievement on its own -- he gets more scouting attention than anyone else. He's always the main enemy. He's still winning. It's not that Mike Trout has gotten a lot better. That would be almost impossible. It's that Mike Trout continues to avoid getting worse. That's only possible when you consistently make good adjustments. Add it to Mike Trout's endless list of strengths."
Stadium Tech: Ok, I know. You don't actually click and read and watch and listen to everything I direct you to 5 days a week. I get it. But I do want to go back and make a point about some rich content that was offered up last week. It has to do with stadium technology. My experience at Angels Stadium sucks. Always has. And I feel that the root of the problem is a lack of awareness by Moreno, Carpino & Kuhl concerning the opportunity that exists to better engage their customers. And it also belies a serious commitment to the growing integration between the information-driven sport of baseball and the information revolution underway globally So I want you to think alos about your in-game experiences at the stadium, while looking at these data points cherry picked out of that presentation by Bill Schlough, CIO of the SF Giants, Since 2004:
|Number of Wi-Fi access points has grown||121||1,289|
|Typical per-game fan usage has grown||94 (0.3%)||12,376 (34%)|
|Per Capita download has become||380 GB/game|
|Per Capita upload has become||200 GB/game|
|Devices being used has gone||Palm PDAs||tablets, smartphones & laptops|
|Network usage has gone||email/browsing||everything!|
The Giants launched their stadium WiFi network 11 years ago and have been totally engaged in technology ever since. Just look at all the I.T.-related staff on this page (I count 11, ignoring all the social media and video technicians and production engineering and ballpark operations staff who might be pulling cables). Now compare that to what Arte employs. (I count 5, none of whom are at any industry accepted senior capacity). My point here is not to disparage whatever good work that small cadre of people actually do deliver in Anaheim. No. My point is that Arte is starving his fan base by not investing in their tech experience. The demand is there. The opportunity is there. And if you watch the entire video, you will learn that there has been a valuable return on investment that the Giants make in fan-facing I.T.........
History: Ummm...no. This is most certainly NOT where the Dodgers got their cap logo............
Elsewhere in Baseball
Odd: Howie Kendrick took himself out of the game last ngiht against the Pirates, most likely due to a hamstring injury. Howie, as it turns out, suffers a Hammie in those seasons when the Giants are not winning the World Series: 2011...2013...2015..................
Dumbballs: Yankee Fan Dad takes kid to game, Yankee Fan In-training. Jose Bautista hits a home run to put the visiting Blue Jays up 2-0 and Yankee Fan In-Training ends up with the ball. Ostensibly with the proud support of Yankee Fan Dad, Yankee Fan In-Training throws the opposing home run ball back. This is a thing found to be cute anymore. This time, it backfires. Yankee Fan In-Training throws ball back and hits actual Yankee right fielder Brett Gardner on the back of the head...............
Bonus Balls: Trout and Pujols were not the only Intentional Base on Balls given yesterday that didn't work out. Remember Josh Rutledge, the guy we sent to Boston for Shane Victorino? Yeah. That guy. He started at second base for the BoSux and came up to the plate in the 8th inning. With runners at 2nd and 3rd - 1st base open - and 2 outs, Detroit pitcher Ian Krol intentionally walked Josh Rutledge to get to Jackie Bradley, who had just homered the inning before. Yep. The Tigers handed out the Trout/Pujols treatment to Josh-freakin'-Rutledge. It didn't work for them, either. Bradley tripled and blew the game wide open.............
Deep Sigh: Just the headline makes for scrunchy face. Can Cardinals rookie Randal Grichuk keep crushing the ball at this rate? "Although he has just 285 plate appearances at the major-league level this season, Cardinals outfielder Randal Grichuk has announced his presence in the crowded NL Rookie of the Year fray. Grichuk adds value on the bases, and he can capably man all three outfield positions. However, it's his power at the plate that drives his value. At this writing, Grichuk is batting .287/.333/.574, and he's averaging an extra-base hit every 6.5 at-bats. Were he a qualifier, then that .574 SLG would rank second in the NL to Bryce Harper. As well, Grichuk's Isolated Power of .287 would rank second in the NL -- also behind Harper."..............
OMNI: The Ten Most Expensive Ballparks in MLB. There are a couple of surprises on that list..........We might not have Billy Beane as GM to kick around much longer................Cameron Maybin wears fantastic throwback stirrups. Gets slammed. Your daily links author has sad face.........The DBacks retire jersey number 51 in honor of new HoF'er Randy Johnson, and then celebrate by gifting Johnson a 51-inch hot dog? Ensuing puns run rampant. (Well, they did give him other stuff.)............Baseball predictions are getting worse. Won't somebody predict when it will turn around? Maybe predictions are a crapshoot.............The Fresno Grizzlies played their promo game as the Fresno Tacos this weekend. My jersey is on order but, due to demand, is on serious back-order. But there is a teeny-weeny chance that this team name could become far less rare. It involves Taco Bell...........Bad form, mister Orioles broadcast announcer..............