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WeekEnd HaloLinks: Shoe (throws) fits at Tigers

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Shoemaker had an up-cycle day yesterday, and it doesn't matter if it's AAA-work related or not. We take it and hope it the up-cylce sticks around for a while. Because this offense needs it.

Point the way, Shoe. Point the way...
Point the way, Shoe. Point the way...
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

This is working out to be one of those seasons where the train is falling apart even as it hurtles down the track, and story is only to focus on the random hero who dashes outside to duct tape some part of the locomotive back together so that we cover the next mile at breakneck speed.

Yesterday, as we blew through the Detroit station, it was Matt Shoemaker out there hanging on for dear life but still managing to clamp down the rickety steam pipe coming off the boiler.

We don't yet know if there is an uphill grade ahead, or a downhill one. Nor do we know how far down the line this beast will carry us all. But we can count on a few dozen heroic moments sticking in our consciousness come December, and Matt Shoemaker flying in from a minor-league demotion to stop the bloodletting leeches that the rest of the rotation had attached to our bullpen needs to be one of them. That's fire-in-the-belly stuff right there, people.

Speaking of fire-in-the-belly, I am not going to complain about the Huston Street - Jered Weaver - Albert Pujols demonstrations of late. I like 'em. A lot. But I like Street's more. His was directed at himself AND the team offense/defense as a whole. Weaver can say all he wants, but his timing but call out Trout and Calhoun in public. Not a good look. And Pujols yesterday on the basepath? Bad timing, again, body language calling out Trout (or DiSarcina???) for holding up. (Is that some play that they work on in Spring Training that somebody in addition to Pujols should have been aware of?). So, love the fire, but only a B+ because of timing. Let's work on, guys.

And until you get it together...links:

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Angels Baseball

The Upcoming Series:

Los Angeles Angels @ Cleveland Indians - Progressive Field, Cleveland, OH.

Day Game Time Probable Pitchers TV
FRIDAY 4:10 PM PDT Andrew Heaney (5-2, 3.39 ERA) vs. Danny Salazar (11-7, 3.30 ERA) FSW
SATURDAY 4:10 PM PDT Garrett Richards (12-10, 3.80 ERA) vs. Trevor Bauer (9-10, 4.48 ERA) FSW
SUNDAY 10:10 AM PDT Jered Weaver (6-9, 4.59 ERA) vs. Corey Kluber (8-13, 3.43 ERA) FSW




From the official team Game Notes: "CLEVELAND ON DECK: Halos lead 2015 season series 2-1…LAA has won seven of last 10 overall meetings…Halos are 8-8 in last 16 affairs at Progressive Field…Trout has 15 RBI in his last 18 matchups with Tribe…David Murphy is a career .329 hitter (48/146) in 41 games against the Tribe"

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Not Going Anywhere: Stop the chatter. After winning more games than any other MLB team just last season, Mike Scioscia adds to his career cred with this tidbit posted in the same Game Notes linked above, "MANAGER MINUTE: Since Mike Scioscia took over as manager in 2000, the Halos rank third in A.L. in wins (1,395) behind Yankees & Red Sox…Scioscia is the 11th individual to manage one franchise for 2500+ games…Scioscia’s 1,395 wins rank 28th all-time…Wilbert Robertson is 27th (1,399)." Daily Game Notes are the kind of thing the franchise hands out to all the MSM attendees, arming the Lyle Spencer's of the world with ammo to beat back your frustrations..........

Taking a Ribbing: The official spokes-outlets of LAA have been enjoined to take up arms and promote the tanking Mike Trout and his lagging MVP candidacy as love and slobber turn to Josh Donaldson versus Nelson Cruz. So Alden writes up a few paragraphs on a now well-worn observation: Lack of RBI chances limiting Trout's production. On the upside, we can consider this a very tiny baby step in the edumacation of Facebook fans concerning the shallowness of RBIs as an indicator of individual merit..............

Swimming upstream: I pointed out yesterday that Mike Trout has found a flaw in his stance and made an adjustment, effective yesterday, and is now "seeing the ball good". I pointed out that he is seeing the ball a lot, watching 11 of his pitches and swinging at only 2. So I thought that I would keep this up and add yesterday to his post-correction tally. He has had 32 total pitches thrown his way, 17 of them strikes. Overall, he has stared at 25 of them while swinging a total of 7 times. It's going to be hard to swim upstream if he doesn't start paddling............

Trout Porn: Now, to counteract my frustrations about Trout, we have an excellent study over at Fangraphs on how badly Trout is at staring at first pitch curveballs - "According to Brooks Baseball, over the course of Trout’s career, he’s seen 267 first-pitch curves. According to Baseball Savant, he’s seen 276. One should always expect a little disagreement, since pitch identification is as much art as it is science. Anyhow, whether it’s 267 or 276, there’s this — out of all those curves, Trout has swung at exactly one of them" - So you think that we are on to something because, as Jeff Sullivan notes, starting out an at-bat at 0-1 makes for a serious negative impact on the probability of success.. At least, that is, for mere mortals. Because later we learn: "All that’s left is to run a few more numbers, just to sate my own curiosity. Trout owns a career .405 wOBA. Just absurdly, obscenely good. However, in...just the plate appearances beginning with a first-pitch curveball for a called strike? Then Trout’s wOBA drops to — .471. Which is higher than his overall regular wOBA. By a lot!" really, click over and read the whole thing. It doesn't take that long and is fascinating. But i still can't wait til the day that Trout decides to start using all 3 strikes in his at-bats............

Arms Racing: In his most recent AA outing, Sean Newcomb had a no-hitter going through 7 innings, but was pulled because his pitch count had reached 64. No-hitters are meaningless in the minors, but 64 pitches in an outing is not. It takes a lot of human effort to labor through the repeated motions of throwing at such high velocities, with such command and control, every few days like an MLB pitcher is tasked to do. And it takes a long time to build up that kind of strength, stamina and execution. It doesn't happen overnight and the experience of youth ball only counts for so much. So what am I getting at? Well, we happen to have a trio of rather young arms in our rotation now, and we are fast approaching September. As Alden points out, the Angels are monitoring the stress on their young arms. Andrew Heaney only pitched 29.1 innings last season when called up in Miai, and he is at 66.1 already. Hector Santiago has never pitched more than 149 innings in the past, and he is at 149.1 now. Last year, his peak (getting injured) Garrett Richards put in 168.2 and he is now at 154. I should add that Matt Shoemaker's top inning count last year, his rookie season, was 136. He is now at 124.2. All this means that once we get past Weaver in the rotation, we will be in uncharted territory every day starting in about 2 weeks..............

PSA: Just want to point out that if you have some disposable income, or know how to raise such funds for cause, and know a child who could use the thrill of a lifetime, the Angels allow you to contribute to worthy causes and make for a win-win-win outcome...........

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Elsewhere in Baseball

Barry Bonds: In case you failed to notice, Barry Bonds no longer plays Major League Baseball. Bonds and his legal team would wish for you to believe that this is because all the owners got together in some smoke-filled room and made a pact, punishable by dead horse-heads, that nobody shall sign Bonds ever again to play the game for fun and profit. Instead, an Arbitrator came to the surprising decision that maybe it had more to do with the negative PEDs baggage that Bonds dragged around with him everywhere the team would go. And let's not forget, Bonds at the age of 41 was still producing at a rate that was equitable to his age 25 season, when he won the NL MVP (check his ERA+). So there was also the still the risk of his being busted...........

ROBOTS: There is a real baseball league, the Pacific Association, with real players and real team who play a real schedule over a real season, and CURRENTLY used a robot umpire (Pitchf/x, actually) to judge balls and strikes. Whoa! Sure, it was kind of hacked together, but somebody had to take that first step. Anyway, the reactions are a total crack-up. I mean, really? The big deal is a thousand words to hide the simple notion that people fear change. Essentially, this article can boil down are the arguments in favor of human umps as "everybody likes us because it's the way it has always been".............

URL Squatting: You know, "Angels" were a rather common and popular noun for millennia before MLB came along. So it's kind of interesting that they were able to snag such a web address as "angels.com" away from somebody. For all I know, that could have been The Vatican. But you know what? Not even the MLB and all the wheel barrels of cash and all the lawyers they can bring to bear can claim "twins.com" away from the Miller brothers............

LLWS: Sweetwater Valley of San Diego, representing California and the West in the Little League World Serieshas finally been sent home. It took extra innings for Texas to beat them, as Texas advances to the U.S title game against Pennsylvania. Meanwhile over on the International side, Mexico advanced to the face Japan. Winner of those two games face each other on Sunday for the Grand Pooba title. But hat tip to Sweetwater! Great result!...........

OMNI: Oh, Bautista, this is not going to look good on your dWAR. Not even the umpires could believe it, and had to spend another 4 minutes asking New York to verify whether or not they had entered the Twilight Zone. Yep, after the entire stadium stared at the embarrassed Blue Jay left fielder for those 4 minutes, call confirmed. Bautista is a bonehead............The White Sox put on their Sunday Best yesterday. That would be "Sunday Best" as in Beer League Softball uniforms. Some throwback ideas were thrown away in the first place for a reason...........What makes a manager a success? Ask the players. Bruce Bochy and Joe Maddon get the treatment. The responses read as refreshingly candid. Unsure if I would expect the same from the Angels.............Few critters can be as focused as a dog in pursuit of food...................The career of Fernando Rodney refuses to die.............When trying to hit a 103mph fastball, sometimes you just have to commit 110%. But you will notice that this same hitter - Enrique Hernandez - already knows how to commit even the corpse of his dead bat to the concept of getting on base.............. I'm officially old. I don't get it. Just keep all these cleats off my lawn..........

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This Date In Baseball History: 1884 - pitching for the New York Gothams (today's San Francisco Giants), Mickey Welch strikes out the first 9 batters of the Cleveland Blues (they fold after this season) that he faces. This will be an MLB record that will stand until 1970 when Tom Seaver pitches for the Mets and K's the final 10 San Diego Padres..............1926 - Cleveland Indians pitcher Emil Levson takes the mound for both ends of a double-header and pitches two complete games, winning both of them against the Red Sox without recording a single strikeout all day. Because of Levson, the Indians were able to use the exact same lineup in both games.............1932 - Before the age of lighted stadiums everywhere, the Red Sox are forced to move up a scheduled game against the Indians by 3 whole days. Red Sox defeat the Indians 4-3, 72 hours before a total solar eclipse sweeps over Boston and cloaks the entire city in complete darkness..............1945 - On this date in 1945, Branch Rickey meets Jackie Robinson in person for the first time, to interview him and judge if Robinson has the mental fortitude to withstand the abuse he would later suffer as the first black MLB player............. 1967 - Late call-up Johnny Bench, who will be Rookie of the year in the next season, makes his MLB debut. In the 9th inning, after going 0-3 and with the Reds down a run but with the tying runner on first base, will be pinch-hit for by Chico Ruiz. Ruiz will fly out and the Reds will end up failing to score, and lose tot he Phillies. It will be the only time in he entire career of Johnny Bench that anybody pinch hits for him.............1970 - At the other end of the spectrum we have Tony Horton, first baseman for the Indians. During the 5th inning of the second game in a double-header with the California Angels, 25-year old Horton removes himself from a game where the Indians are leading 4-1. Horton can no longer handle the abuse coming from the Indians fans and walks away from baseball. It is the last game of his career. Horton was batting .269 with 17 home runs at the time, and will end up in 27th place on the AL MVP vote that year (courtesy vote)...............1971 - Current Seattle Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon takes a bat to the plate in the Little League World Series. After hitting a 3-run home run, the Taiwan national coach orders his pitchers to walk him intentionally for the rest of the game. In the 3 games he plays in the Series, McClendon hits 5 home runs in 5 official at-bats, all on the first pitch. Taiwan ends up winning 12-3., in a game where McClendon actually was a pitcher...........2008 - The very fist use of replay for umpire review of fair/foul home runs, fan interference, and balls in/out of play takes place at Wrigley Field as the Cubs take on the Phillies.

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