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WeekEnd HaloLinks: Let's light that baby up!

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Happy Birthday Michael Nelson Trout, who turns 24 years of age today!

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Hey, it was an off day. No Angels baseball to mock or celebrate. Only Houston breaking through the Oakland bullpen and the Halos losing another 1/2 game to start the weekend 2.5 games back. But where are we now, really? I have time to play with numbers.

When we all woke up on the 4th of July, the Astros had a 5 full game lead on the Angels. Houston has played 28 games since that morning and gone 13-15. This includes a 3-game sweep of the Halos. In that same calendar window, the Angels have played 27 games and gone 15-12. Thus, the Astros have played .464 ball, and the Angels .555.

Up to that point, the Astros had been playing at a .585 clip which, if continued, would have parked them at 95 wins come the end of the season. That is a very respectable finish which would require a rare confluence of circumstances to avoid making the playoffs. The Angels were running at .525 and heading towards an 85 win season and probably an extra month off. (The last time any A.L. team made the playoffs with 85 wins or less was in 1995, when the Yankees and Mariners both backed in with only 79 as the Angels collapsed.)

Now we wake up on August 7th. We have a race. July 4th represents the commencement of a shockwave that is still reverberating between the two teams. The Astros went through a large losing period, then a decent winning stretch, and now back to a losing stretch. The Angels merely had a very long winning stretch and a very long losing stretch. Neither team is getting clobbered with injuries or being rescued by some flood of injured players returning, so things should stabilize and these long streaks should disappear any day now. The Astros picked up some serious talent at the trade deadline, but the Angels still have existing players who are way overdue to regress upwardly. And, at the end of the day, the Angels have Mike Trout. They have Albert Pujols. And they have HaloLinks:

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Angels Baseball

The Upcoming Series:

Baltimore Orioles @ Los Angeles Angels - Angels Stadium, Anaheim, CA.

Day Game Time Probable Pitchers TV
FRIDAY 7:05 PM PDT Kevin Gausman (2-2, 3.97 ERA) vs. Andrew Heaney (5-1, 1.97 ERA) FSW, MLBN
SATURDAY 6:05 PM PDT Ubaldo Jiminez (8-7, 4.04 ERA) vs. Garrett Richards (11-8, 3.46 ERA) FSW, MLBN
SUNDAY 12:37 PM PDT TBA vs. TBA (Jered Weaver??) FSW




From the official team Game Notes: "ORIOLES ON DECK: Angels took two of three in first meeting (May 15-17 at BAL)…Baltimore has claimed last two season series…Halos are 55-38 vs. O’s since 2004…LAA is 8-3-0 in last 11 season series"

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Andrew Heaney: Let's not lose sight of the fact that I totally cluster-effed the promotion of Andrew Heaney,  failing to foresee any possibility that he would immediately flip from ST flop to Regular Season Ace-In-Waiting. Because I did, and because Heaney has. Angels pitcher Andrew Heaney is proving he belongs which each start. the young man really has progressed since we saw him first back in spring. Says Chris Iannetta:  "I think his fastball command has been much better since spring; his ability to command arm-side with his fastball has been really good. And then his slider (SLIDER ALERT!!) has really developed into an out-pitch. In spring, we saw more of a strike pitch and he was still trying to find a feel for it."...So, nice. That's rapid development, right there. Heaney himself is adorable about it, as he looks way back into his past, all the way to April: "I was bummed out about wasting the opportunity to make the team. At that time, I was 23 years old..." Yeah. Heaney is now all of 24 years AND 2 months old. April was, like, back when he was just a kid. Or something...........

Kaleb Cowart: (For some odd reason, I have such a hard time spelling that name. I go into vapor lock over the "C" and the "K" and get them backwards, even when I know that I am going to get them backwards.)  Remember Caleb? No? This is a guy who we once hoped to have takeover at 3B. And when his offense evaporated there was a lot of talk about salvaging the pick by moving him to the mound. As reported last month, his swing has been rebuilt and he is regaining success, climbing again. People were projecting that he was going to have a good year.  Other people recognized that he is having a good year, and now even more people are seeing him up at 3B as early as next year...........

Nightmares: Is it absolutely necessary to remind me? It has been 20 years since the Angels' biggest collapse. "It was 20 years ago this week that Gary DiSarcina, then an All-Star shortstop for the Angels, suffered a torn ligament in his left thumb sliding into second base against the Seattle Mariners, an injury that might have triggered one of baseball's greatest collapses." Yeah, that's a meme. DiSar had a great half a season there in1995, it is true. And it is fair to suspect that he was worth at least one Win Above Replacement over the second half had he stayed healthy. And Damion Easley sucked some pretty serious wind as his primary replacement (slash line of .197 / .208 / .250). But DiSar going down isn't the reason that Tony Phillips and Jim Edmonds went flat. Or Mark Langston spend that windows pitching to a 5.77 ERA (not to mention Chuck Finley and his 5.28). But, whatevs. The story is easier told that way. In any event, if you are too young to wear the scars, celebrate the anniversary..........

Kole Calhoun: Quick note. If you happen to be in the Fullerton area Saturday morning Cole Calhoun will be at the WSS shoe store at 1150 S. Harbor and signing autographs..........

Trout Porn: The major media outlets are going to be lining up soon to forecast post-season award winners, and Sports Illustrated gets the jump, proclaiming Mike Trout as the runaway MVP in the American League. They have votes, and they have a point, but it's too early for that folks...........Meanwhile, we do need to keep on eye on the AL Runs Scored leaderboard. Currently, Josh Donaldson is at the top with 79, followed by B Dozier and Trout at 76. Why care? As I have posted before, Trout has led the AL in runs scored in each of the last 3 seasons and nobody has ever led the league 4 consecutive seasons..........

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Elsewhere in Baseball

Old-Timers...League?: Here is an idea that might sound good at first, but could probably use a little more thinking. It's Time for a Baseball Senior League.  The basic idea would be for players who have aged out of Major League Baseball might find the chance to excel again on a senior circuit, played during the winter (non-MLB) months. There are answers there to the easiest of questions (only 6 weeks to spare the health, only in warm weather or domed stadiums, play mid-week to minimize/overlap with college/pro football). But while I am certain that many people would have some level of interest in watching a Randy Johnson pitch to Mark McGwire, I am less certain that there are enough Randy Johnsons and Mark McGwires to fill out the teams, and less certain anybody would care to watch a Kevin Correia pitch to a Robb Quinlan...........


Bud Selig, Hero: I must surrender to the notion that this 2015 baseball season truly is, and shall continue to be, far more interesting now that we have TWO wild card playoff slots. Just like this guy lays out, we have to honor Bud Selig for this. Not that I think this season would have been a catastrophe with only 1 WC, or with none. Hell, even if we still had only 1 playoff spot per league it would be interesting in the AL where there are 5 teams within 6 games of each here in early August. (The Cards would have ended the NL race for all intent and purposes a couple of weeks ago, being 7 games up on their closest competitors and playing great ball.)  The author, a fellow Angels fan, then charms me. He comes into the sport when there were 2 divisions in each league, and initially bemoaned the addition of one WC (only to be rewarded by the 2002 Anaheim Angels World Series title, where the Halos went in as THE American league wild card). He then got further upset with a second WC. Only now is he happy again with the new status quo. I, of course, go back to a tinier world of baseball when there only 8 teams per league and the whole season was one playoff race to the league pennant. So this guy's johnny-come-lately-complaining brings forth something my father taught me before I was even a teenager: "Have you ever thought that radical ideas threaten institutions, then become institutions and, in turn, reject radical ideas which threaten institutions?" This comes from 16:48 into the Oscar-winning short Why Man Creates, which my dad brought home from work on 16mm and made the entire family watch. Thanks, dad!...........

Pete Rose: Oh, this is ugly. John Dowd, the person who led the MLB investigation into Rose's gambling allegations, was interviewed on radio and dropped this little nugget: "I’ve been asked that question whether [Rose] had any moral bearings at all, and the answer is no. There’s a lot of other activity. … Michael Bertolini told us that he not only ran bets, but he ran young girls for him down in spring training. Ages 12-14. Isn’t that lovely? So that’s statutory rape every time you do that. So he’s just not the kind of person that I find very attractive..." So that is a hell of a lot of hearsay there, but why would a guy like Dowd be so cavalier as to just throw that out there??? Rose, and his attorney, have come out strongly and denied the acusations..................

OMNI: This off-season qualifying offer is expected to be between $15.7 and $16 million................Things are getting squirrelly in Detroit............More evidence that softball is not a real sport............Sabre fans beware: this first full season of StatCast data is shot full of holes. We have a ways to go before we can all settle in...........What happens when it's a pitcher who does the pimping after a home run swing?.............Really? REALLY?? Jerry Blevins works himself back into game shape and then falls off A CURB to rebreak the same bone, ending his season with surgery? How does a professional athlete fall off a curb??...........Buster Posey is the new God of Framing. One entire Win worth so far?............


This Date In Baseball History: 1907 - 19-year old Walter Johnson wins his first career game. Johnson will end up playing 21 seasons and compile a final record of 417 wins against 279 losses............1950 - The Birmingham Alabama police force intercedes and prevents three white players from playing their positions with the Chicago American Giants. The visiting team is set to play the Birmingham Black Barons in a Negro League twin bill, and Birmingham's segregation laws will be enforced, forcing the players to watch the match from the "whites only" bleachers..........1951 - In Florida, at the Orange Bowl, the largest ever minor league audience crowds in to watch Satchel Paige and the Miami Marlins (!) defeat the Columbus jets in an International League contest...........1969 - Some things never change. Bob Skinner, manager of the Phillies, learns that the front office is not going to have his back in his efforts to discipline Dick Allen - team superstar - and quickly calls a press conference and resigns on the spot...........1973 - Oakland A's owner Charlie Finley suffers a heart attack and is rushed to the hospital while the team is visiting the White Sox. With Finely and his meddling ways sidelined, the A's immediately rip off a winning run of 13 and 1, taking over the AL West lead on their way to a World Series title..........1976 - Steve Leubber is one strike away from a no-hitter against the Rangers when Roy Howell breaks the no-no with a single, and ends up at third base on a Lyman Bostock error. Leubber will surrender another hit, and the run, before being replaced. The Twins will still win the game 3-1, and Leubber has a bar story with which to bore his friends for the remainder of his days...........1982 - At Fenway Park, Red Sox first baseman Dave Stapleton lines a foul shot into the stands which strikes a 4-year old boy in the head. Jim Rice, seeing this, rushes into the stands and picks up the boy, carries him back down to the field and through the dugout and out into the waiting arms of the emergency medical personnel that are on standby at every game. The quick action will be credited with saving the boy's life...........1985 - The 2-day Player's Strike ends with a new 5-year agreement that adds salary arbitration...........2001 - Umpire Angel Hernandez foreshadows his future career, as he ejects Steve 'Mongo' McMichael from Wrigley Field.  McMichael is on the field to sing the National Anthem, and makes a joke concerning a call Hernandez had made the day before...........2002 - MLBPA agrees to random drug testing, limited to steroids identified as illegal..........2007 - Barry Bonds passes Hank Aaron on the all-time career non-Sadaharu-Oh home run list with #756..........


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