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HumpLinks: Shoe shines vs. A's. Halos score a Win

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Only three times in the past month have the Halos scored more than the 6 runs they did last night. And Matt Shoemaker has been pulled back up from AAA to be our slump buster?

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Last night one of those mysteries of the universe made an unexpected, and unexplainable, appearance and it happened in front of approximately 147 human witnesses, most of them coincidentally dressed alike in garish green and gold. The Angels played a full Major League Baseball game against another Major League Baseball team and the digits on the scoreboards revealed that the had Angels plated more runs than did their opponent. Inexplicably, that scoreboard also revealed that the game had come to a conclusion. No further play was to be allowed.

Confused, the Angel players milled about on the field in the neighborhood of the pitcher's mound until they had to be escorted off the field by their coaching staff. Yes, it was true, the Angels had won a baseball game.

LAA fans all around the world are awakening today to shared disbelief. Let's shake the fog out of our brains with links:

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Angels Baseball

One of the most difficult things about this Daily Link Dump gig is that there will be times like these, when there is so little success on the field there are not many bright things to note, and the overall failure rate is such a surprise that all the principals are still too early in the 12-step program to have anything to say. Thus, it's a real bitch to dredge up sufficiently decent content specific to LAA. So I apologize for what I notice is becoming a gradual decline in Anaheim tidbits worthy of your time and attention. I mean, really, by mid-day yesterday the TOP STORY from the official media site for the entire franchise is a rehash of the wiffle ball charity game with Pujols and Kershaw. It's a good cause, and still topical, and would be a shitload of fun for the winner, but Top Story? For a contender, in September?? But we make do with what we can...........

Kole Calhoun: Calhoun, like Mike Trout, had himself a horrible August. Worse than Trout, actually. So last night was a September blessing. If Calhoun can get hot, and Trout can continue to get normal, the rest of the team can rally around that and make a run back at a WC slot. Hey. It can happen...........

DECK CHAIRS: For some reason not explained to us rubes, September 1 has been declared the date when the Angels officially start to get their ass busy on finding a new General Manager. Not 2 months ago when this whole thing blew up. Not over the past month when good names have already bounced around and found new gigs. Not after the season when maybe even more compelling names might find themselves available. Nope. Now. Because September 1 is special. Or something. What we know is that they interviewed two guys already on the payroll - Matt Klentak and Scott Servais. And what we are being told is that they are going to their well-researched candidate list (Billy Eppler, Thad Levine, Damon Oppenheimer). This would be the same list they formed 4 whole years ago when they had a bunch of guys who they felt were less than Jerry Dipoto. Yeah. Nothing has changed in 4 years except the idea that although Dipoto was better than all these guys, Dipoto was not good enough. "Hey, you! You know that job we said you were not good enough to be hired for? Yeah, well, the guy who is smarter than you called us on our dysfunction and, and, the job's yours if you want it!"................Also, we are being told that Bud Black is not a fit. Who the hell was trying to fit Bud Black for a modern GM role in the first place????..........But let's put it out there. The current MLB Senior Vice President of Operations is Kim Ng. As in, available. Once she was the Dodgers Assistant GM. And she worked under Brian Cashman as Yankees Assistant GM before that. Experienced. Possibly/probably qualified. (How the hell would I know for sure? I have yet to interview her.) Let's see how often her name comes up in any/all these Front Office GM moves...........

MIKE SCIOSCIA: Well, he can say shit like this because saying shit like this when all the evidence to the contrary is right out there in the plain view of the public has always worked for him. Mike Scioscia says he doesn't plan to influence Angels GM search. Bullshit. First of all, Sosh HAS ALREADY influenced things! That's why the position was vacated in the first place. Second, there have been more than plenty enough scuttlebutt comments from Front Office "sources" around MLB that the very presence of Sosh and his relationship with Arte is influencing the idea of candidates when the time comes for them to even consider applying. Third, staff should ALWAYS be consulted when hiring a new executive above them. It's protocol precisely to avoid doing the stupid thing of hiring somebody wired to clash with the team already in place. Finally, for all the same reasons we already know, there is no way that Arte would ever hire Mike a new nanny without checking in with Mike. Arte knows it. Mike knows it. We know it, too. This genie is out of the bottle, and we (well, me anyway) aren't going to let Mike pretend like it never escaped..............

MIKE TROUT: Fangraphs still trying to figure out Trout's August. Let 'em try. At this point enough of these have already been done and, also at this point, nobody has a definitive answer...........

SHANE VICTORINO: Boston media looks West to see how their fondly remembered Victorino is faring now that his gritty veteran leadership was torn from their bosoms. What they see is the same thing we see. Nothing..........

JOHNNY G: Still no update on Johnny Giavotella's noneofyourbusiness, and not even the knowledge as to when he might be able to play again. This kind of story is ripe for all kinds of enjoyable speculation. My vote goes for failing to mind those strict doctor's orders concerning the correct recovery process post-vasectomy. Ouch!....................

MOVES: Jon Heyman is still beating the Chase Utley drum. He blames our lack of a GM for why we didn't get the guy we needed most of all. That cleverly ignores the fact that we have a person with many years of experience being an MLB GM sitting in the GM chair. And it also ignores the fact that this temporary GM is infamous for what trades he doesn't make. And, of course, Heyman is totally down with making his point by using a scenario where Utley comes to Anaheim without anybody going back to Philly. Therefore, Utley must have been able to come at no cost, so he was totally worth doing!..........I am happy to point out, however, that after being traded out of Philadelphia, the previously smoking hot Utley has a slash line of .194 / .293 / .333. Yeah, Heyman, that is exactly what the Halos needed,  Matt Joyce 2.0............

BITS and PIECES: DFA'd off the 40-man (while down in the minors) were Drew Rucinski and Alfredo Marte (anybody remember them?), and selected onto the 40-man was Wesley Wright. And we can add a signing of catcher Jose Gil to a minor league contract...........Meanwhile, looking at the whole list, activated from various DL's were Collin Cowgill, Matt Joyce, Taylor Featherston, Cory Rasmus and Davide Freese (that list of heroes makes you feel all warm and fuzzy at the notion of being back at "full strength", doesn't it?)...........Then, We called up Jett Bandy, Mike Morin and Nick Tropeano...........In that whole mess the only thing that interests me is the chance to sit through Bandy's struggles as he gets his first cup of coffee in the bigs. I need to watch closely, though, because it's not like his expected performance is going to stand out against the backdrop of MLB batting champions we have here. I might miss him altogether..........

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Elsewhere in Baseball

TRIPLE PLAY: The Rockies turned a triple play yesterday, something that doesn't happen very often. This play went 6-4-3, not much different than thousands of double-plays. But it could have been even more rare. The play starts with a line drive to shortstop Jose Reyes. Reyes could easily have run over to 2nd base to double off Ender Inciarte who was all the way over to 3rd base and then thrown to first himself, creating an even more rare 6-3 TRIPLE play. But wait! There's more! Reyes didn't have to throw to 1st base, since baserunner Phil Gosselin had run all the way to 2nd base and surrendered. Jose Reyes had the chance to record a mere "6", UNASSISTED triple play!.............

PITCH COUNTS: Take a deep look into the kinds of pitches thrown at various pitch counts, and what batters do with them. While you are reading this link, think again about the Fangraphs study I linked to the other day which showed how Mike Trout is MORE effective once he is at 0-1 than when he was at 0-0, or if he were at 1-0. A big point of the article is the observation that 82% of the time the count is 3-0 the pitcher is going to groove a fastball and batters only swing at it less than 8% of the time. And at a 3-1 count batters swing only 55% of the time when fastballs are grooved at a rate of 71%. My point is that this is all fascinating stuff, but Mike Trout doesn't care...............

TRADING PLACES: If MLB had moved the trade deadline back to August 31st, what might have happened this year?  With the Angels, they might have panicked and traded away prospects................So how do you think the various teams are doing AFTER the actual trade deadline? Which teams have turned around their playoff odds the greatest? Well, if you put the table in the link into Excel and sort based on the column "Change", and make sure to sort smallest to largest, the team with the greatest overall change in their playoff odds will jump to the top. You might be surprised to learn that this team is your Angels. Really? The Angels had the greatest overall change change in their playoff odds since the trade deadline because their value is the smallest?? But the Angels had a lock on a WC slot at that time and now they suck eggs. How can this be? Well, remember the power of negative numbers and how the biggest negative number is actually the smallest of all numbers. And negative numbers mean you are going backward. In the case of the Angels, they have had the biggest swing, and it is all backwards...........

YANKEES SUCK: This is a classic Grantland long form bucket of excellence. It is the tale of the "Yankees Suck" legend, created by Boston punkers Ten Yard Fight. It doesn't need much from me to get you there, but it is worth far more than being tucked into OMNI. Go. Finish my shit first. Then come back here and go.

OMNI: I would wish a pox upon the Royals and their continued super-lucky streak of undeserved success, but the gods of baseball already took care of that for me.................Beware, Royals and Jays fans, your new-found winning ways may be extremely short-lived.............I love minor league attitudes. Team sets a franchise historical attendance record by breaking 285,000 fans? Team gives away a free car with 285,000 miles on it..........Sometimes the eyeball test is exactly right, but only advanced statistics bring meaning and understanding to the eyeballs. Take Wade Boggs, circa 1992. The eyeballs knew something was going on, but the statistical tools did not yet exist to reveal the story..............People, seriously. Watch this video of Elvis Andrus pulling off a straight steal of home last night. Watch the replays and focus on the pitcher. Then go watch this Little League training video on how to always succeed in stealing home. Uncanny. Kevin Quackenbush pulls a Little League quality bonehead of not paying attention - at the MLB level - and everybody in a Padres uniform let it happen..........

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