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MondoLinks: The Final Four

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The 2015 campaign comes down to the 4 remaining series, all against our 4 AL West opponents. Win each series and odds are we play in October.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

It's our own 2015 Final Four. We have only 4 series left, and all of them are against the rest of the AL West. This is our last, best, chance to secure that final American League playoff slot. We have games to make up, and not many games left with which to do it.

Here's the deal. We went into the series with Minnesota with only 17 games remaining in the regular season. We burned through all 4, which represents 23.5% of all the games left to play. Now there are only 76.5% of those games left. And we went 1/2 step forward + 1/2 step forward + 1/2 step forward - 1/2 step back. That is a net of 1 step forward over 1/4 of the games left to use. That wouldn't be too bad of a thing if  we were only 1 game out, and it would be horrible of we were 5 out.

As it is, we were 3.5 game out when this sequence began (after the 9/16 games) and we are 2.5 games now. One step forward.

It's still totally doable. No reason to panic yet. No reason to rush things. But we do need to assume that we must win every one of these final 4 series (3 @ Houston, 3 w/ Seattle, 3/ Oakland, 4 @ Texas). Not very game. Every series.

Have some countdown links!

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Angels Baseball

The Upcoming Series:

Los Angeles Angels @ Houston Astros - Minute Maid Park, Houston, TX.

Day Game Time Probable Pitchers TV
MONDAY 5:10 PM PDT Jered Weaver (7-11, 4.74 ERA) vs. Dallas Keuchel (17-8, 2.56 ERA) FSW
TUESDAY 5:10 PM PDT Hector Santiago (8-9, 3.47 ERA) vs. Lance McCullers (5-6, 3.18 ERA) FSW
WEDNESDAY 11:10 AM PDT Nick Tropeano (2-2, 5.06 ERA) vs. Mike Fiers (2-1, 3.06 ERA) FSW




From the official team Game Notes: "ASTROS ON DECK: Houston leads 2015 season series 9-7 (LAA is 1-5 on road)…LAA is 14-5 in last 19 home games vs. Astros but 3-10 in last 13 at Minute Maid Park…Pujols’ 49 HRs are most all-time vs. Astros."

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GM Roulette (here in town): Yankees Assistant GM Billy Eppler is considered the current favorite in the LAA General Manager horse race. "There is a strong sense that Arte [Moreno] and [team president] John Carpino liked [Eppler] a lot then and nothing has changed now four years later.However, rumor has it that there are significant Front Office props in favor of selecting in-house dude Hal Morris, current Scouting Director. That sounds kind of odd to me. Arete runs a very lean front office. Besides Arte Moreno, Mike Scioscia and John Carpino (probably in that order), who else exists in the LAA Front Office with any true authority over anything beyond bobblehead promos? Anyway, the other commonly mentioned inside guy, Matt Klentak, seems destined for the Phillies. That was a projected outcome I mentioned back in late June. The Phillies hired Andy MacPhail (which was the death knell for Ruben Amaro, Jr.) and MacPhail and Klentak have a very good history.............

Street / Smith: In case you missed it, Joe Smith sprained his ankle over the weekend and it had nothing to do with competing. he missed a step walking down some stairs while exiting his hotel Saturday morning. Nuts. Anyway, His Lordship Huston Street has decided that his self-declared limitation of pitching only inning 9 is open to amendments in September. His Highness has stated that We are now ok with pitching innings 8 AND 9. Just don't go making a habit of it...........

Johnny Giavotella: Johnny G. is making progress at a pace that would have him back in the Halo dugout someday soon. Maybe soon enough to watch Sosh take a look at some of those September call-ups. Giavotella is being flown to Tempe to see some live pitching and continue working on taking infield practice before anybody makes any decision to bring him to Anaheim. Even if he came back immediately thereafter, he would be here for only the final 10 games............

Mike Trout: Here is some reading if you are an Angels fan. Too soon to call Mike Trout one of MLB's greats. If I didn't alert you, you might think that this was something written 3 years ago, in 2012. Yeah, it is the Detroit Perspective. Nope. It was written for today. And nothing changes there. Not as long as one is seriously committed to stupidity and extremely successful at so doing. My favorite parts: "Joe DiMaggio never had the benefit of padding his individual statistics in other postseason baseball events such as wild-card games and divisional playoffs. It was all World Series. All pressure." Uh, yeah. Joe played in a league that had only 7 other teams, and none of them had any of the greatest living players of that age, who were confined to the Negro Leagues. "Trout, in contrast, has played on a first-place team once. That was last year, when the Angels won in the American League West. They flopped dreadfully in their playoff series against the wild-card Royals, flogged in a three-game sweep. In his only postseason appearance so far, Trout failed to perform with grace under pressure. The sabremetrics revisionists should add a new statistic to their WAR and BABIP and wRC+ etc. That would be PUP – Performance Under Pressure. Winners count. Trout, the MVP, flunked with an imagined minus PUP in the three playoff games of his career" Yeah, Trout did poorly in 12 at-bats, suffering a .267 OBP. Trout is a failure. Not just because he plays a TEAM GAME on a TEAM that doesn't get a free pass directly to the World Series by besting 7 other teams of questionable talent. No, He is a failure ALSO because he went through a string of 12 at-bats. Kind of like DiMaggio and his first dozen or so at-bats in his 1938 post-season, and his 1941 post-season, and his 1949 post-season, and his 1950 post-season, and his 1951 post-season. Jerry Green, the author, is an idiot who needs to stay retired.............

Albert Pujols: Pujols went 28 straight plate appearances without getting a hit, starting late in the September 12th game with Houston and ending in the 4th inning of the Angels second game Saturday. So of course that is one baseball that needs to be celebrated and find a place of honor in Pujol's personal man-cave for eternity..........

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Elsewhere in Baseball

LAA Farm Products: So sure, Kendrys is not kicking ass on behalf of Anaheim. He is doing so for the benefit of the KC Royals. But all that WAR comes straight out of the LAA Minor League systems, y'all!............

GM Roulette (elsewhere): Houston Astros Assistant GM David Stearns is moving over to Milwaukee to take on the full GM seat..............

Cubbie Chill: Joe Maddon runs a pretty cool clubhouse. Can you imagine this scene in Anaheim?...............

Gettin' Pissy in Ontaroio: The Toronto Blue Jays are going to have one hell of a playoff there in Rogers Centre. UrinalGate demonstrates the Achilles heel of the stadium: the children's urinals on level 500............

Anonymously Yours: Mike Trout would never get away with pranking the general public, pretending to be a Lyft driver. Unlike Kris Bryant, who can't even get the love within Chicago................

Slide Rulers: Just when you thought you were catching on, it's time to move past OPS.............

Cobb Corn: Ty Cobb was an infamous asshat. He was also one chill dude. (H/T UniWatch).............

Ouch!: The Cleveland Indians were outdrawn at the gate by one of their own minor league affiliates..............

TV Land: The 13 Best Baseball-themed television episodes. I am totally down with #8............

Life Imitating Art: Nine years ago (holy shit!) I posted a comment that imagined what might happen should Mike Scioscia go to the mound to pull Bob Gibson once Gibson had reached that mystical 100-pitch count. This weekend, Max Scherzer did a cover of that scenario, laying out his skipper Matt Williams.............

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