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MondoLinks: Halos hit the road

Jered's rubber arm weaved through the raindrops yesterday, exploiting the rock pile arm slot to deliver a masterful home victory.The Angels are now off to Oakland

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Jered Weaver had his way with nearly aspect of his Spring Demise on Sunday and beguiled his pitches through 6 innings of 1-run baseball. The only thing he has left to overcome would be his own speed limit, topping out at 84.6mph.  But I can't quibble, I suppose, since his change-up is so slow (73-75mph) that he still had an above-average difference between fastball and change-up (league average is 7.5mph).

Have some Crafty Veteran Gritty Links:



The Upcoming Series:

Los Angeles Angels @ Oakland A's - Stadium, Oakland, CA.

Day Game Time Probable Pitchers TV
MONDAY 7:05 PM PDT Nick Tropeano (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Sonny Gray (1-0, 1.29 ERA) FS-W
TUESDAY 7:05 PM PDT Hector Santiago (0-0, 3.00 ERA) vs. Kendall Graveman (0-1, 3.38 ERA) FS-W
WEDNESDAY 12:35 PM PDT Matt Shoemaker (0-1, 18.00 ERA) vs. Eric Surkamp (0-0, 4.15 ERA) FS-W

From the official team Game Notes: "UP NEXT - AT OAKLAND: Angels have won eight of last 11 games, including four of last five…LAA claimed 2015 series 11-8 (6-4 at home)…Halos have won 17 of last 24 matchups…Since 2002, Angels (6) or Athletics (5) have won 11 of 14 A.L. West crowns."


Everywhere In Baseball

Ups and Downs: This is kind of shitty, but I guess it's probably totally normal. A.J. Achter got a call-up to Anaheim so that the Angels had some extra bullpen arms to contend with the extra workload caused by weak-assed outings form the starters already. Achter got some pitches in and was effective and had a great time and was excited and all. That's the upside. The downside is that they called him up at midnight on Friday. MIDNIGHT! Are you shitting me? We all saw this coming well before Friday as Scioscia has been burning through a lot of relievers each game. And by the time Shoemaker had crapped his bed and hit the showers on Friday, it was still only about 8PM here on the West Coast. The people in the front office can't give a guy a little extra warning, for chrissake? Come on, people! What if Achter was running his crew through all those gentlemen's clubs that festoon Salt Lake City on a Friday night??.............Also in that link, note that Tyler Skaggs got some work in and did Ok. A 93mph fastball, 3 hits over 3 innings but 2 of those were bunts base hits. 1 run and 1 K and 2 BB's. Soon, everybody, soon.........

Phenom Alert!: Mike "Homerless" Trout is so yesterday. Trevor Story of the Rockies has 6 home runs already (most of them NOT in Colorado). That puts in on a pace for 194 this season, which set some kind of record...............

Destiny Denied: This seems sweet on the surface. Rookie Ross Stripling of the Dodgers was pitching a no-hitter into the 8th inning Friday night when Dodgers manager Dave Roberts went to the mound and pulled him. Why? Because Stripling is just a kid with a bright future and he had reached 100 pitches, so Roberts was protecting his arm. For his part, Stripling said all the right things, about how he was tiring and becoming less effective and that it was really the right thing to do. And Stripling's dad stepped up and thanked Roberts for protecting his son's long-term career. So many Care Bear moments, right there. But I have to wonder. The plague upon baseball is all about UCL injuries and this blight is driven by young arms being over-used well before they get to the Major Leagues. The odds are pretty high that Stripling himself reached the pinnacle of his sport precisely because of the amount of quality work he has already been put through. He was 5 outs from a no-hitter AT that pinnacle, when it really counts. And all pitchers battle exhaustion through the physical and mental grind of a no-hitter. They are not going to get any easier 5 years from now, after Stripling reaches MLB paydirt. I might presume that if youth coaches and parents were not punishing the arms of the kids in their charge on their way up to the show, perhaps once the kids got to the show their arms might be more likely to be healthy enough to take advantage when that rare moment of lightning strikes in their lifetime...........

Platoon Spittoon: Billy Butler, having finally left his original team of the Royals just in time for them to watch them finally win a World Series, now finds himself taking the same road as Ryan Howard, and platooning against right-handed pitching. The joke here, of course, is that Butler (one of the most expensive players on the Oakland roster) is a platoon DH. That kinda makes him a Designated Designated Hitter............

Fields of Dreaming: Defensive data is already pouring in for the 2016 season. The first two tidbits are (A) that the Pirates outfielders are playing shallower this so far this season. This is the kind of thing that makes for more highlight reel catches as the fielders race back to cover the ground behind them. And, (B) the Angels are shifting their infield like holy hell, by far and away the shiftiest infield in baseball so far. It helps to be playing against a truckload of notorious pull hitters, for sure. But it also helps to have a manager who is the stat-headiest of stat-heads that ever stat-headed, anywhere. Because, like, he and the GM are on the same page..........

Dreamy (Left) Fielders: Surprise! Craig Gnetry is off to a sweet start, far more than we could have hoped for. He ranks second on the Halos staff for BA, OBP and SLG and ranks tops in OPS. So, yes, Gentry is getting some well-deserved MSM love. Get it while it's hot, I say..........

Slip Slidin': We had another Slide Rule controversy over the weekend, costing the Astros a loss. (We need some kind of catchy name for these walk-off double-play losses due to poor slides.) And this time, the debate takes a few more laps around the 9th circle of hell dealing with additional nuances such as "were the Brewers actually going to attempt a double-play?". Really, folks, this is getting out of hand fast...........


The Duffle Bag

Pablo "pork belly" Sandoval, he of the morbidly obese arrival into Spring Training camp this year, busted a gut over the weekend. Literally. He swung so hard his own belt couldn't handle the stress and snapped. But that's Ok, a kindly Blue Jays fan found him a replacement..........The Oakland A's are such a sad sack of a franchise, living under the shadow (and thumb) of the San Francisco Giants. Yesterday they flew back from Seattle to Oakland to open their home season, and had to do so in a plane adorned with SF Giants love..........Yikes. I hate this stuff. I am not going to track down the actual pitch and trick you into clicking into it, but just know that Atlanta Braves pitcher Dan Winkler is lost for the season with a broken elbow, which happened when he threw a pitch in a live game...........Awesome! Due to bad weather, a pair of minor league teams needed to switch stadiums to kick off their season. But the new stadium was still undergoing construction so fans were kept out. Thus, they opened their season with a double-header and zero fans.............THE Premier Free Agent in this past Winter Season, Zack Greinke, got roughed up again. Arizona is going to want a rebate soon..........Don't they conduct some remedial classroom instruction on the rules of baseball during Spring anymore? How else to explain forgetting how the Infield Fly Rule works?..........Why all the talk about expansion back to Montreal when Baseball American has already proclaimed Portland as the very best road city..........