It was an off day yesterday. Slow day for LAA news. And yet, despite the fact that the Rangers DID play and the Rangers DID win, the Angels STILL held on to first place in the AL West.
Now they are gifted a Twins team ripe for the taking. It will also be a great chance for Mike Trout to start WAR'ing it up, don't ya think???
So, in honor of that surprising outcome, I am going to bury you in fun things to go click and read. See you Monday.
Enjoy a mountain of Idle Day Links:
ANGELS ON DECK
The Upcoming Series:
Los Angeles Angels @ Minnesota Twins - Target Field, Minneapolis, MN.
|5:10 PM PDT
|Garrett Richards (0-2, 3.86 ERA) vs. Tommy Milone (0-1, 3.86 ERA)
|11:10 AM PDT
|Jered Weaver (1-0, 1.50 ERA) vs. Ricky Nolasco (0-0, 1.29 ERA)
|11:10 AM PDT
|Nick Tropeano (1-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Kyle Gibson (0-2, 4.22 ERA)
From the official team Game Notes: "UP NEXT – AT MINNESOTA: Halos claimed 2015 series 5-2 and are 12-2 in last 14 games vs. Minnesota…Halos went 7-0 vs. Minnesota in 2014 (3-0 at home), first undefeated season series vs. Twins in club history…Halos are 78-56 vs. Twins since 2000…Angels have won 11 of last 13 season series vs. Twins."
Everywhere In Baseball
Roughs on the Diamond: When expectations are zero, anything positive will be considered a major upset. So it is with the LAA farm system. Nobody expects anything out of them, so when some kids at the lower levels start out the season strong, people take notice. In this case, people are taking notice of Victor Alcantara, Alex Blackford and eric Aguilera..........
Backup Plan: It's not easy to be tasked with sitting around most of the time idling in a neutral gear, but be required to shift immediately into fifth with little or no notice. Such is the life of the backup player. Such is the life of Geovany Soto. All the more reason to admire that chest-high fastball he took deep for the walk-off win in Oakland the other day..........
Shenanigans: Just the other day I was drooling over this Jason Groome kid, as he had launched his 2016 season with an ungodly run of pitching dominance. No sooner do I wipe the slobber off my chin, but we find out that this same kid has been DQ'ed for illegal transfer between schools. What? Illegal transferring of prized athletes between various high schools? Who comes up with this stuff?.........
Popcorn: As usual, we fans don't have a voice in this new issue of figuring what constitutes an illegal slide attempt and what the punishments should be. We might as well settle in and get comfortable and watch the goings on. Because, apparently, over on the sidelines there are a lot of goings on. "...multiple sources report that the powers that be are, in fact, talking about this rule. Like pretty much every day." In the article we learn that change should not be expected any time soon...but...we also learn that MLB is already talking to umps about recent calls already made and we are to expect that in any repeat of those circumstances the calls will not be what we have already seen. So who knows..........
Lady's Game: I try to pull out everything I can which demonstrates positive movement or positive opportunities or shameful oversights when it comes to women participating in baseball. Whether it be a female player or a female executive or a female reporter. I don't come across much that deals specifically with female fans. My problem remains that I easily spot things that ARE, but I pay zero attention to those things that are NOT. I need to read more of this, where a female fan shines some light on her POV. I would love to learn of something beyond the overt sexism in the language woven into the game which, as related by the author, is bad enough already...........
Collins Countdown: Yeah, we old time Halo fans have seen this before. Terry Collins, manager of the Mets, doesn't react well to losing, nor to scrutiny, nor to pressure. He avoided a cranial poptart last season because his team actually won (I was the most surprised at that outcome). Well, that success has only bred expectations for more success, and that is a daily mandate when you are one of the league faves. Collins doesn't have that chill bone of a Joe Maddon and it's not taking much to get him to snap these days..........
Panda Monium: The Pablo Sandoval situation in Boston is turning into a grease fire. I couldn't be happier for Red Sox fans. After the vastly overweight and out of shape Sandoval lost his starting job and spoke out as none too pleased about that, and after he has been publicly shamed for more than one weight-induced miscue already, we suddenly heard that Sandoval went on the DL with a mysterious should problem. Nobody believed that, and suddenly all the snigglets started leaking out concerning the relationship between Sandoval and the Red Sox. He has an eating disorder, says a former trainer. It's worth noting that the Red Sox are sending Sandoval for an MRI on his shoulder but at this point it's hard not to see that as a PR ploy..........
Ballsy: You might remember the playoff tale from last season where Kyle Shwarber launched a monster shot homer to give the Cubs their insurance run to win the NLDS over the Cards. And then the Cubs were so excited they were going to enshrine the ball right where it stopped. But then the Cubs didn't win the World Series after all, time went on, and the luster faded. So they decided to take the ball down. Well, the Cubs are winning again and everybody is excited and Kyle Schwarber is a tragic story of season-ending injury to be rallied around, so the Schwarber ball is going back up. I suggest that we consider using the Schwarber ball as a barometer to gauge the level of hyperbole coming out of the North side of Chicago any more .........
Ups and Downs: Randal Grichuk caught a couple of lucky breaks yesterday. He should have flied out and he should have been called out. Instead he trots out a two-run home run...........On the other end of the spectrum is Gerrit Cole. Cole tried to pick off Justin Upton, who had taken a seriously huge lead off of first base. Unfortunately for Cole, the first baseman was not covering the bag. Oops. Two base error on Cole. Later, in the 6th inning, Cole took a line shot right back at his head, barely getting his glove up enough to deflect the ball, which still managed to clip the cap off his head. That was the only damage, however............Then we have Trevor Story. The kid has been blowing up baseball since the season started, hammering home runs all over the place. The world could not wait for him to take his power home to the grossly hitter-friendly confines of Coors Field. Except that the Rockies just raised the fences this off season, trying to make life a little more fair to their own pitchers. Now that they are a little less unfair on behalf of hitters, Story has to deal with more realistic outcomes. Which is why it's hard for me to accept that those fences took anything away from him. Like, bummer, two triples...........
Baseball Biz: Are you an Angels fan? Shit yeah, you are. Why the hell would you be here? For my most excellent Links roundup, the best in all of Major League Baseball blogdom?? Crap to the no on that. So we have settled it that you are a Halos fan. It would be great if you could cut some cable cordage and snag yourself some skinny streaming bundle and pick up an MLB RSN package that included LAA games, then, wouldn't it? Shit YES! Lucky you. Sling TV does just that very thing. Local games. $20 a month. I have to up my game on this content packaging thing. I do way too much reading on this subject and shouldn't have had to wait for FanGraphs to tell me. Things are moving along in the right direction and I am not keeping up...........Also on the business side, with the CBA negotiations in our near future and some conversation in the public realm about player salary shares versus rising baseball revenues, how about an index plan? This plan would help ease that sad practice of underpaying pre-arb talent in order to forestall true market rates as long as possible..........
The Duffle Bag
Yeah, dad, you be happy with your brought-my-glove-and-caught-me-a-foul-ball thing. Me, I'm gonna finish this here cotton candy...........Are you a gamer? Wanna be a GM? Have you heard about Out of the Park Baseball 17?..........Here is a gripping story about new trends in pro baseball fashion accessories. And, no, I never apologize for my puns. It's all I got to keep me sane doing these Links posts anymore...........I'm not absolutely positive, but I do suspect that Vladdie might have swung even at this one. He might have hit it, too............Something to ponder this weekend: as it happens, if you are a Rule 5 draftee, you (and your new employer) have little to lose and lots to possibly gain by trying to sneak through the MLB drug testing system. A spate of such cases is already upon us, and a rule change might be in order soon............There is a perfectly valid reason for scoring 24 runs in a college baseball game. It's when the other team has already scored 35..........Stephen King might not like it, but the extended netting guidelines may have already prevented at least one major fan injury at Nationals Park..........Wait. When did anybody officially proclaim the Tommy John epidemic as being over?..........The Mets made nice with Mike Piazza once again, buying back his post-9/11 signed jersey in a private auction. I still don't see what the big deal was..........I will leave you with this study of a pretty cool artist whose focus is on baseball. If you are above the age of 50, you will get the nostalgia instantly.