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TuesdoLinks: Doubters can get the Hector outta here!

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Nobody is quite sure how he does it, but Hector Santiago just keeps on succeeding. 0 runs and 2 hits against 10 strikeouts across 7 innings of work is easily the strongest Halo start of the season.

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

We tend to fear the good run of Hector Santiago, waiting for his actual outcomes to come crashing back to earth. But just when we think that has started to happen, Santiago goes out and runs off a string of strong starts. Such is what we are seeing now. Last night he gave us 7 solid innings. No runs, 2 hits, 3 walks, 10 strikeouts. His WHIP for 2016 is down to 0.92 and that ranks 7th best in the AL - 3rd best among pitchers with at least 14 innings of work.

Meanwhile, although our 2-3-4 hitters are still slumbering (1 for 13), our 5-8 hitters went 10 for 16. Andrelton Simmons and C.J. Cron were both 3 for 4, Simmons scoring 2 runs and driving in another. Also, we some strong defense at third base by Yunel Escobar, he of the scary glove skills, to top it all off.

Have some Welcome Back-to-the-Win-Column Links:

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Everywhere In Baseball

Gut Check: Sure. I would love for Mike trout to not be sucking right now. I hate it as much as anybody else whenever Trout goes through these extended suck zones each season. And make no mistake, he has spent this regular season in one of those right now. We haven't seen a season start out of him like this since 2013. through his first 10 games, this is the worst BA of his career at .229 and the worst of his career in Slugging at .371 (ignoring his sniff in 2011). His OBP is tied for 2nd worst and his OPS is his second worst. This is as bad of a start as we have seen out of him, and it hurts. But it's early and lots can happen fast. Take Trevor Story, the darling of Week One. As bad as Trout's 13 strikeouts have been, Story is already up to 22 K's. Young Trevor had gone 7 games without a dinger and racked up 13 K's in that span. (Last night Story got back on the home run board.) Things turn quick. Which brings me to this week's Media Darling: Bryce Harper. Now, don't get me wrong, Harper is The Real Deal. But it's less of Bryce Harper Catching up to Mike Trout than it is Mike Trout slumping back to Bryce Harper levels. Harper has 11 games under his belt in 2016, but 8 of those games have been against the pitching staffs of Atlanta and Miami and that has everybody all giddy. Those staffs are 10th and 11th in the NL (out of 15) in terms of WHIP, and 14th and 9th in terms of ERA (respectively). The last 3 games Harper did face the Phillies, who have the strongest staff he has seen so far. He got their #1, #2 and #3 starters but (A) Jeremy Hellickson did not make it into the 4th inning, having a very bad day anyway and (B) Overall, Harper was only middling against those starters anyway (he did feast off the bullpen). Against Hellickson, Harper was single-fly out. Against Aaron Nola he went sac fly-single-home run. And against Charlie Morton he generated single-strikeout-groundout. That's 1 home run, 3 singles, a fly out, a sacrifice out and a strikeout during his first look at above-average starting pitching. Still very good, but not some new Face of Major League Baseball phenomenal. Harper is outstanding, yes, but Harper is better than Trout only at the moment, and only because Trout has yet to get started for 2016. Things will average back out as the season progresses and we will see where the water levels. There remain very few career splits at the plate where Bryce Harper has shown himself to be as good or better than Mike Trout........

Gunner: I have a soft spot in my heart for any outfielder who packs a bazooka for a throwing arm, and is fearless in using it (which is why I love shit like this). Such is the case with this kid, Rafael Ortega, who is up on the roster filling in for Daniel Nava. StatCast has him gunning down Eduardo Nunez with a 94.3mph fastball drilled in from 162 feet away. Only twice so far this season has any outfielder thrown harder..........

Minor Miracles: Kyle McGowin, down at AA Arkansas, had himself a fine outing on the mound as well. actually a little better than Santiago's night. Same 7 innings, and same zero runs, but McGowin gave up only 1 hit and only 1 walk against 9 strikeouts..........

Hambone: Just spit-balling here. Josh Hamilton has yet to get even close to playing in anything real this season, with his Spring Training phase still in his future. Since being booted back to Texas by Arte during the 2014-2015 offseason, Hamilton has put forth only 50 games worth of on-field service time. It's fair to state that even of Arte had held onto him, Josh was sunk money for almost zero return (0.4 bWAR since he crashed our 2014 playoff series with the Royals). Assuming a ~1.4 bWAR per season in what he has left in his contract, and that he gets half that this year, that would be about 5.4 bWAR over that entire $125 million contract. Any way you look at it, that contract was flat out horrid. If we want to blame Arte for creating a huge hole in LF, it wasn't because he shipped Hambone off in a dump truck, it was because Arte and Dipoto created the dumpster fire when they signed him in the first place. So here is my mental meandering: would the CBA allow an owner to simply cut a player loose amidst one of these gargantuan foo-pahs, still on the hook for his full salary unless he can sign on elsewhere, and get his losses covered via an exotic insurance policy that allows him to dump the mistake should the investment tank like this?.............

Paying the Man: Baseball can be a taxing career. Literally. Just take a moment to get dragged through all the kinds of ways that a pro athlete, in this case a pro baseball player, has to deal with all the various government institutions that are there to snag a portion of his paycheck: "When center fielder Andrew McCutchen’s misplaced pay stub was discovered at Wrigley Field in Chicago last May and posted on the websites Reddit and Deadspin, readers seemed surprised not by the slugger’s $820,659 gross income for two weeks of work but by the $427,098 taken away in taxes."..........

Yankees in Your Pocket: While on the subject of baseball and finances, did the Yankees fire their entire Public relations department? Because they have become incredibly tone deaf, even clueless about how economically elitist and ignorant they are and they are delighted to showcase that stupidity at every public opportunity. The latest comes from Randy Levine, President of the MFY. The New York Times fires back at Levine's recent statement against revenue-sharing. They do a fine job of using Levine's words to nail his ass to his own cross, pointing out all the ways that the Yankees welcomed other people's money to build that fun little edifice wherein those people are the unwelcome unwashed........

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The Duffle Bag

Mark Trumbo, co American league Player of the Week..........How is Trumbo doing it? It might be that he has improved his contact rate at pitches in the zone, and is laying off pitches outside the zone a lot more..........Did all those players in the LAA bullpen "absorb" all those innings in Minnesota, or did their manager inflict those innings upon them all?..........Making Baseball Fun again: behind the back bunt singles for everyone............7 single-game MLB records that might never be broken............This past weekend's best highlight play was made by a ballboy...........Drew Storen of the Blue Jays, itching to Boston's Mookie Betts, and playing Nintendo Baseball...........Hmmm. I already have the Fresno Tacos jersey. Do I need to track down a Richmond Flying Squirrels Waffle jersey, too?............SNY, the New York sports channel that carries Mets games, had a rather weird time with their broadcast last night..........It's way too early for us to find enough time and start whining about Instant Replay again. Too much going on already...........

BONUS STUFF!

The long history of baseball's most glorious fashion accessory: Stirrups

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