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Thor'sLinks: March gone, we are April's fools

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The Angels continue to struggle out of the gate, but it's worth noting that they have had a much tougher opening schedule than a lot of other teams.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

In yesterday's opening, which I had composed Tuesday night, I went to the well and pulled up a bucket of info that was intended to reassure everybody not to get too bent out of shape by these first couple of weeks. It's been bad, but it's so early that it is not the end of the world. What I did was to dig into the won/loss rates of the Angels under the on-field management of Mike Scioscia. I went to BBR and dug up 16 seasons worth of data and put it all into my Excel blender, came out with some easily digestible data points, and published. Apparently, I inspired Alden Gonzalez to put up a like-minded story angle Wednesday afternoon.

Alden limited his theme to the years from 2012 forward, since those bring out the worst of the season starts. But as a public service, allow me to give you the more full picture that I had put together Tuesday.

Mike-Opening

Green was the best start while red was the worst. The blues are the playoff years. 2016 isn't starting off the way we would like, but at a 40% win rate still, it isn't so unusual nor is it fatal. Alden agrees.

And, anyway, consider this. No team in the National League has won more games than the Chicago Cubs. No team in the American League has won more games than the Chicago White Sox. Only two teams in all of Major League Baseball have a lower ERA than the staff of the Chicago White Sox, and the Chicago Cubs is one of those. The Angels have 6 of their first 16 games against those two pistol hot staffs. Things will even out.

Have some Dog Days of April Links:

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Everywhere In Baseball

Pros-not-so-lific: Yesterday we scored our one and only run with a "rally" that was comprised of a hit-by-pitch, a pitching change, a wild pitch, a pop-out, a strike-out, an infield error, another pitching change, and a pinch-hit single. This is a markedly different level of production out of our lineup then we enjoyed before anything was for real. I need a few more games under the belt in order to even up the games and at-bats, but I am tracking the comparison between Spring Training pretend games and these games that count and the deterioration across the board is atrocious..........

Misadventurous: Somebody still doesn't have his head in the game. Even though Mike Trout made a little contact yesterday with 3 singles in 4 at bats, his follies on the base paths did little to placate our confusion over his rough start. The first one is more unfortunate than merely dumb. It took a perfect play to catch him attempting to steal second but that is precisely what Big League baseball players can do: make perfect plays. Trout out. And then, this play in the 9th is just boneheaded. Sorry, but I have to call it like it is regardless of the hero involved. Nice hard infield smash to a spot forcing a difficult play by Todd Frazier at 3rd base was merely Ok considering the importance of the situation. the hustle and stretch to beat the throw to first was nice, although he would have been out had Jerry Sands dug out the throw at 1st base. But stop the video at the 42 second mark and notice that both Sands and 1st base ump Paul Nauert are following the errant baseball while Trout is in his own world, slowing down and preparing to walk back to the bag. 1st base coach Gary DiSarcina is yelling for Trout to take 2nd base and Trout finally picks up in the play a second too late. In his haste to get back into the game, he slips and falls to the ground. But from 6 feet beyond the foul line and as Sands is already passing him to the get to the ball at the nearby wall, Trout dashes off to 2nd base anyway. The throw beats him by 10 feet. The throw was off line, but Tyler Saladino makes a nice play on the tag and Trout is left there to ponder the missed opportunity, essentially running the team out of a man on base, again...........

Homer Away: Only the Atlanta Braves have hit fewer home runs so far this season than the Angels. The Braves have 3 and the Angels have 6. That means that there are 5 individual players throughout MLB who have as many, or more, home runs than the entire LAA franchise...........

Replay Lobbyist: Wait. What? Are the Yankees the only team with some guy who sits in the background and watches the broadcasts looking for replay challenge opportunities? Or, rather, are the Yankees merely the only team that hired some guy who is good at watching baseball on TV?..........

LOLZ!: FanGraphs spends a wee bit of time compiling data and charts trying to figure out what might have happened to Zack Greinke's slider? Really?? Doesn't the staff of FanGraphs spend any time around here? And, if not, why not? We knew that answer months before anybody else even thought enough to make it into a question! All together now, and loud enough for them to hear it all the way over in Data County: "Mike Butcher says throw moar sliders!!"..........

Unhealthy: The Pirates and the Marlins have been scheduled to play a series at the end of May down in Puerto Rico. It's an important part of MLB trying to mend fences with the country they put at a serious disadvantage by singling out their talent for entering MLB via the draft back in 1990. This sent the youth development infrastructure to other Latin countries and cost P.R. with lost generations of opportunity. So MLB is going back, and they will use the event to honor Roberto Clemente. (It doesn't mean they are changing their own rules, however. They will just create their own academies and such and try to force the process.) All that sounds good, but along comes the Zika virus. Cases are already being reported in P.R. and forecasts call for as much as 20% of the population there to be infected before the year is out. Obviously, this has the Marlins and Pirates fearful of their health and welfare. And well they should. You may or may not have heard about the Zika virus, but you need to bone up as it spreads northward. It's already into Mexico. And for those who are just learning about this threat, you should know that it is potentially our own damned fault..........

Jean, Unbottled: Jean Segura, the key piece we sent away in order to rent Zack Greinke, and who this past off-season was sent packing by the Brewers to the D'Backs in a 5-player hash-house, has blossomed in the desert. It appears that he has switched up his batting stance and is now a monster, small sample sizes still apply. Did I mention that Jean Segura is a second baseman? Plays second base. Once was our prospect. Second base. Now hitting .339 with an OPS+ of 150.............

Take the Money: Here is one theory, i suppose. Zack Greinke just lowered his chances to get into the Hall of Fame, because he took the Big Contract. The primary idea there is that the Big Contract took him over to an ideal hitter's park and that is a first in his career. The secondary idea is that as Greinke sees his numbers drop off, HOF voters will seek vengeance on the uber-mega-money-maker. Both arguments hold some water. But if I were Zack, i would still take the money. If I didn't get voted into something years after I had retired and moved on to other chapters of my life, I might send back a postcard of regret from my yacht off Sardinia...............

Baseball Salvation: Here. Feel really, really good about baseball this morning. Read this true story about one high school kid who lived a dream..........

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The Duffle Bag

Looks like the Cubs now own the Cards, shaming them into not sucking, either..........The next time you try to explain baseball to a foreigner, make sure to sprinkle in a few of these...........That knucklehead Giants fan who picked up a live ball and got tossed, costing his lady friend front row seats, is apparently surviving that episode just fine. The comments section of that link has a couple fantastic GIFs, by the way.........Super speed arms in the outfield? Aaron Hicks of the Yankees threw out Danny Valencia of the A's from left field and his throw from 246.6 feet away from home plate traveled as fast as 105.5mph!!..........Well, this answers my question yesterday as to how a poop-for-brains Curt Schilling remains employed...........When things are going good, everything just falls your way. Compare Mike Trout falling down while running to what happened on behalf of the Orioles..........Remember when we used to have a power-hitting center fielder who would make leaping robberies on defense?..........There now exists a life-size bobblehead of Vladdie. It needs a bat..........The Griffey Dynasty has somehow not been able to convince their latest generation that hundreds of millions in guaranteed money is more desirable than a lifetime of hobbling around and drooling from concussion-damaged brain pans..........Remember the good old days, when umpires were absolutely certain about what they were doing, even when they were dead wrong?..........Halo players choose ketchup more often than mustard on their hot dogs?..........Lots of angst in a twitter war about sexism when all I can see is a person who needs all that extended netting to remain safe while ignoring the action taking place just feet away...........Mile High Baseball. No further words are necessary..........

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