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HumpLinks: G, Johnny hits a homer

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Johnny Giavotella led a rainstorm of offense as the Angels ran wild against what is advertised as a stellar Kansas City defense.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Powered by a parade of singles, capped by a surprising three-run homer from The Flying Giavotella, the Angels overwhelmed an average start by Jered Weaver and crushed the Royals. Crushed them.  9-4.

The highlights are legion. We had great defense (Andrelton Simmons, of course, and Alex Gordon) and bad defense (pretty much 3/4's of the KC defense on the field). A hit parade (23 total, 14 by LAA). Good base running and bad (C.J. Cron). Overall, it was quite the adventure. Most amazing for we regulars, our leadoff hitter (Yunel Escobar) went 4 for 5. When was the last time THAT happened??

Let's have some On-Base-Percentage-Miracle Links:

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Everywhere In Baseball

Boomers: When it comes to home runs, being lucky counts just as much as being good..........But what is really nice is to know that lucky or good, you have the raw power to force them over any wall, any stadium, any day, any way necessary............

Doomers: Garrett Richards was nasty this weekend. Nasiest, in fact. If the kid's arm doesn't fall off, I predict that someday when he grows up he is going to be one heck of a pitcher..............

Heaney on Hold: Andrew Heaney had that follow-up MRI I was expecting. The good news is that it didn't reveal any UCL damage, which is fantastic. the bad news is that it did reveal a strained flexor muscle. So Heaney is still shut down. Maybe back by June?............

Salacious: So, like, you are saying that this Fernando Salas guy is not very good? 59th out of 68 for Holds in all of MLB? I have a trio of canines running around my house that could have told you that much. They cower whenever I am screaming at the arrival of Salas, thinking that it's their fault or something. In truth, however, he really hasn't been that bad. Only Joe Smith has faced more batter out of the bullpen but Salas has the 4th best ERA of anybody on the staff with double-digit innings pitched. He has the best WHIP on the staff of anybody with double-digit innings pitched. He has 3 more strikeouts than Jered Weaver even though he has seen 30 fewer batters..........

Worry Warts: Is this a thing? Worrying about an extension for Garrett Richards and Kole Calhoun?  Richards and Calhoun are entering arbitration after this season, but Richards won't hit free agency until 2019, Calhoun not until 2020. But I suppose if you are Billy Eppler and you don't swing a bat, this is how you spend your days during the fuzzy part of this young season.............

Tank Town, USA: Can anybody recall these kind of stories being written about the Braves, back when they were being written about the Astros when the Astros were tanking to expedite a rebuild? I can. The only sport that Braves fans have any more is measuring and documenting the degree of horror. It's like counting heads in the zombie herd that surrounds your forgotten compound. And then you look out there into the herd and see that one of the zombie leaders originally sent to be one of the superheroes meant to save you..........(By the way, the Astros accelerated turnaround method might need further review. 2015 was considered to have been ahead of schedule. It may have triggered mistakes that are now costing them in 2016.)

Finger Me This: I told you yesterday that Tyler Collins would be hearing from the Front Office. (No suspension, at least.) I did expect that he would apologize since the evidence was so undeniable.  I did not expect that writers and bloggers would be jumping on his case for his frustration. Funny thing, though. I am pretty certain that Collins would love to find out that he is being compared to THE Ted Williams...........

Minor Fun: A minor league team chose to troll a player on an upcoming opponent by offering a merchandise discount of 10% for every error committed by said player. Max of 40% off. the promotion brought the wrong kind of attention ad was scratched, but the Internet never forgets. My favorite part of the entire episode is the "lapse in judgement" part. Isn't the entire point of minor league promotions that they are free and clear from any kind of judgement whatsoever???..........

#PEDsMatters: This is one of the long-term consequences of the PEDs era: future star will never be beyond the whispers of suspicion. In fairness, with contemporary players still getting caught and even as they are caught they are exposing weaknesses in any testing system now in place, such whispers cannot totally be rejected out of hand. But just as we saw with Mike Trout, some people just cannot wrap their heads around greatness such as Jake Arrieta and need to explain him away as a PEDs dope. This eternal suspiciousness is one of the true legacies of Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds and Rafael Palmeiro............

Fossil Fuel: You know you are dealing with somebody over vested in tradition, and completely uncorked from basic game theory AND basic history, when you find that person arguing that MLB needs to outlaw defensive shifts. Meet Joe Girardi, future defender of lawns everywhere. It's a pretty basic thing: managers learned over time where they might want to park their defenders most often. It's not any rule or anything (except for pitchers, who have to touch the rubber, and catchers, who are allowed to position themselves in foul territory). And there are no rules that mandate where batters are allowed to hit a baseball. Only rules about what is to be done when they hit the baseball to various locations. But Yankee Joe doesn't seem to care for the notion that defenses have figured out how to exploit modern hitters who, over the past couple of decades, cannot be bothered to adjust their approach at bat............

Groomed For Success: The Jason Groome saga is getting more inspection. The question being asked has to do with the timing of it all, since his status should have been well-known to all principals nearly a year ago. While the author of link likes to imply that the list of suspicious characters could include MLB teams drafting right behind the Phillies and hoping that Groome's suspension might allow Groome to fall to their draft slot, my experience is that the most likely culprit would be one of the coaches on a high school team Groome had just embarrassed. Of course, I am also the kind of guy who wonders about kids coming out of the IMG factory being allowed to turn their skills loose on kids gathered from the neighborhood...........

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The Duffle Bagt

I think I am noticing a trend with this ongoing series about ridiculous baseball cards. Fashions in the 70's sucked eggs..........ESPN is about to become significantly better. Far too late to make any difference but at least they are swabbing the decks bright and shiny on their Titanic..........Yeah. Too bad we were not into signing free agents this past offseason. And too bad we couldn't afford a measly $3 million. Having a guy with a 0.822 WHIP and 495 ERA+ on our starting rotation would have already made a difference or four..........Oh, Blue Jays. Why can't you guys ever do stupid shit like this for us?..........The D-Backs new celebration thing? This ain't driving a bus. More like milking a cow. But notice the first GIF, where Greinke beats the extremely pulled-in 3B and a shifted SS with a soft single tot he left side. Easy double play opportunity fully blown. The Cards had already given up 2 runs at that point but still led 5-4. the D'backs would go on to plate another 7 runs that inning. That had to be annoying.........Sadly, baseball lost another prospect, this time out of the Oakland organization..........Halo fans can catch a glimpse of what life is like in the real world, where the manager is on the hot seat even when it's obvious that the players are the ones who are failing............You know, MLB could has the chance to rectify this problem of human trafficking of Cuban ballplayers. It would, of course, require doing something more open and honest about international talent...........Oops...upsss...ugh...HERO!..........And ANOTHER juggling catch!.............They might be losing their sense of humor in the minors (see above) but Little League parents still have some chops. (For the younger HH'ers out there, a history lesson.)..........And it's good to see a sense of humor at The Show, as well............

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