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Thor'sLinks: Birds Dropping on the Halos

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Five L's in a row. Seven out of the last eight. Nine out of the last eleven. The Angels are racing towards the bottom of all Major League Baseball. On the bright side: #1 pick in 2017 draft!

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Well, this is fun. If you are cringing about the past couple of weeks, you should get a load of the schedule ahead. We can spend eons debating the best way to repair the starting rotation, but until we can expect this offense to score more than 8 runs over 45 innings of opportunity, we aren't going to solve our W-L disparity from the pitcher's mound.

Meanwhile, don't give up, people. Just remember how desperate you were for real baseball again just 60 days ago. Miserable baseball is still a hell of a lot better than no baseball at all. And as much fun as the fans of the Cubs might be having right now, we are still the ones who get to watch Mike Trout.

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Heads up, everybody. I am off to the wilderness by the time you get to read this and won't be back until Tuesday Links. Carlos will be filling in for us all on Friday. I don't yet know of who, if anyone, is filling in on Monday so if you come here and find nothing and need a watering hole, make one!

Have some Rum-In-Paradise-With-Stirrups Links:

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Everywhere In Baseball

Biggest News: Max Scherzer tied the MLB record for most strikeouts in a 9-inning game by a single pitcher, notching 20 in a 3-2 win over the Detroit Tigers. As CBS Sports points out, there is a lot of history there. My favorite stat is how the Tigers struck out more times in one game last night, then Tony Gwynn struck out during any entire season between 1991 and 1996............The other Big News is that the Cubs lost. Twice. In the same day. And against the lowly Padres, no less.............

Splish-Splash: Billy Eppler goes up one more notch in my book. Rule 5 pick not working out? Sure he hesitated, but Ji-Man Choi was DFA'd. Sure, it's theoretically possible for Choi to come Bok but not as a Rule 5. Roster flexibility restored. Sanity concerning who should be on an MLB roster restored. Faith in courage restored...........And that opens up room to try and patch a rotation. maybe even in time for an offense to show up this season. So Eppler then traded for Atlanta Braves starter Jhoulys Chacin (arg! on now having to remember how to spell that first name!!). Chacin is better than anything we already had, so this is a plus move. The most impressive part of the story is that Eppler was able to make a plus move by dealing from our farm system. The one that is barren. Worst in all baseball. Dude gets extra credit for that, even if it was the Braves..........By the way, C.J. Wilson is making good progress. Finally..........

Trout: The other side of that coin concerning trading Mike Trout for somebody else's franchise and ballpark and tv mega-contract and rights to their first born child, is the notion of accelerating a life-time extension of Trout. Not the kind of thing that Arte is known for so maybe just as ridiculous as far as speculation comes, but it serves as a handy counterpoint if you find yourself in any Trade-Trout conversations..........

Pujols: Albert Pujols left his heart in St. Louis. That's OK with me. I prefer that to grudges, pissiness and pettiness. I just wish he hadn't left his bat, his legs and his fake birth certificate back there as well. Because there is no way in hell the Cards are going to take him back before 2021.........

Replay Redux: Last week we had an Instant Replay review in Anaheim of a play at home plate. I rolled back my DVR and hand-timed that outage. Between the moment the play was called (and presumed dead) and the moment that play finally resumed (when the pitcher next started his windup on the next official pitch, since I couldn't get the umpire motioning to "play ball" in my video), I clocked the total game delay at 7 minutes and 50 seconds in human time. Nearly 8 minutes any way you slice it. And, for the record, Victor Rojas correctly made what would be the ultimate judgment within the first 15 seconds. I use this as a close-at-hand example that shows the beast of Instant Replay is still raw and needs some further sanding and polishing. Doing so ain't going to be easy, because everybody has an angle and agenda.............And reformulating IR is becoming an industry all its own..........

TJ Time: Let's talk Tommy John a little bit. after all, it's pretty meaningful to all of us this year. For starters, here is an Internet tip. One of the billions of websites I poll nightly, MLBreports.com, keeps a running list of every single known case of TJ surgery for MLB players. The easy list is here, where you can learn that the very first Angel to undergo TJ was Don Aase in 1982. But they also keep a flat-file database in Google Docs. Download it into your favorite spreadsheet engine and play around a bit and you fan learn such things as 77.9% of all TJ patients were born in the United States. The next largest community comes from the Dominican Republic, with 8.8%. Venezuela is 3rd with 4.2%. The reason I bring this up is because despite our particular woes, and all press to the contrary, it turns out that this season's "...22 Tommy John surgeries through May 10 — across all professional levels — is the lowest since 2002." See how lucky we are, to have such a large percentage of a shrinking can of season-ending catastrophe?..........

Harpy: Bryce Harper is appealing being sat down a game for coming back out onto the field after being ejected. Including other things. And he gets fined. The only reason I return to this news bit is because of what Harper was quoted as saying afterwards: "I was pretty upset. I think I was right to do that. Let him hear what I have to say, let him hear it again, and so what?" I find that to be a pretty clueless thing for any baseball player to say, because what Harper was yelling about was a called third strike (pitch #6 here, which was technically a strike but was not a consistent call by the ump). And the rules are extra-ordinarily clear on this subject: players (nor managers) do NOT have "a right" to argue balls and strikes. Quite the contrary. I suspect that his poor choice of words might actually reflect his real opinion on any such control of the umpire's authority...........

Quick. Pitch: This speaks to a phenomenon that I have picked up broadcasters commenting about, pitchers quick-pitching when runners are on base. Guys like Mike Trout and Billy Hamilton surely promote this as it cuts down on their running time but that's OK. It's OK for pitchers to deceive base runners. What's not OK is for pitchers to do that in any way that also deceives the hitter. And the players are noticing that this is becoming a problem. But it's not a brand new thing. It's been growing for a while now..........

Shenanigans: A bit ago I linked to a review over at Baseball America that revealed how teams were able to get around the MLB international signing pool limits and getting away with it. This was predicted by BBA years ago, and came true. Well, we have an update.  MLB is investigating the Red Sox. BBA points out that this is pretty odd because the really isn't new news, but maybe it's because BBA called bullshit on the MLB in that recent article I link to first in this entry. What I find disturbing, though, is MLB's investigative behavior: '  The players, most of whom are still 16 or 17 years old, did not have their parents or any representation with them. According to multiple sources, MLB officials told the players that if they lied, the commissioner’s office would suspend them. They asked the players to give them their banking information and said they would investigate their bank accounts, according to those sources. Some of the players broke down in tears..........."They put a lot of pressure on them, like they were criminals," said one source. "They’re trying to put pressure on the kids to talk to them."..........When told about the assertions, an MLB official said players have an obligation to be truthful and cooperate with an investigation or they could be subject to discipline, which could mean a fine or a suspension. The official denied that anyone from MLB ever threatened a player with a suspension.  '...........

Jurisprudence: Writer Stacey Gotsulias has a problem rooting for Aroldis Chapman, because he was accused of domestic violence. Noble ethical thought experiment, but not as noble as noticing that Chapman was accused, not convicted. The principals in his case were all so unreliable that they didn't even file charges, much less try to prosecute anything. As bad as domestic violence surely is, we still operate under a social and criminal principal of innocent until proven guilty. And there are excellent historical reasons for this approach. Baseball is not the kind of thing that trumps historical judicial precedence..........

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The Duffle Bag

Not quite sure I know where Tim Brown wants to go here as he points out that He Who Appears To Be Ageless Bartolo Colon is a guy who has passed through the process of PEDs usage..........That guy I linked to over in Japan who smacked the Kirin Beer sign with a home run, wining a year's worth of free beer? Unbelievably, he doesn't want the beer!...........Field umpire throwing shade on a plate umpire (it's an inside gag between umpires), confusing the hell out of a kid who just hit a home run..........See fans? Catching home run balls is no big deal. Learn to chill. Like the guys wearing big boy undies.............That's one magician GM they have up there to turn that around so fast.  Wish we could have one of those..........This guy needs to root for Albert Pujols..........I was going to do a little ditty about this incident, but it turns out that googling "red sox fan handcuffed" brings up more hits than I could imagine..........

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