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WeekEnd HaloLinks: Angels hosting Astro Nots

The Astros, having once tanked to accelerate a rebuild and recently challenging for baseball supremacy, might now be turning back into Algernon.

Harry How/Getty Images

Here come the Astros, and with them comes Feaster of Angels, Dallas Keuchel.

We need a boost, and what better booster than one of the worst teams in Baseball this season? It's clear that the Astros are not the same success story of last season. We aren't either, but our story arc explains us pretty well. The Astros were supposed to be on the upswing, and last year was their surprisingly early resurgence. It could be that last season was an accident and they are still a year or two away from stability. It could be that this season is the accident and they are still easily capable of ruining our holiday weekend.

I want to enjoy my weekend, so I am putting my faith into the original plot to land a horrible team in the AL West and give us the same free pass of 10 easy wins that MLB once gifted to the Yankees 20 years ago. I want to see that the Astros have returned to being bad. At least for a few more days.

Have some Kickoff Your Summer with Links:



The Upcoming Series:

Houston Astros @ Los Angeles Angels - Angels Stadium, Anaheim, CA.

Day Game Time Probable Pitchers TV
FRIDAY 7:05 PM PDT Mike Fiers (3-2, 4.35 ERA) vs. Matt Shoemaker (2-5, 6.81 ERA) FS-W
SATURDAY 7:05 PM PDT Dallas Keuchel (2-6, 5.92 ERA) vs. Jered Weaver (4-3, 5.33 ERA) FS-W, MLBN
SUNDAY 12:35 PM PDT Doug Fister (4-3, 4.12 ERA) vs. Nick Tropeano (3-2, 2.86 ERA) FS-W

From the official team Game Notes:  "ASTROS ON DECK: First of 19 meetings with Houston start Friday…Astros claimed 2015 season series 10-9…LAA is 14-5 in last 19 home games vs. Astros but 5-11 in last 16 at Minute Maid Park…Pujols’ 50 HRs are most all time vs. Astros."


Everywhere In Baseball

Surprise me: I knew that Garrett Richards was opting for stem-cell therapy instead of TJ to cure his arm troubles. I did not know that Andrew Heaney was following suit. With as much time as I spend hunting down the tidbits for all of you, I somehow missed that. So, if this non-surgical therapy end up working - especially if it works faster and with at least as healthy a result, I'll have to amend my theory and the world will have to call this process Garrett-Heaney therapy. "GHT". You read it here first...........

Johnny G: Here we go again. A dozen or more years ago we all made such a big deal out of "the X Factor" that baseball analysts used David Eckstein to define the chasm between "scrappy, hustle, guts" versus cold, rational, information-driven synthesis. Think about that as you read this bit on Johnny Giavotella. We are creating David Eckstein 3.0 (Peter Bourjos having been our version 2 attempt)...........

Scraps: When you find that your resource pool of prospects is the worst in all of baseball, perhaps of all time, you never pass up the chance to snatch anything breathing. This is how Billy Eppler is left to spend his waking hours. After all, how could it get any worse?............

Job Opening: The Angels are looking to hire somebody to work within their front office group trying to build data analytics powers. If you have the skills and have the desire and can make the commute to Anaheim, you too can become one of the privileged few who get to look down their noses at we HH'ers. For the rest of us all, know that the skills listed in the qualifications section are pretty frickin' lame. They might have been pretty ambitious back in 2005, but not today. I know. This technology happens to be where I make my living. What you really want to see for skills building new data analytics platforms in 2016 are terms such as Ruby on Rails, HDFS, Spark, MapR or Cloudera, Spring and Cloud Native Application Development. Looks like I need to bring in a crew or two and pitch to Arte...........

Cron-Ick: When FiveThirtyEight went looking at players who are actually hitting harder versus just getting lucky, one little tidbit slips in there. C.J. Cron is neither..............

Grown Ups: Did we really need MLB to add their voice to that whole Padres national anthem fiasco? Well, after reading what MLB has to say, yeah. A simple and rational explanation, and with better information............

Missed Opportunities: If the free agent market was to rich for Arte's blood to improve the roster, one might be tempted to think about how Eppler missed out on multiple chances to snag a productive player via trade. Because they were out there. Allow me to remind you that in order to make a trade, you have to have some kind of talent at your disposal to offer back.............

HBP: Baseball is getting pretty chippy the past few seasons. People are talking about it enough now to start putting together data and find trends. Just watch out for these studies, however. They need to know how to pull out from the tallies certain guys who like to us HPB to get on base. These days its guys like Brandon Guyer who, when you watch him, actually seems to enjoy it..............On this same subject, we have Tony LaRussa leaving his GM booth mid-game to barge into a broadcast booth and argue with a broadcaster. And we now have that broadcaster fighting back..........

Money Talks: Here is a theory. One that might require you all weekend to slog through and digest. Extremely low wages among Minor League Baseball may be having a filtering effect and gutting talented but less financially secure players out of baseball because they cannot afford to sustain their careers long enough to mature into Big Leaguers. Wages are not competitive with non-baseball career entry-level jobs and your men need to make hard choices.............


Making Baseball Great. Again. Because it always has been.

Just remember that as frustrating as this season has been so far, it's still REAL BASEBALL!


The Duffle Bag

Baseball Reference has opened up shop on reddit and may have just revolutionized our ability to know everything about sports...............Here comes The Next Big Thing. Teenager Julio Urias starts on the mound for the Dodgers............We have a new contender for bat-flip of the year...............Oops. I jinxed him. Jackie Bradley Jr. went hitless and won't make that list I talked about yesterday, after all............Blogging can be dangerous when you get all out over your skis and everything, as the SBN mothership found out...............Stay classy, Best Fan in Baseball...........Oh STFU on your list of most tortured playoff teams. Any list that fails to note the suffering behind G5 1986 ALCS and G2 2005 ALDS and Inning 5 of G4 2009 ALCS is DOA..................Maybe this guy was not a fan of either the Cubs or Cards. Maybe he was just making a jingoistic fashion statement.............