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Thor'sLinks: Astros blast Angels back to Anaheim

The Halos were broomed by the booming Astros, not scoring when their pitching was strong and not pitching when their hitting was slammin' it. That is, from one POV, some level of consistency.

Bob Levey/Getty Images

I notice a trend. 11 losses against 5 wins recently is not a healthy direction to be taking should one desire to compete in the playoffs later in the year. I am beginning to wonder how realistic it might be to continue believing this franchise is relevant. Perhaps it's all the broken fingers I am sensing as my hands are crushed beneath the slamming of our competitive window.

But then, at moments such as these, I recall how desperate I was for baseball of any kind back in January. Even as the Angels lose, we still got Mike Trout. Winners.

Matt Shoemaker is still rockin' it since flipping a switch and throwing more of his splitter. He did give up 3 runs yesterday but, still, over his past 7 games he has a 2.09 ERA with 62 K's against 4 walks and a WHIP of 0.95. Time to think about Matt Shoemaker for Austin Meadows.

Update: between the Rangers and Astros the Halos are 2-7 in the State of Texas this season. And there are 10 more such games left to be had.

Have some Texas is a Mess Links:



The Upcoming Series:

Oakland A's @ Los Angeles Angels - Angel Stadium, Anaheim, CA.

Day Game Time Probable Pitchers TV
THURSDAY 7:05 PM PDT Kendall Graverman (2-6, 4.87 ERA)  vs. Tim Lincecum (1-0, 1.46 ERA) FS-W
FRIDAY 7:05 PM PDT TBA vs. Jered Weaver (6-6, 5.10 ERA) FS-W
SATURDAY 7:05 AM PDT Eric Surkamp (0-5, 7.20 ERA)  vs. Jhoulys Chacin (2-3, 5.56 ERA) FS-W
SUNDAY 12:35 PM PDT Sonny Gray (3-6, 5.20 ERA) vs. Hector Santiago (4-4, 4.99 ERA) FS-W

From the official team Game Notes:  "OAKLAND ON DECK: LAA is 9-2 in last 11 overall matchups with A’s (5-1 in 2016, all on road)…Angels have won 13 of last 17 overall games and 22 of last 30 matchups…Halos have won seven of last eight games at Coliseum…LAA claimed 2015 series 11-8 (5-4 on road)… Since 2002, Angels (6) or Athletics (5) have won 11 of 14 A.L. West crowns."


Everywhere In Baseball

Trout Notes: For the record, Mike Trout hits below average against the Houston Astros. But more importantly Mike Trout hits worse in Minute Maid park than he has hit any place else. So after going 2 for 11 I would guess we are all glad he got out of Houston alive. Oh, and you know that principal that states sliding into first base is always a bad idea because it merely slows you down? Here is why you slide into first base..........Oh, and by the way, The Best Ballplayer of 2016 has already been announced. And Mike Trout wins over Bryce Harper. That's the annual Sporting News Award as voted on by "...broadcasters, writers and former players..."...........

Future Member of #cesspool: Here is a Halo fan in search of a safe place where being an honest fan is an acceptable way of being a true fan. I wonder where his journey will take him/her?...........

Simba: Andrelton Simmons thinks faster than you do...............

Harpys: I was writing a lot at the start o the season about how all the chatter concerning Bryce Harper as The Usurper of Trout, based on how hot he was at the time, was way too premature. Harper was, in my mind, feasting on unworthy pitching. This, I said, would all change in a few weeks. It did. Harper has been getting crushed for weeks now and nobody is talking about him anymore. Well, nobody except FanGraphs, which just used Clayton Kershaw to show how quality pitchers have been dissecting young Bryce like an anesthetized frog in Biology class............

Tin Foil Hats: Nothing says conspiracy like a sudden rise in home runs throughout Major League Baseball. MLB says no, Players and coaches say yes. But it's sure strange considering how we were just talking about the rising K rate and the decline of offense up to 12 months ago. If Mike trout were hitting home runs, I might agree that balls are juiced. But Mike Trout ain't hitting home runs, so no conspiracy.............

Baseball Biz: We local LAA fans need to keep track of this stuff, because contemporary stadium financing has to be a hot and heavy subject among the execs of the Angels front office. After all, it's not like they need to busy themselves making playoff plans. How things go for the likes of the Atlanta Braves and Texas Rangers (not to mention the Las Vegas Raiders, etc.) are the development comps for Arte wherever he takes his pitch. We already have brought to your attention the stadium finance problems brewing in Atlanta (as they abandon a park only 18-years old). Well, things are heating up now in Arlington (as the Rangers look to abandon a park only 22-years old). A close look at the contract details is revealing that Arlington taxpayers are on the hook for far more than the advertised 50% being sold to the public. Yes, the politicians are lying. Shocking, I know. WFAA-TV comes up with a mark of 80% taxpayer money but I cannot say if their estimates of parking revenue are accurate. What is accurate is that Arlington politicians have agreed to hand over city income derived from stadium parking and admissions to Rangers ownership, so that Rangers ownership can give it back to Arlington and help pay for that other "half" of construction assigned to them. Economic experts who study this kind of stuff are flabbergasted. (It should be noted that further discovery should be done by somebody looking into the taxpayer money going to defray the cost of development for the adjacent office/restaurant/retail/convention/hotel space that is a part of the overall plan. Que bono there???). Meanwhile, pay attention to the tiny little detail that the new stadium is planned as a smaller venue than the current ballpark. Where, on average, the current stadium has run at 65% capacity, those same crowds would have resulted in an average 76% capacity if held in the new stadium. In fact, the 2012 attendance figures wouldn't even have fit into the new stadium (102%, assuming the lower number of 42K capacity). Why do I bring this up? Because scarcity drives price. For the same product, and out of the same attendee population, ownership will be able to increase revenue. And, as the news stories are now telling us, that revenue will be all theirs to keep even though it wasn't their own money they put at risk...........New stadiums popping up all over America, and living shorter lives? Backdoor political deals on these stadiums are becoming impossible to fight? Even with these very obvious and blatant instances of shenanigans? None of this stuff is lost on Arte Moreno and John Carpino. None of it..........

Sports Biz: Here is a long-form that focuses on the primary role that NetFlix is playing in the drive towards cord-cutting. This is something that is chipping away at the cable bundle content subscription population that threatens, ultimately, sports franchise TV mega contracts. This is why we care. One thing to watch for while reading is the undercurrent of threats to NetFlix as the content providers wake up and the content delivery options increase.  One thing to consider is how people who rule A world come to convince themselves that they rule THE world..............

CWS: One game yesterday. All West. Arizona took down UC Santa Barabara 3-0. UCSB, having lost earlier to Oklahoma State, now exits stage left and Arizona is the last Western team standing. Arizona, having been dropped to the losers bracket by Oklahoma State 0-1 back on Monday, now face OSU in a rematch tomorrow. If Arizona wins, their rubber match will be on Saturday. Either OSA or UofA are going to the final head-to-head against the Bracket 2 winner, which is set to start Monday (all those games will be on ESPN). Follow it all here.............


The Duffle Bag

One theory about MLB being open to occupying Las Vegas: it's all a bluff............Tom Seaver has a wife. Wife of Tom Seaver insists the Mets build Tom Seaver Statue............Reds 3B Eugenio Suarez has mastered the hidden ball trick. On himself..............As an LAA fan, I am not a big fan of John Hirshbeck. But we don't celebrate baseball to watch people get injured. I'm thrilled Hirshbeck got this lucky.............You know that thing about how shallow is our franchise. I mean, is it possible that we are the only instance of a modern MLB franchise operating without a farm system for support? Well, this is how the other half of our coin lives.............Terry Collins was once the manager of the Angels. I had almost forgotten that Terry Collins can be a real dick.............Somebody out there has a voodoo doll of Brian Duensing. It's the only way to explain hitting the DL because he was sitting still minding his own business.............Here is Trevor Bauer mowing down Tampa Bay, so hot even he cannot believe he is getting the calls.............The loneliest thing in the world is being all by yourself in deep center field after making the 3B error that allowed an inside-the-park home run score the 2 runs and turn a win into a loss as the ball rolls slowly away tot he wall. And the best part is still ahead, when you finish that walk all the way to the dugout and see the stat sheet, where you went 0-5 with 5 K's............That super-shitty 2012 season that Jason Isringhausen barfed up for us as Mike Scioscia kept trotting him out to the mound is still weighing heavily on his mind. Because his mind is still doing wacky things in full view of the public............


Mystery Graph

(Yeah. Yesterday I set you up. You should have nailed it immediately. After the Tuesday chart about top home run leaders per year, yesterday's running total over the same period of the LAA team HR total season by season was obvious. So what ya got today? )