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WeekEnd HaloLinks: Rocketing into Houston

It seems like only last season that the Angels came bolting, undefeated, out of the All-Star Break. This needs to go better than that, and this weekend is the moment.

Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

You know, for years the Angels would start the 2d half in miserable fashion, as though dust and rust had accumulated and needed to be shaken off. Some of those times the team had gong INTO the Break roaring, and that interruption seemed to be an evil plot to halt a dominating run.

Last year they went into the break 13-5. We were fearful. But they came out of the break 6-0. It was 19-5 wrapped around the All-Star interruption and everything seemed rosy. The team promptly went 6-17. The losing would continue. What was once 1st place would be 3rd. They would never recover.

Here we sit 6-0 again. Enjoy it while it lasts. Houston hasn't really been taking proper advantage of the Rangers barf bag, so maybe we can keep this going at least a little while longer.

Have some Living large While You Can Links:



The Upcoming Series:

Los Angeles Angels @ Houston Astros - Less Than 100% Juice Park, Houston, TX.

Day Game Time Probable Pitchers TV
FRIDAY 5:10 PM PDT Matt Shoemaker (5-9, 4.08 ERA)  vs. Lance McCullers (4-4, 3.61 ERA) FS-W
SATURDAY 4:10 PM PDT Jered Weaver (8-7, 5.02 ERA) vs. Collin McHugh (6-6, 4.25 ERA) FS-W
SUNDAY 11:10 AM PDT TBA  vs. Mike Fiers (6-4, 4.75 ERA) FS-W

(Have you noticed how often I have had to type in "TBA" for the LAA rotation this season?)

From the official Game Notes (because the Angels didn't put anything up on CWS before the break): "ASTROS ON DECK Houston leads 2016 series 8-1…Astros on eight-game win streak vs. LAA…Halos are 15-10 in last 25 home games vs. Houston but 5-14 in last 19 at Minute Maid Park…Pujols’ 52 HRs are most all-time vs. HOU (reg. season)."


Everywhere In Baseball

Trout Porn: Here is a way to get some real perspective on how blessed we have been to have Mike Trout playing baseball every day before our very own eyes. ESPN is doing this series to rank that Top 100 players of all time. And they include Negro League players, to their credit. Playing only half way through his 24-year old season, Trout lands in their ranking system already at #40, ahead of 60 other Greats. Hall of Fame kind of guys. And directly in front of him (meaning that he will pass these guys in the next several months of our lives) are the likes of Joe Morgan, Pete Rose, Warren Spahn, Josh Gibson, Tom Seaver, Jimmie Foxx, George Brett, and Albert Pujols............And way, way back when Trout was just a kid, like earlier this same decade, he had some experiences working his way towards getting MLB attention...........

HoFfy: The Hall of Fame will conduct induction ceremonies over the weekend.  The only fun to be had concerns the piss feud that Mike Piazza still holds for the Dodgers, who pretty much own the majority of his legacy............Meanwhile, a reminder that the Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens snubs resulted in the HoF changing their eligibility rules so that the current BBWAA voters can have their way over future BBWAA voters as the current membership gets old and dies..........

Trade Winds: So after the HoF Ceremonies are all concluded, rehashed, repeated endlessly, and reviewed, we will be at full throttle for the non-waiver Trade Deadline. This deadline hits us August 1st this year because July 31st is a Sunday and we all know MLB takes Sundays off. I think it important to point out that this is the NON-WAIVER trade deadline. Trades can still happen after this deadline passes, but the players have to go through the waiver wire first. So teams can still be very active after the deadline, but that would mean that they are stocked with real sucky players that nobody else wants. I'm trying to think of a team in 2016 that has had a lot of players capable of clearing waivers. Anyone come to mind?..........Out there in the hinterlands, one fun aspect is to track the extreme Hail Mary attempts to snag superstars. The White Sox have already turned down at least one massive offer for Chris Sale..........

Trading Punches: Meanwhile, not waiting until any deadlines, the Red Sox and Diamondbacks made a trade before the All-Star Game which sent Brad Ziegler to Boston. Ziegler is now the Red Sox closer, but rumors are circulating that the DBacks passed over better offers from other teams for Ziegler in order to trade with Red Sox. It was already noted that nobody could believe how little Tony La Russa (DBacks Chief baseball dude) and Dave Stewart (DBacks GM) got back in return. Now Peter Gammons is getting feedback from other teams convinced that LaRusso sold low to his old pal Dave Dombrowksi (Red Sox President of Operations), doing him a solid...........Stewart and LaRussa are unhappy at getting called out for being underhanded. I suppose they prefer to just be known as really bad at their jobs............

Weaving a Future: Jered Weaver, one last contract as the middle reliever specialist into which he is mutating............

Pujols Sparks: Albert Pujols is like that luxury sports car that is almost out of gas, but gets just enough fuel into it's lines every now and then for a brief spurt of acceleration to remind you of what the beast could once do............

Insanity: Buster Olney is bored with baseball, suggests a bunch of changes. Somebody reads Olney and asks Commissioner Manfred, who answers. Manfred's answer becomes a belief that baseball is thinking about changing. Baseball itself calls bullshit on the whole thing............

Tools of Ignorance: Catching can be horrible for the human knee. The Laws of Physics say so. They also say that knee savers truly do save knees. And this is why an observant fan might notice catchers wearing something funky on their lower legs.

Batty: Proper coaching and development have homogenized the batting stances of baseball. I don't consider this boring, because Mike Trout is one hell of a success story..........

PEDS: Just a point for you that we shouldn't be listening to Rob Manfred brag about how effective is his testing system these days, since more guys are getting caught than before. Paying attention to this issue in sport beyond our fences reveals that the state of the art in all this still falls well short of the intended mark.  If you of the mind that this stuff needs to not be happening in baseball, you should not be believing Manfred as hard as he is believing himself............By the way, we have a new survey that measures how various sports fans feel about PEDs use and "cheating". You will never guess which region of the country hosts the most fan bases who feel they are the most honest and anti-cheating..............

$$$$: Here we go again. The Honus Wagner "jumbo" baseball card is coming back up for sale, and estimated to possibly fetch more $4 million. This card sold last for $2.1 million just 3 years ago. Kids and their baseball card habits these days. I don't know where they get their allowance money. Oh wait. Yes I do..........


The Duffle Bag

Bo knows the challenges of disabilities..........You know all those 'fights' in baseball you see where everybody races out onto the field and stares at each other? Yeah, well, this certainly isn't one of those...........Todd Cunningham had some fun in the last homestand. Yeah, Todd. I watched you play left field. That was fun as in Manny being Manny kind of fun.............Even if the Yankees become sellers, what is the point of releasing ARod And Mark Teixeira at this point in the season? They ain't gonna save any money, and those two aren't blocking anybody. Just because they are the two worst players on the roster doesn't mean the Yankees can do anything about it..........David Ortiz sticks a ball into the foul pole net. Not the first time I have seen this happen. Can't blame odd supplements this time..........Mark McGwire, Grumpy Old Man.  Thinks the DH is the worst thing in baseball. Thinks expansion would be the worst thing for baseball..........Joe Smith is a trendy dude. Stupid, clumsy, balks must be what all the cool kids are doing these days..........Do you think anybody would mind if I won this auction, and then had it re-themed to America's Pastime?


Mystery Graph

(Nobody had the courage to even bid on this yesterday? Fine, you get to mull it over the entire weekend...)