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Thor'sLinks: Fightin' Halos come up short

Angels' chance for a sweep brought down by that weird-ass rule about running to first base. But they fought like hell to get it back and fell just short.

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

I've never really understood how baseball officials and umpires of all ages figured out a way to interpret the rule about running up the first base line. I don't think I have ever seen them get it right, but they are never wrong. Because umpires. The part that gets me is this:

Rule 5.09(a)(11) Comment (Rule 6.05(k ) Comment): The lines marking the three-foot lane are a part of that lane and a batter-runner is required to have both feet within the three-foot lane or on the lines marking the lane.

Let's break that down.

The lines marking the three-foot lane are a part of that lane

So there is this lane, and it is marked by chalk lines, and the lane includes those chalk lines. Check.

and a batter-runner is required

Required. As in "not optional". Mandatory. Not adhering to what is required would be bad.

to have both feet

Not one. Not a half of one. Not one and a half. Not even three. Both. Two.

within the three-foot lane

Within. Inside. Not to the left and not to the right and not out in front and not behind. With. IN.

or on the lines marking the lane

Because the lines are part of the lane. Op. cit.

So during the final half of running up the base line from home plate to first base, the runner is always required to run to the right of the baseline, where the lane is painted. He is never allowed to run inside the baseline, within the fair region of the infield. He is never allowed to run outside the line, in foul territory. He has to run right in the lane. It's in the rule book. In English. Plain English. My native language. And I got very good grades in all my English classes. My grammar ain't half bad, nor is my comprehension. But I never see that enforced, especially in any controversial play. In fact, even when umpires get together and chat about such a thing, they actually choose that wording to cite why they ignore that wording. "Runner runs to first running inside the running lane and is hit with the ball before touching first base....Correct call: runner is safe....(So far, so good, fairly straight forward in those....situations.)". Mystifying. As if it is written in some alien tongue.

After all that, the play will stand as called. Because the rest of that rule goes on to say the following: "The batter-runner is permitted to exit the three-foot lane by means of a step, stride, reach or slide in the immediate vicinity of first base for the sole purpose of touching first base." Which means that the runner can step back into the way of a thrown ball right there at the base in order to touch the base. And if shit happens there at the base because of it, too bad.

Today we have to live with some Deal-With-It Links:



The Upcoming Series:

Boston Red Sox @ Los Angeles Angels - Angels Stadium, Anaheim, CA.

Day Game Time Probable Pitchers TV
THURSDAY 7:05 PM PDT David Price (9-7, 4.51 ERA)  vs. Jered Weaver (8-8, 5.32 ERA) FS-W
FRIDAY 7:05 PM PDT Rick Porcello (13-2, 3.57 ERA) vs. Tim Lincecum (2-4, 8.70 ERA) FS-W
SATURDAY 6:05 PM PDT Drew Pomeranz  (0-1, 7.00 ERA) vs. Hector Santiago (9-4, 4.28 ERA) FS-W
SUNDAY 12:35 PM PDT Steve Wright (12-5, 3.12 ERA) vs. Tyler Skaggs (1-0, 0.00 ERA) FS-W

From the official Game Notes: "RED SOX ON DECK: Since 2012, Halos are 20-9 vs. Red Sox (10-3 at home in span)...Halos swept the four-game series in last meeting at Angel Stadium (July 18-20, 2015)…LAA claimed 2015 series 5-2…On July 2 at Boston, Angels scored 21 runs (21-2), most in MLB in 2016.6th game in Angels’ history scoring 20+ runs (first time since Aug. 25, 2004 vs. KC), 4th time to reach 21 or more."


Everywhere In Baseball

Trade Winds: Most of the time that I find trade articles I walk past them and defer to other HH contributors. The ones I click into usually are the ones that have some special intrigue from my POV. This one, looking at the most obvious relievers left in the rumor mill got to me precisely because I wanted to see how others look upon the quality of our bullpen. In short, Huston Street is a second tier guy and Joe Smith is Third Tier. So, Ok. No big surprises there, what with the way those two have pitched this year. Might even be a little optimistic, as if those two are going to snap out of it any day now, and a trade would ignite such a thing. But my real takeaway from this kind of article is the group-think behind it. Everybody is using the same names. If I were a GM for some other team and I was in need of a bullpen uplift for the stretch run and I had the farm system with which to deal, my call to Eppler would not be about the usual and customary Street/Smith duo. I would straight up be making a run at Cam Bedrosian and force Eppler to intentionally pass on a chance to improve the LAA prospect pipeline............Another kind of rumor that draws me in would be the one where the team pulls a huge boner, such as when the White Sox offer up a James Shields that they only recently made a big trade to acquire. They sent two prospects and cash for Shields and used him in only 10 games so far (losing 7 of those, 3 of which were absolutely his fault).........

Brave Moves: The Atlanta Braves are making the most of all the flexibility they built for themselves by roaring through the tanking process. They are doing more business than even Jerry Dipoto up in Seattle. As the sub-lede claims here, they have already traded away FIVE players they have just signed since last season. The latest juice came yesterday, when they sent away starting pitcher Lucas Harrell to the Rangers for the Rangers' #20 prospect, Travis Demeritte. Harrell was picked up off the Tigers' bone pile just this past May. By the time we hit 2018, the Braves are going to be a major force in the NL East.............

No Fun Zone: It's been pretty quiet in the trade arena so far this week. It's more fun to write about all the hash of players moving all over the place and what that means for playoffs, payrolls, and farm futures. So when things don't happen, the lamentations are the rule of the day. So it is with the pitcher market. I especially like to focus in on the Sonny Gray predicament. As time goes on that Josh Donaldson blockbuster looks worse and worse for Billy Beane (not to mention letting go of Yeonis Cespedes). So Sonny Gray was primed to give Beane and his GM (David Forst) one more chance to haul in a list of shiny new prospects the rest of us could forget about in a couple of years. That ain't happening now...............

On the Move: So what's it like to be a player during all this, and finding out that you have been traded and need to leave? Immediately. It's at least as complex as you imagine. Players are human, and have human shit going on all around them. And all that gets upset in the event. But as the players keep repeating: (unless they have a no-trade in place blocking a specific deal) they don't have a choice in the matter.............

Street Numbers: Huston Street is the epitome of consistency............

Shoe Horn: Matt Shoemaker is the new way point for pitchers possibly turning their fortunes around by re-imaging the use of some certain pitch in their repertoire. With Shoemaker it's that he is throwing his slider twice as often as before and made himself into a whole new pitcher. But there are other pitchers out there who have a chance to do something similar. Kendall Graveman may have already started...........

Deja Vu: The Cubs got greedy, and they have contracted a case of the Morenos. Symptoms include lots of dollars, yields far below expectations, and an ongoing commitment to grind through it all...........All you Winter FA Signing GM's can consider this a bullet, dodged..........

Let's Pitch: Tim Lincecum just turned 32 years old. What was once brilliance now looks more like a dalliance. A good deed gone awry. Forget the cost and think about the human body. Because Ervin Santana is less than 5 months away from turning 34 years of age. He is about a year and a half older than Lincecum and just keeps plugging along. In this review of his relative value in today's market (pretty much on par with his actual salary), there is a chart which shows that his velocity remains the same for his all his pitches after all these years. The guy is still throwing at the same velocities he has been throwing for 7 years now. And he has more than 400 more innings on his body than does Timmy. Keep this filed away for future conversations. There is true value in back-of-the-rotation innings eaters who can stay healthy. Many times they can be far better choices over the long haul than what's glitzy and glamorous..........These are a fun distraction: opening up old, worthless, baseball card with guys actually in the business of baseball. Start with Scott Boras and work your way back. Someday in the future one of those little kids you see in the broadcast background is going to be saying these things about Shane Robinson.........

Misery Loves Company: The Rangers are going to pay Prince Fielder about $9 million to not play for the rest of this season. And they are on the hook for another $72 million from 2017 through 2020. (The White Sox Tigers are picking up $6 million per season.) Fielder is breaking down. At age 32 he has had two shortened seasons out of the last 3. He ain't getting any younger and he ain't getting any lighter. All that adds up to a Hamboner of their own making. And it is starting to dawn on Rangers followers............


The Duffle Bag

FOX Sports gets a hotel chain to pay them to tell us that Mike Trout is great. Dear Comfort Inn, next time call me. I'd tell us Mike Trout was great for half the price.........I wouldn't call the 2017 All-Star Game logo "dazzling", but I sure would call it a hell of a step up from recent versions. It's always fresh to see one that isn't lashed to how proud the locals are to their version of ironwork architecture..........The Greatest Triple Play in History..........There are still some HH'ers who feel their sphincters constrict at he mention of Frankie Rodriguez. KRod was pretty good at creating a mess before closing out a game and sometimes that cost him. Well, he ain't the worst at doing that..............Baseball Prospectus is just begging somebody in Major League Baseball to steal home against Luke Gregerson. Because it would probably work, And that would be awesome..........Expectations are that the Qualifying Offer will rise to $16.7 million this year. Assuming, of course, that some new CBA doesn't re-write things...........The Rangers have Fielder, and are sunk. As in costs. There are many messages in there for Arte..............Logan Morrison, TB Rays backup DH/1B, has declared at the young age of 28 that twitter is dead. He awaits the next revolution. I'm almost 60 and know that twitter itself is moving on to lead a healthy, long, life...........Joey Votto, using baseball to teach kids born on third base that they have not hit a triple..........


Mystery Graph

(I am gonna give yesterday to vike27, close enough. That was WAR to date this season for the Halos with the most plate appearances. The blue line is oWAR and the red line is dWAR. They are not cumulative. So, at 12 o'clock we have position #1, Mike trout, with 6.0 oWAR and 0.3 dWAR. WAR values are from BBR. Remeber that chart format, becaues I am going to hit you with it again, but with a twist. Today is something far, far simpler.)