Fun factoid: Over the last 8 games the Angels have outscored their opponents 53 to 47. And they have all of 2 wins to show for it. It just leaves me more confused. And I am going to be bummed to watch Billy Eppler trade away one of the few things that DO work today - Yunel Escobar - in an attempt to obtain a couple of things that might work in 2018. The guy is batting .406 in his last 7 games, .350 in his last 15, and .342 across his last 30. The guy is an On Base machine.
And then there was Tim Lincecum. Oh, Tim. You were doing so well, too. Made it deep into the 5th inning. 2 outs down, nobody on base, 100 pitches and a 4-3 lead. Surely one last out and you would be done for the evening.
hit batter (another ball),
ground rule double,
Now at 105 pitches and down 4-5. Take a shower.
The good new for you is that the Halos got those 2 runs right back and you didn't take the loss. That's progress!
Everywhere In Baseball
Mr. Wilson: Oh, C.J. What the hell? I know how frustrated you all are. And I also know that Facebook fans will do little more than go way overboard and dump on the guy. So a teeny bit of perspective is in order here. C.J. Wilson was not an atrocious signing. Not a great one, but not an atrocity. He signed with Arte for $77.5MM and played 3 2/3 out of the 5 years of that contract. According to FanGraphs, he yielded a value of $53.7MM. Pro-rated, 3 2/3's of 77.5 equals 56.7. Wilson was earning his paycheck. One of the few Halos to so do over the last few years. So, no, not an atrocity. Now for the bad part. He got hurt. Shit happens. And it feels shitty that he didn't go through the usual and customary phases of injury-announcement-firm diagnosis-medical repair-recovery-rehab-return. That leaves lot of room for doubt from a sporting community that is used to a very specific sequence and process. What the hell has been happening there, CJ? In fairness, those suspicions are all mere ripples emanating from our collective ignorance. We don't really know what has been happening with Wilson and any medical staff. What we do know is that, at age 35, Wilson is damaged goods now and will very old damaged goods if he loses all of 2016/2017 to surgery and recovery. We lost 40 starts out of a #3 guy, 30 or so of which would have happened in a 2016 season where they wouldn't have made any difference. Arte lost $25MM in payroll value, and Wilson most likely lost $25MM out of the back end of his career. Looks to me we are all have equal burns. Call it even, and turn the page...........
Trout: To the surprise of precisely zero human beings living on planet earth, Mike Trout was voted to the All-Star team. This makes 5 straight ASG, and with only 5 full seasons under his belt. Trout is again a starter, for the 4th straight year. Only Vladdie and Carew ever did that under the Halo..........On the other hand, Trout will still be sitting out the Home Run Derby. Again. Someday, he tells us, "...just not this year." The kid will just be entering the peak phase of his career next season. If he is gonna do it at a time anybody cares to see what he is capable of, the next 5 years would do it..........Hey, while we are on the topic of the All-Star game, check out how apeshit things got when it was announced that the Cubs fans voted in the entire Cubs infield...........And, of course, announcing the All-Stars means that it is now All-Star Snub Counting Season...........
So Slow with Soto: Do you know how you procrastinate on sending down your .311 OBP rookie catcher instead of your ,239 OBP quasi-veteran catcher? You use the coming All-Star Break to delay the return of your .338 OBP truly veteran catcher, that's how............
Math-a-Magic: Hardball Times is advocating for separate broadcast channels to cater to statheads. Essentially, the broadcast of the game would be more stat-centric rather than filled with bromides and homilies. I guess with 10,000 channels available, there is room for everybody. But, personally, I just can't see the value of even more MLB games going unseen, even if they are nerd-fests..........
Black Eye: Speaking of MLB blackouts, even with the revolutionary MLBAM system in place, baseball still resists innovation, and is still doing so futilely. "Unfortunately, major leagues owners have proven over and over again they value short-term profits more than the people they can reach. If they ever decide to open the gates and truly make baseball accessible for the average American, it will only be because they have run out of ways to make an easy buck by keeping the game under lock and key. The longer they wait, the less surprised they can be when America decides to move on."..........
Robots: This event has it all. In yesterday's Cubs/Reds game we had the Reds' Brandon Finnegan pitching to the Cubs' catcher David Ross. At the count 3-0 Ross takes the pitch believing it to be ball 4, while plate ump Jerry Meals called it a strike. Joe Maddon argues, gets ejected, goes nuts. The whole thing is here. Seriously, watch that clip and pay attention. Because like I said, this event has it all. Everything I bitch about. First of all, go over to PITCHf/x and look at the sequence. Could it be that pitch #4 was a make-up for pitch #3? Should Ross - a catcher - be perplexed about such things? Is that what happened? Should it happen? If it does happen, is that an unwritten rule that participants should stay silent about?
Wait, there's more. Compare the location that PITCHf/x uses to spot #4 and compare that to the location in the CSN/PITCHTRAX cartoon. Here, I'll put them side-by-side (PITCHTRAX is the pitcher's POV and PITCHf/x is the catcher's POV). In fact, look at ALL FOUR of those first four pitches and compare.
Notice that they differ? What? Why? They shouldn't. The whole point of using robo systems to judge the strike zone is accuracy. The whole point of using computer technology is to have precision. If we had precision, we should have THE SAME result. Not close, but same. Humans are close. We expect computers to be better than close. We should have exact, but we don't. Why not? As I have been saying for years, it's because those PITCHTRAX cartoons are not real. You have watched it long enough to now feel convinced that PITCHTRAX is some kind of truth. You judge using that info. You argue. You believe. Disney would be proud. My point: be happy to have the fun of PITCHTRAX, but don't believe it. This shouldn't even be new news anymore, either. (By the way, I originally went even further and did a breakdown of PITCHf/x versus the side-on replay, but I was up to about 1000 words on htat subject alone and just deleted it all.)
The Duffle Bag
History Stuff: MLB archives dug up a photo of WWII American G.I.'s playing baseball in Wembley Stadium. For us rubes, Wembley Sadium is NOT in London, England............The Phillies single-A affiliate will soon be celebrating cat-hoarders everywhere..........Update: that bald eagle that exited Dodger Stadium early yesterday, honoring the tradition of LAD fans throughout history? Yeah, he was found later waiting in the parking lot. A true Chavez Ravine experience, right there..........Uh oh. Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang may have slipped a lady a roofie while playing in Chicago..........Who knew? Ballparks are starting to give players some special place where they may take out their frustrations. Water coolers everywhere may commence rejoicing..........BallhawkGate has officially jumped the shark. Next stop: Pinterest. Now people have abused the power of the Internet to foment a petition campaign to get Zack Hample banned from MLB games. The guy is an ass, but this is just stupid.............Billy Hamilton is really fast, and the Cubs are playing really bad baseball right now...........Here is the antithesis of the Bartman episode...........Magically, the 40-year old David Ortiz is hitting baseballs better than he has in his entire life. And once again, MSM writers are choosing to bathe in the glorious fun without any of the skepticism demanded by their profession............
(And we're back. Time to start toughening up. Gotta name ALL THREE lines correctly.)