The big news from yesterday is that the Angels finally won a series. This had not happened since June 17/18/19 up in Oakland. And it's the first time they have won at least 3 games in a row since May 13/14/15/16. (It's only the 4th time all season they have won at least 3 games in a row.) So, sadly, this kind of thing is a really big deal.
Hector Santiago and Yunel Escobar have improved their trade bait deliciousness. Santiago looks to have righted his ship and has now gone 13 straight innings without allowing an earned run. Escobar, on the other hand, has a 12-game hitting streak, and is batting .418 through this stretch with 23 hits. Overall he leads the team with a BA of .327.
And now we go to Baltimore, where we get to say hello to the MLB home run leader. You may have heard of him. He grew up in nearby Villa Park. Goes by the name of Mark Trumbo. He'll be the guy warming up for the Home Run Derby next week. (And I keep harping on this: the Orioles picked Trumbo off the baggage carousel for practically nothing. 28 other teams could have easily paid just a little bit more than . Even the one in Anaheim.)
It would be nice for the Angels to sweep the Orioles and get on a roll of winning 6 out of 7. It would be less nice to have the All-Star Break bust that momentum going into the second half.
Have some Pre All-Star Break Links:
ANGELS ON DECK
The Upcoming Series:
Los Angeles Angels @ Baltimore Orioles - Camden Field, Baltimore, MD.
|Day||Game Time||Probable Pitchers||TV|
|FRIDAY||4:05 PM PDT||Matt Shoemaker (3-9, 4.40 ERA) vs. TBA||FS-W|
|SATURDAY||1:05 PM PDT||Nick Tropeano (3-2, 3.28 ERA) vs. Yovani Gallardo (3-1, 6.10 ERA)||FS-W|
|SUNDAY||10:35 AM PDT||Tim Lincecum (1-2, 7.50 ERA) vs. Chris Tillman (11-2, 3.55 ERA)||FS-W|
From the official team Game Notes: "ORIOLES ON DECK Baltimore won two of three meetings earlier this season at Angel Stadium from May 20-22…Angels won season series last year 4-2…Halos are 59-41 vs. O’s since 2004…LAA is 8-4-0 in last 12 season series."
Everywhere In Baseball
Trout Porn: The best news of the year is that Mike Trout has not gotten worse. How odd of a sentence, but how important is the insight. You have to understand how hard other teams work to beat back opponents. At a minimum, other teams want to deny any player a chance to overachieve. It's important that they beat each player back to average, at least. Better yet, they drive that player below average. Not just below that player's average, but below league averages. Scouts exist. Data exists. Analytics exist. Coaches exist. Planning exists. And for a guy like Mike Trout, there is so much effort throughout baseball that goes into trying to understand how he succeeds (so teams can find more of it), and how to he might fail (so teams can prevent him from beating them). The expectation is always that the league adjusts and Trout regresses. This is normal. Ask Trevor Story. So imagine how significant it is that Trout adjusts in real time through his career and maintains his status as THE elite ballplayer. Jeff Sullivan over at FanGraphs finds this to be most significant. Sullivan notes how Trout is more aggressive with first pitches AND has improved greatly with 2-strike counts. The numbers there are enlightening. "Once again, Mike Trout is his boring old almost-perfect self...He hasn’t gotten worse. It’s unbelievable he hasn’t gotten worse.".........
Crash & Burn: This is why you celebrate your heroes while they are doing heroic things. Matt Harvey, that indomitable figure who we LAA fans have lamented going unsigned when Arte went cheap with a signing bonus long ago, is hurting. Badly. Again. This is a guy who returned from TJ surgery and last year pitched nearly 190 innings, with controversy all around for that workload. He didn't pitch in the post-season but he was a big reason the Mets pulled away from the NL East pack early in the 2nd half. Now he pays the price. Grossly ineffective this year, a medical diagnosis will most probably result in his losing one of his ribs, and it's still iffy that he will ever return. If he returns to Matt Harvey form, it would be almost unprecedented. And Harvey is only 27 years old..........
The Unpossible: So I have been spending more time thinking about what David Ortiz is doing these days, at the tail end of his career. His OPS+ jumped out at me and I went digging. It's 184 as of this writing, and stands at 148th place on the all-time leaderboad. I started looking at those names around and below him on that board and dug in a tiny bit to find the age of some of those guys when they posted similar, or lesser, seasons. I kept tripping across the result that player after player who were Hall of Famers tended to post their high OPS+ somewhere in their peak seasons, the back half of hteir 20's. That hunt and peck approach was getting tedious, so off to the BBR Play Index I went. I wondered how often it has happened that somebody his age had done this well? That answer came back very quickly: NEVER. Nobody of the age 40 or older had ever acheived an OPS+ of even 160. The closest was Willie Mays in 1971, when he was 40, where he realized an OPS+ of 158. Ok, so let's roll back and open things up greatly, to the final years of most anybody, and look at ALL players 35 years of age or older. The result was just as unbelievable. If we throw out Barry Bonds from his "Needle Beef" seasons of 2000 through 2004, we end up with the following:
That's right. Ted Williams, Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron (once), and David WTF Ortiz. And Ortiz is doing that when he is 3 to 5 years older than those other pathetic poseurs. This just does not happen. This has never happened. Even Barry Bonds collapsed after his age 39 season. He was injured almost all of his age-40 year, and his age-41/42 years were (still quite impressive, but still riding the physical momentum of his PEDs developed body mass) 156 & 169. Keep in mind, by his own admission, David Ortiz is doing this on feet that are too crippled to even run bases............
The Duffle Bag
Look like we won't have Cory Rasmus to kick around anymore..........One would think citizens of Toronto would pay more attention to the weather than, say, citizens of Anaheim............Count Dan Haren out for pitching duties in the upcoming Home Run Derby. He will be missed.............It's the half way point, and things are going to get slow. So people are going to start writing mid-year recaps. First half theoretical awards and all that. And it's Trout vs. Donaldson, Part II. And we will see that we have learned nothing from 2012, 2013 or 2015..........Awesome moment when Ignorant Fan makes a public spectacle of that ignorance..........Good question. Just why is Bartolo Colon so lovable?..........Lesson #1 in life: if you are not the lead dog, the view never changes. Even for talented minor leaguers, if you ain't the boss, you ain't making the decisions..........The Rockies have this awesome outfielder who is now open to be traded. Don't do it, Eppler. Don't fall for it..........Just a guess, but I would pet that San Francisco is a large population center for PETA. That must be conflicting for some Giants fans, who just found out that their hero Barry Bonds slays meat.............A human person originally stationed in the fan seating areas of Wrigley field ended up face down and motionless on the warning track of the playing surface during a rain delay. I will leave it to you all to apply the appropriate labels to this person and whatever behavior led up to this event.
(Yesterday was a side-by-side comparison of K rate between Jered Weaver and Nolan Ryan, aligning them at their age levels. This puts them both in their prime years, when they both were Halo pitchers The red line is Ryan and the blue line is Weaver. You will notice that in their age 27 and 28 years, they were identical. For some odd reason Weaver jumped dramatically at a time when Ryan dropped. Without that, they would have trended with a similar gap in K rate as they aged. I say "similar", because Weaver is falling off the table starting last year. Now the sad news. After the age of 32, Nolan Ryan went on to pitch in 14 more seasons. In that span, he would be 157-133 with anERA+ of 112 and record 2,805 more strikeouts. Who here thinks that Jered will still be pitching even 4 years from now, much less 14?? Nolan Ryan was a beast. Anyway, here is one for the weekend. I am giving you a huge helping hand by giving you the team names. It should now be easy.)