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Thor'sLinks: The beat(down) goes on...

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It's been only 6 wins over the last 18 contests, with 6 losses in a row. And now 4 road games against the AL Central-leading Indians, a team 14 games ahead of us for the year.

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Now you people know why I put up that Mystery Chart back on Tuesday. Albert Pujols tends to do his best in August every season. But Mike Trout has created this really nasty habit of sucking serious eggs once July is over. After July 21st, Mike has, essentially, turned into Jett Bandy. Over the last 7 games, he is Cliff Pennington, but with pop (Trout at .240 / .296 / .560 and Pennington at .236 / .304 / .375 on the year). And it ain't going to get any easier. Tonight's pitcher, Corey Kluber, has given up only 6 earned runs over his last 5 starts. And except for a blowout to the Twins a couple of starts ago, Friday's starter Carlos Carrasco has been pitching with an ERA in the low 2's.

To simplify, now is the time embrace the protected pick.

Free scouting tip to future Cubs opponents: Aroldis Chapman threw 16 pitches. He got credit for 10 strikes. Only 6 were actually in the zone. The trick, it would seem, would be to not swing and force him to slow down. That's my brilliant suggestion, right there.

Have some Links of Resignation:

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ANGELS ON DECK

The Upcoming Series:

Los Angeles Angels @ Cleveland Indians - Progressive Field, Cleveland, OH.

Day Game Time Probable Pitchers TV
THURSDAY 4:10 PM PDT Jhoulys Chacin (2-5, 5.22 ERA)  vs. Corey Kluber (11-8, 3.16 ERA) FS-W
FRIDAY 4:10 PM PDT Tyler Skaggs (1-0, 2.04 ERA) vs. Carlos Carrasco (7-6, 3.17 ERA) FS-W
SATURDAY 4:10 PM PDT Matt Shoemaker (6-12, 4.07 ERA) vs. Mike Clevinger (0-1, 6.97 ERA) FS-1
SUNDAY 10:10 AM PDT Jered Weaver (8-9, 5.19 ERA) vs. TBA FS-W, TBS

From the official Game Notes: "INDIANS ON DECK: Halos have dropped five of last six games to the Tribe…LAA limited to three runs or less in six of last eight meetings with Cleveland…Indians took two of three in first meeting in June at Angel Stadium."

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Everywhere In Baseball

Rich News: Garrett Richards took a turn throwing in a workout yesterday at Wrigley, and is reporting that he feels "completely normal" with "zero discomfort" in his throwing arm. Still, he will not be returning this season. It all sounds just too miraculous for my blood, so I am holding my breath until November of 2017 before I believe in his stem cell alternative..........

Tebow Chatter: Here is the Eddie Bane background on that "Angels almost drafted Tim Tebow" tale...........Tebow chatter aplenty, and Arte is garnering attention already..........Tom Brown over at Yahoo is comparing Tebow to The Natural. And he's not worried at all that Tebow would suck...........And why should he worry? Because, yeah, Tebow sells tickets..........

Babes in Arms: You know those farm system pitchers you keep getting positive reports over, and make you drool. Well, stop it. Young arms need their time to season, and we should be part of a disturbing trend............

ARod A-goin': With Alex Rodriguez walking off the field for the last time this week, there has been some attention paid to Yankees manager Joe Girardi deciding not to play ARod for most of the few games left in his career. Girardi took to the mic to defend his strategic duties. "I’m putting out what I feel is the best lineup...That is in my job description. My job description does not entail a farewell tour." Thankfully, facts just keep getting in the way of the bullshit. Ken Rosenthal points out that Girardi didn't feel too committed to an optimal lineup in Derek Jeter's final season. "Jeter in 2014: Fifth-worst OPS among qualifiers, batted second in 141 of his 145 games."..........ESPN, which does know a thing or two about sports up there in the northeast, sees a rather bitter Girardi being kind of cheap about the whole thing.............Meanwhile, TheSportsQuotient blasts the Yankees..........

Wealth: Yesterday I made note of ESPN buying into MLB BAM. My point was how this was ESPN digging their claws into the future of cord-cutting. But NBC noticed later that the purchase price, $1 billion for a minority stake in a subsidiary business, represent nearly the full value of all MLB just as recently as 1995. On hell, yeah. Baseball is healthy and doing just fine. And let it not be lost that the owners are still not about to share any of that with their employees in the minor leagues, who are forced to dash and dine out of vending machines at bus stops using pocket change................By the way, here is the way that Disney will be making certain that subscribers are not going to see any hidden charges for ESPN if they are cord-cutters. They are not going to call their streaming content "ESPN". They are going to call it "OTT". This is what happens when we leave legal and marketing alone in the same room..........

Attention Interns Everywhere: You, too, can experience the life of a minor league ballplayer. Long hours at shit pay. All yours for the taking. FiveThirtyEight, part of ESPN, part of Disney, looking to hire a web developer. And they are pulling out all the stops. Did they mention that this is working in sports? Did they mention that this is working for ESPN? Did they mention that this is working for Disney? Check, check and check. Did they mention the pay scale? Um...no...but that's Ok. It's Sports! It's ESPN! It's DISNEY!!! It's probably raining incoming web apps even now............

BBR Takes a Dump: The fine folks at baseball-reference.com had themselves a pretty shitty day yesterday. Looking at their stat page for LAA it looked like something emptied their database. Probably some batch job that blew up. Notice all the missing data, and our page was typical, not unique:

bbr-crap

We were missing players off the roster, and players were missing data. And this ended up making our stat leader board all wonky. This permeated through nearly everything. For example, something was seriously amiss with their bWAR calculations. Normally bWAR and fWAR will be different, but not too far apart. At 5PM on Wednesday the fWAR for Jose Altuve was 6.0, but bWAR was 14.5. Josh Donaldson was right behind him at 14.4 bWAR. Hilariously, with 1/3 of the season still remaining, that put Altuve and Donaldson at the 2 highest season bWAR tallies since 1913. Brain Dozier was tied at 84th all-time with Mickey Mantle(1956) and Christy Mathewson(1908) and Willie Mays(1965). They will get it all cleared up, but hilarity was to be found everywhere...........

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The Duffle Bag

Note to the world: Ichiro Suzuki is just 3 weeks away from surpassing Rod Carew and taking over the 7th slot in career games played without making a World Series Appearance. he should finish this season in 6th place. Play another full season and he will have 3rd all to himself, assuming the Marlins don't make it to the WS in 2017. He's 377 games away from taking the all-time crown away from Rafael Palmiero...........Kyle Kubitza's stock is dropping so fast, he should think about taking up the catcher position and learning about CERA...........By the way, Lyle Spencer isn't just bonkers over Jeff Mathis. Lyle Spencer is just bonkers. Sub .250 hitting Brandon Crawford also hits sub-.250 in clutch situations. But Lyle knows more than what the facts tell us............Technology is making it easier every day to bear witness to the deteriorating strike zone in America. Even Barry Bonds, hitting coach, was ejected yesterday for arguing about this. Although, to be sure, I don't know how it is that Bonds can locate the inside or outside horizontal location of a pitch from a dugout...........I wouldn't call this some kind of stare down. I would call it more of a WTF?............Chase Headley hits ball very far, runs around the basepaths like a knucklehead, gets thrown out at third base, blames pitcher?..........Price Fielder living dangerously as he exits, gracefully...........Wait. Designated hitter I get. But Designated Baserunner???..........Once more, people, always be prepared. When you chose to go get those gooey nachos you knew damned well that you should ignore an 8 dollar baseball if it comes your way............

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Mystery Graph

(Boohay! Yesterday was homercles with the win. That was Win Probability Added, taken from FanGraphs. All MLB teams, 2016 season to the date of the data collection, which was Tuesday afternoon. The blue line is Win Probability added by the bullpens. With a special thanks to Huston Street, that Angels (red dot) are second to worst in bullpen WPA in all of Major League Baseball. The red line is WPA added by the starting rotation. For this one, where the Angels are 4th-worst in all of MLB, we can blame the unjust gods of injury. On the other hand, the green line is the offense. Here, the Angels rank 5th best in all of baseball. So, if you had to sum up the season to date for somebody recently returned from Mars, your summary to our predicament is clear: our pitching has been atrocious, for various reasons, and that is the only reason we are not a playoff contender today. Now, get warmed up for tomorrow's weekend super-stumper with this one)

Mystery-Chart-32

(Slightly off-topic factoid: while searching about for meaningful stats for us LAA fans to consider, I trip over odd little discoveries. This one is worthy of noting. BBR only tracks Total Zone Fielding Runs Above Average from 1953 forward. But in these past 53 years, for Rtot, there have been exactly TWO all-time leaders: Jimmy  Piersall and Brooks Robinson. Robinson's 293 carer-total remains the record to this day. )

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