Back on the road again. The Angels have not won a game away from Anaheim since July 26th, nearly a month ago. Of course, they have only won 7 games anywhere in all that time but who's counting. Since this series is in Toronto, even if the Angels sweep they will not have won a road game anywhere in America for an entire month.
And, for Mike Trout Slump Buster Watchers, know that Rogers Centre is one of the ballparks that Trout find most difficult.
Have some Insisting-That-The-World-Keep-Turning-Our-Way Links:
(By the way, it would be really, really cool if MLB scheduled special day games in St. Louis, Kansas City and Atlanta a year from now, on next August 21.)
ANGELS ON DECK
The Upcoming Series:
Los Angeles Angels @ Toronto Blue Jays - Rogers Centre, Toronto, ON, CA. (No. Not the 909..)
|Day||Game Time||Probable Pitchers||TV|
|TUESDAY||4:07 PM PDT||Tyler Skaggs (1-2, 5.19 ERA) vs. R.A. Dickey (8-13, 4.51 ERA)||FS-W|
|WEDNESDAY||4:07 PM PDT||Matt Shoemaker (7-13, 4.14 ERA) vs. Marco Estrada (7-5, 3.20 ERA)||FS-W|
|THURSDAY||4:07 PM PDT||Jered Weaver (8-11, 5.47 ERA) vs. J.A. Happ (17-3, 3.05 ERA)||FS-W|
From the official Game Notes: "BLUE JAYS ON DECK: LAA is 8-3 in last 11 games at Rogers Centre…Jays are lone A.L. team Angels have yet to play. Toronto swept Halos in three-game series at Angel Stadium last season (outscored 36-5)…Jays claimed 2015 season series 5-2, first season series win over Angels since 2007…LAA is 17-12 vs. Jays since 2012 (11-3 from 2013-14)."
Everywhere In Baseball
Bandying about a meme: Here we go. Jett Bandy is becoming a major force because Mike Scioscia is a master at developing pro catchers. Anymore, this leads to all kinds of push back. I don't begrudge Sosh leveraging his personal expertise as an instructor. Not at all. But I do notice that the author of this piece does not give us any names of past development successes..........
Trout Thorns: Here we are again. It's August. Mike Trout is in his annual July/August swoon. His numbers tail off. Somewhere out there some random guy is having a stellar time of it, and has great numbers. Trout is The Greatest Player of Our Time but not the greatest player of the last several months. Mike won't get the MVP again and lots of folks scramble to explain why that shouldn't be, while others scramble to browbeat everybody in defense of Their Guy. Read the comments and weep to know that in the past couple of years so many people have moved from Detroit and, out of the entire world from which to choose, selected to move to Houston............Of course, Mike could shut these people up if he just learned to hold court in the 2nd half...............
Freese Frames: That David Freese guy is working out well in Pittsburgh. We shouldn't cry about this one too much. Freese is about what he was last year with us. and that includes the reality that for the majority of the year he was a big disappointment. We commented on how he was blowing his contract year. He made up his stat line in the second half last year, but it still wasn't an overwhelming result worthy of a major contract out of anybody. Especially when so many teams had a pretty good 3B option already in house. Anyway, he is better than Yunel Escobar on defense (probably on the base paths, too) and has more power, but Escobar solidly plugged that hole at the #1 spot that we have had since 2012............
The Hot Seat: Tony LaRussa is feeling it in Phoenix. It's what normally happens when decision-makers in any baseball organization fail miserably at their jobs and drag a franchise into ruin. The lovely part is where LaRussa (along with Dave Stewart) is getting hammered for the Shelby Miller debacle as an example of their ineptitude. Now, let's be clear, out here in the non-insider world we all saw a couple of things clearly, and a lot of opinion and projections were made. (A) Dave Stewart is way out of his depth as a GM and would have been behind the times even in the era of Branch Rickey. And (B) that Shelby Miller transaction was an appalling overpay. Well, not only was the Miller deal an overpay, but it was an overpay that has turned into an unmitigated disaster. There is an awful lot of accumulating data points that LaRussa/Stewart are FO fools, and not even up to par with non-MLB analysts. Where it gets great is where LaRussa goes off and dismisses those now proven to be much smarter than he and Stewart at the jobs that LaRussa and Stewart now hold. "I would always like to know who criticizes it. There are some people that I have a ton of respect for and there are others I don’t have the same level of respect. If it’s somebody I have big levels of respect, then I would be bothered. If it’s not, then I’m not."..........
Baseball Biz: This came up briefly late last week. I, for one, am not going to personally worry about anything real here until the dialog gets a lot further down the track. Right now it's just a lot of smoke and noise from a train still sitting in the depot. But, yeah, when Rob Manfred steps up in his role as Commissioner of Baseball and starts talking about rule changes it's worthy of talking back. Especially for we fans. After all, these changes are supposed to be to make this game better for us. So FanGraphs talks back. Right off the bat, I object to the author's phrase "...the problems most plaguing Major League Baseball’s current product are...". I disagree with the premise that we do have problems plaguing the game. Or, if we do, that they have much to do with the rules as written, interpreted or performed within. If Manfred wishes to improve the connection between the sport of baseball and specific generations of potential fans, he should begin by unblocking the connections. In other words, cut the bullshit media greed. It's like a master chef choosing to alter their menu in order to attract new diners, but keeping a lock on the doors that those diners prefer to use............By the way, defensive shifts are not something new that baseball cannot possibly learn to overcome...........Finally, if you believe the chatter about the need for rules changes, beware the use of ignorant data as it tends to lead down the road to the land of Unintended Consequences............
More Baseball Biz: Oddly, we don't seem to be having much conversation about what should be ongoing negotiations between MLB and the MLBPA to formulate a new CBA. We are all expecting owner hardliners to cause some friction and the players to consider some cosmetic stuff but otherwise be happy with the status quo. But even if everybody agrees on everything, one would expect both sides to agree that the Qualifying Offer system needs to be discussed and dealt with. Well, if we don't have baseball talking about it, and we don't have MSM reporters digging into this and talking about it, let's let The Sports Quotient dive into the deep end and get the dialog rolling.
The Duffle Bag
Chicks dig the bat flips, too...........Baseball and hot dogs will always go together..........I have posted a few bits on this before, about low pay in the minors. Here is a real life example..........Aha! Word is out. Billy Butler might have gotten tagged with a punch to the head from teammate Danny Valencia, causing the absence I linked to yesterday. Something about a shoe deal?.........I always thought that Josh Reddick would be a nice addition. Excellent defender with a cannon arm and not horrible offense. After getting traded to Chavez Ravine, maybe he is close enough to The Curse of Anaheim for me to forget about it..............Nice snag. Short wall, but nice snag............Remember Matt Kemp saying he was glad to finally be playing in a baseball town? Well, Baseball Town is telling him to slim up his fat ass...........This goof was easy to do. Chipper Jones batted from both sides of the plate. So it's easy to find photos of him in a right-handed helmet. Just as it's easy to find photos of him batting left-handed............Jerry Dipoto DOES know how to push the right buttons, when given the power to push..........
(From what I can tell, except for Eric in Portland yesterday, who correctly identified Darin Erstad at #15 but failed to announce what the Mystery Graph itself was, you people aren't playing anymore. And this is even when I give out a super-duper easy one of MLB Single-Season total hit record (which Downing_Rules then linked to). Yes, Darin Erstad of 2000 is tied at 13th place with Wade Boggs of 1985 and Jesse Burkett of 1896 with 240 hits. Anyway, with the distraction of so much losing I haven't seen participation traffic over the past week so I will drop these and reclaim some daily personal time.)