Well, Mike Scioscia rolled out his "We won the series so we can surrender the wrap-up game" lineup yesterday. He is so fond of that, or at least he was back in those days the Angels won a lot of series, and early. A year earlier, on August 31, 2015, the lineup against the Oakland A's included Kole Calhoun leading off, C.J. Cron at DH batting cleanup, and Kaleb Cowart at 3B batting 8th. None of the other guys in yesterday's lineup were even on the team then. (Fernando Salas and Jose Alvarez pitched the 2015 game and are still on the team, but...) Hell, even the Reds' Joey Votto was unsure whether a real baseball game had been scheduled or not. And the press box was yucking things up between trips to the buffet.
Fortunately, that hunk of scrap we picked up from the Twins in the Santiago deal, Ricky Nolasco, truly ate up the innings. A complete-game, shut-out win with 7 K's, 0 walks and only 4 hits ranks right up there as one of hte top 3 starts by any LAA pitcher in 2016.
On the offensive side (ignoring the punnage that comes with 2 errors in the field), we had C.J. Cron to rely on. 2 for 4 with a couple of RBI and a run scored. No home runs, but still red hot. Over his last 7 official games his slash line is .423 / .423 / .885 with 3 home runs against 3 strikeouts.
All told, it's been a good week. Have some Take-the-day-off Links:
Everywhere In Baseball
Can the Salsa: The big news yesterday was that Angels GM Billy Eppler traded away Fernando Salas to the Mets for a minor league prospect. We don't have Huston Street. We don't have Joe Smith. We don't have Cam Bedrosian. We no longer have Fernando Salas. The rest of this season doesn't count for much, but we can now watch a Major League Baseball team try to win games without a closer. Talk about bucking trends!.....Back to Salas, this closes the book on the David Freese/Fernando Salas get that cost us Peter Bourjos and Randal Grichuk (a Grichuk, by the way, that is not so studly so far, after all). Unless, of course, the prospect coming back - RHP Erik Manoah - turns out to be a beast worthy of sticking in Anaheim. I know Salas is not well liked around here, but among his ups and downs there are some seriously good ups that he gets no credit for., For example, over his last 15 appearances he has zero losses, 4 saves and 3 holds with an ERA of 2.57......What I do have to wonder about, though, is if the goal is to restock our farm system wouldn't it be more productive to do better than one-for-one trades, especially when the one being given away is the one who is a proven Major Leaguer?............
Heeling Power: The proverbial shoe is now on the other foot. Or, perhaps more accurately, it's the medical boot that has switched feet. Albert Pujols, who has had years of issue concerning plantar fasciitis in his right foot, now has it in his left foot. Remember, Pujols always plays through the pain of PF, even when it means he sucks...........
Trout Mini Porn: Mike Trout is barely 25 years old, and he has already had a more productive career than 98.1% of all human beings ever to play Major League Baseball..........Oh, and Trout was among a groups of drivers tangling with each other on the 55 going home after the game last night. Trout was fine. I doubt he is going to worry too much over the increase in his insurance premiums...........
MVP'ish: Over in the National League, we have an interesting development brewing. Kris Bryant is a leading candidate which, considering his youth, is great for the future of baseball. But there is something odd about his candidacy: his position. Half the time this season he has played 3B, A third of the time he has played LF. 8% of the time he has played RF. 4% of the time he has played 1B. And he has played CF, SS and DH each 1% of the time. He is, by many definitions, a utility player. That would make him the first utility player to be named MVP...........
Gia Pet: Oh goody. Johnny Giavotella is now being tested as a future 3B..........
Upwardly Mobile: I just want to say that being a part of HH, and an SBN writer, might seem to your readers as being all glamorous and lucrative and stuff. Hanging with the Kardashians, being on the contact list of the Commissioner's personal cellphone, swapping recipe cards with Arte's wife. All the fun stuff. In truth, not quite as much fun. But it IS worth doing. And if you do it well enough, there IS a career path. You should try it. Join us. We could use the break............
All Things Wild: You know, I don't really care either way. I have experienced baseball seasons when only two teams made the playoffs, and the playoffs consisted exclusively of the World Series. I saw the advent of divisional play, and then the wild card, and now the play-in game. I have many reasons to have enjoyed every one of these eras and styles. Since pro sports is all about sales and revenue, there is no reason to believe that at some far future point baseball will be like pro hockey where everybody makes the playoffs (don't write, I know I am exaggerating). So don't get me wrong and presume that I am disparaging the current era and how much fun people have with having "a second wild card team" (the play-in game). It's little more than another level of pre-playoff drama that gets settled during the regular season, adding some level of interest. But if you want to spend lots of time pulling at all the threads of playoff possibilities brought on by the second wild card, here you go. Enjoy it for what it is, for some day there will be more than just two wild cards in each league...........
The Duffle Bag
Noah Syndergaard wants baseball to stop being fun again..........Look at this picture Guby tweeted during the game yesterday. Carefully. Remember that when you learn that the Angels announced attendance at ?????............And there you have it. Now you know why Tebow has brought his schtick to baseball..........(By the way, know that ESPN's over-the-top slavishness concerning Tebow still rages on)...........The Mariners got caught up in the vortex of the LAA losing streak, took themselves out of the playoff hunt, and are about to break an MLB playoff streak for losers..........Our giant moths of Anaheim have finally made the big time..........I wonder, what do athletes in other sports do with the game ball the first time they do something as a pro?..........Big Poopi as a Lego kit. We should all pitch in and add one of these to that tribute............The Jose Bautista bat flip tributes are getting kind of corny............Here we go, Boston fans have their
Mike Trout Yasiel Puig Yoan Moncada............