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Thor'sLinks: Rangers flip story on Halos

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"Flipper" Valbuena ties it. "Gunslinger" Trout saves it. "Pitiful" Paredes blows it. Ballgame.

Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

It was fun for a brief moment there. Luis Valbuena was pretty much the entire offense last night as everybody else except Andrelton Simmons looked on. Feebly. And the bat-flipping swagger of Valbuena was a fresh for us as it was stinging for Rangers fans. He single-handedly pulled the team into a 4-4 tie mid-game.

Some pretty fresh defense was flashed, though. Mike Trout throws a strike from shallow CF to protect the tie for "Shaky Bud" Norris. Valbuena (who else?) made a stellar snag while defending the entire left side of the infield to erase Shin-soo Choo trying to defeat the shift.  Cameron Maybin lays out in the 9th to contribute. All Standing O worthy moments.

But the Angels squandered their home field and walk-off advantages and allowed the game to quietly go into extra innings. They haven't won an extra-inning game since June 13th. The 10th inning arrives, Eduardo Paredes takes the mound and generates the worst appearance of his entire 2017 season, the Rangers send 8 players to the plate. Oh sure, the Angels would counter with two runners on and the tying run to the plate with nobody out. But that tying run would be Albert Pujols. All of us watching at the time knew what was coming. Well, all except the Pujols fan boys within the LAA franchise empire. His GIDP gutted the rally and rendered Kole Calhoun's subsequent base hit rather impotent. The Angels end up losing 7-5.

Have some Slip-Slidin'-Away Links:


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A Little Bit of Angels News

Huh. CBS ranks the Angels quite high across MLB. 9th, in fact. Not as high as the Twins, however. The Twins HAVE been on a roll, but to be honest only that 4-game sweep of the Brewers 2 weeks ago impresses me............

The illustrious Joe Posnanski is all over the Andrelton Simmons phenomenon. Just in time for Simmons to get an All-Star recognition. Or not. (I mean seriously writers, we are 126 games into the season and you are still just now finding this out? What the hell have you been doing?)...........

Ben Revere nursing a boo boo. At least he is avoiding the career-ending "10 day DL"..........

Just so that all of us stop spending so much time pointing out how badly Albert Pujols is torturing this lineup, Jeff Fletcher pimps up the Pujols for NEXT year (instead of focusing on the exciting here and now) being able to start a season injury free. As if we won't also need to notice that Pujols will be (officially) 38 years old...........

Andrew Heaney may not have lasted very long last night, but keep in mind that for him it's still March baseball. He's actually doing Ok...........

The Angels have been dodging Matt Bush and Joey Gallo this week, due to Matt Bush silliness.  Next up, they are about to dodge Carlos Correa..........

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Josh Mayhood's Library of Mike Trout Hagiography

Mike Trout as Lego art. because somebody had to stay home and babysit the kids with chicken pox or something...........

Oh crap. ESPN has finally moved on from NFL and NBA and woke up to Major League Baseball. And, because they are THE authority on all things sports in this part of the universe, we have them to thank for their special skills in noticing that Mike Trout is good. We all rejoice in the discovery. What would we have done without them? (Meanwhile, Josh has lost his exclusive license.).........

For the Facebook Fanz, here is the full explanation of how, yes, Mike Trout still has a strong shot at AL MVP for 2017..........

Mike Trout now has 368 PA's, needing just 134 over the remainder of the season to 'qualify'. If he plays all games, he is now down to an average of 3.83 PA's per game average. He hasn't had less than 4 PA's in any game since we started this tracking back on 8/1. He got this.

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Everywhere In Baseball

Poor Rich Hill. He is pitching brilliantly, with a Perfect Game in progress against the Pirates in Pittsburgh. He is backed by stellar defense on the part of Chase Utley. He gets all the way to the 9th inning when an easy infield ground ball is totally butchered by Logan Forsythe at third base. But he still has the no-hitter going for him. And he ends up closing out the bottom of the 9th with that no-hitter intact. Unfortunately for him, the Dodgers couldn't be bothered to score so the game was not over. Into the 10th we go. Still the Dodgers refuse to score. Hill returns to the bottom of the frame still in pursuit of his no-hitter. He's only thrown 95 pitches so he still has gas. He will throw only 4 more. On that 4th pitch to Josh Harrison, Harrison hits a walk-off solo home run. Hill lost is perfecto, lost his no-hitter. lost his shut-out, and lost the game............

Man, did it suddenly become Open Season on umpires in a hurry, or WTF?...........Let's just start by casting as wide a net as possible and call them names, shall we? Insecure? Self-righteous? I presume the author is a certified psychiatrist who has been granted a private interview/therapy session with every umpire in order to come up with those diagnoses?  And, yeah, get better dammit! Uh, better than what, actually? We can all go a find the one or two or three mistakes a plate ump will make in any game. But take Tuesday night's game. 352 pitches. 3 out of 352 would be better than 99% accurate. And anybody that uses pitch tracking graphics to justify whining about a pitch - especially at the top or bottom of the zone, as this author does - is absolutely clueless concerning what he or she is staring at...........

And we are not done. As MLB and the MLBPA chat about being agreeable to changes in the game to address pace-of-play concerns, the Players might be thinking of holding out support unless they get robot umpiring, and soon. The story goes that a robot would eliminate bickering and speed up the game. Have these guys seen how fun Instant Replay timeouts are? Look, the experts themselves have told us that the tech is not quite there, and not as accurate as human umpires yet, anyway. kudos to some players for being so forward thinking. I doubt many will care for a true strike zone since it differs from what they negotiate with an umpire. But let's cross that bridge while ti's burning, shall we? My guess is that Commissioner Manfred is doing due diligence with the Players Association, but won't pull the trigger on their wishes if it is too radical to implement now. then, he will just do what he wants to do, because the CBA says he can..........

Travis Sawchik over at FanGraphs wants us all to relax, ignore the current limitations of the tech, know that the umpires will still be employed even after robots take over on balls and strikes, and just accept the inevitability..........And Buster Olney has a podcast within which he has Manfred pimping robo-zones. Of course, first you have to get past Olney and Tim Kurkjian talking about themselves before Kurkjian then runs out strawman arguments. But then, in reality, all Manfred is doing is saying that robo umps will eventaully happen. Someday. Which, like, duh..............

The notion from players that sign-stealing is the reason for modern pace-of-play issues can only be logically acceptable if modern players invented sign-stealing. What would be more accurate would be that modern players are less efficient at sign-stealing, or less efficient at preventing sign-stealing. Today's players must be stupid.....There is another perspective on this subject, gone unmentioned. It's obvious that players think the stealing of their signs is an abomination that MLB should not tolerate. But since nobody ever catches anybody stealing signs, there is no actual proof from any team that any other team is doing it. Otherwise, since it's so important, there would be clear and obvious protests. Maybe even fights. There are not. Therefore, the only REAL proof that a team has that sign-stealing is going on is their ongoing knowledge of their own sign-stealing...........

The Baseball Big Book of Rules is loaded with page after page of stuff. If you grew up with the game you probably know 95% of it anyway. But you don't know all of them. You certainly don't know what is behind all of them, and what is behind some of them is pretty crazy shit..........

If you know somebody who drones on about Baseball being a 1-0 dullard, Direct them to this: a 1-0 historic classic..........

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The Duffle Bag

The #1 reason it sucks to be a Yankees fan, is that you are surrounded by Yankees fans...........Excellent reason to read UniWatch: finding uber cool vintage baseball pics like this..........Ken Rosenthal, getting sucked into the The Athletic like so many from an entire generation of writers getting bludgeoned by flip-to-video..........MFY skipper Joe Girardi pulled Aaron Judge from a blowout win before the game was over, and the locals wonder if this was to keep Judge from striking out and extending his streak? Boss Joe sez No..........Players are going to get personalized bats to accompany their personalized jerseys for Player's Weekend. MLB Store just can't wait to get their hands on all that one-of-a-kind game used merchandise to sell to all of you..........

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Jordan Serena Destiny Watch

Serena remains deep in the Chad Tracy doghouse. DNP again last night, with only 9 game appearances all month............I gotta point out that Tracy has led the 66ers to 5 straight losses now and they are 5 games away from playoff elimination. So you can see where my snark lies.............

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