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WeekEnd HaloLinks: Angels stay grounded

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The Angels suffered another quiet offense, wasting a strong Nolasco start. The bullpen suffered another injury, and let the Astros run away with it. And now we have another loss.

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Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Don't blame this one on Nolasco. He held the Astros to 2 runs. The shredded bullpen gave up another 3, but who cares when the offense can only score once in an entire game? Especially that outcome of blowing a bases-loaded chance right there in the first inning, when everything was clicking except Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Andrelton Simmons. Success in baseball is function of clustering good performances, and the Angels failed to do that twice this series. Hence, outscoring Houston 11 runs to 7, but coming away with 2 losses. Last night it was 5 runs for Houston, 1 run for Luis Valbuena, and 1 run for everybody else (insert comment about meaningless 9th-inning Pujols solo home run here).

If you take a break to look at the MLB standings now, using the Wild Card standings, some clarity is actually occurring in the AL race. Detroit and Chicago are eliminated and Oakland's elimination number is down to 4 with Toronto's down to 7. Kansas City, Texas, Baltimore and Tampa Bay all lost last night and are 5 & 5.5 games out and fading. The Yankees look safe. So the real chase right now is between the Twins, Angels and Mariners - in that order.

The Twins are sitting real pretty, They are 1 win into a 4-game weekend feast against the Blue Jays with a 3-game lead over their challengers. They have not had to play a team with a winning record since August 20th. They will have a quick 3-game set against a comfortable Yankees team and another 3-game set against an Indians team that will be ready to rest for the playoffs by then, or merely regressing anyway after winning 347 games in a row. And the frosting on that cakewalk are 7 games against a Tigers team that is hell bent on improving their draft position next June, having been bothered to win only 4 games out of their last 17.

Have some See-The-End-Of-The-Rope Links:


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A Little Bit of Angels News

Keynan Middleton. Why bother to say another word on the subject. Like, really...........

This came in late a couple of nights ago, so i will just slip it in here. Astros' pitcher Mike Friers was pissy over Luis Valbuena's bat flippage. And, yeah, that pitch over Valbuena's head was on purpose. And his reward for admitting it? 5 game suspension (Not 5 "starts". just 5 team games.)..........(Which is pretty quick action out of an organization that should already be locked away and occupied trying to figure out the punishment for Red Sox cheating.)...............

If it gets that far, the #ToD tiebreaker rules for WC playoffs are as follows..........

Pipeline forecasting of LAA prospects to break into the MLB Top 100 for 2018: Jo Adell and Jahmai Jones. (And you guys all thought I was going to tab somebody else.)..........

Ok, this is so sad that I actually find humor within. It wasn't too long ago that the MainStream Media totally ignored new or unusual baseball information. Truth, as they saw it and as they promoted it, was all about boxscores. Broadcasters would literally rip off boxscore information in-game as a way of sustaining interest during games on TV. We are very far into the statistical information evolution now, and many of the old guard are falling by the wayside and into grumpy irrelevance. As evidence, consider an Albert Pujols at-bat last night. The Astros put on quite a defensive shift. Trent Rush, RADIO announcer, couldn't believe what he was seeing and tweeted a photograph of it.....Jeff Fletcher, newspaper scribe, reached out in real time and engaged the social media network to crowd-source some statistical research on the positioning while it was happening.....Before the world could reply, Pujols grounded out, into the shift. And the newspaper scribes (Fletcher and Pedro Moura) jumped to their social media typewriters as a play-by-play.....Minutes later the requested data came pouring back in.....Mike Petriello went to StatCast and charted out the alignment.....David Adler came back with more StatCast data, showing the alignment AND the defensive reaction to Pujols' ball put in play. By this point, Pujols has barely made it back to the dugout. All this technology being embraced to engage in all this new information in real time, in-game. This is how MLB needs to work with their media partners to engage fans going forward......But then comes the humor. Go back to that last link. David Adler's StatCast graphics. Look at how the play developed. Yeah. Albert Pujols was thrown out running to first base, by a player positioned in left-freaking-field! Seriously. LEFT FIELD. It's in the data!.....And so, back to social media...we get Truth...........

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Josh Mayhood's Library of Mike Trout Hagiography

Mike trout has surrendered his right to a capital "T", and I am not the only one who has noticed. He is being out-hit by Luis Valbuena. Don't believe the tweet? Here is Trout over his last 24 games, and here is Valbuena over HIS last 24 games..........The biggest issue is the way that trout dries up in Septembers. His career splits show that, year over year, September continues to be the worst month of his season. His slash line of .280/.416/.509 with an OPS of .925 and a tOPS+ of only 91. Those are his his lowest values in every category except OBP. He tends to walk more, take IBB's more, and get Hit By Pitch more. The narrative that this will inspire is that trout can't carry a team into the playoffs.

FiveThirtyEight ain't gonna be listening to any "not enough games played" nonsense when it comes to Mike Trout and the MVP debates..............

Trout jumped back up to tied for 3rd overall in fWAR at 6.2, and Altuve was restored to 6.9. At his 2017 per-game average, Trout would be closer to the 8.9 fWAR range right now had he not been injured and lost those games.

4 PA's last night puts Trout at 444, an average across all LAA games of 3.04110, up from 3.03448 the day before. That's 7 consecutive games of 4 PA's or less. He is now pushing out to about 9/25 for 'qualifying' at this current pace. by then it might not matter too much. His numbers might have tailed off significantly, AND he could be way off the WAR pace, AND the Halos could be long-eliminated, AND there will be too few days on the boards to attract much attention.

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Everywhere In Baseball

Where young baseball players go to learn to throw baseballs at Major League speeds. Either that, or the first major stepping stone on their journey to the eventual Disabled List...........

Figuring out how to sign and fund Shohei Otani turns out to be a complicated mess. I say that since he is going to start off playing for pocket change regardless, just dangle the chance to play alongside Mike Trout............

Looking at guys playing today who were overlooked when they were in the Minor Leagues is fun. But I want to see the flip side, the lists of guys pegged as Top 100 Prospects who earned 0 WAR or less. Those are the guys who got all the publicity and attention at eh expense of the reputation of the LAA farm system............And, yeah, OK, scouting is hard. So here's a thought. Instead of pissing on teams for not having guys qualify according to a methodology that you find to be too hard to master, how about calming things down for shit's sake and not screaming to the masses that you know for fact that some franchise sucks?...........

If you are new to Baseball, - for example, you grew up learning the game in the 70's or earlier and think you know everything about the game - here is your introduction on why RBI as a stat is stupid, and what you should be using instead...........The article goes a bit into Albert Pujols and Mike Trout. There is more to see when you pull on that Pujols/Trout thread. Over here is a Baseball Prospectus article (in Spanish) that goes into Albert Pujols the RBI machine meme (100 RBI is good, and Pujols will soon reach 100 RBI, therefore Pujols must be good.) In it there is this passage: "A curious fact: Mike Trout leads the league with a .460 OBP and, despite losing a good portion of the season due to an injury, Pujols has driven him three times more than any other runner." Yeah. Pujols, the worst player in baseball, would even suck at the counter of RBI but for the greatness that is Mike Trout...........

Jonah Keri pleads with MLB as a traditionalist. Stop juicing the baseballs. It's the wrong kind of fun.........

My favorite fan moment from yesterday! Derrick Hall, AZ Diamondbacks Team President, went on reddit and hosted an AMA. During that thread, we got this question: "Being that Arizona does not have the national attention that a larger market team does, is there anything you try or plan to do to get more attention to your flagship players in terms of a national spotlight? For example, for the last few years, Goldy has put up consistent MVP numbers and yet he still flies under the radar somehow." Ha! All of us here at HH know damned well how it is that a player such as Paul Goldschmidt is left off the national radar. And it ain't somehow. It's called lazy sports journalism that favors the path of least resistance. It's the direct consequence of broadcasting every Yankees/Red Sox game ever played, across the entire country, instead of showcasing anything (or anybody) else. It's choosing NOT to do the harder thing of reaching out and growing your viewership. But that is not why this is my favorite moment. It's my favorite moment because the person who asked that question is, of all things, a Yankees fan...........

Just to keep the record straight and everybody perfectly clear on this: the Oakland A's are not FORCED to spend meekly on player payroll now. They just choose to do it. They generate a lot of revenue when competitive to plow more into payroll already, but ownership has just kept it. Going forward, every plan shown to the public to date has been for a SMALLER stadium than they use now. They will just do that new stadium thing that sports teams everywhere do (see nearby Levi's Stadium) and screw their legacy season ticket base, pushing them further away from their current seats and charging gobs more money from those who shall replace them. They will get a couple years of payroll breaks because of a new stadium. They will STILL be classified as a small market team and getting extra Competitive Balance picks. But, yes, there will be additional revenues. It will be POSSIBLE to spend more on player payroll in the future, yes. But it already is possible to do that at present..........

The Tigers ain't going anywhere, and they still play some teams not going anywhere, either. So there is talk of having ex-Halo Andrew Romine doing the play-all-9-positions-in-one-game stunt..........

Personally, DS9 was something I never got into. But for those of you who did, here is baseball..........

Sports Betting will be legalized just as soon as government finds that taxing sports betting is the easiest way to raise additional revenues out of all available options. And we are probably closing in on that moment.........

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The Duffle Bag

Don't drop your beer. Don't drop your BBQ. But the drought is over. Go ahead and drop your water..............MLB has more anniversary celebrations than Disneyland..........Joe Girardi has no patience for whiny pitchers pulled before they want to come out:"do your job"............Oh gak. We have a MFY thing. Thumbs down. Unclear on the concept?...........

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