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WeekEnd HaloLinks: Angels WC hopes deflating

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The air is leaking out of the 2017 WC hopes for the Angels. And there isn't much time to puff them back up.

Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Yesterday was Head-scratching Thursday.

  • Parker Bridwell is cruising along, allowing only 2 hits and 1 run (on an Encarnacion homer, which is not shameful) going into the 5th inning. It's a tie ballgame. And then this happens:

In between was an infield force out. It's probable that Bridwell could have gotten through the inning unscathed.

  • The bottom of that inning, now down 4-1, C.J. Cron is on first base with 1 out and struggling Martin Maldonado at the plate. Mike Scioscia calls for a hit and run. Maldo swings and misses, Cron is thrown out at 2nd base, and then Maldo completes the deal by swinging and missing again and striking out.
  • The next inning, immediately after besting that Encarnacion guy for the 1st out, Scioscia launches a bullpen parade. Over the final 3.2 outs he will burn 5 relievers. This, just before tonight when we have a still-recovering Garrett Richards starting, who has yet to throw 75 pitches in any of his meager 3 starts. This, just 2 days before he has a game without any starting pitcher whatsoever. Sure, the hope is that Garrett Richards can go deep tonight (against Justin Verlander), but in this case hope was an avoidable strategy.
  • In the 7th inning, by some miracle, the Angels get Albert Pujols out of the way and the proceed to load the bases. The score is still 4-1, which means the tying run is already on base and a simple base hit could close the gap to a single run, with that run in scoring position. C.J. Cron flails at 3 pitches and strikes out. 2 down. Maldonado is due up. Maldo has 1 hit over this last 6 games and is batting .219. The game is, literally, on the line. the season is on the line. The playoffs are within reach. Sosh has TWO backup catchers on his bench and more than half a dozen pinch-hitting options. He uses none of those. Maldo will strike out on 3 pitches.
  • In the 8th inning, we are back to the top of our order. We will see out #'s 1 through 4 hitters come to the plate. Terry Francona has flipped to a new reliever, Nick Goody, Goody will throw only 16 pitchesHe will throw only 6 of those pitches within the strike zone. Our most feared hitters will swing at 6 of the 10 pitches outside the zone, stare at 4 of the 6 pitches inside the zone, and end up wit a K, a base hit, another K, and a pop fly out to the infield. Tee game will end with a whimper 1 inning later.

The Angels lose 4-1. They have lost 4 in a row. They lost 6 of the 9 in this gauntlet stretch.  They have lost 9 of their last 13 games. They are 7-11 for the entire month of September. And they are 0 for Cleveland in 2017 (3-15 over the last 3 seasons). With the Twins blowing up the AA Tigers, 12-1, Mike Scioscia's crew is now 2 1/2 back with 10 games to go. Tied with the Rangers. 1 game ahead of the Royals. Somewhere around the 17th pick in the 2018 Draft.

Have some Now-We-Can-Fumigate-Our-Stadium Links:


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A Little Bit of Angels News

Mike Scioscia ain't no worried about urgency. Yusmiero Petit's implosion to cost a game the other night might mean a missed opportunity to you and me, but to Sosh it will just be a blip on Petit's career. I am glad that Sosh is supportive of his players in a sport of failure, but it would be nice of he also recognized that now is an unfortunate time for a bad outing...........

Andrew Heaney "feeling good about progress". It turns out that "impingement" and "day to day" are both something that needs to be made progress back from, who knew? Thus, the real question is whether he will be back while there is still time to make any difference?...........

Taylor Blake Ward reminds us to consider, beyond Billy Eppler, who had a major hand in bolting together the members of the roster that we have been witnessing carry this team to the surprising position they have been in. Scout Keith Johnson..........

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Josh Mayhood's Library of Mike Trout Hagiography

Here is a FanGraphs piece that points out how rare it is that a player of trout's accomplishments has enjoyed so little playoff success. There are a couple of things there. As the author notes, Baseball IS a team game. But as the author does NOT emphasize, he is just counting AFTER 2012. That is how an Adrian Beltre shows up with just 1 playoff win (Game 1 of the 2015 ALDS). Taken across the broader history that's why we don't get to compare against a guy like Ernie Banks, who earned 67.4 career bWAR over 19 seasons and ended up with 0 playoff games at all, much less playoff wins. And Ron Santo had 70.4 bWAR, same story. And Billy Williams, with 63.6. So there, on THE SAME TEAM, are THREE guys with a combined career bWAR of 201.4 with 0 playoff appearances, 0 playoff wins. So this is just FG being silly...........

mike had himself a semi-decent game yesterday, with 2 singles and 2 walks. But the rest of the offense was so lame that trout's results were good enough to resurrect the notion of his teammates wasting his contributions............

With 4 PA's, trout now sits at the average of 3.08553 PA's per LAA game played. Back-to-back 5 PA games will accelerate him into 'qualified' after the 9/23 game. Three straight outings of 4 PA's each will have him on the leader boards after the 9/24 game. So, either way, this tracker effort should end on Monday..........

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Everywhere In Baseball

Yeah. Let's spend some cycles understanding what it means to be an "R"..........

It's a pretty big time for extended netting. about 1/3 of the fresh stuff from yesterday had something to do with extended netting. The trigger moment for this was, of course, the little girl getting struck in the mouth at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday. The latest word, coming from her father, is that she is doing Ok.....Rob Manfred announces an increased effort to extend netting, and we should all just realize that it IS going to happen....But if you are considering any complaints we have, thankfully, pundits everywhere wringing hands most emphatically:

Jeff Passan is apoplectic. He calls MLB's delays "excuses", which are "morally repugnant". Well, Ok. It's hard to argue back against the well-being of the innocent. But Passan is just over-the-top. MLB is averaging about 73 million attendees every season. So 1 billion fan attendees would be over the past, what, 14 seasons? Assume 20% sitting in the zone to be protected by extended netting and we still have 200 million people at risk. And how many serious foul ball injuries out of those 200 million? Over the past 14 years can we document 20? That would be 1/ 10,000,000. That would be the same odds as being hit by an object having fallen off a passing airplane. Or almost as low as dying from a lightning strike. Passan needs to get a grip.........

One guy being linked to, Mike Vaccaro of NY Daily Post, thinks this should not even be a discussion today. Because it should have been solved 47 years ago, when it was that the only fan ever died due to being struck by a line drive. His own example is such a rarity that Vaccaro tries to dismiss the inherent math as Divine Intervention, which he must be assuming is going to end any minute now............

Matt Snyder thinks he is shutting down and putting an end to every argument against netting. He is not...........

Dan Patrick takes some time off of football to weigh in (video)..........The Sporting News read is here...........Sports Illustrated chimes in..........ESPN is right there, via Mark Teixeira.............Helene Elliott of the LAT. Elliott hasn't covered the Angels for 25 or so years, so maybe this is something she has kept bottled up for a very long  time and waiting to finally get it out............

The Reds, Padres and Mariners have announced extended netting. And the Rockies have been working on it, having some of it installed already..........Something to think about paying attention to would be field level seat prices, reflecting demand. I will be curious to know if the nets have any impact on fan experience that can be measured economically. Because it would not surprise me at all to see ALL of MLB to extend nets, then struggle a bit with revenue and attendance, and quietly start peeling back that netting a little bit each season until we have separated ourselves from this discussion...........

Grant Brisbee points out how, when all is said and done, it's not really that big of a deal for viewers. I would rebut that one gets used to it fast enough, and that it becomes the new normal. But I would also say that if you removed the existing netting from behind home plate, those fans accustomed to sitting there would experience a revelation of openness and airiness (but, yeah, scared as shit because that is the WORST place to sit without protection!)...........

The home run phenomenon is a new kind of problem. It's messing with the efforts of scouting and franchise roster construction...........

The Rangers are showing off the renderings of their future stadium. To me, it has all the trappings of stadium design of the past 20 - 30 years. Pretty weak. The facade looks like a Student Union. And the concourses look, what with all that glass facing direct sunlight, as if the place is going to be a greenhouse. That would be rather inconvenient for a place that will be  built to get away from the Texas heat.............

You DO care about Run Expectancy. You might not know it, but you already care. You have all along. Even if you are not a stat head you have already done the mental work of trying to figure out what the chances are of scoring a run as the offensive situation changes during an at-bat. Run Expectancy is the math that quantifies all that you have been doing. It's why you hear the phrase "stop bunting!"..........

An interesting review of the challenges facing sports broadcasters, there is within it an interesting idea. If ad revenues don't cover the costs of sports rights fees, and subscriber fees don't cover them either, how is it that moving to cord-cutting and streaming is going to cover them?...........

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The Duffle Bag

At first I thought that Zack Britton was next in line for Garrett Richards Therapy. But it's his knee, not his UCL...........A short anecdote from a neutral fan that should make you smile..........It might finally, finally, be over for Bartolo. he had a good ride.........WOW. MLB punishments for arguing with umpires outside of a game are far, far worse than for doing so within a game...........Terry Collins will not be fired at the end of this season, because Terry Collins will be retiring at the end of this season. At l;east, that's what the Mets are hoping. (Brief reminder. Terry Collins is the guy that was the Angels manager back in 1999 prior to Mike Scioscia taking over.).........Oh, Commissioner, you are such a tease. Baseball in Portland. Sure, it's possible. What's their TV mega-contract buyer?..........Dusty Baker playing with a deck short a few cards?..........Camera save! And those things are worth about 1000 grand. That broadcast company should give the ball boy free cable or something.........Bryce Harper may be on the DL, but he still knows how to make baseball fun...........

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