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MondoLinks: Angels soggy pitching slows summer run

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While the offense roared in Texas, the pitching went limp. Help is on the way, but is there enough time left?

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Angels lost the series to Texas 2 games to 1, and lost the chance to gain ground on most of the competition. But they are right there on the verge, They showed a shitload of offensive fortitude in all three games. We don't know if it's the end of their gas tank or the start of a major run, but it feels important. It needs to be important, because right now the Angels are being out-destinied by the Baltimore Orioles, 10 - 3 over their last 13 games. The Angels and Orioles are tied in the WC standing, and are 1.5 games behind Minnesota (cooling off). The tier behind LA and Baltimore would be Seattle/Texas, with Kansas City and Tampa Bay pulling up the rear and falling. What struggled in Arlington was the pitching staff. Starters and bullpen. Not everybody, but enough. Skaggs and Heaney are still getting into a groove, but the real news is that Garrett Richards is back. If Richards can be another anchor, the Eppler offense can do the rest. But they have to overtake Minnesota and/or New York AND fend off Baltimore and others. There are only a few weeks left. Will it be enough?

Man, did the MLB umpires have a tough time over the weekend, or what? I've written this before, and said it hundreds of times, but when you see an MLB score where both teams approach double-digit runs scored then you know there is a problem behind the plate. Especially if one of the pitchers is a Cole Hamels quality guy. The strike zones were all over the place (look at all the strikes called for balls in the bottom of the zone here and here), we had controversy on the base paths that were compounded by screw ups in Replay Central. And when a screw up happens so visibly, it teaches the fans that Baseball can be shit, and can push them away). I want to remind everyone that we really should be on these guys' side for the most part, because for the most part their work shines. But this weekend was brutal. The race is tight, and time is making things tighter. Everything gets magnified. And we are at a point where everyone is looking for mistakes whether they are there or not, so when they are there mistakes they are, as I said, brutal. They have the wrong technology, and they are using the technology they do have, wrong.

Hey, we can do this now, right? Put a fork in the Mike Napoli threat? This year he is doing nothing to harm Mike Scioscia, and barely even hanging on to a gig at all with that .194 Batting Average of his. Now he's just yet another dude, with yet another beard, collecting what might be the last of his paychecks. He has a contract for next year, but there is a $2.5 million team buyout that would save the Rangers $8.5 million. With 2018 being his 36-year old season, this might be his last month as a pro.

Leap into Still-Getting-Things-To-Mesh Links:

Full Disclosure moment: an SBN ex-site manager has filed a class-action suit against SBN for unfair pay. So here we go............


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A Little Bit of Angels News

Brandon Phillips has the right attitude. A little more of the right offense would be of great help. Not that I am impatient or anything, what with 25 whole games to go and everything...........

This is why we need to find a way to hang on to Justin Upton while we have him in our own backyard...........

Garrett Richards back on the mound tomorrow. Fingers crossed..........

Getting strong pitching to line up with the hot offense would cure a lot of woes. Something we did not have yesterday...........

Billy Eppler is defending the guy with the very worst stats among active players in all of Major League Baseball - Albert Pujols - by using the Lyle Spencer method. His own eyeballs have him believing that Pujols has struck fear into opposing pitchers. That's minus 5 points for Eppler.........But there WAS some Pujols celebration over the weekend. He passed Willie Mays in career RBI. He does have 11 of those buggers over the most recent 4 games, so in AlbertLand that means that all is forgotten/forgiven...........

Yunel Escobar is making progress working his way back from a strained oblique. Which, considering his 0.3 bWAR accomplishments for 2017, would make him a replacement quality player to replace the replacement player that replaced his replacement quality play..........

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Josh Mayhood's Library of Mike Trout Hagiography

Giancarlo Stanton had a August for the Ages. And STILL Mike Trout passed him in WAR...........

Mike now has 496 PA's, which is an average of 2.96350 across all 137 team games to date. If he enjoys 3 more consecutive games with 5 PA's each, he will show up on the qualifying boards the morning of 9/8. Right on time...........As it is, Trout ranks 3rd among all MLB position players in fWAR, 0.2 behind Anthony Rendon and 0.5 behind Jose Altuve (as of yesterday). Stat-wise, he leads all of MLB in OBP, SLG and OPS. So even though his counting stats will never catch up dues to games missed, when he hits his 'qualified' number he is still going to jump back into the minds of stat counters everywhere.

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Everywhere In Baseball

As I wrote above, the Orioles are (currently) out-destinying the Angels............

I mentioned this last week but folks keep writing this stuff. If Cameron Maybin is an upgrade to the Houston Astros defense, I think that says more about how shaky the Houston defense has been. Because I have seen Maybin wander his circles of adventure out there in left field, and it's painful...........

Yet another pitcher who wises up to personal safety AFTER getting clobbered while not being wise about his personal safety..........

To what should be the surprise of absolutely nobody, the Derek Jeter ownership group does not have the liquid capital necessary to maintain a modern MLB payroll. We have seen this before and it does NOT have to end badly. It just requires a smarter approach to drafting and roster construction...........

And odd time for odd injury news..........Starlin Castro needed an emergency root canal...........Victor Martinez needed an urgent heart surgery............And Freddie Freemen is experiencing deteriorating strength in the wrist that he injured earlier this year. (I am left wondering what this "newspaper" is of which he speaks?)............

Carlos Santana knows a thing or three about PEDs and DR players............

(h/t/ UniWatch)  The red clay that you see in MLB infields? Most of it all comes from one single place in Western Pennsylvania.............

An updated presentation on the physics of the curveball............

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The Duffle Bag

As if Cleveland needs any additional help these days. Detroit's yard sale is leading to some pretty embarrassing baseball............Erick Aybar still has all the fun..........We just knew this latest Curt Schilling story was not going to end well...........The Atlanta Braves Front Office running like a clown car act............You do not often see inside the relationship between coaches and players, so Brett Anderson's social media frustration is an outlier..........I watch this with the sound off and wonder if the guy even knows - or cares - he is at a baseball game?.............

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Jordan Serena Destiny Watch

Tim Tebow's first MiLB season stats. That is, to be accurate, a better stat line than Jordan Serena is carrying this year (.204/.266/.310 with an OPS of .576...4 HR's & 75 K's & 15 BB's)

Serena played 3B all weekend. On Friday he went 1 for 4, scoring 1 run and driving in another. On Saturday he was 1 for 5. And last night he was 2 for 4 with a run scored and another driven in. More excitingly, with the 66ers trailing 5-4 in the 9th, Serena led off with a bunt base hit. He moved to 2nd when Jahmai Jones was HBP, and then both Serena and Jones advanced on a Jack Kruger sac bunt. So there he stood on 3B, the tying run, and with the go-ahead run right behind him. But Jordan Zimmerman grounded to shortstop and Serena was going on contact, being thrown out at the plate. A Jared Walsh ground out ended the threat, with the 66ers losing. But not without one final brilliant attempt by Serena...........Only 3 K's all weekend over 13 PA's, which is promising............

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