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Thor'sLinks: Ssssh! Angels offense sleeping...

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After being forced to score 59 runs over their previous 7 games, the worn out LAA offense needed a nice afternoon nap. So they took one in Oakland. Right when Tyler Skaggs was trying to make it easy on them.

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Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Tyler Skaggs looked damned fine yesterday. Just in time to watch the juggernaut LAA offense take a long afternoon nap behind him. Losing 3-1, the Angels have today off on their way up to Seattle for the weekend. Well, except for Albert Pujols, who was back in SoCal for a knee boo boo and will be rejoining the team tomorrow.

Can't blame Pujols, since he was not in the lineup. Mike Trout seems committed to drawing walks, drawing his 19th and 20th and doing so now in an LAA record 14 consecutive games. He has now gone 16 straight Plate Appearances without a hit. Yesterday he saw 18 pitches and swung at 4 of them. 1 swing he missed, 1 swing he fouled off, and 2 swings resulted in outs.

Except for the fact that he has not shown any power, Justin Upton is hitting better since coming to Anaheim than he was doing out of Detroit this year. Brandon Phillips is doing a lot worse at the plate since coming over to the AL. His OBP has plummeted and his SLG has tanked. These guys have been playing all season and they were brought over this late in the year for immediate impact. We do NOT need to wait for them to warm up or anything. Up until yesterday, the overflow of offense has been hiding their deficiencies. Yesterday they were exposed.

Tampa Bay failed to sweep the Twins. Can't blame the Rays for dropping one. You have awoken once again to LAA looking at the playoff slots from the outside.

We now enter the part of the schedule that shall really hurt. The Angels can still storm the castle walls, but on the way they are going to be forced to endure 6 games wading across The Moat of Seattle, 6 games vaulting The Burning Oil Pits of Houston, 3 games dodging The Flaming Lake of Cleveland, and 3 games clambering up The Manure Tower of Arlington. Briefly, there, they have The Siren Song of Chicago to entice them into a rocky death. We all know the dangers that lurk on THAT island.

Have some Penance-of-Dipoto Links:


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A Little Bit of Angels News

Spurts Illustrated (not a typo) finally decided to write about the exciting race the Angels in which the Angels find themselves. Did they write anything about the monumental and historic gauntlet that the Halos fought through over the past week? Oh hell no. They sneered...........

One of the unrecognized rivalries in Baseball remains that of the Angels and A's. It's always been at least chippy, and often times a lot more than that (and herehere). And the A's are always birthing a new generation of loudmouthed dipshits. The latest appears to be Matt Chapman. Yesterday was not the first moment we saw a little bitchy attitude out of Chapman this series, and I predict it won't be the last...........But long afterwards we get a recap where things have been toned waaaay down from where it was when we were watching in real time. A simple misunderstanding. Except for that "just a Scioscia-Angels-Graterol tactic" conspiracy bullshit excuse..............

No, Andrelton Simmons is NOT an AL MVP candidate. He had a great 2/3's of a season, and he remains a brilliant defender, but his offense has tailed off significantly (dropping 22 points and falling). Calling him an "under the radar" guy is merely tabbing him for some 4th and 5th place votes to round out a ballot. Which is still just fine with me..........

There is still quite a bit of baseball to play, and most of it will be important baseball. Lots of things could still go wrong, or right. But it's time to pause and take some perspective as to where we are. WE ARE PLAYING MEANINGFUL BASEBALL AND IT IS SEPTEMBER 7TH!!! Why shout that? Well, way back in the March time frame, lots of people sat down and studied this team. They were assuming that we had a starting rotation of Richards, Shoemaker, Nolasco, Heaney and Tropeano. Maybe an Alex Meyer could sneak in there and steal a spot. And they were assuming that Mike Trout would play 154 or so games. And that Huston Street would be back and Can Bedrosian would be studly. And, even with all that, they projected the Angels would be pigeon droppings by now. Yahoo had them winning 73, 78, 66(!), 74, 77 or 73 games at season's endTeamrankings had them finishing with 79 wins. USAToday had them at 74. Pecota (memorialized by Bleacherreport) had them at 78. ESPN didn't even have them on the radar. Well, they are already at 72 wins and there are 22 games left to go. And none of those expected advantages happened. Forget about imagining where the team would be if they had, and focus on where they are. The here, and the now. Enjoy the shit out of it. Because you were the only ones who knew, and the only ones who believed...........(By the way, tracking these down was fun. SI, especially so. "This will be Jurickson Profar's year".  Profar spent the season demoted in AAA. And "Mariners will end their 15-year playoff drought thanks to Jerry Dipoto's moves". Ummm...not.)..........

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Josh Mayhood's Library of Mike Trout Hagiography

Mike continues to close the gap. As of this writing, he is at 6.2 fWAR, just 0.3 fWAR off the lead among all MLB position players (Screw pitching WAR. Pitchers cheat!). Of course, by the time you read this the table will be changed. the curse of dailies..........

Trout now has 421 PA's over the LAA season of 140 total games, an average of 3.00714. Still tracking for a 9/15 'qualifying' date, after games that day. That assumes 5 PA average between then and now. It's highly unlikely he reaches it sooner than that. he would have to average 6 PA's per game from here through 9/13 to qualify that night. Part of the delay will be 2 off days between now and then.

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Everywhere In Baseball

Oh man, here we are on the verge of the playoffs and MLB might have BOTH the Yankees and Red Sox in play again, and the Red Sox go and get busted for blatantly violating MLB rules right before the TV Felatio Fest. What to do, what to do? Well, how about coming to an accelerated ruling that the Red Sox didn't really do it that long, and didn't even bother to try and deny doing what they were caught doing on camera because they are so bad at it. Meh. "Slap on the wrist" and move along everybody. Nothing to see here. October remains safe for Joe Buck slobbering over Boston/New York...........

The Red Sox just refuse to let go of their inferiority complex. They probably still think that they are a gritty little band of underdogs...........

In The Great National Debate as to which team Jon Heyman is the more secret homer for, the Yankees or the Red Sox, we have our answer. Heyman wants the Red Sox to forfeit ALL their wins versus the Yankees in 2017............Buster Olney, too...........

Joe Girardi thinks that the way to eliminate the sign-stealing issue in baseball, AND to speed up the game by reducing mound visits, is to allow the use of MORE technology. Specifically, electronic headsets between coaches, catchers and pitchers. Quickly donning by Negative Nellie persona, I might remind Joe of a couple a things. One, pitchers won't wear something extra on their heads now even if it means protecting their own life and the security of their family. And, two, the next sign-stealing ploy will eventually move to even more advanced tech trying to crack the wireless comm from the opposing team. We have foreign state-sponsored hackers breaking into NSA right now. It's only a matter of time and effort..........

You read it here first, people. I warned you yesterday that you should expect some scheduling problems coming up due to Hurricane Irma. I wrote that warning the afternoon of Tuesday. And here we are. "The Rays are supposed to be back in town on Monday to play the Yankees. If there’s damage or devastation, they may explore relocating the series." Again, might I suggest Houston??..........There is considerable trouble being threatened right now due to weather impinging on the remaining timeline of Major League Baseball. Expect quite a few double-headers. Since LAA is playing mostly away from these weather patterns, this might play to our advantage. Fewer double-headers means more rest and more predictable rotations...........Mike Trout would approve of my recommendation to avoid news projections for these storms, since they tend to use bizarre or outdated modeling tools and expired data. Just stick to NOAA...........

I don't like it when I read something on FanGraphs that is not crisp. After diving into a study after some very insightful conversation with Dennis Eckersley, we get some analysis using Gio Gonzalez to make a point. The first graph in that article, league Strikeout Rate, is followed by the following statement: "The early 90s and right now represent the only times in recent history in which the league’s strikeout rate has changed more than 1.2 percentage points over two years." Sorry, but if that chart is accurate, the 2-year spans from '81 to '83, and from '84 to '86, and from '85 to '87, and '95 to '97, and '99 to '01, and '10 to '12 and '11 to '13 certainly look like candidates for such a similar jump to me. Without seeing the underlying data, and without having the time to engineer the data myself, I am dependent on that visual aid. When it smacks so hard of information that defies the narrative text, it makes me question FG and I should never be put into that spot...........

I want to hate on the guy, but at least ballhawk Zack Hample has found some way to productively survive in society without living a life of crime..........

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The Duffle Bag

Water, falling from the sky, causing some inconvenience for the Rangers? Irony...........New York sports jock turns out to be a genuinely bad human being? Shocking..........Keon Broxton doing that thing all us cool kids did long before there was video game entertainment: how big a wad of gum can you fit into your mouth all at once? Disturbing, but impressive!..........Speaking of food and baseball players, Keith Olbermann has evolved from merely irrelevant to grumpy old irrelevant. Embarrassing..........AwfulAnnouncing.com is paying more than enough attention to SBN, so why am I not getting love for having the Best Damned Daily Sports News Links in Blogdom??..........Thank you once again, Jerry Dipoto, for Roberto Baldoquin............

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