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Thor’sLinks: Let’s Play Catch!

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MLB wants more people playing baseball, until they do.

MLB: ALCS-Boston Red Sox at Houston Astros Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Well, the Brewers went weird on me yesterday. They chose to start Wade Miley against Dodgers. But then, and just hours after burning through every arm on their staff, Craig Counsell pulled Miley after Miley walked the very first batter he faced, throwing only 5 pitches. And Counsell went right back to that burned out bullpen again, picking one of the only two guy who did not work the night before. This is so that he can start Miley again, in tomorrow’s Game 6. Milking his starters on the one hand, blowing up his bullpen on the other. That is either playing to your strength, or overplaying your strength. I can’t figure out which. My simple mind would have just started Brandon Woodruff 5 pitches sooner.

The background here is that Counsell is getting a reputation for being coy with starting lineups, and this was his way of getting around the growing debate over his shenanigans. His goal is to get the other side to waste their lineup based on false information, righty-lefty matchups and all that. Well, for the record, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was not fooled AT ALL.

As it worked out, The Corbin Burnes and Joakim Soria that had to pitch 3 innings into the wee hours the night before, had to come back out the next afternoon and toss another inning of work, wherein 2 runs would cross the plate for the Dodgers while Burnes & Soria were on the mound.

We did see Dave Roberts doing That Most Damnable Thing in the 5th inning, though. With 1 out, game now tied, runner on 1st base and a mini rally brewing, Roberts had pitcher Clayton Kershaw sacrifice runner Austn Barnes over to 2B. Just to remind all, the knowledge base here is pretty clear. Roberts just lowered the odds of Barnes getting around to score, from 27.6% down to 22.4%. Roberts did not score.

The Dodgers won, 5-2 and now lead the series 3-2 headed back to Milwaukee. Yes, the Brewers have to sweep in order to get to the WS.

Over in the ALCS, we had that model game of which Rob Manfred dreams. We had lots of offense: hits, home runs and doubles. We had a few frames of shut-down pitching. We had back and forth scoring with a close outcome. We had the home town fans causing a home team out. We had that post-season little-kid-fantasy-moment of uber hero Alex Bregman (deep breath) coming to the plate with 2 outs and the bases loaded and down by 2 runs after the bad guy pitcher had walked the bases loaded....and...Ooooooh!...we had said uber hero swinging at the first thing he saw and flying out to LF to lose the game. (Welcome to the Doug DeCinces Club, Mr., Bregman!) But, best of all, we had a TV-friendly Red Sox victory 8-6, now leading the series with a dominant 3-1 lead. And all this happened across 4 12 hours of TV advertisement and sponsorship time That’s a lot of commercial revenue for MLB.

The best part was that home town controversy. The one and only camera angle we have would lead a rational person to believe that Mookie Betts was reaching over the wall into fan territory to rob Jose Altuve of a home run, and a fan knocked the ball out of Bett’s glove, with the ball falling into fair territory. Ok, that is the background. Here is where the fun begins......The umpire making a call on the play is Cowboy Joe West, probably 130 pounds and 20 years removed from capable of getting out into position to get a good angle on the ball. West called fan interference......Then we get the MLB Instant Replay system, where ultimate judgement is rendered by a force hidden away from all of us engaged in the game and all debate hidden from view and understanding. The mystery force could not get a definitive angle good enough to overrule Cowboy Joe, so the call stood......And why is it that with millions of dollars worth of technology engaged in bringing the happenings of Houston to Force of Mystery in New York we couldn’t get the proper angle to know for sure? Because of Mr. Minute Maid Park Security Dude! If you want to bathe in the misery of the tanker-fest bandwagoners, start here.

Meanwhile, you have a job to do. Memorize all these Closing-In-On-The-World-Series-HaloLinks:


A Little Bit Of Angels News

Alert! Alert! Alert! JeffJoiner will be hosting a live chat with Ty Buttrey TODAY at 12:30 PM PDT. Look for the main article to be posted where you can jump in and act professional. And before you do, refresh yourself on the Buttrey story here..........

Ok, call me crazy, but if any hiring organization is going to set a candidate down for an interview that will last up to 9 hours, doesn’t that mandate that the party or parties conducting that interview are more than qualified to pass that same 9-hour interview? That’s one of those things about tests, right? That the person constructing and grading it already knew so much about the subject that they knew what questions to ask and what the correct answers need to be? Just because a Dennis Kuhl or John Carpino or even Billy Eppler think they know how to best organize and coordinate a random collection of 40 professional baseball players across a 162 game season doesn’t mean they actually do know best. So who is it within the LAA organization is that qualified and does not already have a job as a successful MLB manager? Just something about which I choose to ponder..........

Food for thought: Drew Storen is ready to be back..........And Yasmani Grandal may now come cheap. (I know you want to worry about how a guy like Grandal performs in the playoffs - and he is far from alone this post-season - but having that worry means that you are in the playoffs.).........

Mike Trout was named one of The Sporting News American League All-Stars for 2018.


Everywhere In Baseball

Well, how can I complain about this? After years and years of snarking at Bud Selig concerning how slow it is that MLB drags its feet through committee hell on the Oakland A’s stadium challenge, his replacement Rob Manfred solves a crisis practically overnight! Oh, sure, the Astros got caught red-handed multiple times by multiple teams but once the news threatened to compete with all the happy talk of post-season playoff baseball, Manfred’s crack team investigated the hell out of everything and solved it all and everybody can now go home quietly. Of this they shall speak no more. The solution? We shall define the events as the Astros merely performing due diligence and making sure that other teams were not cheating (so diligent they tried to replace one guy who got caught by Cleveland with another guy to ‘monitor’ Cleveland). See how tidy that is? And, after all, it ain’t too important to Astros manager AJ Hinch where all that mysterious information comes from......

Oh, and let us not speak of Chris Correa, the Cardinals analyst who went to prison for breaking rules in an effort to make sure that the Astros were not breaking any rules. Because that excuse is just insane...........

Correa, though, he is out of prison and still full of suspicions. He would actually be a cool guy to share a beer with, off the record, because publicly he hints at real shit going down within the Astros, and other bad guys within the Cards organization..........

And, finally on this topic (for today, at least), The Ringer mocks the low-tech follies of the Astros for all the silliness that it is worth..........

And just to drive home the point about not messing with OMG 2018 Post-Season Baseball!, Manny Machado was not suspended for his Tuesday Cheap Shot, which could take him out of the playoffs and off TV’s everywhere. He was simply fined some lunch money..........

Gio Gonzalez is done for 2018, regardless of what happens with the Brewers. I kinda feel bad for Gio. Playing in the post-season is well-known to be a pinnacle experience of one’s career. He got just the tiniest of tastes, getting into only 1 game and lasting only 2 innings. And now he heads off to Free Agency. Who knows where he ends up?.........

Chris Sale is still paying the price for the shrimp cocktail in the post-game buffet back in Boston. He is scratched from Game 5 tonight..........

It’s playoff time! Steal moar bases! Cuz it’s more funner, and shit can happen, and it beats watching 32 strikeouts in one sitting..........

Coming soon to Major League Baseball teams everywhere: electronic communications between pitcher and catcher to stop the complex signal madness. Coming not too long after that all happens: the Houston Astros deploying radio frequency hacking tools so that they can listen in on opposing pitcher/catcher signal calling. But only to make sure that opposing teams are not hacking into the Astros’ comm system, of course...........

MLB is suffering from multiple not-a-good-look issue beatings the past few years. These days, we can all read (even on HH) a lot of fire directed at Roberto Osuna. The darlings from Milwaukee are not immune, either, since they feature Josh Hader. Which is why it’s important that we fans don’t simply turn the page and move on from the MLBPA Jose Reyes award nomination debacle. After all, he is nominated as a community service peer of Mike Trout.........

Here is one of those things that causes me mental fits. The Braves and MLB are being sued by the family of a 60-year old man who fell to his death from the upper deck of Turner Field back in 2015. The thrust of the suit is that we all know that upper deck are unsafe, and the Braves and MLB should have done something about it. On the one hand, I know from personal experience that walking down the steps of any upper deck gives me the heebee jeebees. They never have seemed what one would consider “safe”. On the other hand, who is to decide what “safe” is? As it happens, we have an answer to that. That standard comes from what we as a society agree to and define as building codes. Turner Field followed just such codes. And then, on the third hand (and contractors among us will be far more familiar with this problems than I do), those codes are generally written by people who are (A) dropouts from the industry which they serve and (B) totally unaccountable. Hell, the governments which enforce such codes refuse to take any responsibility for the damned things and will not stand behind them any further than the collection of fees and fines. If I am on the jury, the Braves are screwed..........

Angels Stadium”, dudes. It’s simple. Show some respect for the 4th oldest stadium in MLB...........

Oh that would be right. This did not occur o me at the time, but when YouTube went out on Tuesday night, it took the NLCS stream with it. This is not a function of streaming being a young service. This is a function of a young service being taken down by an otherwise reliable and core Internet site...........


The Duffle Bag

Do we not ALL adore The Onion? Do we not ALL know that it is satire??...........Yeah. Not satire. Google, your ads in my face simply suck. They are not clever. They are not hip. They are as ignorant of the experience you are trying to leverage as is possible.........Yeah, baby! Oyosports gives us a Lego-compatible bullpen cart. (thanks, twitter person, for the tip).........Kate Upton is turning FAN-atic..............