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WeekEnd HaloLinks: A Pretty Good Friday

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Welcome back real baseball. Welcome back real results. Welcome to Easter weekend.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim  v Oakland Athletics Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Except for two failed executions by LAA pitching, one belt-high fastball from Garrett Richards on a 2-2 count in the 5th, and one more of the same belt-high fastballs to the same Khris Davis on an 0-2 count in the 7th from Cam Bedrosian, yesterday was an excellent start to 2018.

Unfortunately, those two pitches now count because we are in real baseball. And those two pitches came from the two pitchers we count on the most. And the 4 runs that Oakland scored off those two mistakes counted, too. As does the L. That will now count all season long. Oh well. These are the A’s who are going to the World Series, after all, so there is no shame in some slight imperfection.

Or, in the case of 0 for 11 out of Mike Trout and Justin Upton, some major imperfection.

But if that is what it takes to lose, 11 out of 11 fails by two of our very best hitters and two key mistakes by our two best pitchers, the odds for a great season remain in our favor. I’m not going to whine.

If my counts are right, and that depends on MLB updating their tables fast enough for my deadline, we had 31 home runs yesterday and 229 strikeouts. 6 of those home runs came from the White Sox alone, and 3 of those from CWS DH Glen Davidson. That means that Davidson hit 10% off all home runs hit in MLB on Opening Day.

While I go spend my first weekend of the year doing the beach life thing, which y’all know I do monthly, you people have some fun with This-First-Friday-Is-A-Pretty-Good-One-Links:


A Little Bit of Angels News

I am telling you, pay attention to Kole Calhoun! Something has clicked and his Spring was brilliant. His Opening Day was a Big Splash, too. 3 for 5 with 2 runs scored and this bomb. Overall, Calhoun had a triple, then a home run, then a K, then a groundout, then a single. That is one double away from the cycle. I am calling it now. I am predicting Calhoun will be an All-Star candidate this year, even in a League absolutely stacked with potential HoF outfielders...........

Shohie Ohtani, 1 pitch into his LB career, restored some faith in his promise...........

Shohei is certainly thrilled with his pro debut.............Do you know who else was thrilled with Ohtani’s debut yesterday? The Oakland marketing department and the Oakland social meme-dia maven..........

Can the already impeccable Mike Trout keep improving his plate discipline? The way he starve the K counter in Spring Training would suggest yes. And that carried over to yesterday in the regular season, too. Sure, he went 0 for 6 for the first time in his career, but that came with only 1 K. The other 5 outs were plays in the field. Trout will be fine.

George Springer of the Astros is getting kudos for being the first batter in history to homer from the leadoff spot in consecutive season openers. That is only true for one reason: because Mike Scioscia phased Mike Trout out of the leadoff spot after Trout’s brilliant campaign there in 2012. By the time we got to 2014 Kole Calhoun was leading off. So Trout’s first at-bat home run in 2014 was the second LAA batter of the game. And Trout’s first at-bat home run in the very next season, 2015, was ALSO the second LAA batter of the game. Enjoy your place in history Springer. And don’t forget to send Sosh a thank you card...........

Kenyon Middleton sporting the ‘redlocks’..........Fire Mike Scioscia Facebook Foolishness is blossoming early this spring..........Looks like Mike Trout has somebody new picking out his wardrobe since last October..........Let’s pause for a moment to applaud Zack Cozart’s first home run under the Halo. This is important, because we haven’t have a qualified batter who played 3B for the Angels hit over .360 SLG all decade. And it’s really hard to ind a qualified 3B in all of MLB in any season this decade who slugged that low at all. Cozart slugged .548 last season.......And then another pause to witness Albert Pujols’ 170th home run under the Halo, 615th of his career. That’s now 15 away from Ken Griffey, Jr. at 6th all-time. Ne might have been within career shouting distance off 3rd all-time when he finishes had it not been for the PEDs era.........


Everywhere In Baseball

It was an unusual day for rookie managers. Unorthodox guys made unorthodox decisions for unorthodox reasons. Heads shall be scratched. In Philadelphia, Gabe Kapler opened his career by sitting his #1 center fielder for Opening Day, for matchup reasons. Odubel Herrera (who, yeah, is listed as their #1 CF) was less than happy about that. Then, just 68 pitches into his first outing of the season, Kapler pulled his best starting pitcher and handed things to his bullpen. That did not end well.............Over with Boston, Alex Cora had his Red Sox out in front 4-0 going into the bottom of the 8th down in Tampa Bay. The Rays would score 6 runs in that frame and end up winning the game. And nowhere along the way in that collapse did Cora whip out the best reliever in the American League, Craig Kimbrel...........

The Astros whipped out their 4-man outfield against Joey Gallo, an alignment that looks pitch-perfect (you like what I did there?) for Gallo’s spray chart. And Gallo sprayed into it, perfectly............

Giancarlo Stanton is a big hit in New York..........

The Atlantic is vacuuming up the Boston sportswriter talent..........

And the St. Louis Cards vacuumed up Greg Holland, who took a life-line deal of one year, $14 million...........

The Marlins have lost The Marlins Man. Smooth move, Jeets. Raising the prices on your most loyal fan - a guy who was supporting the team you own now, starting three years before you even made your first appearance in Major League Baseball - for a team that you turned into a worse product......But, hey, at least you got media slobber Jenn Sterger helping you blast The Marlin Man as a bandwagoner. (For the record, Sterger was only 9 when The Marlins Man started buying season tix to the Marlins.)..........

The Blue Jays are going in the wrong direction. SS Troy Tulowitzki is back on the DL, the 60-day kind of DL, with bone spurs.....And 3B Josh Donaldson is suffering from dead arm...........(Quik Quiz: Tulo has now in his 13th season. In how many of those has he played in at least 150 games?)..........

We sit over here in baseball land and point fingers at the NFL. But we need to check our snark and consider the issue of CTE in our own sport, too...........

Ok. I lied. this ain’t over. Ballpark Food Porn articles continue to be created. And I, your loyal Food & Beer Porn hunter/explorer, shall harvest them for you...........All of them that I find...........

May Rickey Henderson stories never die..........

Rest In Peace, Rusty Staub..........


The Duffle Bag

Follow the timeline, Part 1:.....9:34AM.....9:40AM.....Boom! 9:52AM.....10:45AM.............When people tried too hard, people do dumb things, and dumb people make a big deal out of it...........Follow the timeline, Part 2:.....March 9.....Boom! March 29.....March 29, again....finally, March 29 fess up................The world can never have too many salsa choices. So I welcome the creative contributions of Joe Ramirez.............Tim Tebow needs time in the minor leagues? Who would have guessed such an outlandish thing?..........Rougned Odor bragged that he was ready for the regular season. Looks like he was right. Same old Odor............I post MLB job openings all the time, as a PSA. Maybe one day one of you might actually take the bait and launch a career, no? But this one, this one WE NEED ONE OF YOU TO TAKE, AND WIN. We need an insider in this tech, bad. We need an MLB TrackMan insider, like now...........The Blue Jays will be hosting a special tribute to Roy Halladay for their home opener............