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Thor’sLinks: Angels Leave Texas in a Mess

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Halos broom their way to Sosh’s best start as a skipper.

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Texas Rangers Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

The Angels rolled the Rangers last night, winning by a breezy 7-2 score. Or, perhaps more accurately, the Rangers rolled over for us. That was as quiet and easy a win as I can recall. Boring, almost. Except for a dazzling debut by Jaime Barria, and an RBI single against left-handed pitching by DH Shohei Ohtani, I might even have forgotten the Angels even played a game last night. I mean, who but me cares that Kole Calhoun went 3 for 5 with 2 runs scored and 2 RBI?

(Imagine how cool it must have felt for Barria to force an infield ground ball in the 5th, and having THE ANDRELTON SIMMONS there to vacuum it up behind him for the slick 3rd out??)

Sweeping what appears to be a rather hapless Rangers team, the Angels move on to Kansas City. That is where a rather hapless Royals team awaits. The Royals have only 3 wins all year. They have lost 2 in a row. They are 1 - 4 at home. It’s a trap. The Angels are 7 and 13 against them the past 3 seasons. I’m calling this a trap series as a reverse jinx.

The Angels are 10-3 (first place in the AL West and the 3rd highest winning percentage in MLB). Only the Mets and the Angels have 10 wins on the season. They have now won 4 in a row, 8 of their last 10. The last time the Angels had won their 10th game while they still enjoyed a single digit number in the loss column was 2011, when they were 10-5. Until right now, Mike Scioscia had never started 10-3. It was back in 1993 that they were most recently as close, at 10-4. They were AT 10-3 in 1982 and 1979. And they have never been 10-2. So this is tied for the best 13-game start in franchise history.

Indulge me with these Welcome-To-Contention-Again-Links:


HALOS HEAVEN ROSTER MOVES

We lead with the news that FanGraphs is stealing away one of our own prodigy. Rahul Setty will be joining them as a writer. Astute observers will note that he announced it to the general public a full 20 minutes before he announced it here, so safe to say we are already in his rear view mirror. Congratulations, Rahul, but you better be great over there or I ain’t linking to your stuff! HH serves up only the finest Daily Links. Your job is to try and write something so brilliant that you attract a HaloLink. Don’t embarrass us amongst all those Mariners and A’s slobber-festers that they have over there.


A Little Bit of Angels News

Ohtani Porn: Are we, perhaps, under-hyping the kid?..........

Let’s make this simple. Albert Pujols will get his 3,000 hit on May 3. And we can ignore everything else about it...........

Griffin Canning is killing it in A ball. He won’t last long there at that rate..........

Cam Bedrosian’s velocity is killing him. He won’t last long here at that rate..........

Shoey’s doctor indecision is killing him. We won’t stay strong here at this rate..........


Everywhere In Baseball

Jackie Robinson Day will be this Sunday throughout MLB. As part of that, MLB has announced that we are enjoying a rise in participation by Black Americans to 8.4% of all MLB rosters in 2018. MLB is crediting their commitment to drive participation at the youth levels through their two programs, “Major League Baseball Urban Youth Academy” and “Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities”. What I find most encouragin is the factoid in teh linked article that “Twenty percent of first-round draft picks from 2012-17 were African American”. There is still a long way to go (the most recent peak was 19 percent in 1986), but it speaks to what can be done if you are pro-active..........And don’t forget Negro League Baseball in the history of great two-way players..........

The Red Sox are considered hot. It is true that, like the Angels, they are winning a lot of games. But it is also true that, like the Angels, they are winning against a predominantly shitty lineup of scheduled opponents. It makes the Red Sox look like a juggernaut to an East-happy media. But...over the first 50 games of this season, Boston will play 35 games against teams expected to finish at the bottom of their respective divisions (Rays, Marlins, Orioles, A’s, Royals and Rangers). If not dead last, at least next-to-last. And 6 more games are against a team expected to be a sub-.500 team (the Blue Jays). And, realistically, they will go the first 79 games with only the occasional blip on their competition radar. It might not be until game 105 that their downhill coast is finally over. The Red Sox schedule has nothing to do with Alex Cora’s demeanor. And this is why Rob Manfred does not mind the tanking phenomenon one tiny bit..........

This is the kind of thing that will make Rob Manfred pull Jefrey Loria level shenanigans with annual MLB attendance figures when the season is over. Manfred, already fully on board with The Tanking Syndrome, will also want to show the world how healthy his sport remains under his leadership. So all the games such as this, where the “paid attendance” is only 10,377 but only something like 974 people showed up, is surely going to get the Hollywood accounting treatment when they get added to the year-end books............

And on the subject of Manfred, the secret letter that was snagged long ago, and only now revealed here, is frightening..........

Updated franchise values are out. You could own the New York market with the Yankees and Mets and be worth $6.1 billion. Or, you could own SoCal market with the Dodgers, Angels and Padres and be worth $6.07 billion. Or you could own the Chicago market with the Cubs and White Sox and be worth $4.4 billion. Or you could own the entire State of Florida and be worth less than $2 billion........

Anthony Rizzo is blaming hotel beds for his bad back. Maybe he needs a road trip to Houston..........

I wonder if this tipping pitches thing is fast becoming the most critical R&D effort among the MLB franchise intelligence agencies? It sure looks to pay immediate dividends..........

Here is one action-packed game. Petey Bourjos drove in a pair with a bases-loaded single in the 12th to help the Braves defeat the Nats. Cool. What was less cool was Braves starter Brandon McCarthy dislocating his shoulder catching a ball while covering first base and needing the training to pop it back into place right there in the field...........

The Rockies and Padres have one bitter blood feud ongoing this season to see who can finish last in the NL West..........

But Yankees and Red Sox? Those guy don’t want to be shown up by Rockies or Padres. Yankees and Red Sox are tough guys. Right? As the Yankees pound the Red Sox as David Price crashes ad burns yet again, we got to the 3rd inning and saw MFY DH Tyler Austin go into a hard takeout slide of MFRD Brock Holt at 2B on a double-play attempt. Penile swinging ensued. Benches cleared. Bullpens got some jogging in. Nothing happened. Nothing happened again when Tyler Austin came to bat in the 5th, striking out swinging. But when Austin arrived to the plate in the 7th, Joe Kelly had come in to pitch and was not about to forget Austin’s slide forcing him to do that jogging back in the 3rd. Kelly plunked Tyler on a 2-1 count and Tyler, still the tough guy, started a rumble...........

One takeaway from reading this legal POV on the SMT lawsuit against MLBAM over the use of pitch tracking tech, is that the real money is in patent law. Because the attorneys get all the moola..........


The Duffle Bag

Excuse me, interviewer lady, but can I watch my son take his first MLB at-bat and do that thing that Giants batters do, K looking?...........That home run for Tim Tebow on his first AA pitch? That was pretty much the last thing that has gone well for him...........Say yes to Steve Spurrier, Tim.........Wrigley upgraded their stadium, but downgraded their seats. Pretty stupid, even without the mid-west big butt jokes. Ok. I can’t resist. Maybe the guy on the left would fit into his seat better if he cut back a few beers?..........Hey, New York writer! If you don’t like seeing the K-zone on a TV broadcast of a home game of the New York Yankees, I know how you can avoid it. Get off your ass and go to your New York Yankees stadium..........I am an I.T. guy, and I have this email theory that I have carried ever since email was invented. Anybody who hits Reply All to a Reply All email storm makes the list of future HR layoff targets............The Oakland GondolA’s? Credit for thinking outside the box, but that is not far enough outside. Nowhere near the needed capacity. Meanwhile, the much maligned city to the south has had your answer for decades.........Harper Hair requires two-fisted taming..........