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Thor’sLinks: Perfect Start, Imperfect Ending

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Angels trip up on getaway day

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Houston Astros
We humbly pay our respects to the memory of our recent 2 game winning streak.
Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

Complain all you want about a Scioscia lineup that featured a Valbuena and Rivera at the bottom of the order, both of whom went 0 for 3 with 2 K’s yesterday. But I am fingering a Justin Verlander who partnered up with Nick ‘grip it and rip it’ Tropeano to roll through 7 perfect frames to open the game. NiTro would falter as soon as he lost his side of the perfecto with a walk, and had to pivot to pitching from the stretch, but Verlander just kept rolling. The real trouble, IMHO, came with the other end of the batting order, where Kinsler, Trout and Upton each went 0 for 4. That’s what hurt worse.

And, publicly, Kole Calhoun I am calling you out. I was your biggest fan in ST. You are letting me down in a huge way, partner (I write as though I have ever been known to prognosticate accurately). Whatever it was that Shohei Ohtani did at the last minute in Tempe to fix his hitting prowess, you have appeared to do the opposite. 3 measly singles over the last 2 full weeks? Really?? You can hide a slump when the team is winning, bud, but at every loss your struggles come to the fore. It’s your job to anchor that end of the batting order. Snap out of it.

Take a deep breath for Day-Off-Before-Yankee-Fan-Invasion-Links:


A Little Bit of Angels News

Trout Porn: Mike Trout is hitting the ball harder than ever. Mike trout is hitting fly balls more often than ever. So Mike Trout is hitting home runs at a faster clip than ever. In fact, at one of the fastest clips of all time. Because Mike Trout is the Alpha Velociraptor, still improving. I like the quote towards the end: “[Billy] Eppler noted that Trout ‘has a ton of open-mindedness,’ and that despite his success, he still works regularly with Sorrento and lead hitting coach Eric Hinske. ‘Sometimes it’s maintenance, and sometimes it’s a little bit more specific, something that Mike’s feeling or Mike’s recognizing.’ “.........It was only a few years ago that Trout couldn’t even get peer-level awards votes, which I found shocking. That’s why I keep linking to all these little tidbits now where fellow ballplayers keep pointing him out. Matt Holliday recognizes Mike as an inner-most-circle HoF talent. And Atlanta Braves recently called up phenom Ronald Acuna has sight his career goal at the Mike Trout level............Jeff Passan pimps Trout to date, but fails to note his improvement on defense. For example, did you know that only 2 CF’s in all of MLB have a better UZR/150?..........

Ohtani Time: Mike Scioscia informs us that Shohei’s blister has turned to callous, so we should be done with blister issues this year. I shall ask this again: if a blister with his grip is a common career occurrence, why wouldn’t Ohtani “callous up” his contact point year round, kind of like a guitarist might do?..........Sho’ Knows Science!..........Sho’ also knows elite success..........Deadspin is still amazed by Ohtani’s velo as a starter. Me, too, to be honest. How long has he been throwing that hard?..........

That guy who hit the home run off of Justin Verlander yesterday? What if you didn’t want to pay him any longer? What could you do about that? Well, on the absurd proposal that Arte would want to go against pretty much everything he has publicly stood for when it comes to his relationship with the players he cares about, and be especially absurd to piss off Albert Pujols forever, here is a bunch of legal mumbo-jumbo posited by FanGraphs that shows how to uncork the contract based on the recent quasi-not-quite-an-admission that Pujols is actually older than presented..........I do wish to point out, however, that even though FG dogpiles on the ‘worst contract in baseball” meme, it should be considered that Arte used that contract (or the pending thereof) to seduce Fox into a $3 billion TV mega deal..........

Uh oh. The Angels are not flying under anybody’s radar anymore..........

Cam Bedrosian had himself a pretty good outing Tuesday night. Is he coming back? Is it due to his velocity finally coming back?..........


Everywhere In Baseball

Something to worry about. You are not paying attention to this because you are only looking upwards across the MLB standings. But take a peek at where the Oakland A’s sit as an entire team when it comes to fWAR. If you want to poo poo that as meaningless, just look at how meaningless that team fWAR was last year.........

Ronald Acuna is ESPN’s next hope for a Mike Trout Of Their Own Time Zone. He was called up by the Braves yesterday and the MSM is gushing. NBC, too. Acuna will probably have a brilliant career. It’s just that I failed to notice such media projections and attention when the Angels drafted Trout...........

Before we go too far here, let’s go back a few years. Tony Cingrani is a relief pitcher who has made a career out of pushing that fuzzy gray boundary as to what is a balk, turning his pickoff move “into a weapon”. He is kind of famous for it. He would get called on it earlier in his career but, as with any veteran player, if he keeps pushing he eventually redraws the lines in his favor. Well, Cingrani is now a Dodger and Tuesday night Joe West chose to draw that line right back at him. Cingrani was very not pleased. Joe West was even more very not pleased, as well............

Adrian Beltre might not know all the rules, but he sure knows how to run around a baseball field making other people know the rules. Too bad all that running has cost his 39-year old body, and has sent him to the DL.............

Now that the Yankees have Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge is not burdened with carrying the K crown of the American League..........

Gerrit Cole was a damned fine pitcher in Pittsburgh, so one might wonder why anybody would be thinking about him being improperly coached there. But then you look at his career stats and see the magnitude of difference between his Pirates years and now, and WOW.............

Matt Harvey was once a starting pitcher. Matt Harvey was ‘demoted’ to bullpen duty. Matt Harvey was not happy about being ‘demoted’ to bullpen duty. Matt Harvey came out of the bullpen and did not do well. Matt Harvey is not talking about it. It must be the media’s fault..........

The Game Of Fail cares not about how hard one plays. Only about how well one can play over time. It shall spare no special love for the fighting little Marlins.............

Dear Dusty, when you get to the end it is not everybody else’s fault. It ain’t yours, either. The blame goes to Father Time, undefeated...........

You young’uns won’t know this, but before TV mega deals MLB used to schedule double headers on purpose just so that we can avoid things like Spring and Fall game postponements. Apparently we have enough young’un players that they don’t know that either. If only Detroit could imagine a domed stadium for sporting events. Or maybe they can move Detroit to New Mexico or something.........

Axe Bats are growing in MLB popularity. I did not realize that LB batters hurt themselves swing lumber..........

We are losing a share of the fabulous Joe Posnanski to behind The Athletic pay wall. Not all of him, but a portion of him. I will still link for those who are paying for the passage..........

MLB needed to rush to Congress to “Save America’s Pastime!” and deny Minor League players a living wage for all the time required to participate. This can only mean that America’s enjoyment of NBA and NHL are doomed, and will take down our entire civilization with them. How dare those two institutions create a fair wage practice for their lower league employees?!?...........

Credit Where Due Dept.: When confronted by the issue of the Blue Jays’ aging stadium,. Rob Manfred did NOT go directly and point any fingers at the taxpayers. He spoke exclusively about owner investment..........

Media empires are coagulating into larger armies to battle Disney (ESPN). See Comcast. See Sports illustrated (which has put itself up for sale). I see no way that this trend would work out to be a benefit to consumers of sports content.........


The Duffle Bag

When baseball players are winning a lot of games, baseball players are happy people. News at 11..........Yankee fan being stupid..........And as Logan Morrison will tell you, you can’t fix that...........MLB grants the Cardinals more reviews in one game than any other team is allowed, because Cardinals..........The Rockies rolled out Julie Cavnar as the first woman play-by-play announcer, and learned that social media is full of idiots armed with an outlet to their ill-thought out feelings. They fought back. Hard. Good for them, but I still believe that Twitter is all the proof we need that, no, not every single one of us is entitled to an opinion............