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Thor’sLinks: Oh! ‘Zack’ly What We Need.

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Ohtani bested Kluber, so that Zack could best Cleveland.

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Los Angeles Angels Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

We had extra innings on getaway day. Well, Cleveland’s getaway day. Always a way to screw with the team travel coordinators. And Rob Manfred. (Game length of 4 hours and 28 minutes.) I don’t care. Extra innings are great. What I will say, though, is that the risk of tight games is extra innings, and the risk of extra innings is why I would be reluctant to burn two quality middle relief efforts for only 16 pitches (Johnson for 10 pitches, 7 of which were strikes and Alvarez for 6 pitches, 4 of those strikes) at the very front end of said tight game bullpen time. 10 of our 13 pitchers saw action in the game. Thankfully we have an off day today.

So, anyway, we can totally spend the day juicing over Shohei Ohtani busting up Corey Kluber’s shutout to tie the game 2-2 with his 2nd home run in less than 24 hours, which is what was needed to get to extras. And we can do the happy dance while rewinding and reviewing the 3B slugging Zack Cozart 13th inning + solo + walk-off + game-winning + Eppler-validating + smash-in-the-mouth of a team that has dominated us...home run to deep left field.

Angels win, 3-2. Angels take the series 2 games to 1. Angels are 5 and 2. Angels have won both series to open 2018. And Oakland comes to a town where maybe they can find some of their fans. (Without the Angels present, they averaged only 8,160 in attendance during the Rangers series. At least a few of those had to be Rangers fans.)

About yesterday, though. I have this working principal as a baseball fan: in any game that is unusually low or unusually high number of hits (actual run scoring being just an after-effect), look for the heavy hand of a dysfunctional plate ump. Yesterday was just such a day. Mike DiMuro had a particularly unimpressive day. His calls around the edges were pretty inconsistent, making it hard for batters to get a feel for their decision-making process. I feel bad for both sides. But at least I am free to whine about it since my team won. Cleveland fans? Not so lucky so I will do it on their behalf.

Have some I-Defy-You-To-Keep-Up-With-Links:


A Little Bit of Angels News

Ohtani was smacking the ball pretty hard Tuesday night. In fact, his 112.8mph exit velocity on his late base hit was the hardest hit by a pitcher in StatCast history Compare that to a Giancarlo Stanton home run blast of 117.9mph and it doesn’t seem that impressive. But then let’s see Stanton’s 100mph fastball, K?.........

Tuesday awoke the Ohtani hype train. (Wednesday will have probably ignited the afterburners.)..........Of course the official LAA webifier is going to be enthusiastic. That’s their job..........The call from the broadcast booth to his Japanese fans back home was, er, enthusiastic...........Phillies’ pitcher Pat Neshak turns out to be a huge Ohtani fan. At least, a huge Ohtani baseball card fan...........ESPN has declared Ohtani worthy of their precious attention...........And so now they have an Ohtani Tracker..........The Sporting News, not to be outdone, is just breathless in their superlatives. I assume that they have discovered thesaurus.com..........TheBigLead is far more reserved, but distracted enough to be watching...........MLB Radio very impressed, and confused. He is showing more than they want to believe he can show..........And those Spring Training scouts, who continue to remain anonymous? Yeah, for good reason..........

Another day, another Billy Eppler pitcher grab bag. yesterday Juan Grateral was DFA’d to make roster room so that Eppler could snatch Miguel Almonte from the Royals. Almonte is just the kind of story that the Angels have been turning into productive contributors the past couple of seasons............Almonte still proves, though, that the LAA farm system still needs work..........

It took a lot of things to go just perfectly wrong for the incarnation of that Encarnacion Monday Miracle. FanGraphs breaks it down............

(h/t reddit) When all is said and done, Albert Pujols will retire as the second highest grossing ballplayer in MLB history. Currently he is 5th, and will end up 3rd when this season is over, second after 2019. It won’t last long, though. Miguel Cabrera will drop him a notch in a few years. And we will have a few new contracts in the next year or so that will end up kicking him back out of the top 5.........

Calhoun showing somebody else how the outfield walls are to be played..........Simmons showing Cleveland fans why ‘bunting to break up a no-hitter’ is a real thing...........Skaggs showing us some moxie..............


Everywhere In Baseball

Fly ball mania neutralizes one of baseball’s best infield defenses, and fly balls are back in 2018..........

Just to remind, baseball contracts are loaded with games played hard by both sides. The Trevor Rosenthal episode of yesterday is an example. For a brief while, it was reported that the Marlins had signed the TJ rehabbing youngster. But his agent, Scott Boras, corrected that report and declared that Rosenthal would not be signing anywhere this season while he recovers. Read this whole piece to learn how teams and players/agents battle over such things as service time, arbitration, and option years while playing guaranteed money against pipe dream money..........And money is going to be pretty good getting next Winter. Which, as I continue to point out, explains Bryce Harper..........

Speaking of money, Charlie Blackmon is getting some. As Jim Bowden notes, this is not one of those indicators of MLB ownership colluding to go cheap..........

Baseball should not need a diversion this early in the season, but when one comes along that is enough fun, it beats beach balls. Other Birds as the Orioles Logo is just such fun. (Direct linky here.)..........

On the other hand, not so much a diversion but a valuable addition to your game enjoyment comes to us via a reddit tip. If you love keeping score, or if you miss having a scorebook handy, now you can have them right in front of you and in real time, for every game. Livebaseballscorecards.com is your salvation. Here is yesterday’s game, which I was keeping a tab on alongside the GameDay tab and the game thread tab.

It’s one thing to face Major League pitching when you are left to guess what is coming. That’s what makes those hitters the elite that they are. I couldn’t do that. But I could make contact if I knew what was coming. And if I knew it was a curveball, I was lethal. Everybody excused it away as always a hanging curve, but I knew better. I want to take a whack at a Jakob Junis curve. Those look totally edible............

The title says it all. A Fast Fastball isn’t Enough Anymore..........

Why does Jeff Sullivan hate baseball? Batting practice is not a waste of everyone’s time. It’s awesome for fans, which is why these guys play for money in the first place. Sullivan does acknowledge the fans, but then he dismisses the fan benefit. To which I say, ‘pffft!’.........

Due to injuries, Seattle is beginning to wonder of the Mariners are cursed. I would think that would be obvious. They are stuck with Mariners fans..........

MLB getting burned with their silly northern schedules in too-early Spring..........Or, maybe not burned. Maybe frozen.............

MLB is also getting burned by their Facebook experiment. Apparently, it’s Ok to stream Rays versus Royals, but don’t go messin’ with Mets or Phillies fans y’all............Maybe Mets and Phillies fans should move to China..........Not all of it was Facebook’s fault. Blame MLB for choosing a schedule with high-probability weather delays, which came true...........But then Facebook has only itself to blame for it’s visual layout. Worse than SBN, of that can be believed..........The bottom line, then, is that MLB and Facebook need to turn things around, else, no, fans will NOT embrace Facebook-only events............The reason I link to all of this, folks, is because it’s our future and they are effing it up...........

To finish on OTT, ESPN is still plugging away with 1970’s thinking. Get people jazzed enough to prop up the launch of a new service by drowning them in hundreds of hours of worthless content..........


The Duffle Bag

I wish we got to play the Mets all the time..........Bryce Harper is getting played pretty good by the Atlanta Braves organist. Yeah. The Braves still use an organist..........Ohtani was not the only two-way star this week. See Foltynewicz, Mike..........A lottery of game tickets is one of the ideas on my promo list (to be published soon enough!), except that mine are not the cheap-o terrace seats. (Don’t write. I know that terrace seats are pretty good.).........On the other side of the Ohtani celebration coin, would be Yankee fans..........I don’t know what’s sillier, preppy throwaway wine named after baseball stuff too, or the 21st century version of Billy Beer?..........There is an entire Seinfeld episode in this one foul ball.