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WeekEnd HaloLinks: Angels Reclaim 1st Place

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Pujols inches closer to 3000 and Jaime Barria is Cy Rookie in a blowout W.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Los Angeles Angels Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

You just woke back up this morning with the Angels in 1st place in the AL West. How do you feel? As the Halos swept the lousy Orioles, blowing out the O’s 12 - 3, the Yankees just kept coming after the Astros game after game. (The Astros went 1-3 against the Yanks at home, having lost 3 straight. For their part, the Yankees are now 16-4 over their last 20. One wonders if they can keep that up?).

Through all that offense, Albert Pujols grew a tiny step closer to 3,000 with 1 hit. He looked to be trying too hard to snag his 3,000 before being shipped off to the purgatory that is Seattle. After doubling in his second AB, Pujols only allowed one more pitch the rest of the night to pass through the strike zone unchallenged.

On the funny side, didn’t you just love the 3rd inning at-bat of Ian Kinsler? The one where he drew a walk on the 6th pitch of his AB when Kinsler did not swing on a deep inside location, but everybody lost count so all the Pitch Tracking systems also got lost? I know that I, for one, got confused while watching on TV. I blew it off when the broadcast went to commercial, so I was happy to see what caused my confusion when we came back to the game. Had I been in the stadium I probably would have been lost the rest of the night and would never know. I would have tried to look it up but been denied. Here is the MLB version of history. Note how they lose count (8 pitches versus 7 pitches) AND define pitch #6 incorrectly:

And here is the PitchF/x version, where BrooksBaseball gets completely corked up and only shows the start and end of the AB. This means that PITCHF/x now has encoded the wrong pitch count for Miguel Castro:

And here is what actually happened on that 6th pitch. It’s inside like the graphic locates, but he did not swing and foul off that pitch as the MLB text tries to declare:

(I have the full video replay on my phone that Victor and Gubi ran through, but MLB copyright rule restrictions and all that shit.)

And what the hell is it with Justin Upton’s throwing prowess? That ain’t anything near a cannon. I have a 12-year old dog with a stronger delivery.

Ok. Off to The Great North of Mold & Mildew. Let’s have a sweet weekend, shall we?

Have some Showing-Signs-Of-Life-Links:


A Little Bit of Angels News

Just hours after throwing 6.1 innings of 1-hit ball against the Orioles, Nick Tropeano will miss at least one start with a DL stint for inflamed throwing shoulder. I don’t even go out of my way to whine about pitching injuries with this staff any longer..........Billy Eppler will fill NiTro’s roster spot with Ryan “Buy Me A Vowel” Schimpf..........Maybe I can take solace in the notion that we have a whole generation of starting candidates rising through the ranks who do not appear to be living their lives in medical journals..........

Mike Trout broke StatCast with Wednesday night’s 1st inning solo home run. You know. The on that Victor enjoyed so much. Their radar dumped its data into their math engine for projecting distance and out burped “524 feet”. Now, I did some Internetworking and figured out that 524 feet should land in the outfield concourse. Or, if directed just properly, potentially smack the left field video board. MLB came back with the news that StatCast had erred. They even took down their own tweet of the original report. (which you can still see here). All of which leads me to wonder...could it be that the only time that MLB is checking the accuracy of StatCast data is when the error is grossly obvious to the human eye?.............By the way, if you put that StatCast data of a launch angle of 31 degrees, and a 116.8mph exit velo, pretty much any online motion calculator will say that the baseball will travel about 805 feet!)..........

As if you needed any more proof that Andrelton Simmons is an amazing athlete, and a joy to watch...........

Shohei Ohtani, who had himself a pretty good night at the plate last night and is still just a kid, with one of the best pitches in the entire AL West..........

Yes, Mike Trout tends to generate more production in a single season than some entire teams............

Josh Paul, Angels’ Bench Coach, gives his insight into the strikeout rash. TL;DR version = teams pay cash to pitchers for K’s, to hitters for HR’s, and to analysts for locate holes in swings. And everybody is working for that cash...........(This Star Tribune article on the same subject comes to pretty much the same conclusion.)..........

Don’t read this if you do not already know that Albert Pujols is about to be historically bad and simply want to enjoy his 3,000 hit milestone. But if you did not know that, or if you are unsure as to just how bad things are actually going, click away. You have been warned..........

There are two guys within the LAA franchise that cause me to do double-takes whenever I see them or hear/read mention of them. One is Noe Ramirez. Every time he takes the mound I think he must be some kid up from SLC to fill a spot and burn an inning before returning to the Bees in the morning, I just cannot get my brain to affix him on the 25-man as a real MLB’er. The other guy is Jabari Blash. He is just a huge athlete with monster power who seems destined to entertain Minor League Baseball fans for his career. He just gives me the impression of being a .164 pro with 6 HR’s per season at the Big League level, but who will do stuff like this in AAA all the damned time..........


Everywhere In Baseball

I am not going to suggest that Ichiro is ducking Shohei Ohtani, but I am pissed at the timing of it all. Jerry Dipoto announced Ichiro’s retirement effective immediately, where Suzuki will move to a Front Office job. This, right on the eve of the Angels traveling to Seattle for a weekend series. And then we learn that Ichiro might not stay retired after all. He could return to play later in life, just not this year. There was so much opportunity for the Baseball Circle Of Life here. We have Albert Pujols and his 3,000 hit this week. As it happens, Albert started his MLB career the same time as Ichiro. So here we had two future Hall of Famers in Ichiro and Pujols on the same MLB career arc, and Ichiro passing the torch to an Ohtani that Pujols might even be mentoring, and Ichiro having had a pro career in Japan prior to joining MLB just as Ohtani has done. And Ohtani having chosen the Angels and left Jerry Dipoto and all Mariners fans jilted at the altar, now playing IN Seattle AGAINST Seattle and FOR Seattle’s mortal enemy. Such a richly epic moment in Baseball lore lost to us right there. Even Ohtani is bummed...........

Todd Frazier volunteered himself for an MLB fine after his Mets were thrown into fits by Sean Newcomb. In truth, Frazier is on to something. Plate umpire Lance Barrett completely lost track of the lower outside corner of the zone. But credit Newcomb and Braves catcher Tyler Flowers for recognizing that and pounding that spot all night. Jacob deGrom got some calls there, too, but failed to make repeat visits...........

I can’t say that I care for eh Dodgers very much. But if I do at all it is only because of Clayton Kershaw. You have to be some special kind of idiot not to embrace the most dominant pitcher of recent vintage. But it might now be true that his vintage years are in his past, never to be regained again...........

I always struggle when some analyst tries to explain current team behavior by invoking current team payroll. Craig Edwards does this over at FanGraphs as he argues that tanking is not as serious as talked about, and includes team payroll as an indicator of which teams are tanking or not. I would have ignored it altogether and waited until the entire season fully played out rather than compare projections. But then he goes and writes “Of the teams with the five lowest payrolls at the beginning of the season...”. I believe that payroll obligations are commitments that run through multiple seasons and can obscure some new underlying mechanization at play in the here and now. Further, tanking is less about payroll than it is about stuffing the pipeline stocking with prospects and top draft slots. Payroll going down is merely a potential indicator of tanking. For example, let’s say that Eppler chooses to tank starting in 2019. No matter what he does with every other player contract, including Trout’s, he won’t be clearing Pujols’ $90 million off the books. He would still end up with a payroll at or near that of Oakland, and nobody believes that Oakland is tanking...........

This is just sad. Sports Business Journal published an article naming the “20 Most Influential Sports Executives”. The Article is dated April 30, 2018. That is this very week. It’s sad enough that those named are all old white guys. But what’s even sadder is that the article celebrates people who did something important for sports a long time ago. and still comes up with nothing but old white guys. Study that list and see how many are recognized not for what they might influence today, but for what they influenced in the past. So SBJ opens the books to history, and still can only see old white guys. No Magic Johnson or Tony Clark or Michele Roberts. Or how about Jeannie Buss or Billie Jean King? Sheesh, people..........


The Duffle Bag

Down on the farm, Tim Tebow is working on perfecting that whole strikeout thing..............More of the same. MLB has now announced that the Yankees and Red Sox will play out of the country. In London in 2019. Again I ask, why can’t the Angels play the road series originally scheduled for New York or Boston, in Japan instead? While we start Ohtani, the Yankees can start Tanaka, or the BoSux can start Dice-K. Oh, wait..........The NBA gets how to market their sport through fan engagement. MLB has their heads so far up their ass on this it’s pitiful..........