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HumpLinks: Sad Angels Keep Losing to Bad ChiSox

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I don’t think this was the plan.

Chicago White Sox v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Does anybody remember way back in 2016 when the Angels came out to start the 2nd half guns a’blazing? Yeah. Good times.

These Angels have now lost 7 of their last 10, and losing 2 out of 2 to the White Sox is cause for embarrassment. Running Luis Valbuena out in the 9th inning to save your night is not much less embarrassing. But all those things are real. Angels lose 4-2, and it’s hard to pin this on pitching. Maybe you can blame it on slotting a Justin Upton who bats .176 with RISP at the cleanup spot here he can strand 4 rare baserunners, but then that would be suggesting that a manager has a meaningful influence on the outcome of a game. And it would also suggest that batting orders have meaning. We can’t be having any of those things.

It feels pretty futile already. Damn. I had such hopes for fun. We are 11 games out of the playoffs, 16 12 games out of first place, 8 games away from last place in our division, and we have an elimination number already. It’s 44. And it’s still only July.

But the baseball life goes on. And we follow it all with Life-In-The-Slowest-Lane-HaloLinks:


A Little Bit Of Shohei Ohtani News

Ohtani Puppet is back!.............

Ohtani is a beast in Anaheim. Looks like he picked the correct city to call home..........

On the one hand, REAL medical doctors are of the opinion that Shohei’s rehab plan is superior to surgery. That would be REAL medical doctors as opposed to Internet doctors. On the other hand, the LAA medical information history is so sketchy that real LAA medical doctors are not that much more trustworthy than Internet doctors............

A Little Bit Of Mike Trout News

Ok, so the Mike Trout / Rob Manfred marketing thing is tiring you out. Let’s move past these personalities and this particular instance and look at the larger picture. This from a contemporary digital-marketing guru: “What’s happening here is that Major League Baseball, a decade ago, decided to focus on short-term economics to the detriment of being everywhere where people are and building up their stars. They’ve suffocated the creativity in the digital space. You can’t find any baseball content on the internet unless the league is getting a piece of that through their accounts. Steph Curry was built on Instagram.” Yep. That sounds about right.............

Aha! So THIS is why Trout is slumping in July..........

Mike Trout, LAA Heart & Hustle Award winner..........Is it just me, or does it feel like the baseball world is going overboard on Trout attention since the Manfred misstep?..........

Sports Illustrated celebrating Mike Trout not being atop the WAR leaderboards, and on a day that Mike Trout was atop the WAR leaderboards. (I can’t link to them because they should change between Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning, but Mike leads bWAR at 7.2 over Jose Ramirez at 6.9, and Trout and Ramirez are tied over at FG with 6.8 fWAR.)..........

A Little Bit Of Angels News

Rate your Victor/Gubi/Jose.............

Ok, so you are not all Pujols acolytes. But realize that on the offensive side of things, his return threatens to reduce playing time for Luis Valbuena and Jefry Marte. Silver linings, people. Silver linings..........

Ian Kinsler career milestone coming up..........

Vlad happy to be growing the population of Dominicans in the Baseball HoF..........

LAA farm system has jumped 16 spots over the last 4 years. (I am linking to the BA promo tweets so that you get the gist of the message without having to be a subscriber).........

Good looking out, reddit user of FanGraphs tools. Kole Calhoun is roaring back and this chart is the easiest way to see that..........

HeanDog does public good deeds for therapy dogs? Makes sense..........(By the way, I have an amazing story about a therapy dog, but it’ll cost you a beer to hear it.)...........


Everywhere In Baseball

Woo hoo! A ballyhoo in NYC! That Gary Sanchez bad night I linked to yesterday percolated over the next morning. Follow with me: the idea came up that maybe Sanchez was injured. Manager Aaron Boone declared that an injury had nothing to do with it.....The thought was that maybe a benching would be in order. But benching players is so old-school and non-productive. Right?.....Certainly not a benching similar to what happened in Washington with Trea Turner..........But it turns out that an injury DID have something to do with it. Sanchez hid the injury he experienced earlier in the game from the team. Because he wanted to avoid the DL. So now Sanchez is on the DL.....And even though he is back on the DL, the MSM is calling bullshit anyway. Because NYC media tough guys. Seriously. There is chatter that the injury is made up, to save face.......... (For the record, over with the MFY Gary Sanchez did NOT win the Heart & Hustle Award there!)..........

Yep. A good compromise on the shift, and with solid reasoning. All infielders can shift all they want but they have to stick to playing the infield. And it’s all because the shitty one-note training that kids undergo on their way to the pros will take too long for MLB to adjust. Somewhere in my memory banks I recall a sales video on YouTube promoting a youth hitting camp. It showed a long row of kids all lined up going through swing mechanics together, one component at a time. Uniform. Robotic. It’s when I saw this video back then that I knew we were doomed. It’s a process of ‘find one effective method that works well enough, mold everybody into that one method, and let the kids who succeed with that particular method be the ones who get to the pro level’. That’s why you hear batters bark back against the shift. They don’t know any other way to succeed. It’s what got them there. And the advocates for this process are probably the ones who went through it, as if no other method is of value. To them I put forth this challenge: go watch Rod Carew’s at-bats and compare to anybody hitting today...............

I wonder how many millions of dollars Bryce Harper is costing himself this season? We will never know, of course, but it will be interesting to see how much he DOES get, and then go back and look at all the pre-2018 forecasts..........

Things are going to get chippy between the Cubs and DBacks, but I blame Javy Baez for obstructing the runner’s path to the base and forcing the contact. Everything after that was just Cubs bullshit............

Oh, the joy of getting the crap kicked out of you for the right cause..........

When the facts change, I change my mind. What, Neil Walker, do you do?.........

Oh look. Some other team has one of their key pitchers journeying off to TJ Land. Could it get any unluckier?.........

Will the Blue Jays be filing a grievance over collusion, since nobody wants to pay them what they are asking for J.A. Happ?..........Hats off to the Orioles, who took back a haul of Yankees prospects for rental bullpen guy Zach Britton. Britton is having a far less productive season than rental bullpen guy Jeurys Familia, who went to Oakland from the Mets for 3 bags of peanuts..........The current trade roundup is here. The news that Noah Syndergaard might be coming to SoCal is pretty intriguing............


The Duffle Bag

Come up to MLB, pitch, not allow a single hit, return to AAA to make room for a roster spot.............Anthony Rizzo, the most efficient pitcher in the history of Major League Baseball..........We need more of this: safe driving Public Service Announcements...........We live in a topsy-turvy world...........Whoa. Joe Musgrove looking like the Andrelton Simmons of pitching defense..........This is the Instant Replay confusion your grandma warned you about..........Wrong title. This beer vendor had no idea a foul ball was about to clobber his beer tray...........This was one smokin’ hot no-hitter alert...........