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HumpLinks: No. No No-No for Noe & Co.

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Scioscia rolls out a bullpen game, and the pen almost makes baseball history.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Chicago White Sox Photo by David Banks/Getty Images

Ok, raise your hands. Who among you were convinced the very moment that the Halos bullpen lost the no-hitter they had going, that the 1-run lead was gonna be gone immediately afterwards? Yeah, me too.

It was a record-setting 7th pitcher no-hitter they were working on (dang it, Blake Parker), but holy crap, people, that was an 8-pitcher combined 2-hit shutout. We have had our highs and lows with this bullpen but that was definitely a bullpen high.

So it all came down to a single run scored the entire game. Welcome to MLB, Jose Fernandez!

And we had a couple of highlights beyond the brilliant pitching.....Go ahead. I defy you to find a shorter infield ground out anywhere, ever............I love the timing of this event. Mike Trout steals second base. Because “we make it easy”.

Bottom line: Angels win 1-0. And Angels wins are cool, people. Games won are even more cool once you get stuck back in Novembers. The team is 1 game under .500. And the Angels at 9 and 6 versus the Rangers. That’s 3 games up on them with 4 head-to-head games left to go. Next one tonight.

And tonight could be our turn for the 2018 season-ending moment of anguish. Because you are catching up on the news with these Down-To-An-Elimination-Number-Of-Just-2-HaloLinks:


A Little Bit Of Shohei Ohtani News

Is it going to be a thing over the next 18 months to argue against Ohtani being a 2-way player when he has both sides of his game back on track in 2020?............

Driven by The Harada Method (Don’t bother clicking if you aren’t a WSJ subscriber. Sorry. But you can get the gist of it here via this older cover of the same story.)...........

A Little Bit Of Mike Trout News

The basic theme here is that in order to keep Mike Trout under the Halo, Billy Eppler has to keep pushing all the right buttons to turn the Angels into a WS contender. It sounds obvious, and is easy to write, but read the article anyway. A lot of things have to go right. It’s harder than you might be thinking it will be............

A Little Bit Of Angels News

You weren’t holding your breath for Nick Tropeano to come back this season, were you?...........

I am going to put this up here in general Angels news because I am going to frame it by invoking the names of Albert Pujols and Mike Trout. The article is about how age impacts productivity. It’s measurements are WAR-centric, and a lot of charts broken out by age. And, yeah, there are some tables showing outliers. You know where this is going. Getting old sucks. That’s the whole Albert Pujols part. Your comments, as always, are welcome below (even though I already know what they will be). The Mike Trout part is one of economics. Look at the chart for “WAR by Player Age, All Time”. Mike is 26. Based on that data, he is Year 1 of his 3-year peak. He will be just over his peak when a new contract starts. In terms of production only, how much does the Albert contract experience influence your desire to repeat that agreement (in today’s dollars) for Trout? Clearly Mike Trout is a resource that goes well beyond his incredible production. He is a merchandise machine. He is Arte’s advertising golden nugget. One could not ask for a better human being and all-around great guy to rep your billion dollar investment. That has value that needs to be considered. Conversely, the article reveals (it’s the main point, actually) that the industry trend is away from older players en masse. What might that mean for Mike when he is 34?.....But then consider this: when Trout reaches the end of this contract, he will be 28. When Pujols signed with LAA, he was most likely 34. The Pujols curve has been much different than what the Trout curve will be with the next contract. Also, those charts do not reflect the age curve of the ultra-greats only, of which Trout has been. If you could extract out just the Top 20 greatest sluggers and look at their curves, you would find that they tend to flatten out their peak years longer, before trailing off steeper at the end (the Pujols Experience). A 5-year deal with Trout is the safest bet in all of baseball............


Everywhere In Baseball

Riddle me this. Which, in your mind, would be worse? Seeing your starting rotation get devastated by the injury bug at the onset of the season, rendering the entire thing an academic exercise in futility? Or, keeping your rotation healthy as you propel yourself towards a playoff spot, only to see your rotation get devastated by the injury bug at the last moment, threatening any real chance at WS success in the process? Yeah. me too. Which is why I ain’t shedding tears for Oakland............

The Astros picking up Ryan Pressly does two things. First, it amps up their already high focus on spin rate. Somebody needs to tally up average spin rate for all the pitchers on each staff and compare. My guess is that Houston is at leas 30% higher in total than whichever team is #2. But the second thing that it does is give them another pitcher who has a very high spin rate AND does not blow out his arm because of it (looking at you here, Garrett Richards). I mean, really Astros? Only 2 guys on the DL?? That hardly seems legal.........

Uh, Felix Hernandez worked his way back into the starting rotation of the Mariners at precisely the same window of time whereby the Mariners returned themselves into irrelevancy. If I were King Felix, it might occur to me that the former would never have happened had the latter come true first..........

I need to change jobs and become a physicist. That way I, too, can write up reactionary math studies to provoke arguments over something that nobody actually believes. I cannot think of a single time I ever heard or read anybody claim that a batter’s grip makes a meaningful difference on the trajectory of a batted ball at the minuscule instant of when the bat contacts the ball. How that grip transfers power and speed from the body to get the bat to the proper location at the proper time, yes. Oddly, the author seems to realize this, but then he goes on to argue against it anyway...........

This is true. It’s always true. The Yankees are victims of their own hype machine, and the Yankee fans share a huge portion of blame. It has turned out to be true that they have the best bullpen in MLB. And it has been true that they have had one of MLB’s most dominant slugging offenses. And, despite some hashign about, their starting rotation has been one of MLB’s best. So what’s the problem? Oh, wait,. there isn’t one. The MFY have already won 90 games and pretty much guaranteed of the playoffs. Only 1 team has won more. But there is The Yankee Fan, right there in the link, whining about 3 injuries and how the team has failed him........

Speaking of miserable fans, grab your coffee, get comfy, kick back and click this link. And read the opening section about the plummeting Mariners..........

And then comes a tough one. This upcoming documentary focuses on how the Red Sox lost a 14 game lead over the Yankees in 1978. Boston Red Sox fans miserable? Oh hell yeah! But the universe is all about balance. That same race resulted in the MFY overcoming the Red Sox, making MFY fans deliriously happy. Worse, the MFY would go on to win the Word Series.

That Josh Donaldson annoyance around MLB will only get worse if Donaldson, who is not back on the field, ends up being the ALCS MVP. Oddly, I am pulling for that. because it would mean a huge storm of sour grapes coming out the spokesholes of Boston.........

Coming soon to a scheduling nightmare near you: Hurricane Florence. Just in time to be too late for contenders to deal with appropriately..........And, yep, as I have been predicting it’s a big problem for the Cubs, Nats, and Rob Manfred............


The Duffle Bag

Ozzie Albies is a fine defender............Carlos Gomez is not quite as fine..........Scroll down for fun. UniWatch, Collector's Corner, reminisces about Mattel Intellivision Baseball. Newbies won’t know that I own two Intellivision systems, and I do own the Baseball cartridge. It’s 8 bit glorious..........When I was a kid and lost a tooth, all I got was a dime. Spencer Kieboom got a Major league home run..........Good catch, CUT4! Oh hell yeah, when an NFL quarterback heaves a football 45 yards down field he is credited with a cannon for an arm. That would be just another put out by 3B on a grounder over the bag..........