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Thor’sLinks: Ow! Ow! Oh! Ohtani!

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We got bad news, we got good news. What do you want first?

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Texas Rangers Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

We had a hit parade last night. No Trout, no Upton, no Pujols, no problemo. 16 total hits, with 2 doubles and 3 home runs. David Fletcher, Andrelton Simmons, Jose Fernandez and Taylor Ward all went 2 for 5 right in the middle of the order. And smack in the middle of that middle, Shohei Ohtani went bezerk. 4 for 4 with 4 runs scored and 3 runs driven in. Plus a walk. That’s good for .4 fWAR in one game, leading all of MLB on the day. (That should bump him up to the 3.4 fWAR territory, which would be good for 37th among all MLB position players, or 16th among all MLB pitchers.)

Let’s just say that last night was Shohei Ohtani proclaiming that the bad news of UCL damage is only half the story. Shohei. Still. Got. Game.

And then we had Jaime Barria. 5 innings, 2 hits, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts, 0 runs. As in ZERO runs. Barria had a so-so outing on August 3rd, and a crappy start on August 25th. But the rest of his August has been sterling. In fact, he has now gone 11 consecutive scoreless innings.

All in, we had a crappy afternoon which ended up being capped by a gloriously evening as Shohei pushed back at all the carping around MLB with an offensive showcase, and the Angels rode the young sharpness of a still-healthy Jaime Barria, burning the Rangers for a 9-2 victory.

We ended the Rangers’ season. Now we grind through our Dwindling-Down-To-An-Elimination-Number-Of-7-HaloLinks:


A Little Bit Of Shohei Ohtani News

There comes a point in time when a situation goes so far beyond absurdity as to incite uproarious laughter. First would come the snickering, then the giggles, then the laughter. Finally...tears. Let us note, collectively, that we have reached that point at the same time, but for two separate issues!. For starters, of course, we have Shohei Ohtani joining the Los Angeles Angels of UCL Damage. (Fair warning: this is not yet cast in stone.) Over the past couple of seasons we have not had a starting rotation. We have had an economic boom for the SoCal sports medicine industry. The housing market should be so bubbly. Please, somebody find me any other MLB franchise that has suffered, in any brief window of time, the same number of career-pausing injuries to hit their pitching staff. I’ve been following MLB for more than 50 years and this fuzzy brain cannot recall any such thing happening to any other franchise, ever...........

But the other thing that has gone well past the point of absurdity is the medical information management coming out of the Anaheim franchise of MLB. I have to assume that all parties are well-meaning and merely trying to find the correct way to protect an athlete’s private health information, while also trying to push back against an overly inquisitive press that thirsts for salacious tidbits over which they can make a lot of hay. It cannot be that they are this incompetent. It cannot be that they are this dissembling (that’s a fancy way of saying “lying”). The simplest answer has to be that, as an institution, this collection of executives and employees has been improperly coached to communicate such information, and it’s the results of that media relations coaching that is absurd. They are following what they think is the best course of media interaction, without care or realization that it makes them look incredibly foolish. I mean, seriously, Ohtani pitched 3 days ago as I type this. 2 days ago the message was that Ohtani was in great shape, except for some back stiffness and a sore finger attempting to snag a comebacker. but Ohtani would pitch next Sunday. He had passed the tests. Everybody was hopeful. 1 day ago it was that the Angels were still deciding about Ohtani pitching next Sunday. Today it is Ohtani needs to go to TJ, which means not pitching until 2020. If there is one regret I have as I do this daily toil over the past few years, it’s that I failed to bookmark all the times the official LAA medical news said one thing, when the reality was announced within days and was 180 degrees in the opposite direction. I think such a list would give everyone involved some excellent perspective on just why it is that we fans have little left in the tank where we store our benefits of the doubt.

By the way, I do NOT subscribe to the increasingly popular notion that the whole reason that Ohtani will have TJ is because he pitched Sunday. The optimal path was to test the non-TJ therapy now, while live baseball was still available. Better now than wait until Spring and lose Ohtani on the mound well into 2020. And waiting these few months to give the alternative therapy a shot will have little impact on his 2019 timeline. Sunday is not what broke Shohei’s UCL. And sitting around would not have meant that his UCL repairs itself...........Which is the shorter way of saying this............

(h/t reddit) Ohtani The Tidy..........

A Little Bit Of Mike Trout News

Sigh. Until we get to the 202 season when Arte locks up Mike for Life, this topic of Trade Trout will never, ever stop...........And it’s stuff like this that makes all the rest of us on the Internet look stupid by association. Billy Eppler actually had to respond via Jeff Fletcher to some twit’s tweet wondering about trading Trout for pitching now that Ohtani is shelved as a pitcher...........

Mike remains idling at the curb as the season winds down but, still, he has been awesome..........

A Little Bit Of Angels News

Yesterday was Celebrate Jack Howell Day!...........

We would rank a lot higher than 10th if we never shifted away from that glorious California Angels uniform scheme. Just sayin’..........


Everywhere In Baseball

Todd Frazier pulls a fast one on the sloppy MLB umpires. It should be no surprise to anyone just how easy it is to pull this off if the opportunity presents itself. Seriously, ump, simply demand that Frazier hand you the object in his glove! And it’s probably far too late for MLB to investigate and consider fining Frazier under some such ‘making mockery of the game’ statute, since the chain of evidence is gone and all the witnesses have dispersed............

The Brandon Phillips we did not get...........

Vlad Guerrero Jr. doing what Roberto Baldoquin is not. Baby Vlad is MiLB Player of the Year..........

The Roberto Osuna issue drags on at least a couple more weeks. But it is starting to feel like it is dragging on towards that legal void where everything gets swept under the rug.........

Hmmm. Joe Jordan is/was one of the holdouts of the old Phillies player development system, one that created much of the young talent that has had the Phillies well out over their skis this season. Well, Jordan is clearly no fan of ex-LAA Assistant GM Matt Klentak. (Klentak interviewed for the LAA GM slot after Jerry Dipoto walked out, before Arte hired Billy Eppler.)..........

Craig Calceterra of NBC Sports / MLB has reached that point where he has found a lawn to protect. It’s all about bullpenning. Or, more accurately, against bullpenning..........

Over in Washington, why tear down something that clearly is not working? Hell, let’s keep the non-working leadership intact, too!. Both of which are just snarky ways for me to point out that one bad season does not define a franchise, and Washingtonians should get over it.........

Oh, but wait. Our news train has not yet pulled out of the Washington station. From The Post, here is a particularly sad outcome to years of baseball hope and toil..........

Dayn Perry drags us into the world of ‘clutch’ to add to the arguments over MVP. And it’s as messy and unsatisfying as many would expect..........

Make no mistake, Oakland or no Oakland, Sean Doolitlle breathes fresh air into the sport. Today it’s go ahead and enjoy the hell out of taking Doolittle long, as he will pay $10,000 to charity in your name for being so bold..........

Baseball is so weird. The first pitch that a starter throws in a game is almost exclusively a fastball. So your intuition has already jumped to the idea that hitters should be jumping all over those opening pitches, since they know what’s coming. And pitchers should be mixing things up more. But then you look at all that baseball data and you learn that “The curveballs avoid that extra hit, to be sure, but at the expense of four 1-0 counts. Do the math and the differences mostly cancel each other out, with the non-fastballs producing slightly more offense than fastballs.” In other words, it don’t matter. Who woulda thunk?..........

The most predictable thing in team sports is how strong it is that large amounts of success breed great amounts of brother/sister-hood among teammates. The corollary to that is that as that amount of success dwindles, so too does the level of comradery. Just ask Joe Maddon..........

Grant Brisbee (always a Barry Bonds apologist since he is a serious SF Giants fanboy), give us an essay recalling how the sporting media didn’t actually give a damn about PEDs until all of a sudden. It’s something I whine about constantly, usually around HoF voting season since it’s the same characters (both candidates and voters). But I would like to clarify one thing for Grant. he overreaches when he says ‘nobody cared’. Sure, I was not a sports writer, but I cared. Deeply. Actively, Immediately. I cared when it was going on, probably because I already had some level of distaste for Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco when they were the Bash Brothers of Oakland............

We have a new game. Top MLB prospect doesn’t get called up in order to protect Super Two status. Media knows that prospect is not going to get called up, and it will be to protect Super Two status. Media asks GM anyway why prospect is not getting called up, and is it to protect Super Two status? GM says it has nothing to do with Super Two status. Media makes GM lie, GM accommodates by lying, then media gets to wring their hands over how big a liar is the GM. Maybe the writers are keeping notches on their laptops and trying to see who can get the most GM’s to lie? Meanwhile, by now you know my position. This is all Tony Clark being introduced to The Law Of Unintended Consequences, and minor leagues being punished as payment for MLB players getting an extra seat on the team bus, which was Tony’s priority...........

It’s probably just me, but I find investment speculation on career baseball futures to be kind of creepy. It just feels like a hipster version of Jai Alai betting..........

Oh lookie here! The union writers of Deadspin have a new target to pick on. No longer content to bash my head for simply having fun writing blog shit while Vox sells a few bucks of ad space in the sidebars, now they are going after Fansided because their writers are suffering the same guilty pleasure (even though they are not as good at it). I don’t feel so special anymore..........


The Duffle Bag

Trevor Williams being super chill...........Two data factoids: Kirby Pucket was a mad man when it came to swinging at first pitches.....And Mike Trout is not..........A’s fans. Bandwagoners..........505 foot home run in a real live professional baseball game............Dishwasher DL.............I went to this link to watch Jhoulys Chacin trying to chase back Javy Baez, while Javy Baez was already chased back as far as possible. I thought that would be the funny part. Nope. The funny part is watching the Brewers throw the ball all over Miller Park while Baez runs circles around them...........