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WeekEnd HaloLinks: Shohei Ohtani Cycles Past Rays

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Halos take opener as Shohei Ohtani flashes offensive prowess.

Los Angeles Angels v Tampa Bay Rays
Shohei Ohtani completes his Cycle
Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images

Shohei Ohtani became the first Japanese-born player to ever hit for The Cycle in an MLB game. His offense, combined with a 2-run blast by Albert Pujols (giving Pujols more than 200 HR’s with 2 different teams, the 6th MLB player to ever do that), powered the Angels to a 5-3 victory in The Opening game between two teams heavily committed to using The Opener, neither of which actually did.

Tyler Skaggs out-dueled Ryan Yarbrough (recently converted to a Starter), and the LAA bullpen of Noe Ramirez, Justin Anderson, and Cam Bedrosian held down the fort to kick off a 4-game visit to Tampa in fine order.

Ohtani also did something else historic, one far less mentioned. In the entire history of MLB, no player who had performed as a Starting Pitcher had ever hit for The Cycle. There was one single time that a relief pitcher had hit for The Cycle, but that was Jimmy Ryan, way back in 1888. Do not let yourself forget during this 2019 season that Ohtani is actually one of our Starting Pitchers. Technically, it might be possible to Ohtani to both pitch AND hit for the cycle in the same game (inter-league play, World Series). That would be far more recognizable, for sure. But the gift of being a two-way phenomenon means that we can see such combos outside of a same-game scenario, and we just did. History, checked...mate. King the kid, people!

Let’s keep kickin’ it with Pedal-Power-HaloLinks:


A Little Bit Of Angels News

The Angels supplied all the power in Tampa last night. More, even, than the local utility company...........During the outage, apparently the Halos and Rays were sending secret love notes behind the teacher’s back.............

Go back and think harder about Shohei going the other way on a pitch and hitting a baseball 414 feet on a line drive. Kevin Kiermaier was anticipating the ball to carom off he wall.............

Ohtani is close to throwing off the mound as part of his TJ rehab. That news certainly takes me by surprise. I am not one who tracks this kind of stuff and I wold have expected such a progress point not happening until November............

High School graduation at Angel Stadium, and the kids have to BUY the ceremony swag?.........

Skipper Brad had some notable angles to his player career. Read the replies, too.........

FanGraphs updated their Prospects List. Jo Adell is now their 6th-ranked prospect not already at the MLB level............


Everywhere In Baseball

The College World Series opens this weekend, and the opening game for this year’s edition was a showcase MLB game between the Royals and Tigers, marking the first MLB game ever in the state of Nebraska..............Here is your official CWS schedule..............

Tommy Pham has a fair argument concerning his not getting many All-Star votes while playing for a small-market team. If only he didn’t have guys like Mike Trout, Joey Gallo, George Springer, Byron Bruxton, Austin Meadows, Max Kepler and George Springer having better first halves. And if only he didn’t have two of those guy from Minneapolis ahead of him, which is not much larger in population than Tampa............Two of those guys I list are included in this review of the deserving but overlooked. Brandon Lowe is also on that list for 2B. Lowe is having a season every bit as good as Tommy La Stella is having...........

This is not the only era of juiced baseballs..........$$ - But combine this era of juiced baseball with all the other trends and you have Bludgeon Ball...........

Ex-MLB pitcher Dan Plesac loves the way that umpires let current Rockies and Cubs pitchers go head-hunting after each other’s star players, over and over and over again.............

Pay no attention to the fact that the Seattle Mariners pitching staff has the second worst ERA in all of baseball. And pay no attention to the fact that they have the very worst WHIP in all of baseball. Or among the lowest strikeout tally in this strikeout rich era. Or nearly the worst at surrendering home runs. No, by god, that Dipoto-led sabremetric front office is gonna keep walking through the Scott Servais front door and have that staff foresake the fastball. One of these months it’s finally gonna pay off...........

Little League World Series uniforms for this year have been released. Have I ever told y’all how much I hated the West being Green and Gold for so many years??...........

Tim Tebow has peaked at AAA, you say? I would suggest that since his AAA campaign has been so atrocious, his peak was back at AA.............

$$ - If you are an MLB player reading this, and your name is being bandied about the trade rumor mill (even if the rumor is as insane as Max Scherzer), Jay Bruce has some advice for you............

This is how the gamble of rolling dice in the FA market works, folks. After the 2017 season the Red Sox signed J.D. Martinez to a huge contract. 5 years, $110 million. He signed in February, not too long before opening of ST camps. Nobody else would step up and the Red Sox went big, anyway. Martinez proved everybody but Boston wrong and launched a monster 6.4 bWAR campaign in 2018, helping power the Red Sox to a WS title as they blew the doors off the Dodgers. All good, right? Maybe, maybe not. There are still 4 seasons after 2018 on that contract, $86 million to go. And Martinez is falling back off that 2018 peak enough that it is already safer for him to exercise his opt out and walk away from all that guarantee retirement money. At 31, this direction downward might not be the anomaly..............

Curveballs can be nasty. Here are the nastiest............

Speaking of curveballs, words to remember: Clayton Kershaw is only 3 12 years older than Mike Trout. Kershaw is still very, very good, but Clayton Kershaw has peaked...........

Have you ever wondered why baseball stadiums are not built to the same exacting standards of configuration? Wonder no more............

Here we go again. Should the All-Star Game count? I say yes, but it should count for charity. The AL players selected should be empowered to pick one charity, and the NL players empowered to pick another. Winning side gets 75% of the MLB charity pool, losing side gets 25%...........

How man of you people actually keep score at an MLB game? I certainly used to, back when I went as part of a family, In fact, back then there might have been 4 or 5 of us in the extended family, from my grandfather down to me, all keeping score even though we were sitting directly behind the home dugout (explained to point out that distractions existed long before cellphones). But I don’t think I have kept score for over 30 years now...........

For those who do not already know, Darren Rovell is America’s Gift of Mind-Ripping Jackass to the world of sports............


The Duffle Bag

Try hard as you might, Boston, you do not get to have all the trophies............If the Rangers can succeed in spite of Rougned Odor, we should be able to succeed in spite of Zack Cozart...........Every dog is a lap dog, because every lap belongs to every dog..........Freddie Freeman has no time for silly replay challenges. He, after all, was the guy right there in the play. It’s not like he would be biased or anything. But I have to trust Freeman. He is a fellow alum from my very own HS...........The White Sox photographer of First Pitches needs to find a new camera angle............The gods of baseball giveth lucky bounce home runs, and the gods of baseball taketh away lucky bounce home runs............”Hey honey! You are gonna be a father!! Now don’t go do anything stupid with your Plate Appearance...Oh...You struck out? I guess we now gotta name the kid Kay.”.............