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HumpLinks: With Trout Out, Honus is on Albert

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Albert Pujols separates from Honus Wagner in career doubles, then doubles as enforcer.

MLB: Houston Astros at Los Angeles Angels Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Ahhh. That was the first game I have attended in at least half a dozen where the Angels actually win. The final score was 7-2, but blowing up the Houston Opener in the first inning made the whole subsequent game just a joy.

The big hammer came when Albert Pujols doubled to clear the loaded bases, moving past Honus Wagner in the all-time career list. (This doesn’t make sense to me, since I cannot find a resource that grant Wagner more than 640 or 643 instead of the needed 651. But I stick with for the sake of the headline punnage.)............And then things got REALLY interesting. Every time Jake Marisnick entered into the game radar the home crowd went berserk. So when Noe Ramirez tagged Marisnick in the back in the 6th, sending Destroyer-Of-Catchers to 1B, the Houston dugout began to bark. Because, sure, of all the potential players in the Houston lineup to be at the plate when a Halos pitcher loses control, it was Marisnick. Well, Pujols ain’t taking any such shit from anyone. Not at this point in his career. He had no problem marching off the field and facing down the entire dugout. And the crowd goes crazy.

We cannot go further without giving credit to Trevor Cahill last night. 2.2 innings pitched, 4 hits scattered, 3 K’s, 0 runs allowed. Turns out the dude can pitch pretty good with a 5-run lead. And did you notice that Ohtani had a couple of hits? You probably did. And did you notice that he stole a base? Yeah, you probably noticed that, too. What you probably did NOT notice was that Shohei had another bullpen session before the game, which looks like it went well.

That’s 5 wins in a row for the Angels, putting them 4 game above .500, which last happened June 24, 2018. They are 12 game behind the Rangers for 3rd place in the AL West but still 4 12 games behind the A’s for second place as Oakland is one of only 5 MLB teams hotter over the last 10 games than the Halos. Oakland, by the way, is now within 4 12 games of the 1st place Astros. The Angels are now 3-4 against Houston on the season and have at least split the current series.

Let’s roll with Take-No-Crap-HaloLinks:


A Little Bit Of Angels News

Mike Trout with the “small calf strain”. Mike needs larger cattle............But here we are. In the fine heritage of LAA/Mike Trout injury reports, something that went (1) mystery exit from a game, to (2) precautionary move due to calf stiffness, to (3) “I feel fine and should be back right away”, to (4) MRI shows minor strain, to (5) miss one game, to (6) miss two games....and now is expected to play today. We all know where this leads.

Trout Porn. Turns out there IS one thing he sucks at..............

Felix Pena is the Angels innings-eating workhorse. That helps explain why, as the article notes, Skipper Brad kept sending Pena out inning after inning on Friday with the no-hitter on the line. Skip might go “new school” with a Griffin Canning and yank him to save his arm, no-hitter or not. But it was easy to go “old school” and stick with what was working, since Pena’s role is as a workhorse, anyway..........

MLB player alumni still like their gritty little infielders. Well, they certainly like ours. David Fletcher is the Angels’ 2019 “Heart and Hustle Award” nominee..........(Ironically, Jake Merisnick is the Astros “Heart and Hustle” nominee. And, humorously, Pablo Sandoval, of all people, is a nominee.)..........

Hansel Robles is getting known as a mound character infamous for pissing off opposing batters via fancy-pants leg kicks and pauses. It really can mess with a batter’s timing mechanism, and he knows it. And we have heard about opposing players barking from dugouts, which is only going to serve to encourage him. While it lasts, and while he remains unique, let’s have fun with it..........

Billy Eppler buys himself more warm bodies. At least this time we get a cool name. Anthony Bemboom comes to us from the Rays for cash. Eppler picked Bemboom off the waiver wire.........

Kole Calhoun is working himself into trade bait shape. I feel for Kole. He has to know better than we do that Jo Adell means that his near-term future will be in a right field where Mike trout is no longer at his side...........


Everywhere In Baseball

Before yesterday’s games began, the AL West was 51 wins and 45 losses versus the AL East, 55-39 vs. the AL Central, and 31-28 versus the National League. So, yeah, who thought when the season started that the AL West would be the best in MLB?..............

Yasiel Puig is on one of those hot streaks that makes everybody so excited about the guy. But consistency is not his forte, so enjoy it while it lasts..............

You know that you have something wrong with your “exhilaration formula” when you end up declaring that Mike trout is boring to watch.............

This is interesting. Angels and Astros players were asked how much they might support the idea of stealing first base if that rule were ever adopted at the MLB level. What interests me is how much players care about what that event might do to their stats...........

Las Vegas is the desert. Las Vegas is hot. Las Vegas is hot for baseball. But not too hot. No, really, baseball in a new baseball stadium in Las Vegas is a hot ticket...........The Aviators are actually the top average draw in the PCL this season..........

This should go without saying, but if there was one community that would be absolutely appalled at the idea of advertising on uniforms, and on uniforms within a sport as traditional as baseball, it would be UniWatch............

Kansas City Royals are extending netting............

Rule #1 for figuring out how to market baseball players such as Mookie Betts to the larger sporting community: understanding that as it stands now the sport of baseball is regional. Change that...........

Ok, this is a really great piece of baseball information. As home runs go up, and as strike outs go up, so too are the number of pitches that MLB pitchers are throwing OUTSIDE the actual strike zone. And they are not counting pitches that batters are swinging at. This means that pitchers are throwing more pitches for balls. The part that I get stuck on, personally, is the part where the tools used to define what constitutes the strike zone are not consistent. Certainly not between 2002 and 2019. And they can be subjective, too, based on the equipment operator...............

We need to start having serious conversations about the CBA negotiations. Not because we have any impact on either the MLBPA or MLB negotiators. In fact, I would expect a lot more creative and credible ideas to come from non-vested crowd-sourcing. But I think such discussions make us far more aware of the issues and challenges involved. Unlike the linked article, however, my humble opinion is that baby steps won’t work for the MLBPA. They would have to make some significant concessions for every such baby step. It’s like squirming ever harder in the quicksand. I think that the MLBPA needs to go bold, and create something so new and distinct form the status quo that it puts MLB on equal footing for concessions..............


Trade Rumors

If you are a superteam, with a legit shot at the Word Series, your next big hurdle is right in front of you. You need to make a blockbuster trade to acquire a legit star player to put you over the top. The last 9 WS champs have all differentiated themselves by doing just that..........

And you list of best options would be non-rental stars. A list such as this. It’s gonna cost you, though.........

Madison Bumgarner and Brad Hand are also heavy rumor targets (adding to Trevor Bauer, who is on this list and the one above). These are the kinds of names we will see move in the next couple of weeks..........

The Cubs lost Willson Contreras to injury, so they cut a deal with the Kansas City Royals and grabbed our one-time GG catcher Martin Maldonado. The price was RHP Mike Montgomery.........Machete sent back thanks to KC. Cool guy still..........And this might signal that the Royals are in full-sell mode............


The Duffle Bag

Really bad timing on the part of the Phillies stat department. Bellinger went 4 for 6 with 2 home runs, scoring 4 times. And that was just game 1.............Thank you, Jimmy Fallon. May this become a forever thing, replacing the mindless cliches we have endured for a couple of decades now...........Washington football fans gave us The Wave. Chicago baseball fans have given us The Beer Cup Snake. One would think that the revenue of beer sales would be an acceptable outcome by the Cubs. You would think wrong................Dear MLB: the next time you need to scare fowl off of a baseball field, just call in Randy Johnson. He knows the trick.........