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Thor’sLinks: Halos Grant ‘Stro’s the Easy One

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Angels let Astros pile up all their offense in the game they were destined to lose, anyway.

MLB: Houston Astros at Los Angeles Angels Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Yeah, Ok. It was Gerrit Cole night and the odds of a W were pretty slim to begin with. Going into the game the Halos had faced Cole 7 times, with a slash line of .209/.261/.331 and an OPS of .593. His ERA against had been 3.02. He was 4-1.

All of that only got better.

So if the Halos were going to allow the Astros to blow things up with their offense, last night was the game to do it.

They did it. Angels lose 11 - 2 and, if anything, they didn’t do enough to let the Houston players exhaust themselves swinging lumber and running around the bases.

It’s Matt Harvey versus Wade Miley tonight. Miley has had nothing but success against the Angels, too, but it’s only been 3 games. And the Astros are still fighting just to break even in the series. I’m not gonna whine about last night.

I was gonna whine about Cole. I take offense to any current Astro complaining about tanking teams, especially any current Astro who landed on the team due to Houston exploiting the prospect haul that was gained through tanking. The precise same way that his partner in whine Justin Verlander got there. That’s pulling up the drawbridge behind himself kinda bullshit. I’m certain that Cole’s teammate buddies had a great time celebrating their World Series win, and they wear their rings with pride, and they love the bonus money they got in the playoffs. And I’m sure that the majority of MLB players - his fellow union members - would have loved the chance to experience all that. I don’t want to champion the cause of the Dodgers, but the only reason that Verlander got to bathe in the champagne and not Clayton Kershaw is because Verlander got to exploit tanking.

In today’s MLB, the way for teams to turn themselves into superteams and compete with Houston is to follow the Houston template. And that template was as brutal and dishonest then as it is now. Where was Cole in 2013 when the Astros 51 wins were the worst in MLB, a full 10 games worse than the next closest team and finished the season with a 15 game losing streak? The year where the home crowd season-long total attendance was the same as the 2019 has drawn already??

Houston has won 25 games and a League Divisional title and numerous playoff games out of an 8 WAR player that has cost them only $20MM over the past 2 years PLUS 4 of the prospect haul they fetched from tanking - a haul no other team could afford to match. Baseball whines that the Angels are wasting Mike Trout while giving heavy news attention and a free pass to a guy who is the direct beneficiary of the very cancer plaguing the League that he complains about today.

[Editing Note: An earlier version of this rant conflated the career tracks of Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander. Cole was obtained by the Astros AFTER their 2017 WS victory. The rant has been corrected to reflect the original intent.]

There. I feel better now. Rock it with Any-Day-For-Trout-HaloLinks:


A Little Bit Of Angels News

Mike Trout may play Tuesday.

Mike Trout may play Wednesday.

Mike Trout may play Thursday.

I am curious as to what is in A.J. Hinch’s background as a baseball manager relating and communicating and working with his pitching staff that has him convinced that the Noe Ramirez plunking Jame Marisnick was not an accident?..........Certainly his whining performed the service that Pat Riley and Phil Jackson used to ply in publicly shaming the league into doing something..........It worked. For the plunking, Ramirez gets a couple of days off and Skipper Brad gets one day..........And Manny Machado is interjecting himself into the issue by jumping on MLB analysts Eric Byrnes and Dan Plesac for double standards............Oh, and have fun watching how stupid arguments don’t get any less stupid by shouting the stupidity even louder!............

Here is an idea: if you want players to stop policing the game itself, MLB should take a stronger hand in policing the game. A 2-game suspension for busting a guy’s nose and parking him in the hospital, a suspension that he can appeal long enough to put him on the field in front of that opponent again? to the victim, that will always look like a wrist-slap. if Marisnick was suspended for 3 weeks, with a 24-hour appeal process, by the time he got back onto the field none of the players would care any longer...........

Because somebody needs to pretend they are the smartest guy in the room, Mike Trout is no longer the best player in baseball today...........

($$) - “We’re nasty” is fuel for the LAA fire.....The players are down with it....That would be taking a page from the Book of Boston but, hey, if it works............

($$) - Yesterday you folks were all chatting about Gerrit Cole in the 2019 Free Agent market. Yes, the Angles are in need of pitching. But Cole is going to be this offseason’s Patrick Corbin and how did that work out? In this link about forecasting LAA futures and pitching needs, we conclude with this line after checking with the prospect pipeline: “The time will come for the Angels to go all-in, using every available financial and organizational resource. But that time, even with the team a season-best four games over .500, is not in 2019.”..........

We gave you the update when Shohei Ohtani hit 162 games total, DH + pitcher. Well, now he reached 162 games as DH. This was where I thought we would get and showcase some Ohtani Porn. The earlier post took the wind out of those sails, but you can still marvel at his 162 DH games achievement..........

Tyler’s mom says thanks..........


Everywhere In Baseball

Yu Darvish signed with the Chicago Cubs on February 13, 2018. It took Darvish 519 days to collect his first win in Wrigley Field..........

I really don’t know how the Oakland A’s have lasted this long. All I know is that the back half of the season they face a ton of games against teams with winning records. If they get through that, too, then they earned it..........

CC Sabathia strikes a guy out. On a blatantly bad call by the umpire that should have been ball 4. And THAT triggers Sabathia to start mouthing off at his victim?..........

What was it that Ian Malcolm says to himself in Jurassic Park? Oh yeah. “Boy, do I hate being right all the time.” Inning #1 in Game #1 of Robot Umpires and we have our very first argument, with Manager Frank Viola getting tossed. Here is what I have been saying all along. the technician who set up any tracking system are NOT MLB union umpires, and they are NOT visible and accountable to the participants on the field. And the upper and lower boundaries are set by them SUBJECTIVELY. This pits the opinion of the human in black behind the plate against the human computer nerds who are nowhere to be found. Sometimes the pre-game opinions of the techs rule a pitch, and sometimes the umpire on the field rules a pitch. Thus, when things are close, as Viola complained, who the hell is in charge here???..........

($$) - Yeah...uh...no. I have had multiple intersections in my corporate career with McKinsey Consulting. Jeff Luhnow was once an employee, who was brought into baseball by the Cards, then jumped ship to the Astros, and has brought McKinsey into the Houston franchise to do their thing. Of course an ex-McKinsey guy would have full faith in the McKinsey product. My experiences have always been that they enter an organization and bog everything down while they perform the colonoscopy to gather data for their study, then bog everything down again as they convince management to implement the recommendations of their study (why have an executive management layer if the decisions are being made by other people anyway?), and then take credit for the uptick in results once they have finished and removed the burden of their colonoscope. Like everything Houston (AJ Hinch, World Series rings, Jeff Luhnow himself), the proof of any value for McKinsey needs to come AFTER the all the benefits of the 2009 - 2012 tank cycle have worn off..........

Major League Baseball is big business. Major League Baseball expansion is, therefore, also big business. And a key part of that big business is how to get busy finagling construction money out of somebody else’s pockets. This article looks deep into Portland, but the punch lines that come in at the end are for everybody, beginning at the mark which opens with: “Just as the falcon cannot hear the falconer, oftentimes city officials cannot see the truth through sports’ teams smokescreens.”.........

Maybe we should use Ketel Marte as our poster child for the weirdness that modern major League Baseball has become. Face it, when you watch a game in 2017/2018/2019 you have different expectations than you did back in 2005, and you are prepared not to be surprised by the oddness of the game today...Rockies pitching getting bludgeoned even more than normal comes to mind...Ketel Marte should not be a slugger. Yet he is. “That a player who for years looked as though he’d have been lucky to put up Juan Pierre’s power numbers can learn to drive the ball consistently enough to produce an All-Star calibre half season is another example of the endless surprises baseball can deliver.”.............

One is used to hearing about carrier feuds potentially disrupting some random cable channel, maybe even as important as ESPN or FOX Sports. But it is always assumed that the Big Three are immutable services in any carrier connection. So hearing that DirecTV may be about to drop all CBS channels??? Wow.........


Trade Rumors

The Yankees added a potential late season call up that could serve as a pinch running specialist, in the name of Terrance Gore. Must be nice to be able to spend your days worrying about such a corner case need.........

The Mets did Wilmer Font a solid, and moved him off to the Blue Jays for cash..........

Not so much a trade, but a player mobility rumor nonetheless. Aroldis Chapman is 1,000,000 percent opting out of his MFY contract after the season...........Oh hell, no, Aroldis Chapman is NOT opting out of his MFY contract at the end of the season..........

The Toronto Blue Jays seem to be so worried about pimping up the trade value of a couple of guys on their 25-man, they are cock-blocking the arrival of highly productive Bo Bichette stuck down in AAA..........

Dave Dombrowski, GM of the Red Sox, makes an interesting confession. In the old days nobody really knew even the names of Minor League players. But in this Information Age has created quite a bit of data and attention on prospects, with the general presumption that they will all pan out and turn into at least very good players. And that creates a media-driven amount of real pressure on Front Offices to be very careful in sending away MiLB prospects. Another observation of his is that the addition of the WC game creates such a level of uncertainty about the potential one-and-done playoff experience that just “making the playoffs” is not necessarily the benchmark of success. Teams need more than that, so they need to try and do more at the trade deadline if they are serious. These two ideas can create constipation.........


The Duffle Bag

Coach Drake at it again. His grandpa must be Earl Weaver..........Just because it’s fun: a couple of baseball nincompoops taking poop shots at each other would be David Price and Dennis Eckersley. Price went off on Eck a couple of years ago for mocking a MiLB rehab start, launching a feud. Eckersley commented on that and Price got to tee it up again......Price couldn’t sit still. His tee shot made the green, so he went putting for eagle..............Shitty-assed Cubs fan grown up versus pretty cool Indians fan grown up.........Just to remind, chewing tobacco was banned from MLB in the latest CBA..........