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HumpLinks: Angel Fly in Wings of Heartache

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The Halos restart their season, one Halo shy.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Seattle Mariners Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

And a very difficult day was had by all.

The men and women of the franchise did the hard work of putting the organization back into motion, which is something that begins slowly at first. But back in motion we are.

A pre-game memorial moment, and a game-long elimination of walk-up tunes served to frame the the sporting event for what it really is: an escape from reality. But that escape helps.

The game itself was a good roll. The Angels scored 9 runs, and STILL left 4 other guys on base. It helps that they drew 11 walks. It helps that the plate umpire was all over the map, with even Victor and Gubi getting on his case for his poor mechanics. The LAA pitchers only walked 3, and that disparity is amazing to me since it was the Rangers who had Jeff CERA Mathis behind the plate. (The same Jeff CERA Mathis that would go 0 for 3 with 3 strikeouts, now batting .149...)

Let’s point out that David Fletcher scored 3 times, and Jonathan Lucroy drive in 3 runs. And Justin Bour stepped in for the inured Tommy La Stella and inherited a 3-2 count and immediately singled to RF to drive in 2 runs (the winning runs, it would turn out). 1 pitch, 1 trot to 1B, 1 jog back to the dugout as a hero.

And it also helps that the Rangers committed 4 errors, which is the Rangers team we expected to see in 2019 when the season began.

And it really helps that the Halo pitching staff was strong. Jose Suarez gave up 3 runs over 4 innings but only 2 were earned. He battled his way into and out of 1st and 3rd inning jams, but he ended up striking out 7 of the 12 outs recorded. The bullpen went 5 innings of 3-hit, 1-run ball and, all in , the Angels staff shut down the 7th most run-productive team in MLB.

So Angels win 9-4, and my fear of 0 for Texas is unfounded.

Let’s take baby steps with A-Week-Of-Somber-HaloLinks:


Tyler Skaggs

Remembering Tyler Skaggs...........”It’s like a really bad dream”..........Both stories unlocked at The Athletic............

($$) - ‘There’s no checklist, no book’: How one GM dealt with the in-season death of a player..........And it was the Angels GM, Billy Eppler, who had the gut-wrenching responsibility to call Cali Skaggs and inform her of her husband’s passing. I cannot even imagine..........

The best perspective I found for revealing the connection of Tyler Skaggs to the brotherhood of ballplayers is this from Jeff Fletcher: 28 of the current 30 MLB rosters has at least one person who shared a clubhouse with Skaggs...........One of those people would be Patrick Corbin, who came up the ranks in the LAA farm system with Skaggs and considered Skaggs his best friend. Corbin changed his jersey number to 45 last night to honor Tyler..........Nelson Cruz, one player who did not share a clubhouse, still knew Skaggs personally and was was still effected. And this is ultimate respect, because as a pro on the field of play, Skaggs embarrassed Cruz............

The best statement about Tyler Skaggs as a human being and friend comes to us from Noe Ramirez. That Skaggs was a ballplayer and teammate were merely bonuses..........

Skaggs’ autopsy was performed yesterday. I give you that as a public service. I am just a fan of the sport of baseball. I feel that I have no entitlement to the details surrounding the passing of Tyler Skaggs simply because the profession wherein he excelled was conducted for my personal entertainment. But I recognize that there is a driving curiosity to know among the many. Skaggs’ family has requested that no details arising out of his autopsy are to be released until the full investigation is completed, and that is not expected until at least October 2..........

Tyler Skaggs intended to play in the next WBC, representing Mexico to honor his mother.............

Ippei with words of farewell..........


A Little Bit Of Angels News

Tommy La Stella was carried off the field with an incredibly painful foul ball off his own shin. As of this writing there is no report on how serious, but we have to all be hoping it doesn’t impact his chance to take the field in Cleveland for the All Star game............

Matt Harvey had another rehab outing yesterday. And the horrible news is that his outing was only half bad..........

($$) - Luis Rengifo and José Suarez go all the way back to childhood together..........

It’s International Signing time, and the Angels adding to their fold. I wonder if Adrian Placencia knows that we have a town named after him not far from Angels Stadium?.........

The monthly recap of Mike Trout’s Career WAR climb up the ladder of history..........

And something that I did not get to dive into yesterday was this look into Why Mike Trout almost never swings at a 3-0 pitch. Just look at his splits on BBR. Career-wise, he has had 201 Plate Appearances with a 3-0 count, and only 5 of those resulted in an AB. Of the other 196, he has had 194 walks and a single. This season he has had 20 such PA’s, and all of them have ended up as BB’s.........Now compare that to how one of Trout’s heir apparents has started off. Ronald Acuna is a flailing mad man. Of his fourteen 3-0 PAs he does have a double and a home run, but if he sticks to his current tendencies his plate discipline will have a braking effect over time on any challenge to Trout’s level of consistent brilliance.........


Everywhere In Baseball

As I just linked above, it’s International Signing time and what a mess we are making out Int’l Free Agency. This just adds to the clamor for a true Int’l draft, but keep in mind that a system of drafting players, however common it is in sports, exists only so that ownership can suppress player pay in an orderly manner. Wrapping a draft event up in so much marketing hype to stir fan frenzy only masks the basic truth...........

Dan Szymborski is trying to figure out where all the pre-season ZiPS projections went wrong in 2019. This first entry is for pitchers. I was banging this drum before the season started so you know that I don’t believe in this stuff. There comes a tendency towards overconfidence once so much data is assembled for analysis. No matter how much data you have, you cannot be certain that you have ALL the necessary data, nor can you be certain that you are plucking the right data out of the pile. I’d feel a lot more comfortable with these projection systems if (A) they tightened up their margins of error, and (B) approached the effort as an exercise in experimentation and discovery on the journey towards someday being authoritative. I’d also feel more comfortable if a FanGraphs would grow to the level of corporate financial strength that it might employ Big Data analytics capabilities. MLB teams are already doing this, but they are not doing it for public benefit...........

As I predicted back on day 1, when we first heard about this, the MLB Player’s Union expects that any such plan for the Rays to split home games with Montreal will need Union approval just like it does MLB approval. Hilariously, MLB reps reject that notion, invoking the concept of corporate headquarters relocation as understood within National Labor Relations rules and regs. Yeah, as though that will make the union simply roll over and play dead............

Minor League cities and Minor league stadium construction gets more major league all the time..........

I agree. Manny Machado is doing pretty damned well in San Diego. As FanGraphs points out, his numbers appear to be down only in contrast to his career peak (to date) of 2018. In the context of Machado’s career, he is doing just fine. And Machado is having a Hall Of Fame career. Not making the All-Star team isn’t such a comment on his season when you look at how Machado is splitting his time nearly 50/50 between SS and 3B, and the NL is loaded with full-time depth at both those positions. y take is simply that Philadelphia chased the wrong mega Free Agent..........

Yeah, there is a rise in two-way players arriving on the scene in MLB. But I predict that this trend will not dilute the uniqueness of Shohei Ohtani. It will only prove how amazing are his world-class gifts from BOTH skill sets as other two-way guys show themselves to be merely adequate............

Mo’ne Davis is in college now, and she just wants to have fun and enjoy the sport..........

If Major League Baseball would simply hand out tons of Wiffleball sets to inner city kids everywhere, the world would be a much better place over time. Even though all 6 of us siblings in my family growing up played baseball or softball, the neighborhood Wiffleball games every summer were just as fun, just as memorable, just as epic, just as instructional, and just as bonding. I can recall participating in 9-on-9 games, with the home run line the curb across the street. And we would still have 6 or so kids sitting on the lawn waiting to sub in. All it took for all that baseball time was a single plastic bat and a single plastic ball. About 25 cents of manufacturing material...........


The Duffle Bag

This is the way to market baseball, by staying fresh and not recycling the shit that worked back in 1998............(h/t reddit) MLB opens up to India. Keep in mind that India (and Pakistan) are major global hot beds of young athletes who are incredibly skilled at whacking moderately sized white balls with wooden bats, and running around grassy fields catching those balls on the fly..........We just passed Bobby Bonilla Day...........(h/t UniWatch) Instant respect for Tyler Skaggs paid by Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Jose Alvarado..........In case you have to see it, Google doodle is playing baseball. I scored 19 runs on my first try before left-handed Romaine Lettuce was blown away by a 103 fastball...........Thank you, Jerry.............

OT but too funny to pass up..........