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HumpLinks: HeanDog Takes a Bite Out of Rangers Bark

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Andrew Heaney reminds us how fresh it is to have a real starting pitcher

Texas Rangers v Los Angeles Angels Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images

Andrew Heaney on the mound in Anaheim in 2019 is the kind of thing that normally results in success, as going into last night the Halos were 4-2 in Heaney home starts (and 4-2 in way starts). But those home outcomes were more in spite of Heaney than because of Heaney. Andrew’s home/away splits had been atrocious. Batters against had been .195/.267/.331/.598 on the road, but .254/.319/.492/.811 at home.

Heaney brought his road game to Anaheim last night. 10 strikeouts across 6 innings, 1 run on 4 hits and 3 walks. Cam Bedrosian gave up another meaningless run on a homer and the Angels won 5-2.

The Halos got those 5 runs on only 5 hits, and only 1 of those runs came via a MIke Trout solo homer. The Rangers committed no errors, no wild pitches and no passed balls and only walked 3 LAA batters. The Angels stole zero bases. The key to this anomaly is that the Halos clustered most of that tiny bit of positive energy in the same frame, the bottom of the 7th inning. That was the inning that Mike Minor ran out of gas. It’s also when Minor had exhausted plate umpire Bruce Dreckman’s magical strike zone, something that Heaney was enjoying too.

Dig these KKKKKKKKKK-HaloLinks:


A Little Bit Of Angels News

(h/t to OCsportsgeek) Mike Trout will play until he is 60-years old.............

In ranking Trout’s seasons so far, there are two observations. One, 2012 was truly a break-out season as Major League Baseball got caught with their pants down and was completely unprepared for how to compete against an all-time great helicoptered into their midst. Fortunately, the BBWAA standing by in order to bail them out and gift the MVP to some old-school homage....Then, two, as Mike gets older and moves into his peak athletic years, he appears to be trending upward in production. This is the kind of result that writes itself, and should have eliminated the need for the article in the first place..........

Mike’s dog is already better at social media than Mike himself..........

Mike is a member of the 2019 Regular Season MLB Home Run Derby. I may be guilty of directing opinion around here, but my guess would be that the HH masses know more about Trout’s Septembers than do those in the national media. As great as Trout is, I would be reluctant to risk my Ben Franklins on his name...........

As we have seen with Trout, career bWAR in the macro sense trends in one direction but fluctuates up and down over shorter periods. Albert Pujols just reached 100.0 bWAR, but he might end up leaping over this particular hurdle several more times before he finally settles in above it permanently..........

Wilfredo Tovar in Anaheim ain’t working out..........Wilfredo now gets to go back to working out in MiLB..........

($$) - September call-up time is just a few days away, and we have some candidates. For those without subscriptions, the list looks like this (although you won’t get the meat or the justification for each): Luke Bard, Jake Jewell, José Rodriguez, Jeremy Rhoades, JC Ramírez, Anthony Bemboom, Justin Bour, Jared Walsh, Taylor Ward, Jose Rojas and Michael Hermosillo. Very few of those names spark my imagination, to be honest..........

As one would expect, Jabari is Blashing it in Japan............

Home Run Derby: When the day began. Trout was tied with Cody Bellinger for the MLB lead in home runs at 42. Right behind were Christian Yelich and Pete Alonso at 41. Bellinger and Yelich were quiet, but Alonso jumped up into the 42 homer group and created a 3-way tie. A couple of hours later, Mike responded with #43.............


Everywhere In Baseball

A more thoughtful look into MLB prosperity trends debunks many of the most common excuses: home runs, strikeouts, less baserunning and many other themes that involve the product on the field. Instead, the logic wends its way to basic economics. “If you look at revenues in baseball since 2007, revenue is up 80 percent—it’s gone up every year.....The difference is that MLB is changing the product it is offering, with more high-end food options and other bells and whistles that turn baseball from a hey, let’s go to the ballpark game-time decision into a destination outing more akin to a trip to Disney than to a night at the movies.....And while pricing yourself out of the market for much of your fan base might seem dumb at first, it starts to make more sense when you take into account that when fans stay home, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not spending money on baseball......ports teams may be fine with many fans watching on TV, as then you don’t have to employ people to sell them beer or clean up after them, but you still get to charge them money via cable fees that are passed through to viewers......Baseball is finding ways to make money, it’s just not necessarily putting butts in seats.”.............

More Players’ Weekend fallout.............And how Clayton Kershaw got jobbed..........

This season, the CYA in the American League might more honestly be the trophy for “See Ya!” pitching than anything. Justin Verlander is a near lock for the AL CYA this year, And he is a near lock in spite of being at the top of the league leader boards in home runs allowed......As this article suggests, Verlander is the ideal CYA candidate for our modern style of baseball.........

Am I getting hyper-sensitive to this here, or is Justin Verlander turning into the sport’s whiniest bitch? You can tell me. I’m a big boy and I can take it. If I’m wrong then I’m wrong. But here is Verlander with an 8-run lead in the 6th inning, pitching a 3-hit shutout. He throws pitch #5 right here. It’s a ball. Verlander wants it to be his strike. It’s not. On pitch #6 Tommy Pham doubles to right-center field. Now Verlander is REALLY upset because he thinks it should be 2 outs and nobody on. Because, after all, Verlander. Well, being a whiny bitch to a plate umpire over balls and strikes always ends up you-know-how...........

Yu Darvish is making a comeback. Over his last 8 starts he has had an ERA of 3.23, recording 47.1 innings. Walks way down, strikeouts way up. Part of this is because he has flipped the switch on a knuckle curve, something he had not used in a while. The other part of this is a new ritual: jogging with his new pre-game muse, Victor Caratini..........ESPN wants to chalk it up to the intangible touchy-feely thing of ‘confidence..........

The Phillies won a game and the game hero, our own Sean Rodriguez, ended up going off on Philadelphia fans. Now, when anybody goes off on Philadelphia sports fans they are automatically right, 100% of the time. Philly fans actually take pride in being the most dickish of sports fans. It’s their legacy and they relish the chance to pass that legacy on to each generation. But that doesn’t mean that the person going ff on them gets a free pass. Rodriguez does nothing more than put a large bulls-eye on his own back with those dicks...........The first thing that will happen is that somebody in the local press will step forward and nit pick Rodriguez apart while soft-pedaling Phillie fan behavior, thus providing those fans with all the ammo they need to feel vicitimized by Rodriguez and abuse him even harder. And, yes, here is that someone in the local press..........

ESPN is about to release their Body Issue, and Christian Yelich is featured...........That. of course, opens the doors to Twitter thumb thinkerers, which which Yelich must now contend (literally, “who will think of the children!?!”)...........

Dustin Pedroia is on the Andrew Luck career path, just 10 further into the arc..........

If there is one thing that would be a force to accelerate RoboUmps, that one thing would be the human umps MLB that MLB employs today. Human tragedies such as Rob Drake.....Drake was an abomination all game.....But Drake was not alone, and I am less certain that RoboUmps can do anything about the way that Derek Dietrich of the Reds keeps stealing first base with illegal HBP. RoboUmps wouldn’t make those calls, and the human umpires such as Hunter Wendelstedt will continue to get duped into abusing the rule book in Dietrich’s favor..........

So how are RoboUmps doing over there in The Atlantic League? This article give a good pre-amble that reviews the actual technology, and then goes into the opinions of the participants. I have to chuckle. Some of this is clearly loaded with bias, even if hidden. An MiLB umpire would declare themselves to be a huge fan and supporter because that opens a door to a promotion once RoboUmps hit the MLB level. Players are biased in favor because the experimenting brings MLB eyeballs to their games so they get some added exposure. Managers might be biased because they have less reason to go ballistic over what amounts to Instant Replay of every pitch..........

Once Upon A Time baseball teams did consign their bullpens to the next area code. A huge number of them all sat just past the dugouts. It kind of added a dodgeball flavor for line foul shots and an American Gladiator flavor for fielders trying to shag foul pop ups. All fun for the fans, with the drama of potential injury always at the fore. Well, those are dying............

In this long form view from the press box, AAA sounds like the worst level in the life of any pro baseball player. “Triple A must be the most human place in baseball. Nowhere do results matter more and nowhere do they matter less. Nowhere does how you treat others matter more and nowhere does it matter less. Nowhere else does potential intersect in quite the same way with what someone has already done.”..........

The Athletic is expanding, adding 40 more podcasts (they do at least 20 now), AND they will be moved to the free side of the pay wall. I’d be all excited about that except that they are all football-related. Maybe next Spring we might see a growth in their baseball-focused podcasts (so far it’s only MLB in general, and fantasy baseball)..........


The Duffle Bag

This guy is setting a new standard for MLB post-game sideline reporting and how to behave during the Gatorade bath.............Keon Broxton with a nice no-look, over-the-shoulder, face slap..........


Just for fun: most popular facial hair in all 50 states..........