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WeekEnd HaloLinks: Angels Grind Out an Extra W

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Taking the Astros to 12 innings before the playoffs feels like more than one Win

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Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v New York Yankees Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

I was expecting the Astros to enter Anaheim fully loaded, and to plow over the Halos until home field advantage in the playoffs was secured. When A.J. Hinch revealed his lineup and I saw that at least half of it looked more like the current Halo roster, I wondered. Was Hinch thinking that taking a pair of wins out of the 4 games in Anaheim was a sure thing, holding off his prime players to Saturday/Sunday only if needed? I dunno. What I do know is the Astros got stuck in park at their 104 wins by a walk-off error on the part of their September call-up utility player Kyle Tucker, allowing our September call-up Kaleb Cowart to score the winning run. 4-3 Angels in 12. The Dodgers won and now have a total of 103, and the Yankees are still right there at 102. They all have 3 games left, and all have more than a passing interest in how well the Angels play this weekend.

And if Hinch was hoping to give his guys some rest, I hope he sent them back to the hotel early. Getting stuck in a 12-inning, 4 12 hour game could not have been good for his plans. So forcing Hinch to burn some extra oil, and then winning the game itself, it feels like two Wins in one game.

So that’s it. The final Weekend HaloLinks of the 2019 regular season. When next we meet the season will be over, the Angels will be done, and the playoffs will be teed up.

We are left to track through The-Last-3, 2 and 1-Days-Of-Baseball-HaloLinks:


A Little Bit Of Angels News

Season Status Update: 87 losses still and now only 3 games remaining. Based on that, and results around MLB, the Angels max number of losses is 90 and they can rise no higher than 9th. That’s a 3 slot change in just 1 day. They could drop as low as 13th, but no longer in a tie............(Nobody is beating the Detroit Tigers to the #1 pick.).........

Just an observation as we close out this last series. Scanning the LA home page and noting the names used for all the highlight videos, it feels like I am covering the SLC bees in red.............

Doug White is the 2019 LAA pitching coach. Doug White is looking towards 2020 as the pitching coach and feel confident. Let’s assume White is still in his gig next year. Who the heck are the guys White will be confident about? The names in the pitching roster could be 75% different than what we know today. And that’s not considering a hoped for major upgrade behind the plate.........

Jo Adell is warming up to Arizona..........And more Adell.............

Here is Jeremiah Jackson getting some love from Baseball America..........

And here is Jahmai Jones getting some other love..........

The regular season of baseball is nearing an end. Playoff season is right around the corner. And that means we are in that transition season of “does Mike Trout deserve the MVP Award for merely being the best player of the game of baseball?” It makes for a decent subject that saves a baseball writer a day’s worth of real work. Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports took the day off yesterday.............

Or you can be like Jayson Stark ($$): “But even after digesting every bit of that info, I still felt this way: To vote for Bregman, you almost had to go into this looking for reasons to justify that vote.”..........

Matt Snyder of CBS Sports is on Team Trout: “But hey, keep telling yourself it’s a ‘recent trend’ to vote for the best player as the MVP, guys. Just as long as you don’t have to vote for Mike Trout, who has somehow only won two MVPs to this point in his historically great career.”..........

Jeff Fletcher reminds you that Alex Bregman is pretty damned worthy..........

Regardless of MVP or not, Mike Trout needs to be our perennial Topps baseball card #1..........

Look alive here, people. I am going to take you to a story that pits the ability of the Cardinals to draft and develop pitchers against those same skills within the Cubs organization. The point of the story is that Cards are in the playoffs because they are so good at this, and the Cubs have failed to make these playoffs because they are not. Ok, valid consideration. It does not ignore stocking your pitching staff from the outside because it calls out how that is useful to plug the gaps, and the Cards do that well. But look at the chart, way down there near the bottom where they park the misery of the Cubs draft/development outcome. And then look at the team name immediately above it. The article notes a strategy that the Cubs used which has little or no bearing on what Dipoto and Eppler have pursued. It can, therefore, be assumed that the Angels tried to lean more towards the Cardinal Way. That is all the more damning considering the final result........


Everywhere In Baseball

Home Run Derby Update:.....Pete Alonso lis now up to 51, and Eugenio Suarez now with 49, Cody Bellinger at 46, and Jorge Soler remain at 45......And this final sentence will be the place where I memorialize Mike Trout ending his year at 45 and Christian Yelich at 44.............

The formal 2019 MLB playoffs are about to start, but we have probably already started the informal 2019 playoffs, with the series that runs prior to the real teams getting their chance to be steamrolled by the Astros. We get to have the chance to get steamrolled by the Astros as a prequel series...........

Rob Manfred has come out and stated that MLB might need to “make some changes” to the baseball. His excuse is that he wants to make the ball more consistent and predictable, which is lawyer speak. The ball is predictable as hell now. The lower seams reduce the effectiveness of pitcher control and ball movement AND they create less drag on hard hit fly balls. But the results are warped and the complaints are legion. Manfred, though, is kinda stuck. He has been the guy on record who has declared that the ball may be different, but not on purpose............

Dynasties are hard. Tanking may kick start things but you still have to be very very good at building your franchise and also very very lucky with how you manage your selections, and your development, and your medical issues. For the Astros, every single thing they do is working out. For the Cubs, not so much.............

A curious personal observation occurred to me last night. The last time the Chicago Cubs won a baseball game was the first (and so far only) time I visited Wrigley Field. I watched the Cubs defeat the Reds 8-2 on that Monday night, and then walked out of the ballpark. And the Cubs have not won since. It’s 9 in a row now and Joe Maddon is resting his “A” team for the last 3 games of his season, against a Cardinals team fighting to hold off the Brewers for the NL Central title and avoid the NL WC play-in game. Suppose the Cards sweep. And then suppose that Maddon does not return as Cubs manager. Yep. I was present for the last time Maddon won as a Cub............

Baseball loses another legend to Father Time. Long time Reds announcer Marty Brennaman has called his final game. 46 years, man, that’s some craft.........

And before we get to the off-season, take pause to note that last night was quite possibly Felix Hernandez’ final appearance..........

You are casting about, trying to guess what pitcher Billy Eppler might be able to afford this winter and still make a major impact next year. Did you forget about Zack Wheeler on purpose?..........

This is an amazingly fresh and open-minded take on re-imagining and re-inventing the future baseball stadium. Practically every other paragraph turns something you expect as a standard to be completely turned on its head. It’s inspiring, actually..........

Here is something unusual. Well before the more recent rash of signing pre-arb players out of a lot of their long-term income in exchange for gifting them more cash during their productive years, the Red Sox tried that approach with Mookie Betts. As tempting as it was, Betts declined. Betts, then, bet on himself.............

Whoa! How about some “launch angle” orgy? It’s a thing that dominated AB’s these days. Like it or not, if you are a baseball fan you should spend some time staring through the window here...........

Is it just me or is this carriage dispute problem growing more chronic? Not that it impacts you or me directly but it just seems to be popping up all around us more and more..........


The Duffle Bag

Hey Rob Manfred, if you want to connect to future generations you can stop messing with game rules and start working to engage future fans directly. It is what works..............Job Posting: the Tigers want to hire you to be their next Baseball Operations Analyst. Then you read “Location: Detroit MI” and go Full Stop. (I hope you people are absorbing the lesson I am passing along down here with all the job postings year over year, as it informs as to the way that MLB Front Offices have completely changed the way they run their franchises. This ain’t 1973 anymore.).........Jeff Mathis was “shut down” for the season. I could not possibly have made that up..........Petco Park video board operators are fast becoming my new heroes............I have had more than my fair share of busted and twisted and grossly sprained ankles, but NOTHING like that of Anthony Rizzo. And the dude played on it!..........Do I smell some late season shenanigans to help a Mike Minor reach some special milestone? (Somebody else noticed it, too)..........

Related to baseball only indirectly: The G league of pro basketball is experimenting with the rules, restricting the number of free throws and re-assigning the number of points for said free throw based on the severity of the penalty. Why? It’s an attempt to reduce the overall length of the game. I would suggest they simply play only the 4th quarter. That usually takes an hour anyway and it’s the only quarter where the players are going all out.........