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TuesdoLinks: Final Four Weeks of Halo Baseball

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It’s off to Oakland with the second-to-last road trip of 2019

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Los Angeles Angels Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The biggest news since I was gathered with you around the campfire was the release of the toxicology report concerning Tyler Skaggs’ death. It was the one thing that I was absolutely certain could not be. Not because it would be so disappointing (which it was), but because of what we assume to be the rigid and random MLB drug testing program.

Of course Skaggs would have been tested this season, how frequently is not for us to know but it always starts with Day 1 of Spring Training. Opioids are listed, but they are listed as a “medication use” for a “functional disorder“, where a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) would not be approved. But oxycodone is called out by name as a Drug of Abuse. Skaggs ingested a substance that is explicitly banned (and presumably tested for) and could have cost him the balance of 2019 and the start of 2020, along with the personal pain and suffering from public exposure to himself and his family, and also along with the fracturing this would cause between him and the teammates he would be letting down. Skaggs was the #1 starter within the LAA organization. Maybe that’s a low bar right now, but it’s still a big deal on an MLB roster. It’s a powerful draw to be so strong that it would suck a person into that level of risk.

The news that we are suffering under an opioid epidemic in this country should not come as a surprise to Major League Baseball or The Players’ Union. Tyler is by no means the first MLB player to be killed through drug abuse, even opioid abuse. He is not some proverbial canary in the coal mine. We have to face up to the reality of additional MLB players abusing or addicted to these drugs. And, yes, if such is true then there would have to be delivery conduits into MLB clubhouses. While it’s not MLB’s job to police the entire range of human behavior among their employees, opioids are not some corner case and their use by an MLB player can have significant impact on player performance and overall health.

A lot of legal shit has been launched now, and all of it is well beyond my pay grade. But within all that legal activity one can hope that Skaggs’ death might act as the trigger for a re-negotiation to perform more testing, and more specific testing, for opioids. This is something that the JDA allows to happen at any time.

Maybe it should happen. There are people who might be saved.

We all move forward with Dog-Days-HaloLinks:


A Little Bit Of Angels News

Update: the Halos were eliminated from AL West contention, and their AL Wild Card elimination number is down to 11. They are tied for 11th-most losses in MLB at the moment.

I know this was linked yesterday, but I have a reaction. September call-ups are: Adalberto Mejia, Jake Jewell, Justin Bour, Michael Hermosillo, Luke Bard, Jared Walsh and Taylor Ward. Some of that reads like doing guys a solid by upgrading their paychecks for a few weeks. For others, maybe a chance to get some looks and experience. And then there is a name or two in there that are needed to carry Billy Eppler’s pitching roster to the finish line............

Billy Eppler ain’t going anywhere, so those few of you who are trying to rally up a lynch mob are now free to find a new windmill.............

Cam Bedrosian is off to the IL with forearm strain.............

Ok, so who is it around here that misplaced Shohei Ohtani’s power swing?............

($$) - Why can’t Shohei Ohtani keep his helmet on his head? I don’t know, either. Did he have this issue in Japan?............

Mike Trout is running out of gas as we hit the back end of the season, which is not unusual. Tortoises and hares come to mind when I think of how fast Trout starts and how far out ahead he gets, and then we go through August and others start catching up. I also wonder what Mike might have left in his tank if he ever got to play day-to-day in October? But for now, his AL MVP for 2019 still looks like a solid lock............

It’s been a pretty good 365 days for Mike.............


Everywhere In Baseball

Home Run Derby Update: Cody Bellinger broke the 4-way MLB tie that was 43, now out in front at 44 HRs. Pete Alonso, Mike Trout and Christian Yelich are all at the 43 mark, but Eugenio Suarez of the Reds is coming up from behind quickly (6 home runs in his last 9 games), now sits at 40............Bellinger was helped greatly by a Rockies staff that handed out a stunning 7 home runs last night.............

The Home Run barrage is unlike the steroids era, inasmuch as everybody is benefiting, not just the big dudes...........(Well, not everybody. LA Angels fans stuck in extra-inning games are not benefiting. We suffer through frame after frame of the entire batting order waiting around for somebody to hit the walk-off home run which never comes.).............

Home runs are not the only video game activity in MLB these days............

Right after Justin Verlander throws a no-hitter against the Blue Jays, striking out 14 batters along the way, Gerrit Cole takes the mound and K’s 14 Brewers. That’s the first time ever that a team has had back-to-back pitching performances with at least 14 strikeouts each..............

Detroit Tigers MiLB prospect Chance Numata dies from a motorized skateboard crash............Dodgers rookie pitcher Dustin May was smashed in the head by a come-back line drive.............But in good news, Carlos Carrasco returned to the mound after leukemia diagnosis...........

Screw trainers and coaches and special camps. What we all need are tarot cards and healers. Liam Hendricks is our MLB pioneer...........

Looking past the AL West MVP race (“The favorite: Mike Trout, Angels OF. The contender: None. The dark horse: None”), there really are other award races that are fun to track. NL MVP being perhaps chief among them...........

The knuckleball may rise again! Maybe that is the antidote to the juiced baseball? By definition it doesn’t require a solid grip. It also comes slower, depriving the batted ball with a fraction of energy. Most important, though, is that you gotta get pretty lucky to tee up a knuckleball..........


The Duffle Bag

Just another data point to prove that one does not need to be highly educated in order to be a highly gifted athlete...........Mike Trout makes it rain...............Kyle Seager and his career WTF??? moment...............Welcome to MLB, Gavin Lux. That sure didn’t take long............