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Thor’sLinks: Angels Zero In On Losing

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11 losses in their last 14 games seems like a trend

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Oakland Athletics Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

I gotta hand it to the Oakland A’s, they only wasted one of their few hits. In the second inning they got their first hit, and scored off of it because it was a home run. In the fifth inning, with starter Patrick Sandoval apparently gassed at 52 pitches and sent to the showers, the A’s met Jake Jewell and got their second hit, scoring again because it was also a home run. Right after that they got their third hit, a single, and did not score but were saved from wasting that by the very next batter hitting yet another home run. So that single was immediately converted into a run scored, too. Four runs on four hits. Nice job. It wasn’t until silly Matt Olsen’s double a couple of batters later that they finally did something that went unrewarded.

But there we were, 5 innings in a 4 runs scored for the A’s on 5 hits. We really don’t need to spend much time talking about the Angels. They didn’t spend much time trying to get on base, or advance around the base path, or score runs themselves. That was Tuesday. and this was Wednesday. The whole good pitching combined with good hitting in the same game thing is reserved for this afternoon.

Angels lose by the score of it doesn’t matter how many runs the A’s scored because the Halos scored zero.

But thanks, Skipper Brad, for the blink of a Jared Walsh sighting there just before closing time!

By the way, here is something I often wonder. Maybe one of you people can explain it to me. Here are the pitch charts last night for a pair of Oakland pitchers: Tanner Roarke (here)....and Liam Hendricks (here). Do you see all those pitches in the lower left corner being called for strikes, even those way outside the zone? So if the plate umpire has lost the zone down there in the game, all to the benefit of the pitcher on the mound, why weren’t any of the LAA pitchers - Patrick Sandoval (here), or Jake Jewell (here), or Trevor Cahill (here) - alerted to test that corner even once?

It’s Read-Them-Quick-Before-Play-Ball!-HaloLinks:


A Little Bit Of Angels News

Season Status Update: Wild Card Elimination number is now down to 7. And there are now only 9 MLB teams with more losses. The Angels have 75 of those, and are now only 7 away from a losing season...........Oh, and Trevor Cahill is now only 5.2 innings away from 100...........

Mike Trout got a couple of home runs recently, and some other hits and walks, and has pushed back up above Derek Jeter again. Hopefully, this time for good. So for those who failed to compare Trout to Jeter the first time this happened, here is their mulligan............

A little Mike trout Porn............

The upside to Shohei Ohtani and Brad Ausmus losing track of the pitch count a couple of nights ago is that the Angels have established a previously-unknown standard for disrupting the flow of a game and inducing instant replay..........

($$) - So you say that you want to fix the roster this off-season, do you? Well, then, it’s time to pay for that subscription to The Athletic. Fabian Ardaya rolls through the good and the bad of what Billy Eppler has done, with lots of ink making sure that you recognize both......Ken Rosenthal takes that as the baseline and introduces you to the upcoming challenges. There are roster challenges (most of which you should already be aware) of course, but there are also market challenges, agent challenges, prospect challenges, and aging challenges (looking at you, Justin Upton). It would benefit you highly to read these two articles and file away their data points so that you are emotionally armed when Eppler’s world opens up in November.........And don’t forget that some guys are already in the back half of their arb window and extension might be in order. This will be Andrew Heaney’s 3rd arb year out of 4, Tommy LaStella’s final arb year, Hansel Robles’ and Nick Tropeano’s 2nd out of 3..........

From steelgolf comes your chance to work for Arte! Your first opening is as a scout, which means you would be working downstream from Billy Eppler......But if you aren’t any good at that scout thing, the other job is as a Human Resources Coordinator, so you would be fired by the person who took this other job...........


Everywhere In Baseball

By the way, to extend the paragraph immediately above, when making plans for 2019-202 Free Agent pitching opportunities, there are also regression challenges..........

Home Run Derby Update: Pete Alonso opened the action with his 45th home run, taking the MLB lead in the early game. Cody Bellinger and Mike Trout remain put at 44, with Christian Yelich at 43 and Eugenio Suarez at 40.............

Here is a fun one concerning Juan Soto of the Nationals. Soto has this habit of crouching further in his stance when he has two strikes on him, with the idea of shrinking the upper and lower limits of the strike zone. When you read it, you learn that there is potentially a positive effect, of the narrowest kind of margins that fuel Las Vegas. It’s there, but he has to exploit it via volume...........

But then there is a funny little point made within that article, pulled from a RoboUmp article to which I linked a couple of weeks ago: “[Kent] Blackstone found this out the hard way. Since he has not played affiliated ball, the 25-year-old shortstop had no previous data – such as height or batting stance – in the TrackMan system. Like many athletes of a certain height, Blackstone gifted himself an extra inch in submitting his player information, because who wouldn’t prefer a 6-foot shortstop over a 5-11 shortstop?.....Trouble was, the generous height was entered in the system to establish his strike zone. And so in his first few games with the auto strike zone, several very high strikes were called against him......’I always say I’m 6 foot,’ says Blackstone. ‘But that’s over, man.’ “ Are you following that? It’s something I keep pointing out. Two sides of the strike zone are being defined not by anybody on the actual field of play, not by anybody actually accountable to players, managers, MLB or (gasp!) the fans. Nope, they are being done by engineers back at Corporate who go home at 5 every night and throw back a few and think nothing further about it. You and i can think something about it, though. How likely is it that every male of every age who is 5’ 11’ tall has the precise same inseam when they purchase slacks? Pretty unlikely, right? Well, not according to Trackman engineers. So, yeah, everybody should claim to be Jose Altuve height..............

Justin Verlander’s ego must be having a bad day. We have two articles that dwell on Verlander coming up short in the awards column, out on the same day. The first one considers how Verlander’s no-hitter might not be the sweetener that puts him over the top for AL MVP this year, with teammate Gerrit Cole possibly snatching that away from him. Kate Upton’s twitter feed would be verklempt. Is she clever enough to front for her man while also not dissing her man’s teammate? Maybe she will wait until Cole signs somewhere other than Houston in the offseason...........The second article looks at the longer, historical, view of Verlander’s career. Is it good enough to get him into the Hall of Fame? Not according to historical standards. The thing here, though, as the article points out, is that those historical standards are not relevant by today’s usage of pitchers. Update the standards to align with the contemporary game and, yes, Verlander is going into the Hall. And since by the time that Verlander is 5-years retired the BBWAA voters will be today’s generation, he gets his cap.........Either way that the AL CYA and the eventual HoF voting work themselves out, Cole and Verlander together make this 2019 Houston Astros team the WS faves. Dodger and Yankee fans might not want to hear it, but what do they got to counter?.........

Michael Lorenzen did something that not even Mike Trout has been able to do. In the same game, play a position AND collect a W as a pitcher AND hit a home run...........

Isn’t this where we need Joe Torre to do something actually productive? He needs to call the umpires together and slap them around a little bit and get their asses back out of the games. It’s getting ridiculous..............

There are downsides to roster expansion that bug the hell out of some folk. Mike Scioscia used to get bugged. Baseball writers get bugged, probably because they now have new things to worry about once the Mike Scioscias of the world tell them how they are bugged by it. Same with Rob Manfred and pace of play. Writers have a new thing to complain about. Sosh was critical of the way it warped rosters while there were games that still had an impact on playoff opportunities. Manfred is critical about numerous pitching changes (he must be a Red Sox fan). Both of those objections are used as the front line arguments to complain against roster call-ups here..........


The Duffle Bag

Oh, sure, pointing out how slow Matt Joyce can be is funny. The guy IS 35-years old now. I’d like to point out that Matt Joyce is wearing the uniform of the Atlanta Braves and will get to play in the playoffs again this year. Ol’ Matt played in the playoffs in 2010, 2011, 2013, and 2018. In the middle of that he played with us in 2015, when Matt was the 304th-best MLB player with at least 250 PA’s..........Babe Ruth at Lou Gehrig’s funeral...........Ok, I concede this one to the LAA marketing team. This is a fresh way for LAA marketing to build their brand with future generations. Is that the ONLY hospital in SoCal they care to work?.........