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MondoLinks: Halos Hump It Home

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After a 2-4 road trip, LAA faces 18 straight games against playoff contenders.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Chicago White Sox Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The easy part of the schedule is over. From here on out the Halos do nothing but face up against one playoff contender after another. Cleveland, Tampa Bay, New York, Houston, Oakland, and the Houston again. 18 games in 21 days, with 1 last road trip remaining.

And they need to do better than yesterday to avoid humiliation. After loading the bases in both the 1st and 2nd inning, and getting only 1 run out of 5 walks, 2 hits, 1 wild pitch, and 7 base runners, the Angels then went 7 innings and only 1 batter over the minimum with 2 GIDP’s.

They avoided sweeping the White Sox, losing 5-1.

Last week I composed a Links preamble focusing on the MLB/MLBPA Joint Drug Agreements in the context of the Tyler Skaggs opioids death. It was 4 paragraphs long, and I went deep into the language of the JDA, and how opioids are tested for and NOT tested for. I stacked that up against the larger national epidemic of opioid abuse. My main point was that the League and the Union needed to pull their heads out of the sand, recognize the risk that the current opioid problem in the society outside the sport has for player performance and player health in a community of injury, pain medication, and pressure to perform.

My challenge to MLB and MLBPA was to take advantage of the language within the JDA that allows both sides to re-open the JDA and renegotiate testing conducted, and to do it soon. Tyler Skaggs was merely the latest incidence, and merely the latest casualty. It was a call to make sure he would be the last.

I left that opening in place for hours while I did the rest of my research and linkage. And I left it in place after I was done and had walked away. But then I rethought my piece. Thinking that maybe it was too soon to be imposing an opinion that might rub the readership the wrong way, I deleted it. It was gone. I kept things light.

It turns out that I should have stuck to my guns. Because it was the right thing to do. MLB and MLBPA agree.

Let’s cruise into No-Light-At-The-End-Of-This-Tunnel-HaloLinks:


A Little Bit Of Angels News

Season Status Update: Wild Card Elimination number is now down to TWO. The odds must be about 99% certain that sometime in the next 36 hours the Halos will be eliminated from playoff consideration in 2019, left to play out the string of 16 or 17 games before we all go home again. That will make the Angels the 7th team in the American League to be eliminated. The National League only has the Marlins......It will be the 5th straight year without a playoff appearance and things are going backward. We have gone from 1st place in 2014 (lost the ALDS), to 3 games back and then 21 games and 21 games, to 23 games last season and already 26 games back right now. Whatever competitive and relevant momentum we once carried as the 2002 WS champ is absolutely lost, a part of a bygone era. This team does not win well. But it’s not losing well, either. By taking 2 of 3 from the White Sox their 77 total season losses drops them back to a tie for the 10th spot for worst record. And now the Halos are now only 5 more losses away from a losing season...........

And this Winter could be Billy Eppler’s last to turn things around. You only get so much rope............

($$) - David Fletcher is hyper-driven, hyper-competitive.............

Ty Buttrey must be concerned about his recent plummeting effectiveness, now looking at flipping burgers for a fallback career..........

Brian Goodwin can take the Winter off, however. He did good and his MLB career is safe, whether it’s in Anaheim or not..........

Justin Anderson is back from the DL. Contain yourselves...........

Did you see this play, where Ryan Cordell adds to the club of ballplayers using the extended netting to make a play that just months ago would not have been made?..............

Mike Trout is so good he changed the way that people see baseball. He doesn’t need to have a good team around him for voters to realize that the is the MVP............

Weekly Mike Trout Career WAR Perp Walk. The only thing we can say is that Mike is barely back above Derek Jeter at 72.5 bWAR. It’s been a fairly neutral couple of weeks for Mike...............


Everywhere In Baseball

Home Run Derby Update:.....We wake up this morning with little tightening up in the race. Mike Trout and Pete Alonso remained tied at the top with 45 but Mike is day-to-day with a toe injury and these kinds of things drain his power for a couple of weeks (although the White Sox don’t know that, choosing to IBB an injured Trout when he game into the Saturday games as a pinch-hitter). Cody Bellinger and Christian Yelich were tied at 44, but then Eugenio Suarez smacked a pair and moved up from 42 to join them at 44. Jorge Solar has 41. Way outside are Freddie Freeman with 38 and Ronald Acuna, Jr. with 37............

Earlier yesterday, in the afternoon, there were a couple of articles projecting rumors that Boston Red Sox President of Operations Dave Dombrowksi could possibly be fired in the upcoming offseason. And some articles focused on the notion that not fetching back-to-back WS titles is a rather high bar. I was already full of stuff so I left BoSux news off my linkage. My comment was going to be that the Dombrowski problem is not that the Red Sox aren’t going to win a WS this year, but that the WS title they won last year came at a price that might have put Boston in hole they can’t dig back out of. It’s the Dombrowski Method. And Red Sox brass knows that Dombrowksi is not the guy to get them out of the hole within the next 5 years. They don’t want to become the East Coast Angels. So later last night those rumors came storming the beaches, and Dombrowski was fired...........

Do not think that these guys do not care. They care a great deal. Being at the MLB level is a huge accomplishment. Just ask Aaron Barrett...........

Good going there, Michael Pineda. Get yourself suspended for 60 games and banned from the playoffs for a JDA violation, just a few weeks before your teammates need you the most...........

Javy Baez is probably lost for the year, too, but his cause is a thumb fracture..........

Mets manager Mickey Callaway over-thunk himself yet again. Stick with me here. It’s the 7th inning, starting off with the Phillies at bat leading 7-6. 2 outs later Phillie Scott Kingery hits a 2-run home run. Callaway changes pitchers. Then the Phillies record a walk and a double to put men on 2nd and 3rd. Still 2 outs. But Andrew Knapp steps up to the plate. Knapp, the Phillies catcher, is batting .194 and at this point Knapp has had 3 hits for the past 30 days. Callaway chooses to walk Knapp because it’s the pitcher spot up next. This will force Phillies manager Gabe Kapler to pinch hit, taking Mike Morin out of the game. Remember, Callaway is already losing 9-6. Morin is already the 5th pitcher that the Phillies have used and had barely blinked in the game, throwing just 2 pitches and retiring the only batter he faced. It’s not as if Morin had been mowing down the Mets in a close game. Anyway, the ruse worked. Kapler pinch-hit for Morin. Who did Kapler send in? Oh yeah, Kapler had Bryce fucking Harper on the bench! Callaway loaded the bases in a losing cause so that his pitcher could face Bryce Harper instead of Andrew Knapp!! Result? Harper draws the walk, forcing in another run. Phillies lead 10-6 and Callaway is forced to remove his own pitcher............

With MiLB season over and the players no longer getting their daily stipend of vending machine coins for meals, Brewers prospect Tyrone Taylor went and interviewed with FedEx for a higher paying job until next Spring. Before he could take any offers, the Brewers called him up as another outfield body as they make a push for a Wild Card spot in the NL..........

Yasiel Puig is apologizing? Whoa. A nd for not running to first base on a play that I wouldn’t run, either............

Max Scherzer gets so lucky even Josh Donaldson, the victim, cannot believe it..........

You hate Wins, I know. You hate Saves even more. And here is why: Génesis Cabrera came in with an eight-run lead and got a save..........

The Halo pitching staff has been an open wound the past few years, hasn’t it? Pretty raw and painful, right? Here. Have some salt. Mike Clevinger has not been tagged with a Loss since the month of June. And he’s only a few months older than Mike Trout...........

Chris Duncan, a one-time teammate of Albert Pujols on the 2006 WS Champ Cardinals, died over the weekend from a brain tumor. He was only 38..........

Holy crap did the Mariners look bad yesterday. Losing 21 to 1, with Felix Hernandez being tagged for 11 runs while recording only 6 outs. And only 7 of those were earned as the Seattle defense looked like Little Leaguers. At the plate, the Mariners managed only 1 hit (a solo home run) as Gerrit Cole struck out 15 of them. It’s the 3rd consecutive outing for Cole with at least 14 K’s. That’s the kind of mental pounding that drives a team into season-ending collapse..........

Oh boy. More sports podcasts.............But on the far more interesting side, AMC Theaters is getting into out-of-market game broadcasting.............


The Duffle Bag

This little guy has a story to tell for the rest of his life. Two foul balls caught IN THE SAME AT BAT.............Shohei Ohtani might be able to pitch and hit, but Pittsburgh Pirate Steven Brault can pitch, can belt balls out of the park, and belt out pitch-perfect vocals..........(h/t reddit) J.D. Martinez cops a MFY feel..........LAD manager pulled Clayton Kershaw from a game over the weekend and Kershaw was pissed......Asked later, Roberts updated the media on the situation: “Kershaw’s fine. The cooler is on the IL.”.............A reminder that pitching inside is dangerous business, which is why batters get so pissed off about it............Too many beers?...........