Wednesday Halolinks: Angels doing all the right things to reach playoffs

Jim Gardner
SB Nation
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They're hitting, pitching, defending, and more importantly...looking good. They're marvelous!

Wasn't that a fun game to watch?  Everything went right...Matt Shoemaker pitched a great game, again...the hitters pounded out 16 hits...even freshly called-up reliever Yoslan Herrera avoided a crappy call by the homeplate umpire to finish off the game.

Yes, this pitch, instead of ending the game, was called a foul tip to extend Jarrod Saltalamacchia's at-bat.  Thankfully the Angels had a big enough lead that this call didn't impact the game's outcome.

Anyway, speaking of hitting, although he didn't have a big game last night, rightfielder Kole Calhoun has put up some impressive numbers (from the Angels' pressbox site):



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Angels are 33-10 when leadoff hitter Kole Calhoun scores a run…
He leads Angels w/ 20 RBI since ASB…
Since June 1, he is only player in Majors to bat .300 with 10+ home runs and 50 runs…
His .509 slugging percentage batting leadoff is tops in the A.L. while his .361 OBP ranks third…
He is batting .438 (28/64) leading off a game



Yep, it's fun when your team wins.  Here's today's winning Halolinks:

  • Hey Josh, wtf, what happened?  Angels pound out 16 hits in win over Marlins - Yahoo Sports, "Center fielder Trout, first baseman Albert Pujols and third baseman David Freese each had three hits to lead the way, as everyone in the Angels starting lineup -- other than Josh Hamilton -- had at least one hit. Six different Angels had at least one RBI, including Pujols and left fielder Efren Navarro, who had two apiece. "We had a couple great at-bats tonight from everybody, everybody contributed," said Trout, who reached base four times and got his 92nd RBI of the season. "Before the All-Star break, you saw what our bats can do."  Heading into last night's game the club was 32-for-97 (.330) w/ RISP in their last 13 games.  I don't know if it's perception or reality, but it seems like the greatest contributing factor to the Angels catching and passing Oakland has been their recent timely hitting.
  • But of course, timely hitting doesn't mean much if you can't keep the other team off of the board: Miami Marlins vs. Los Angeles Angels - Recap - August 26, 2014 - ESPN, "Six Angels drove in a run as their lineup bounced back from a poor series opener, but Los Angeles won with another outstanding start from its 27-year-old rookie right-hander. Shoemaker's emergence has steadied a rotation that lost Garrett Richards and Tyler Skaggs to season-ending injuries. "You just can't ask for a better game," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Today there was no doubt we needed some length from Matt. Getting into the seventh is huge."  It shows how much Shoemaker's performance has meant to the team by how they talk about him: Miami Marlins at Los Angeles Angels - August 26, 2014 - MLB.com LAA Recap, "It's hard to top the outing he had last outing in Boston," Conger said. "I think the past couple of starts, he's doing an outstanding job as far as just executing pitches when he needs to." In wins over Boston and Miami, Shoemaker faced 52 batters. He recorded 44 outs. Only eight of those outs have come in the air, with the remaining ones coming via strikeouts and groundouts, a good indicator that his pitches are staying low and that his sinker is working, Conger said."  Angels rookie Shoemaker continues winning ways - The Orange County Register, "Said Scioscia: "He (Shoemaker) is making the most of his opportunity." He has won 13 games, leading all rookies. The Angels’ rookie record for victories in a season is 14."
  • Running on all cylinders: On deck: Marlins at Angels, Wednesday, 7 p.m. - The Orange County Register, "Before Wade LeBlanc’s six-run start Monday, Angels starting pitchers had thrown 14 straight outings holding opponents to three earned runs or fewer. Entering play Tuesday, they’d done it in 26 of 36 second-half games."
  • Under-appreciated Hector Santiago has added to the Angels' very good pitching performances: Marlins-Angels Preview - Yahoo Sports, "Los Angeles counters with Hector Santiago (3-7, 3.38), who has a 1.65 ERA while not factoring in the decision in any of his six starts since the All-Star break. Though he did earn the victory in relief of a 13-inning win over Baltimore on July 31, Santiago has received a total of eight runs while on the mound as the Angels have dropped five of those six starts."
  • Here's one deal that has gone pretty much un-noticed, the deal that sent veteran reliever Scott Downs to Toronto for Cory Rasmus.  Getting a player who is actually contributing for Downs was masterful: Richards' rotation spot is a big question mark for Angels - The Orange County Register, "Rasmus had never faced Stanton, a 6-6, 240-pounder he called a "big human being." Obtained via a July 2013 trade for left-hander Scott Downs, Rasmus has managed to post a 2.68 ERA in 37 MLB innings this year while rotating between the minors and the majors."
  • Haha, I see what you did there. "Weigh" and "Colon".  Funny: Angels weigh Colon, Cahill, Feldman and others, but obstacles exist - CBSSports.com, "There are "obstacles" for any of the available trades, as Dipoto put it. Without mentioning the outside possibilities, Dipoto surely means the salary remaining on the available pitchers and also the lack of prospects to use as trade chips after the Angels traded six prospects to rebuild their bullpen earlier, including four to land proven closer Huston Street. "Teams that are willing to pay down a contract usually want some kind of talent in return, and that's where we may have a problem," Dipoto said. "We'll see what's possible as the week goes along."  Considering Dipoto's history in making deals with Arizona, Trevor Cahill probably has the best shot at be added to the Angels' roster.

  • Remember this guy?  Damn. 
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  • Fryer: Angels' deal with Trout looks smarter than ever - The Orange County Register, "Signing Trout before the season did more than just make the game’s finest player focused and happy. It provided that sense of stability every team needs going into a season. And it was the best PR move in franchise history."
  • Here's an entertaining post: Learning Baseball with Goofy – The Hardball Times, "So you want to play baseball? And you’re worried about learning all the rules, both written and unwritten? Well don’t worry, friend. Only a few minutes with a finely tuned athlete like our pal Goofy and you will be ready to strap on your own spiked stompers and take the field."
  • This post explains a lot about what goes on inside of C.J. Wilson's mind, and is a must-read for today: C.J. Wilson on Spin Rate, Arm Angles and Exploiting Weaknesses - FanGraphs Baseball, "We all have different personalities. Some guys literally grip it and rip it. They throw as hard as they can every single pitch. They just stare at the catcher and try to throw the nastiest slider they can throw. I’ve never pitched that way. I was a control pitcher before I had Tommy John surgery. I was crafty. I modeled myself after Tom Glavine, who I watched growing up. I wish I had Pedro 1999 stuff, but I don’t and never have."  Is there such a thing as "over-thinking"?  If so, Wilson may be the poster boy.