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Friday, September 09, 2011

Jim Crane Speaks, But Did It Help or Hurt Him in Securing the Astros?

Maury adds…“Let’s play, “Fall on the sword”.

Jim Crane spoke publically to the Houston Chronicle for the first time yesterday since the mid-May press conference to announce the sales agreement to purchase the Astros. Crane approached the Chronicle in an attempt to address some of the issues swirling around his stalled approval by the league’s owners. It was a needed move, that on one hand, addressed direct issues around the EEOC, war-profiteering and divorce issues, while on the other hand, may have done more harm than good in the eyes of Bud Selig and the league’s owners due to Crane’s comments about being impatient.

On the EEOC investigation involving discrimination (see this 2000 article from the Houston Chronicle for details), ...

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Repoz Posted: September 09, 2011 at 07:41 PM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, business, media, site news

Umpires show ethnic bias in ball/strike calls—unless they’re feeling watched

Do these subtle biases add up? The authors make a compelling case that they do. One of the ways they do this is by analyzing the location of the pitches. They divide the area near home plate into three regions: probable strikes, probable balls, and an edge region between the two, where the call is likely to be largely based on the umpire’s discretion. Normally, just under 20 percent of pitches are thrown to that edge region. But, when an umpire is not being monitored (and thus more likely to display a small bias), pitchers that are an ethnic match for the ump are five percent more likely to aim for this edge region.

Paul M Hates Krispy Kreme Posted: September 09, 2011 at 05:04 PM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: general

McClary: The End of Denny McLain’s Career Began in 1966

Hammond organic: Capable of decay.

I knew pitchers 40 years ago regularly went deep in games and threw a lot of pitches, but McLain’s output in 1966 was staggering.

On Aug. 29, 1966, McLain threw 229 pitches in the Tigers’ 6-3 win over the Orioles. He gave up eight hits, walks nine and struck out 11 Orioles to notch his 16th win. According to the Baseball Reference.com box score, McLain faced 43 batters in the game.

He was just 22 at the time.

In that game, McLain set the Orioles down in order only one time, the bottom of the second. In every other inning he faced, on average, about five hitters per inning.

Did I mention he was only 22?

...And a closer look at a season from 45 years ago explains Denny McLain’s precipitous fall ...

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Repoz Posted: September 09, 2011 at 01:14 PM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: history, projections, sabermetrics, tigers

Chung: Is Our National Pastime… Past its Time?

Oh, the blancpain… the blancpain!

Baseball is in danger of being like the Swiss watchmakers of old.  Up until the 1970’s, the Swiss watchmakers dominated the market.  When quartz technology first came on the scene, the Swiss were not concerned and continued to do business as usual. As Asia and American watch industries embraced this quartz technology, Switzerland continued to ignore it.

What ensued was a near collapse of the Swiss watch making economy. What was once known as the best watches in the world now experienced insolvency at a record pace.  If baseball is not careful, they too will fall the same fate as the once great watch makers of Switzerland.

The Royals have been proclaimed one of the franchises with the best young ...

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Repoz Posted: September 09, 2011 at 10:13 AM | 37 comment(s)
  Beats: fantasy baseball, royals

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-9-2011

Pittsburgh Press, September 10, 1911:

While [Rube] Marquard has not earned a great deal of money like some of the older players, he owns considerable property.  His father and mother are both dead and he has no brothers or sisters.  His parents left him a large farm at New Brunswick, O., 22 miles from Cleveland.

...

When the elder Richard de Marquis, a soldier of France, came to America and became engineer for the city of Cleveland he did not realize that in his son he was giving to Uncle Sam six feet or more of revolutionary spirit.

...

[Marquard] could pitch with either hand.  To this day he could go in and twirl a very good game with his right hand if it were necessary.

I’m not sure any of this is actually true.  Marquard had at ...

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Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: September 09, 2011 at 09:37 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, fantasy baseball, hall of fame, history

Ian Kennedy picked up his National League-best 19th win as he pitched the D-backs past the Padres,

Ian Kennedy picked up his National League-best 19th win as he pitched the D-backs past the Padres, 4-1, on Thursday night in front of 21,402 at Chase Field.

The win was the 14th in the last 16 for the D-backs, who increased their lead in the National League West to 7 1/2 games over the idle Giants.

With the Brewers’ loss to the Phillies, the D-backs closed to within 1 1/2 games of Milwaukee for the second-best record in the NL and a more advantageous first-round playoff matchup.

Kennedy (19-4) won his fourth straight start and his 11th in his last 12. The right-hander allowed one run on seven hits and did not walk a batter while fanning 11.

Inching closer to “legit” CY Young candidacy ?

Jack Sommers Posted: September 09, 2011 at 04:38 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: arizona, awards

Romano: History suggests Tampa Bay Rays fans should temper their hopes

Yeah, and the last time someone had high hopes in Florida they ended up with a hole in their head!

I do not say this to be a party pooper or a contrarian. And it is not because I have too little faith in the Rays or too much respect for the Red Sox. It is simply because I trust history. And history pretty much says it ain’t going to happen.

...This is the time of year when we begin talking about magic numbers for teams in contention. Okay, so Tampa Bay’s magic number is 27. That means, if the Red Sox stumble to an 8-11 finish, the Rays would still have to go 16-4 to finish ahead of them.

On the plausibility scale, that falls between “Holy crap!” and “Thanks for your support on the stadium, Mr. Selig.”

The lure, of course, is that it ...

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Repoz Posted: September 09, 2011 at 03:04 AM | 78 comment(s)
  Beats: history, rays, red sox, yankees

True Blue L.A.: Dee Gordon Fast Becoming A Favorite

Dee Gordon. Giddy.

Dee Gordon is a fascinating study in head versus heart in baseball fandom. He had four more hits on Thursday, giving him 16 hits in 31 at-bats in his last seven games since getting activated from the disabled list. But even with his hot streak, on the season he is batting only .296/.306/.352. To be fair to Gordon though, National League shortstops this season are hitting .260/.314/.372 so his production holds up decently enough.

There are reasons for concern with Gordon at the plate, even during his hot streak. In 145 plate appearances, he has just two walks against 22 strikeouts, and has gone 93 PA since his last walk. Earlier this season, during Gordon’s first stint with the Dodgers, manager Don Mattingly noticed ...

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Repoz Posted: September 09, 2011 at 02:49 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, projections

Bill Lee Says Baseball Will Never Die, But Something Must Be Done to Improve Tempo of Game

Don’t list me in the BJNHBA or Popular Crime…and see what you get!

NESN.com: How much of a problem is the length of games these days?

BL:Terrible. Terrible problem for baseball. The length of games, you have a director from the TV network and every game is televised. He controls the tempo. Every time there’s a break in the action, that break in the action was brought to you by “new back supports—keeps you from breaking your back.” It’s all scripted.

The umpires these days don’t call strikes like they used to. They’re scrutinized by that screen that’s on there constantly. You have to tak that strike zone and just throw it off the TV. Play the game. Let the guys do the commentary, let the umpires ump. Very little instant replay. Let’s ...

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Repoz Posted: September 09, 2011 at 02:19 AM | 32 comment(s)
  Beats: fantasy baseball, history, red sox, sabermetrics

Pajiba:  Moneyball Review: Cash Rules Everything Around Me

Bennett Miller’s Moneyball is unquestionably a great movie. What makes it more remarkable is that not only is it a great movie, but that it’s a great movie despite its being about a subject that few other than hardcore baseball fans and purists care about — or even know about. It’s a remarkable achievement, to take a subject as dense and complicated as Billy Beane’s statistical, small ball approach to baseball (based on Bill James’ theory of sabermetrics) as outlined in Michael Lewis’ book Moneyball, and not only parse it out so that it’s understandable for the average viewer, but that it’s enjoyable for the average viewer.

McCoy Posted: September 09, 2011 at 02:17 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: general

Vanity Fair: Excerpt from “The Art of Fielding” by Chad Harbach

I prefer Mazeroski Hornsby, myself.

The door marked 405 stood slightly ajar, and bleepy, bloopy music came through the gap.  Henry lingered nervously in the stairwell. He didn’t know how many roommates he’d have, or what sort of roommates they might be, or what kind of music that was. If he’d been able to imagine the students of Westish College in any specific way, he imagined twelve hundred Mike Schwartzes, huge and mythic and grave, and twelve hundred women of the sort Mike Schwartz might date: leggy, stunning, well versed in ancient history. The whole thing, really, was too intimidating to think about. He nudged the door with his foot.

The room contained two identical steel-frame beds and two sets of identical blond-wood desks, ...

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The District Attorney Posted: September 09, 2011 at 01:29 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: books

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Shaughnessy: Neither the Red Sox nor the Yankees will win World Series

But the Sox and Yanks are on a collision course in 2011. Bursting with self-importance, last week they needed four hours and 21 minutes to play a nine-inning game in which six runs were scored. The Sox will be back in New York for the final weekend of the regular season. It’ll be Athens-Sparta, Ali-Frazier, Russell-Chamberlain and Brady-Manning. Deep into the night. Every night.

It’ll be Seabiscuit-War Admiral, Palmer-Nicklaus, Godzilla- Mothra, Jefferson-Adams, India-Pakistan, Japan-Korea, Lewis-Schmelling, Cats-Dogs, Pirates-Ninjas, Spy-Spy, Dems-GOP, Batman-Joker, Hulk Hogan-Andre the Giant, Borg-McEnroe and Borg-Picard!

With three weeks left in the regular season, the Sox and Yanks think they’re the chosen ones this year ... but ...

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Gamingboy Posted: September 08, 2011 at 08:53 PM | 37 comment(s)
  Beats: red sox, yankees

BPP: Any player/Any era: Will Clark

Thrill jockey: The fiery furnace!

Era he might have thrived in: Clark was a career .303 hitter playing from 1986 to 2000. Had he played in the 1930s, a Golden Age for first basemen in the American League, I suspect Clark might have hit .325 lifetime and earned his spot in Cooperstown decades ago.

...Having his career peak in the greatest time for hitters in baseball history, there’s no telling what Clark might have done. Seeing as he inspired comparisons to Ted Williams as a young player for that left-handed swing, I’d be curious to see if he could hit .400 in a season. In real life, Clark peaked at .333 in 1989 when he and Kevin Mitchell led the Giants to the World Series. Running those stats through the Baseball-Reference converter ...

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Repoz Posted: September 08, 2011 at 08:27 PM | 73 comment(s)
  Beats: giants, hall of fame, history, sabermetrics

Tony La Russa shakes maracas for Carlos Santana

Bourbonletta!

image

¡Oye como va! It’s not hard to make out the blurry figure with his arms raised behind the percussionst. That’s St. Louis Cardinals skipper Tony La Russa providing a little backup for legendary musician Carlos Santana at a recent show.

Citizen Ben Weixlmann thought that some might not believe him, so he tweeted a photo of La Russa, (pretty much) plain as day on stage at the historic Fox Theatre in St. Louis during Santana’s concert Tuesday night. La Russa reportedly scooted over there after his postgame media session at Busch Stadium concluded.

And there he is, just like the ocean under the moon! He’s even smiling, which is not something you usually see from The Genius.

Repoz Posted: September 08, 2011 at 08:04 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, music

Joe Morgan to lead Oktoberfest chicken dance

Reds great and Baseball Hall of Famer Joe Morgan will lead the annual World’s Largest Chicken Dance at Oktoberfest next Saturday.

Morgan, a 10-time All-Star and MVP in 1975 and 1976 when the Reds won back-to-back World Series titles, is the second former Red to lead the Chicken Dance, joining Joe Nuxhall, who did it in 2007.

“Oktoberfest-Zinzinnati has long been regarded as the largest Oktoberfest celebration in North America and the second largest in the world,” said Patrick Sheeran, vice president with the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber. “But in the long and storied history of the event, we have never had a chicken dancer with so much on the job experience.”

Early in his career, Morgan had trouble with his swing because ...

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Repoz Posted: September 08, 2011 at 07:37 PM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: reds

Caple: Why baseball is better than football

The NFL season begins this week amid so much unavoidable hype you’d think Will and Kate either were going to compete on “Dancing With the Stars” or had just signed as free agents with the Packers. With the NFL’s overwhelming publicity machine turning the propaganda dial up to 11, it’s time for my more-or-less annual column on why baseball still is at least a three-point favorite over football:

He forgot that football can’t be used as a metaphor for sex! And how every football field is essentially the same but baseball parks are all different! And..

Gamingboy Posted: September 08, 2011 at 01:09 PM | 63 comment(s)
  Beats: general

Tomase: Doubting Big Papi gets old

Doubting Tomase: The Incredulity of Saint Papi.

Ortiz is only 35, but seeing what (Edgar) Martinez did when he was three and four years older got us thinking. Is there any reason Ortiz couldn’t maintain Martinez-like production into his late 30s? And if so, how valuable does that make him to the Sox going forward?

...“As long as I’m healthy, I can do it,” Ortiz said with a shrug while walking to the batting cages at the Rogers Centre yesterday, before hitting his 30th homer and going 2-for-4 with a walk in an 11-10 Red Sox loss. “The funny thing is, who’s doubting me? I mean, seriously. What’s going to stop me from doing that? Tell me. When it comes down to people questioning me, they should just say, ‘Shut the ...

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Repoz Posted: September 08, 2011 at 10:05 AM | 66 comment(s)
  Beats: history, projections, red sox, sabermetrics

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-8-2011

Toledo News-Bee, August 8, 1911:

Yesterday Mr. Herrmann received word from Chattanooga that the famous Rube Benton, who has been recalled by the Reds to help out the pitching staff, is in the hospital, having been hit in the groin by a fast line drive.

My reaction upon reading about Benton’s injury was something like this.

Mr. Benton, Josias Manzanillo feels your pain.  Literally.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: September 08, 2011 at 09:43 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Nyjer Morgan takes his taunting of Cardinals to Twitter

CREEP: Plush fund.

Shortly after Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols offered up a complimentary view of Nyjer Morgan as a talented player who “sometimes goes a little overboard,” the Milwaukee Brewers center fielder had something to say about Pujols on Twitter.

It started by calling him “Alberta.”

In the ninth inning of the Cardinals’ 2-0 victory Wednesday at Busch Stadium, Morgan had one of the best at-bats of the game against Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter. The Cardinals’ ace had been efficient and effective against the Brewers, getting 21 outs on his first 75 pitches. Morgan worked him for a 10-pitch at-bat to open the ninth inning, striking out on the 10th pitch.

Morgan then began yelling at Carpenter, firing off a series of ...

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Repoz Posted: September 08, 2011 at 09:16 AM | 47 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers, cardinals, media

Francoeur throws batter out at first from right field

OAKLAND, Calif. | Sure, the Royals lead the majors with 48 outfield assists, but Oakland rookie Michael Taylor learned Wednesday that there are times when you need to run on those arms — and run hard.

Taylor drove a two-out pitch to right field in the second inning for what appeared to be a sure single until Jeff Francoeur came up gunning. The result was an out at first — a rare 9-3 play in baseball’s statistical shorthand.

Zach Posted: September 08, 2011 at 06:51 AM | 94 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, royals

AL West race: September 7, 2011

TEX 81-63 [4-3 in SEPT]
LAA 78-65 [5-2 in SEPT] (2.5 GB)

MLB.com: Rangers fall despite Kinsler’s homers

But despite Ian Kinsler making things interesting when he hit his second solo homer of the game in the ninth inning off Rays closer Kyle Farnsworth to give the Rangers life, Mark Lowe could not keep Desmond Jennings from ending things, as the rookie outfielder hit a walk-off homer in the 10th on the first pitch he saw to give Texas a 5-4 loss.

MLB.com: [Maicer] Izturis’ late double sparks comeback victory

For seven innings, Charlie Furbush was doing a pretty decent Felix Hernandez impersonation from the left side. But then came the eighth, and the Angels rallied in support of a brilliant Jerome Williams to claim a 3-1 victory at Angel ...

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NTNgod Posted: September 08, 2011 at 04:44 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, game recaps, rangers

Yahoo: Brown: Mayberry and the Mermaid

John Mayberry(notes) will apparently do anything for a date with a mermaid.

Yes, somebody has playfully betrayed the young Philadelphia Phillies outfielder and leaked a series of emails that expose his diabolical plan to have his agent set him up with actress and model Antoinette Nikprelaj, who played an underwater seductress in the most recent “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie.

Unfortunately for Mayberry, this mermaid is taken, as she is already married and has a daughter.

Another reason for the players to lobby hard for an additional set of services from the Scouting Combine…

Don Malcolm Posted: September 08, 2011 at 02:10 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: phillies

Saxon: Trout named Minor League Player of the Year

The best minor-leaguer is no longer a minor-leaguer, which is not surprising when you think about it.

Baseball America named Angels outfielder Mike Trout its Minor League Player of the Year after he batted .326 with a .414 on-base percentage, 18 doubles, 13 triples, 11 home runs and 33 steals for Double-A Arkansas.

Trout, 20, is the first Angels prospect to win BA’s award since Tim Salmon in 1992. The following season, Salmon won the Rookie of the Year award. This has been a good season for Angels prospects, as Mark Trumbo has a pretty good shot of winning the Angels first Rookie of the Year award since Salmon did it…

Past winners of the award include Dwight Gooden, Frank Thomas, Manny Ramirez, Jose Canseco, Derek Jeter, Josh ...

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Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Philly.com: LeMar, Phillies Part Ways

Talk on Chicago sports radio is that LeMar might end up as the new Cub GM, as recent moves by Chicago owner Tom Ricketts make it harder to get anyone really high profile. (Plus people don’t think much of Ricketts in general).

Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: September 07, 2011 at 10:35 PM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: general

Mariners Blog | Coming soon to a theatre near you: the Steve Delabar story

Delabar was a 29th round draft pick of the Padres in 2003 who’d played five seasons of pro ball and topped out at Class A.

He then pitched in the independent leagues in 2008 and 2009. His arm was tiring in 2009, but his coach, despite Delabar’s protests, insisted he was needed to finish off a game. He heard his elbow pop while throwing a pitch, then saw the bone jutting out from his skin as he stared at the painful fracture.

“There was a point when I first went to the High A team…I’d given up a couple of runs in a game and I’m pretty much the oldest guy in the league and I’m thinking ‘What am I really doing? Am I wasting my time?’,’’ Delabar said. “And then, I had a few good outings in a row and then I got promoted. I said ‘Let’s go ...

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it's hittin' 53450n. Posted: September 07, 2011 at 09:06 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners

Tango: The 2011 Scouting Report - By the Fans, For the Fans

Break out those Spooners and stogies…it’s that time of year again!

Welcome to the Eighth Annual Fans’ Scouting Report. For those looking for past results, go here (2008 and prior) and here for 2009, for 2010.

Baseball’s fans are very perceptive. Take a large group of them, and they can pick out the final standings with the best of them. They can forecast the performance of players as well as those guys with rather sophisticated forecasting engines. Bill James, in one of his later Abstracts, had the fans vote in for the ranking of the best to worst players by position. And they did a darn good job.

...The Project

What I would like to do now is tap that pool of talent. I want you to tell me what your eyes see. I want you to tell me how ...

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Repoz Posted: September 07, 2011 at 08:14 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: media, scouting, site news, special topics

Bill James Online: Mr. Pederson’s Legacy

How would a greenie feel, Mr. Pederson?

Disortes, Nebraska, population 416, although a few years ago we were up close to 500… it is a thriving town, unlike so many around us, and this is Mr. Pederson’s Legacy.  Sterling Pederson came here to teach in 1958…

On the first day of school in the fall of 1965, Mr. Pederson announced to his classes that students who did well in his class would be rewarded with small amounts of cash… It wasn’t much money, but Pederson was surprised at how much impact it had… Pederson decided to increase his bonuses for the second semester…

In the early 1970s there was some grumbling from the other members of the staff about the “payola”.  “Some of the kids don’t do their homework in my class,” said ...

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The District Attorney Posted: September 07, 2011 at 06:18 PM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: steroids

TFT: Donatiello: Derek Jeter, the Yankees, and the Death of Sabermetrics

Son, you’re gonna’ drive me to drinkin’
If you don’t stop and bring back that Faster Times Lincoln!

Why has Jeter been able to defy expert opinion, including New York Yankees staff members, hitting like it’s 1999 to close the season?  Does it mean the death of sabermetrics?  I sure hope so.

As one of the all-time clutch players in baseball history, it’s hard to say the pressure of 3,000 hits got to the all-time Yankees hits leader, but maybe it did.  Perhaps Derek Jeter just needed some rest. Either way, Derek Jeter is 46 for his last 117 since coming off the DL.  All this despite the fact that his UZR, WAR, FIPP, DEUS, FISL, AWO, DKSL, and ELWIS are well below average for a Gold Glove shortstop – and yes, most of those are made up ...

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Repoz Posted: September 07, 2011 at 05:50 PM | 51 comment(s)
  Beats: history, sabermetrics, scouting, yankees

Fangraphs. Q&A: Ken Singleton

Ken Singleton agrees with the Internet.

DL: In the eyes of many, you were an underrated player. Who did you play with, or against, who was underrated?

KS:  One person who comes to mind is Dwight Evans. First of all, he was probably the best right fielder in the league when we played. He was an excellent fielder. His on-base percentage was good, because he drew a lot of walks. He also hit a lot of home runs, well over 300. I think he was underrated maybe because there were so many star players, including Hall-of-Famers, around him.

I was maybe underrated because I didn’t say too much. I just played. I’ve always said that I’d rather be underrated than underpaid. I used to tell my agent that I felt I was one of the top 5% or 10% of ...

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Avoid Running At All Times- S. Paige Posted: September 07, 2011 at 04:22 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball geeks

Trumbo a strong candidate for the AL Rookie of the Year

Only because…Johnny Giavotella got his pop gun!

Along with his 26 bombs, Trumbo has driven in 80 runs, collected 55 extra base hits and has a .486 slugging percentage percentage, leading the team in all four categories. And he came up with probably the Angels’ biggest hit of the season against the Rangers on August 18, when he slammed a two-run homer off reliever Mike Adams to give his team a 2-1 win, and keep them within six games of the leaders. Without the shot, LA is swept by Texas, falls eight games out, and likely says goodbye to any post-season participation. They’ve gone 12-6 since that win, cutting 2 1/2 games off the lead. Not bad for a guy who was about to become a platoon player when he was struggling and the Angels acquired ...

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Repoz Posted: September 07, 2011 at 03:07 PM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, awards, music

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