Great moments in optimism, Angels edition

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Sam Miller writes about the Angels for the OC Register. So he certainly got to see the Halos woof three of four to the Rangers this week and has watched their playoff hopes fall off a cliff since there were only a game and a half back last week.

But he is not one to despair!

Today he has a list of the six reasons why the Angels will win the division.  Reasons like this:

The Angels have about a 6 percent chance of making the playoffs, which is just terrible. But you know what 6 percent is? It’s flipping heads four times in a row. That sounds easy enough. Even Vernon Wells could do that! Even Jeff Mathis could do that, but then he’d probably throw the coin into center field.

Well, maybe not all of the reasons are to be taken totally seriously. And it’s probably worth noting that there are only four reasons, not six.  But still, given how often you hear people complaining about their team’s chances this time of year, it’s refreshing to see some friggin’ optimism, even if it’s unhinged, borderline anti-optimism, for a change.

Manny Machado called for interference with Orlando Arcia

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Fresh off our “Manny Machado didn’t hustle” post, here’s one about him trying a little too hard. Machado was called for interference in the bottom of the fourth inning during Monday night’s NLCS Game 3 against the Brewers at Dodger Stadium. It was actually Machado’s second attempt to interfere with Orlando Arcia during the game.

In the bottom of the second, Machado led off with a single. Cody Bellinger followed up by hitting a grounder to second baseman Travis Shaw, who fed to Arcia. Machado slid towards Arcia enough to disrupt the play, allowing Bellinger to reach first base safely. The Brewers didn’t challenge, in part because Arcia didn’t attempt a throw.

Fast forward to the bottom of the fourth. Machado again leads off and again reaches base, this time with a walk. Bellinger hits another grounder. First baseman Jesús Aguilar snags the ball and fires to Arcia covering the second base bag. Machado slides into second base and reaches out with his right hand to mess with Arcia’s throw to first base. It succeeds, as Arcia’s throw skips past first base towards the dugout. Brewers manager Craig Counsell challenged the call, alleging slide interference (the “Chase Utley rule”). The umpires reviewed the play and agreed that Machado did indeed interfere with Arcia, so Bellinger was called out. What made Machado’s effort even worse is that Bellinger would’ve reached easily regardless, so there was no need to interfere with Arcia.

The Dodgers trail the Brewers 1-0 through the first half of the game. The Brewers got their run early thanks to an RBI double by Ryan Braun off of Walker Buehler in the top of the first. Jhoulys Chacín has pitched excellently for the Brewers thus far.