What is halo in baseball ? The halo rule, also known as the “Buster Posey rule,” is a regulation in Major League Baseball (MLB) that is designed to protect catchers from collisions at home plate. The rule was implemented in 2014 and is named after San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey, who suffered a season-ending injury in 2011 after being hit during a collision at home plate.
Under the halo rule, a runner attempting to score at home plate is not allowed to initiate contact with the catcher, and the catcher is not allowed to block the path of the runner without possession of the ball. If a runner does initiate contact with the catcher, they will be called out, and if the catcher blocks the path of the runner without possession of the ball, the runner will be awarded home plate.
The rule is designed to reduce the risk of injury to catchers, who are particularly vulnerable to collisions at home plate. While the rule has been controversial in some circles, with some arguing that it takes away from the physicality of the game, it has generally been well-received and has led to a reduction in the number of serious injuries suffered by catchers.
Overall, the halo rule is an important part of modern baseball and is designed to protect the safety of players on the field. While it has faced some criticism and debate, it has generally been viewed as a positive development for the sport.
What You Need to Know: The Halo Effect
If I told you, before Opening Day, that the Angels would come out of their Memorial Day game against the Dodgers with a 23-28 record, the news would have ranked as a disappointment. Calls for general manager Jerry DiPoto and manager Mike Scioscia to be fired would have been heard early and often, particularly by those who dared to search their names on Twitter. And you might have expected the crosstown Dodgers, whose summer and winter splurge made the Angels’ investment in Josh Hamilton seem modest, to steal the La La Land show.
Well, the Angels are 23-28, and calls for the heads of DiPoto and Scioscia have been audible and visible throughout the season’s first eight weeks. But while, 10 days ago, the mood in Anaheim was grim, the team’s eight-game winning streak has brightened it. And the Dodgers, who halted the Halos’ surge with a wild, 8-7 victory in Monday’s Freeway Series opener, are in last place.
For eight games, all of the ills that plagued the Angels for the first month and a half of the season subsided. Hamilton, who notched only five extra-base hits in the entire month of April, turned in a triple and three homers to raise his OPS by 78 points. Joe Blanton, a veritable piñata in his first nine starts since signing a two-year pact in the offseason, limited the Royals to two runs on seven hits in 6 1/3 innings to earn his first win. And the bullpen bLOLpen, a sore spot that elicited many a Twitter joke, held firm, protecting leads even as many of the team’s starters struggled to pave a short bridge to closer Ernesto Frieri.
On Monday, the Angels took advantage of a shaky Dodgers defense to saddle Zack Greinke with six runs (four earned) in just four innings of work. But C.J. Wilson, handed a 6-1 lead entering the bottom of the fourth, squandered the strong start in a duel that never materialized. The starters combined to allow 19 hits in just 8 2/3 frames, putting the game in the hands of the teams’ beleaguered bullpens, and leaving the managers to cross their fingers and hope for the best. Mattingly’s relief corps—with the help of a 4-for-4 showing from Adrian Gonzalez, a 3-for-3 night from pinch-hitter Juan Uribe, and a missed call on a fly-ball double play—proved a touch more resilient than Scioscia’s. And thus, the Angels lost for the first time in nine games.
The good news for the Angels is that they have won 23 games with Albert Pujols hitting .254/.324/.431, Hamilton batting .222/.283/.399, and Jered Weaver on the disabled list since April 8. The bad news is that they have lost 28 games and fallen nine back of the first-place Rangers, a deficit that PECOTA believes they have only a 1-in-16 chance to surmount.
For all the relief that the refreshing winning streak provided, it did little to help the Halos’ position in the American League West standings. The Angels have won eight of their past 10 games, but the second-place Athletics have won nine. And Los Angeles is only a half-game closer to first-place Texas than it was on May 11, because its eight-game rise was preceded by a 1-5 lull.
Hamilton, a .202/.248/.287 pumpkin through the games of May 7, is slowly coming to life. Mike Trout, a .261/.333/432 human in April, has rediscovered his otherworldly form to bat .352/.434/.725 so far in May. Weaver, who on Wednesday will start game three of the home-and-home series with the Dodgers, and Hanson, who is in line to rejoin the crew shortly thereafter, could soon restore order to a chaotic rotation. But the Angels are a long way from coming out of the woods.
And, when the upcoming six-game homestand against the Cubs and Astros ends, they’ll face a challenging stretch that could render a conclusive verdict on their 2013 hopes. Between June 7 and the All-Star break, Scioscia’s club will play 21 of its 33 games against over-.500 contenders, including six dates with the Red Sox and three each with the Cardinals, Orioles, Pirates, Tigers, and Yankees. If the oncoming wave of good news doesn’t lift the Angels’ ship, it may sink before the summertime showdowns with the Athletics and Rangers offer a second chance.
When Hanson and Weaver return, the Angels—apart from the still-rehabbing Ryan Madson and the hamstrung Peter Bourjos—will essentially be the team that DiPoto and Scioscia built. They will be the team about which Scioscia was “excited” and said had “a sense of urgency to win.” During the first 42 games, the questions that, among others, MLB.com beat writer Alden Gonzalez raised before spring training raced to the fore. The eight that preceded Monday’s loss were a long-awaited first step toward a remedy. Now, the Angels have 111 more left to answer them and make up for the ground they lost while doing so.
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