Guy Harvey

25 Jun 19
Anderson Valley Advertiser

Jim Jones’s most ardent supporter in San Francisco press circles was Steve Gavin, the San Francisco Chronicle’s city editor. A Baltimore native, he joined the Chronicle in 1969. Life in San Francisco agreed with Gavin, a gay man in his 30s who loved theater, baseball, and a well-mixed Manhattan. The socially aware newspaperman was delighted […]

24 Jun 19
IF You are Going to Plan Your Life, Write in Pencil!!

When I am working my ”real job” and the connection goes out, it gives me a chance to pester my readers with another blog!! Today began like most.  It’s a well known fact that I don’t sleep well, so I tend to sleep with my dad’s t shirt wrapped around my  head and eyes to […]

24 Jun 19
Toronto Sun

According to Mark Seidel, chief scout for North American Central Scouting, none of the seven Canadian teams were in the top-3 when it came to his ranking of this year’s NHL Entry Draft. The good news? None of them were in the bottom-3. With two days to digest who went where — and why — here are […]

24 Jun 19

    GOLD: $1414.00  UP $18.00 (COMEX TO COMEX CLOSING) Silver:  $15,40 UP 11 CENTS  (COMEX TO COMEX CLOSING)//   Closing access prices: Gold : $1419.50   silver:  $15.44 We have been witnessing gold and silver rise as I promised you it would once it pierced through $1350 gold/and $15.06 silver. I would like to point […]

24 Jun 19
Q13 FOX News

Hundreds of firefighters are training in the South Sound to prepare for a wildfire season that’s already breaking records.

24 Jun 19
IndieWire
Watching the viral buzz surrounding Netflix’s hilarious new series “I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson” spread to every corner of the internet was a delight. Released April 23, the sketch show headlined by the aforementioned “Saturday Night Live” writer slowly picked up speed on Twitter, with users chattering about how Bart Harvey Jarvis is a terrible baby and how Paul has no good car ideas, mystifying anyone not wise to the delightfully bizarro mind of Robinson. The central theme of each sketch appearing in the six episodes of the show’s first season — Netflix picked up “ITYSL” for a second season on June 19 — is that each one is too much. They’re each too loud, too obnoxious, too extreme, too uncomfortable, and ultimately, way too funny. But Robinson isn’t an idiot. He understands that comedy is a delicate balance and to walk that line, you need to know when to pull back. Robinson, joined by “ITYSL” co-creator Zach Kanin, spoke to IndieWire about how the most integral part of perfecting the show’s humor may just be the editing process. Specifically, that’s why each episode of the series lands at around 15 minutes. Robinson and Kanin explained that during the writing process, alongside John Solomon, they overwrote sketches, fully aware they’d be tightened for comedic effect, so only the strongest survived. But once they started editing they came to the realization that a quarter of an hour was where episodes felt the most comfortable. Further, each sketch as-written generally came in at around seven minutes because, “Anything longer than that I am going to kill myself,” Robinson joked. But the real trick in editing was once the entirety of the season had been filmed and the guys were joined by editing team, including Andrew Fitzgerald and Stacy Moon, to try to piece together a series of episodes that was not just palatable, but funny. Kanin described six weeks spent rearranging sketches like puzzle pieces, trying to find the perfect fit and take the humor to another level. Also, Robinson pointed out, “I play a lot of jerks and you have to spread out the jerks.” The pair had plenty of other wisdom to share beyond “spread out the jerks,” including their initial fears that in launching the show on Netflix, it might get swallowed by all the other content available. Ultimately, they found those concerns were unwarranted. In fact, Kanin and Robinson had nothing but kind things to say about Netflix, having worked previously with Comedy Central on “Detroiters,” a sitcom cancelled after its second season last December. “There are many differences between Netflix and Comedy Central,” Robinson said. “But that’s all we’ll say.” “Say Zach said that,” he added. And then they both laughed. A lot. The men did have lots of praise to heap onto their casting director Leslie Woo, who set out on the unenviable position of trying to find lots of funny extras to fill out the backgrounds of each sketch. “We want people who are good actors who you haven’t seen everywhere before. We had to cast hundreds of people really fast,” Robinson said, pointing out that it was important to them that actors weren’t doubling up in sketches because it would disrupt the reality of the scene. “I Think You’re Interesting with Tim Robinson” But most importantly, I was able to press Kanin and Robinson to expand upon the ongoing mystery of Season 1: What, exactly, are the skeleton people using for money? The query arises from a sketch late in the season that features Robinson going off-book in a recording session and making up a song about skeletons coming to life, and honestly, it’s better if you just watch it for yourself. But then come the questions. It’s established the skeleton people use bones as dollars, but later it’s also mentioned that worms are their money. Does that make worms coins? Are there multiple forms of currency? Wouldn’t they run out of bones pretty quick? Kanin and Robinson had some theories they were willing to share. They think that ultimately the character is just making a mistake, forgetting he’s already established the bones as the skeletons money. But leaving room for interpretation that the worms serve as coins. Or, the land below is currently embroiled in civil unrest with separate factions supporting ulterior forms of currency, with some shops scoffing at the thought of accepting bones and others kicking worm-users out on the street. Or maybe something about bitcoin. The first season of “I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson” is currently available to stream on Netflix. Season 2 is expected in 2020.
24 Jun 19
Quartz
Nearly 20 women have come forward to accuse president Donald Trump of sexual assault of misconduct over the last four decades. Many of the accusations were made after he said he would run for office in 2015. The latest accuser, columnist E. Jean Carroll, says in a new book that Trump raped her in a dressing room of a New York City department store in the late 1990s. Carroll further described her experience today, telling CNN “He just went at it. He pulled down my tights and it was a fight.” The president then put his penis inside her briefly before she was able to fight him off, Carroll said. Many of these women’s accounts have been corroborated by friends and acquaintances who spoke to journalists. Some, like his ex-wife Ivana’s, were part of legal proceedings. Trump has denied all of the accounts, including Carroll’s, which he called “totally false.” Carroll’s account “is supported by the sheer number of claims that have now surfaced against Trump—claims in which women have accused Trump of engaging in unwelcome or forcible sexual conduct or assault against them,” George Conway, a lawyer who helped build an impeachment case against president Bill Clinton for lying about an affair, wrote in the Washington Post. Quartz’s Elisabeth Ponsot & Sarah Slobin detailed 17 earlier sexual misconduct accusations against Trump in November of 2017. Here’s an updated list, in chronological order of when they allegedly occurred: 1. Jessica Leeds (1980s) Sexual assault (nonconsensual touching) Jessica Leeds, now 75, told the New York Times (video) last year that Trump assaulted her when she was seated next to him on a flight to New York in the 1980s. After speaking with her for some time, she said, Trump lifted the armrest and began to touch her, grabbing her breasts and trying to put his hand up her skirt. She said she did not report the incident to airline staff or the authorities, because she saw that kind of unwanted behavior as commonplace. “We accepted it for years,” she told the Times. “We were taught it was our fault.” Last month, Leeds told the Washington Post she felt dismayed that Weinstein had been brought down by his accusers, yet Trump remained in office: “It is hard to reconcile that Harvey Weinstein could be brought down with this, and Trump just continues to be the Teflon Don.” 2. Ivana Trump (1989) Sexual assault (nonconsensual intercourse) In a divorce deposition  in 1990, Trump’s first wife, Ivana, described an event in 1989 in which Trump physically assaulted her and then forced himself on her. Details were made public in the 1993 Trump biography “Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump,” by Harry Hurt III, who obtained the sealed deposition and confirmed the account with two of her friends before publishing it. Per “Lost Tycoon,” Trump was angry with Ivana after he underwent a procedure to eliminate a bald spot by a plastic surgeon she had recommended. He allegedly pulled out some of his wife’s hair and then had sex with her in a way that left her feeling “violated.” In Hurt’s account, she spent the night locked in the bathroom, crying, only to emerge in the morning to have Trump ask her: “Does it hurt?” Trump has denied the allegations. A statement from Ivana was later added to the first page of “Lost Tycoon,” in which she softens her language, but stands by the substance of the allegation. “During a deposition given by me in connection with my matrimonial case, I stated that my husband had raped me,” the statement said. “[O]n one occasion during 1989, Mr. Trump and I had marital relations in which he behaved very differently toward me than he had during our marriage. As a woman, I felt violated, as the love and tenderness, which he normally exhibited towards me, was absent. I referred to this as a ‘rape,’ but I do not want my words to be interpreted in a literal or criminal sense.” In 2015, Michael Cohen, then special counsel at the Trump Organization, who would later become a lawyer and spokesman for the president, incorrectly told the Daily Beast that “you cannot rape your spouse.” (While there was once a “marital rape exemption” in New York, that ended in 1984.) Ivana also revised her original account of the incident in a 2015 statement to CNN: I have recently read some comments attributed to me from nearly 30 years ago at a time of very high tension during my divorce from Donald. The story is totally without merit. Donald and I are the best of friends and together have raised three children that we love and are very proud of. I have nothing but fondness for Donald and wish him the best of luck on his campaign. Incidentally, I think he would make an incredible president. In October, Ivana again spoke favorably of her ex-husband in an interview with CBS News, in which she said they remain in regular contact. 3. Kristin Anderson (1990s) Sexual assault (nonconsensual touching) Photographer Kristin Anderson said she was sitting on a couch with friends at a crowded Manhattan nightclub in the early 1990s when she felt a hand go up her skirt and touch her vagina through her underwear. “I basically just pushed the hand away, turned and looked, got up off the couch, and we all moved,” she told CNN last year. She said she immediately recognized the perpetrator as Donald Trump. “He was so distinctive looking—with the hair and the eyebrows. I mean, nobody else has those eyebrows,” she told the Washington Post. She recalled gathering with her friends after the incident and deciding to take their evening elsewhere: “Okay, Donald is gross. We all know he’s gross. Let’s just move on.” 4. Jill Harth (1992) Sexual assault (nonconsensual touching) Sexual harassment Jill Harth said she met Trump in 1992 when she was dating one of his business associates, George Houraney. In a 1997 lawsuit (later dropped), Harth said Trump made comments or advances that left her feeling uncomfortable, and ultimately assaulted her. “Trump repeatedly put his hands on plaintiff’s thighs and violated plaintiff’s ‘physical and mental integrity’ by attempting to touch plaintiff’s intimate private parts,” the complaint reads. The suit alleges a series of lewd comments and verbal harassment, which culminated in an incident around Jan. 24, 1993, when Harth attended a business meeting at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club and estate in Palm Beach, Florida. In Harth’s recounting, Trump kept her from leaving and “forcibly removed” her to a bedroom, where he subjected her to “unwanted sexual advances, which included touching of plaintiff’s private parts in an act constituting attempted ‘rape.'” Harth later dropped the complaint. In 1998, she began a months-long consensual relationship with Trump. When asked by Times columnist Nicolas Kristof why she would agree to date a man she had accused of attempted rape, she said she was in the midst of a divorce and was scared, “thinking, ‘what am I going to do now?” “When he called me and tried to work on me again, I was thinking maybe I should give this a try, maybe if he’s still working on me, I should give this rich guy a chance,” Harth told Kristof last October. Trump spokesperson at the time, Hope Hicks, told Kristof that Trump “denies each and every statement made by Ms. Harth.” His campaign also released e-mails that they said discredited Harth’s account, including messages in which Harth asks for jobs doing Trump’s hair and makeup. Over the years, and in Kristof’s column, Harth has stood by her initial claim of harassment and assault. She spoke most recently with the Guardian about her experiences, saying Trump had pulled off “the biggest con possible” in winning the presidency. Sad you had to go through it. My pain is everyday with bastard Trump as President. No one gets it unless it happens to them. NO one! — Jill Harth (@jillharth) October 10, 2017 5. E. Jean Carroll (1995 or 1996) Sexual assault (nonconsensual intercourse) Carroll, an advice columnist with Elle magazine, claims in a new memoir she was attacked by Trump in a lingerie department dressing room at Bergdorf Goodman, a fancy Fifth Avenue store, in late 1995 or early 1996. Trump had asked her to help pick out a present for a female friend, she said, and they entered the dressing room together. “The moment the dressing-room door is closed, he lunges at me, pushes me against the wall, hitting my head quite badly, and puts his mouth against my lips,” she writes, according to an excerpt published in New York magazine. “He seizes both my arms and pushes me up against the wall a second time, and, as I become aware of how large he is, he holds me against the wall with his shoulder and jams his hand under my coat dress and pulls down my tights,” she writes, before putting all or part of his penis inside of her. Carroll recounted the incident on CNN: "It was a fight… it was against my will, 100%." Columnist @EJeanCarroll on being assaulted by Donald Trump. Although she won't use the term, what she's describing is rape. At least 15 other women have accused Trump of past assault, harassment, or lewdness. pic.twitter.com/um76Dp2d0v — Josh Campbell (@joshscampbell) June 24, 2019 Trump has denied the incident and said he has never met Carroll, despite the fact that a photo of the two of them together appears in the published New York magazine account. 6. Cathy Heller (1997) Nonconsensual kissing Cathy Heller told the Guardian that in 1997 she was at a Mother’s Day brunch at Mar-a-Lago with her husband, three children, and in-laws when Trump was greeting members. When he arrived at their table, Heller said she reached out for a handshake but “he took my hand, and grabbed me, and went for the lips.” She said she leaned backward to avoid him, almost losing her balance, and again, he “grabbed me and went for my mouth and went for my lips,” she told the Guardian. “He kept me there for a little too long, and then he just walked away.” Speaking to the Washington Post after the Weinstein revelations were made public, Heller, now 64, said she wondered whether the fact that the movie producer’s accusers were famous is what held more weight for the general public. “When it’s a celebrity, it has more weight than just someone who he met at Mar-a-Lago or a beauty pageant contestant,” she said. “We’ll see about Trump. It’s never too late.” 7. Temple Taggart McDowell (1997) Nonconsensual kissing Temple Taggart McDowell was the 21-year-old representative for Utah in the Miss USA pageant when she said Trump unexpectedly kissed her at a rehearsal. “He embraced me and gave me a kiss on the lips,” McDowell told NBC last year. Another time, he did the same thing when she was visiting Trump Tower at his invitation, doing so in front of two pageant chaperones and a receptionist, McDowell said. “I would never approach or greet anybody like that unless it was somebody that I had been dating,” she told NBC. 8. Mariah Billado (1997) Voyeurism Miss Vermont Teen USA in the 1997 pageant, Mariah Billado told BuzzFeed News she was shocked when Trump walked in to the dressing room while contestants, some of whom were as young as 15, were getting ready. “I remember putting on my dress really quick because I was like, ‘Oh my God, there’s a man in here,’” she said, adding she remembered Trump saying something along the lines of: “Don’t worry, ladies, I’ve seen it all before.” “I was in shock,” Karena Virginia told reporters last year. 9. Karena Virginia (1998) Sexual assault (nonconsensual touching) Yoga instructor Karena Virginia said that Trump groped her breast and made misogynistic comments during an encounter in Queens, New York when she was 27.  She said at a press conference last year (video) that she was waiting for a car to take her home after a 1998 US Open tennis match when Trump walked up to her with a small group of men. “I was surprised when I overheard him talking to the other men about me,” making comments about her legs and appearance, Virginia said. “He then walked up to me and reached out his right arm and grabbed my right arm. Then his hand touched the right side of my breast,” she said. “I was in shock. I flinched. ‘Don’t you know who I am? Don’t you know who I am’—that’s what he said to me. I felt intimidated and I felt powerless.” Virginia said that she felt ashamed and blamed herself for the encounter for years. 10. Bridget Sullivan (2000) Voyeurism Former Miss New Hampshire Bridget Sullivan told BuzzFeed News in the spring of 2016 that Trump would come into the dressing rooms backstage at the 2000 Miss USA pageant when contestants were naked, staring at them. “The time that he walked through the dressing rooms was really shocking. We were all naked,” she said. In October of last year, CNN unearthed audio of Trump on the Howard Stern radio show in 2005, in which Trump brags about the behavior described by Sullivan. In Trump’s words: “I’ll tell you the funniest is that before a show, I’ll go backstage and everyone’s getting dressed, and everything else, and you know, no men are anywhere, and I’m allowed to go in because I’m the owner of the pageant and therefore I’m inspecting it. You know, I’m inspecting because I want to make sure that everything is good. You know, the dresses. ‘Is everyone okay?’ You know, they’re standing there with no clothes. ‘Is everybody okay?’ And you see these incredible-looking women, and so, I sort of get away with things like that.” In his element. 11. Tasha Dixon (2001) Voyeurism Former Miss Arizona Tasha Dixon, 18 when she competed in the Miss USA pageant, also said Trump subjected her and others to voyeurism. “Our first introduction to him was when we were at the dress rehearsal and half naked, changing into our bikinis,” Dixon told local media. “He just came strolling right in. There was no second to put a robe on or any sort of clothing or anything. Some girls were topless. Other girls were naked.” She said the brazen behavior put the contestants in a deeply uncomfortable spot. In her words: The owner comes waltzing in when we were naked or half naked in a very physically vulnerable position, and then to have the pressure of the people that worked for him telling us to go fawn all over him, go walk up to him, talk to him, get his attention. 12. Mindy McGillivray (2003) Sexual assault (Nonconsensual touching) On Jan. 24, 2003, Mindy McGillivray joined her friend, photographer Ken Davidoff, for an assignment at Mar-a-Lago, where a Ray Charles concert was taking place. According to McGillivray’s account in the Palm Beach Post, she was there to keep track of who Davidoff took pictures of. McGilligray, then 23, said she was backstage when she felt someone grab her from behind. “I think it’s Ken’s camera bag, that was my first instinct. I turn around and there’s Donald,” she told the Post last year. “He sort of looked away quickly. I quickly turned back, facing Ray Charles, and I’m stunned.” Not wanting to make a scene, she said she didn’t do anything. Asked by a reporter whether it could have been an accident, McGillivray said she was sure it was not: “This was a pretty good nudge. More of a grab. It was pretty close to the center of my butt. I was startled. I jumped.’’ While Davidoff did not witness the alleged assault, he said he believed McGillivray and also spoke to the Post to corroborate her story. 13. Rachel Crooks (2005) Nonconsensual kissing Rachel Crooks, one of the first women to come forward publicly against Trump last year, was a 22-year-old receptionist working at a real-estate company in Trump Tower when she ran into him outside an elevator in 2005. According to her account in the New York Times, they shook hands. Then Trump did not let go, kissing her cheeks, and then “directly on the mouth.” “It was so inappropriate, Crooks told the Times. “I was so upset that he thought I was so insignificant that he could do that.” 14. Natasha Stoynoff (2005) Sexual assault (nonconsensual touching and kissing) In December, 2005, Natasha Stoynoff was a writer for People magazine, assigned to a story on the first anniversary of Melania and Donald Trump’s wedding. At Mar-a-Lago for a photo shoot and interview, Stoynoff said Trump brought her into a room with the guise of showing her around the estate, then shut the door and began kissing her. “I turned around and within seconds he was pushing me against the wall and forcing his tongue down my throat,” she wrote in the magazine last year. “I was grateful when Trump’s longtime butler burst into the room a minute later, as I tried to unpin myself.” “My shock began to wear off and was replaced by anger. I kept thinking, Why didn’t I slug him? Why couldn’t I say anything?” she wrote. Six people came forward to say she had told them of the incident, including the publication’s east-coast news editor, Liz McNeil. “She was very upset and told me how he shoved her against a wall,” McNeil said. “The thing I remember most was how scared she was. I felt I had to protect her.” Trump’s campaign called Stoynoff’s account a “fictional story.” Charles Hardner, a lawyer for Melania Trump, wrote in a letter to Stoynoff after the People story published that some statements in Stoynoff’s account are “false and completely fictionalized,” and demanded a retraction. Jessica Drake speaks to reporters last year. 15. Jessica Drake (2006) Nonconsensual kissing Adult-film actress Jessica Drake said she was at a golf tournament in Lake Tahoe at an event for Wicked Pictures in 2016 when she met Trump in the celebrity gift room. Speaking to reporters last year (video), she said Trump flirted with her and asked her for her phone number, which she gave him. Drake said that Trump then invited her up to his suite, and because she did not feel comfortable going alone, two other women joined her. “When we entered the room, he grabbed each of us tightly in a hug, and kissed each one of us without asking permission. He was wearing pajamas. A bodyguard was also present,” Drake said. Trump denied Drake’s story as “pure fiction,” while referencing her profession as an adult film actress seemingly to undercut her claim. In Trump’s words: One said, ‘he grabbed me on the arm.’ And she’s a porn star. You know, this one that came out recently, ‘he grabbed me and he grabbed me on the arm.’ Oh, I’m sure she’s never been grabbed before. 16. Ninni Laaksonen (2006) Sexual assault (nonconsensual touching) A model who represented Finland in the Miss Universe competition, Ninni Laaksonen told the Finnish newspaper Ilta-Sanomat in October that Trump had groped her before an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman in 2006. “Before the show we were photographed outside the building,” she told the paper, per a translation in the Telegraph. “Trump stood right next to me and suddenly he squeezed my butt. He really grabbed my butt. “I don’t think anybody saw it but I flinched and thought: ‘What is happening?’” Summer Zervos alleges Trump sexually assaulted her after she appeared on “The Apprentice.” 17. Summer Zervos (2007) Sexual assault (nonconsensual touching and kissing) Summer Zervos said Trump subjected her to sexual harassment and assault when she tried to consult him as a mentor and potential employer after her appearance on “The Apprentice.” Speaking at a press conference last year (video), Zervos said she met Trump in 2007 in New York, when he unexpectedly kissed her on the lips as a greeting, an action that surprised and embarrassed her. Later that year in Los Angeles, she said, he asked to meet for dinner at the Beverly Hills Hotel. When she arrived, she said that rather than being taken to a restaurant, she was led by a security guard to a bungalow with a bedroom. When she entered, she said he kissed her again. When she tried to make conversation instead, he asked her to sit down next to him, which she did. In her telling, Trump then “grabbed my shoulder and placed his hand on my breast.” She tried to stand up and get away, but he pulled her into a bedroom. She said she again tried to leave, and push him off, saying “Come on man, get real.” He said he repeated her words back to her, “Come on man, get real,” while thrusting his genitals on her. They ultimately had dinner in the room, and she said she left feeling violated and distraught. “I wondered if the sexual behavior was some kind of test or whether or not I had passed,” she said. Zervos said the Access Hollywood tape had motivated her to come forward with her story, saying she would like to tell Trump that “you do not have the right to treat women as sexual objects just because you are a star.” When Zervos initially went public with her claims last year, Trump released the following statement, denying the events took place: To be clear, I never met her at a hotel or greeted her inappropriately a decade ago. That is not who I am as a person, and it is not how I’ve conducted my life. In fact, Ms. Zervos continued to contact me for help, emailing my office on April 14 of this year asking that I visit her restaurant in California. In January, lawyer Gloria Allred filed a complaint on behalf of Zervos in New York, which alleges she was “ambushed by Mr. Trump on more than one occasion,” and that Trump had “suddenly, and without her consent, kissed her on her mouth repeatedly; he touched her breast; and he pressed his genitals up against her.” Last month, Trump addressed Zervos’ claims, this time calling the allegations “fake news.” “It’s just fake. It’s fake. It’s made-up stuff, and it’s disgraceful, what happens, but that happens in the—that happens in the world of politics,” he said. 18. Cassandra Searles (2013) Sexual assault (nonconsensual touching) In a Facebook post last June, Cassandra Searles, who competed as Miss Washington in the 2013 Miss USA pageant, said Trump “treated us like cattle.” In the comments section on the post, other contestants she had tagged in the initial post shared their experiences, and in one comment Searles wrote, according to a report in Rolling Stone: “He probably doesn’t want me telling the story about that time he continually grabbed my ass and invited me to his hotel room.”
24 Jun 19
Montreal Gazette

Habs drafted 21-year-old Russian centre, who is 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds, in sixth round after he attended team’s combine in Stockholm.

24 Jun 19
RACER

With a three-week break in the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series, it’s time to turn our attention to the Silly Season. Except that unlike most years, there aren’t four or five free agents bidding their services, or a couple drivers facing termination. Nope, this is the smallest and most intriguing Silly Season in recent memory. It’s […]

24 Jun 19
Hockey Hub

On June 24th, the Canadian province of Quebec, and French-Canadians across the country, celebrates Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day. St. John the Baptist was declared the patron saint of French-Canadians by Pope Pius X in 1908, and the holiday is an official statutory holiday in the Province of Quebec. As Quebec celebrates this day, HockeyHub looks back at […]

24 Jun 19
Daily Breeze
ANAHEIM — As the Angels approach the halfway point of the season, they are nearly halfway to being the team they want to be. With Andrelton Simmons ready to return any day now, the Angels’ lineup will soon be complete. What separates them from being true contenders, however, is the pitching, specifically the starters. “I feel like on any good team the starting pitching is good, end of story,” Tyler Skaggs said. “If the starting pitching is good, you’re going to win a lot of games. I do feel like we’re the missing piece.” Skaggs concedes that he and the Angels’ other starters have failed to live up to expectations. Angels starters have a 5.37 ERA, which ranks 26th in the majors. That doesn’t tell the whole story, though, because the Angels have used an opener 15 times. Replacing the opener innings with the primary pitcher’s performance from those games, the rotation pitchers actually have a 5.62 ERA. They’ve also combined to pitch just under five innings per game. The Angels have had a pitcher last six innings in just 19 games, the fewest in the majors. Only five times have they had a pitcher throw seven innings, which is better only than the rebuilding Baltimore Orioles. “Pitching and defense wins championships,” Manager Brad Ausmus said. “Starting pitching is the biggest chunk of that. We definitely need, as a whole, to pitch better. If we do, the way our offense has come around, it gives us a legitimate shot at a playoff spot. So we need to pitch a little bit better.” The relievers, including the openers, have a 4.16 ERA, which is what has kept the Angels afloat. They haven’t lost a game that they’ve led after seven or eight innings. The problem is the relievers have been used 269 times, which is fourth-most in the majors. They’ve used 3.4 relievers per game, lately carrying just seven in the bullpen. “Over the course of the year you’ll see that burden takes a toll on guys,” Heaney said. “It’s something that we want to try to prevent. We understand that as a starting group.” Skaggs said the starters have met several times to try to diagnose the issues or simply motivate each other to pick it up. Although they are individuals, just one performing each day, they believe they function as a unit. “I think most rotations that you see that throw well, it’s a momentum thing,” Heaney said. “It starts with one good start. With us, it’s been spurts and sputters. … I think as far as getting that momentum going and feeding off each other, we haven’t done that.” It starts with Skaggs, whose combination of age, experience and recent success makes him the most logical candidate to emerge as the staff’s top pitcher. In the first half of 2018, he posted a 2.57 ERA. Trying to pitch through a groin injury scuttled his second half, and then he got off to a slow start this year. Now, though, he’s showing signs of turning the corner. He allowed one run in 12-1/3 innings in his last two starts. In the previous outing, Skaggs had thrown three scoreless innings before a power outage at Tampa Bay’s Tropicana Field forced him to sit for 30 minutes in the middle of an inning, which he said threw him out of his rhythm. The recent improvement has dropped Skaggs’ ERA to 4.30. Heaney is also hoping to knock a couple runs off his 5.68 ERA, through just five starts after he missed two months with elbow inflammation. After Heaney gave up five runs in Toronto last week, he and pitching coach Doug White spent extra time analyzing his performance. “I think we got an idea of what I was doing and how to fix it,” he said. Ausmus said those two are the least of his concerns: “Skaggs has looked better. I think Heaney is going to be fine. I’m really not too worried about the two lefties at all.” Otherwise, the best pitcher has been rookie Griffin Canning, who has a 3.88 ERA 10 starts into his career. Canning has impressed everyone around the Angels, although this is still his first time through the big leagues, so there are bound to be growing pains. Suarez has also shown flashes during his four starts, but a few rough innings have cost him at times. He is currently at Triple-A, although he’ll likely be back soon. Félix Peña, who pitches after an opener, has been inconsistent. The starters who have had the most trouble are the two most expensive. Trevor Cahill and Matt Harvey signed for a combined $20 million over the winter. Harvey went on the injured list with a 7.50 ERA, and he’s still out with no timeframe for his return. Cahill also got hurt, taking his 7.18 ERA to the IL. Cahill is ready to return to the Angels, although they’ve discussed moving him to the bullpen. The Angels also could get JC Ramírez back soon. He allowed six runs and didn’t get out of the first inning (41 pitches) in a rehab outing on Monday night at Triple-A. His rehab assignment expires later this week. The Angels could bring him back as a starter or reliever. [related_articles location=”left” show_article_date=”false” article_type=”automatic-primary-section”]The trade market might also bring the Angels’ rotation some help. General Manager Billy Eppler will have to weigh the cost to the farm system against the benefit of adding a pitcher for this season, when the Angels are essentially shooting for a wild card. Obviously, a pitcher who is under control beyond this season is more attractive, but those pitchers also cost more in prospect capital. Whatever route the Angels take, it is obvious that the rotation will need to improve if they are going to have a chance. “Once the starting staff is clicking on all cylinders,” Skaggs said, “it’s going to be a meteoric rise. Quote me on that. It will be a lot of fun.” UP NEXT Angels (LHP Andrew Heaney, 0-1, 5.68) vs. Cincinnati Reds (RHP Tyler Mahle, 2-7, 4.17), Tuesday, 7:07 p.m., Fox Sports West, 830 AM