As part of our preview of the series against the LA Angels I sent a few questions to Rev Halofan (what are the odds someone with a name like that is going grow up to cheer for the Angels?) from SB Nations Angel blog Halos Heaven. And he was nice enough to send back answers.
1. Who has been the biggest surprise this season for the Angels?
Matt Palmer, a journeyman pitcher who began the season at AAA 9th on our depth chart, because of injuries and a tragedy, he is in the rotation and has pitched great as a 5th starter - of course that means we are sending him to the bullpen Friday when Kelvim Escobar returns. The Jays may see him in relief Tuesday or Wednesday if our pen is taxed as Scioscia has already thrown him into that situation once before on his throwing day between starts.
2. Vlad Guerrero has been one of my favorite players since he came up with the Expos, what is going on with him? Can he turn it around and turn this into another great season?
We found out in the offseason that he had lied about his age and is a year older... So he claims to be a truthful 34, but what is to stop us from thinking he is lying again and is maybe closer to 40? He is rusty coming off of a 5-week layoff for a torn pectoral muscle and is relegated to DH - although he may play a day in the field in Toronto as we will be in Tampa Bay at this time next week and the fielders are going to need some type of relief from the turf - Vad has "Montreal Knee" from all those years on the concrete, though, we might be looking at David Ortiz-like disappearance.
3. Mike Sciosia has been manager there forever, it seems like. What are his strengths and weaknesses as a manager?
He is a great strategist and can get the most from what he has available to him. If it is speed instead of power he adjusts his strategy accordingly. His weakness on the field is actally a strength in the clubhouse - he defers to veterans to maintain a smooth clubhouse culture and it has cost the Angels dearly - in 2006 they sent down Jered Weaver in the midst of a hot, hot streak in deference to Bartolo Colon and lost the division by four games - Colon was terrible in twice that many contests. That is one of many examples of the micro-measurements of his roster choices destroying the macro-record of the team.
4. The Angels seem to be the one team in baseball that can match the Jays in injuries to starting pitching and, of course, the tragedy of Nick Adenhart. Now that some of the injured players are back, is there enough pitching to make a run at the Rangers?
The bullpen is terrible and seems totally unresolved 1/3 of the way thru the seaosn. As good as the starting pitching may be despite the historic slew of setbacks, the lineup is tilted toward so many singles-hitters that I am growing more pessimistic. I have faith in Mike Scioscia to get the most out of the club over the long haul aand exspecially to figure out what pieces need replacing, but at the moment there is no comparison to your balanced and fear-inducing Blue Jay club.
5. Your bullpen has been a strength in the past, less so now, who do you want holding the ball with the game on the line?
I'm thinking a raffle with the winning fan being dropped into one of those "mentally tough" situations that so far melt our pen into a puddle of pansy. I go down the list of our bullpen and reflexively cringe at the though of any one of our relievers in any situation with the game on the line.
6. If you guys aren't going to use Brandon Wood, can we have him?
The saddest part of the Brandon Wood story, besides his being one of Nick Adenhart's best friends, is that he will not be batting .400 and carrying the team to a comeback division title so he is damned if he is not here and damned if he shows up with all the expectations that are being pinned on him from fanboys and stat geeks alike.
7. Is there anything else us Jay fans should know about the Angels?
You should know that we really enjoyed our recent "glory years" and use that as a model as fans to really take in a great season or two because damn it if it doesn't all leave in a flash when you least expect it. Other than that, please look at Torii Hunter's stats, understand that he has carried this team at an advanced age and consider voting for him for the All Star Game.