We start a four game series with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim this Victoria Day Monday. The Angels had a slow start to the season and had some excitement casting out Josh Hamilton from their ranks. Of late they have been playing better ball.
They are 19-17, 4.5 games back of the Astros. We didn't do them any favorites in that last series. They are at the bottom of the league in runs scored per game at 3.72 (we are at the top at 5.21), but then they haven't had the chance to hit against our pitcher yet. Pitching wise they are the tops in the AL allowing just 3.50 runs per game (while we are second worst at 4.89). So they appear to be our mirror image.
I sent off some questions to Josh Mayhood the new manager of Halos Heaven.
I see you have one of my favorite former Jays prospect Carlos Perez catching for you. How is he doing? Is he the full time catcher or sharing time?
Perez has been great, really. He had that amazing debut, he's shown some clutch hitting, and has been a solid spot in the lineup ever since he came up. That's the rub, though: he's not always in the lineup. Mike Scioscia is still playing Chris Iannetta every other game or two, who is their only other guy at the position, and is batting a stout .123. I think Mike's seen the writing on the wall, though, and Carlos HAS definitely supplanted Iannetta as the Angels main catcher. So perhaps it's a testament to how me we love Carlos Perez that we get the pitchforks ready every time he gets a day off.
Albert Pujols numbers don't look good, is it just a slow start, are there signs he'll turn things around or has his bat slowed at 36?
It pains me to say it, but this is just how Albert Pujols is nowadays. He'll probably have a run or two that will get him around .275 or .280, 25 homers, nothing to write home about. Also, I hope you don't mind but I have to correct you. Albert Pujols is 56 years old. He is the slowest person in MLB right now, with an even slower bat and more injury prone than ever. I try not to think about him too much and just enjoy the occasional homerun.
Who has been your biggest surprise of the young season?
The biggest surprise of the young season probably has to do with a series of events that transpired off the field, pertaining to the Angels and a player. But i'm going to have to say "Nope" and skip that answer. On the field, I want to say Johnny Giavotella, for plugging in at a position where we previously had great ballplayer and fan favorite Howie Kendrick. But Johnny G has been a sparkplug at the plate, being one of the AL leaders for go-ahead RBIs, and quickly becoming a local hero. His glove is still not as good as Howie's, and the clutch hits wont last, but I've been pleasantly surprised with what i've seen so far. Also, C.J. Wilson is pitching pretty well, and that's another welcome surprise.
The biggest disappointment?
First part of the last question. Also, I am very disappointed in the leftfield position. I mean, it's Matt Joyce and Colin Cowgill; not sure exactly what I was expecting, but I didn't think that spot would be such a bane to Angels wins.
Can we have a quick scouting report on the starting pitchers the Jays are likely to see?
The starting pitching, as a whole, as been pretty great so far this season. They actually lead the AL in quality starts, and the pitchers seem to be trying to one-up each other. The Blue Jays will face C.J. Wilson, Hector Santiago, Jered Weaver and Matt Shoemaker. Wilson has been tough, as previously mentioned, and Jered Weaver has had two starts in a row now where he's looked like the team's ace again. Matt Shoemaker has been somewhat shaky and unreliable, but his start on Saturday was a return to form. The Shoemaker the Jays end up seeing is up in the air. The weakest link, at this point, would be Hector Santiago, and even he's been good. He's just got some control problems that pop up and can either give up big hits or walks. As an Angels fan, I'd be worried about Santiago, for reasons stated, and Weaver, if only because Toronto has power and Weaver is still a popup dependent pitcher. Those games could get rough.
The Angels had a bit of a slow start, but are playing better now, what has caused the turnaround? How are Angels fans feeling about the chances of a playoff run?
I'm feeling good so far, albeit a bit hesitant because of how run-deficient the offense has been lately. The pitching keeps them in low scoring games, but that can only last so long. That said, they have the identical record through 37 games this year as they did last year, although they finished strong as possible. They'll need to get hot and stay hot, like last year, in order to make the playoffs, because as a fan I can only assume that the Astros will continue to be tough and make that AL West race close. I can't believe that's a sentence that I would ever type in my life.
Thanks Josh. Good luck in your new position. I did want to ask if dying your hair red was mandatory for the running of that site, but I forgot to put it in the questions I sent you.
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