Angels mailbag: What's coming up?


Hello, Angels fans. With one week remaining until the All-Star break, your favorite baseball team is 43-43. You know what that translates into for a full season. Last week was not great; the Angels split a series against the Dodgers, then hardly scored against Seattle.

Let’s answer some questions about the state of the team. As always, please submit mailbag questions through my Twitter account (@pedromoura) or via email at pedro.moura@latimes.com.

I understand the compulsion to want to know now, but of course the Angels don’t have to know now, and thus there’s no way to predict what they will do. Twenty games over four weeks remain from today until the trade deadline. They’re probably going to have the world’s best ballplayer, Mike Trout, available for 14 of those games.

If they go 14-6 and sit at 57-49, they can’t really sell. If they go 6-14 and sit at 49-57, they can’t really buy. This stretch of games contains a high probability to define their season, and they’re not going to play a bad team amid it, unless you count Toronto.

Now, if they go 10-10, some interesting decisions will loom. Luckily, we’ll have time to talk about them.

This is a good question. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that the Angels’ increased aggressiveness on the base paths has been a primary driver of their performance since Memorial Day. I asked their manager, Mike Scioscia, about this in New York recently.

He said his team will continue to play the same way. It’s worth noting, of course, that they upped the aggression when Mike Trout went out, but I don’t see why they would stop now. It has been too effective to ignore.

Still, it’s unlikely we are going to see Trout sliding head-first into second base on nightly steal attempts right away. He is too valuable to risk further injury. So, maybe a bit less aggressive?

If you know me, you know I’m not of the belief that managers make enormous impacts on the outcomes of baseball games and seasons. Further, I believe most of the impact they do create is immeasurable — the clubhouse environment, chemistry and fun stuff like that.

That written, it would be trivial to criticize Scioscia for the club’s performance this season. He has been increasingly willing to utilize his best relievers in the most important situations, a key component of adept managing. He has sometimes had his relievers warm and not called them into his game, but every manager does that on occasion.

One thing to monitor is his reliance on starting pitchers during their third time traversing a lineup. Far too often, managers leave their starters in for another inning and then pull them after a batter or two reach base. Boston’s John Farrell did that to terrible effect during the recent series against the Angels. Scioscia has at times left veterans Jesse Chavez and Ricky Nolasco on the mound a bit long for my taste, but then you sometimes get games like Nolasco’s shutout on Saturday. So, yeah.

The Angels and Mariners could be a compelling matchup in the season’s second half. The teams are about equal in the standings, both have suffered significant injuries, and there are significant ties between the two clubs.

Seattle’s general manager, manager and other executives all chose to depart Anaheim to move to the Pacific Northwest. Jerry Dipoto, that GM, has not been spotted at Angel Stadium since his abrupt departure two years ago this week. Seattle ends its season in Anaheim. If the wild-card race comes down to that series, will he return?

More broadly, the Angels are not going to win the American League West, so there’s no reason for them to be focused on West teams. Texas is interesting, sure, but if the Angels stick around in the wild-card race, their chief competition could come from the AL East.



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