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Mariners-Angels Series Preview: A Q and A with Halos Heaven

Rahul Setty from Halos Heaven joins us to shed light on the Angels’ strong start and Mike Trout’s Pandora account

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Texas Rangers Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

The under-.500 Mariners face off against the over-.500 Angels in a home series beginning this Tuesday. Staff writer at Halos Heaven, Rahul Setty, joins us to answer my most pressing questions about the team.

LL: While everyone predicted the Astros to be atop the division, I don't think many people thought the Angels would be where they are, even if projection systems liked them. What have been the greatest factors in the team's early-season success?

RS: Both the offense and the rotation have been streaky as heck (at one point the rotation had a 9+ ERA while the hitters still have an unhealthy addiction to LOBsters), but the one constant has been the surprisingly reliable, well-managed bullpen. Between a lockdown Cam Bedrosian, capable Andrew Bailey, a rejuvenated “I throw 97 and have a cutter” Bud Norris, bullpen GOAT Blake Parker, and “I'm good when I'm healthy” Huston Street, this bullpen is gelling well and has a nice core to it.

It seems like the Angels have again been beset with some poor pitching injury luck. What's the backup plan for Skaggs, Bedrosian, and Richards? What about Street, Bailey, Tropeano, Healey, good lord what is going on with your pitchers???

JC Ramirez, Bud Norris, and Blake Parker have been serious lifesavers. Without those three, this team would be in a world of trouble. Ramirez, in his first 4 starts in the bigs has a sub-2.5 FIP, 0.98 WHIP, and nearly a 4.0 K:BB ratio. Norris has seen his stuff play up and added a cutter, leading him to thrive in the interim closer's role. And Parker has a K/9 north of 15, good for third among pitchers with over 10 innings pitched. But the team can't handle another pitching injury.

Bailey, Skaggs, and Bedrosian should be back relatively soon. We hope Richards to be back fully healthy by early June, while Tropeano and Heaney are missing the year from TJ Surgery. And don't even get me started on the Angels medical staff...

The Angels have been a very streaky team, going hot and cold with seemingly no middle ground. Is there any particular reason for this?

In the early going, glorious comebacks covered up for our rotation shortcomings (sorry A's, Mariners, and Rangers!). Since then, the offense has mostly cooled off, and being unable to cash in runners on base hurts no matter which way it's sliced. The rotation has found its groove in the past week and it should stay around average, barring another major injury (PLS NO BASEBALL GODS, WE JUST WANT 2016 TO BE OVER). Now that April is over and somehow the team came out of it with a greater than .500 record, I guess Angels fans can finally end the "it's early, we're just starting 6-14 just like 2002" jokes. Let the record show that this team started 6-2, then dropped six straight to move to 6-8. They did their best impression, though.

The Angels had a fairly quiet off-season, but one recognizable name they brought in was Cameron Maybin. How's he fitting in with the 2017 Angels?

Maybin has looked really good and really bad, but he has mostly been in between. It's impossible to assess his performance since he's not getting consistent playing time, which I wrote about last week. He and Ben Revere are splitting time in left field, which has only served to continue the Angels left field pile of poo. Left field pile of poo: Proudly served on a silver platter since 2014.

Who is currently the best pitcher in the Angels rotation, non-Matt-Shoemaker division?

Oh man, this is difficult. I'd say Tyler Skaggs but he's now on the shelf. JC Ramirez is definitely holding his own and has somehow improved as a starter, so I'll go with him.

FINALLY, my hardest-hitting question, with thanks to Brittney Bush:

In his entire time on Twitter, Mike Trout has only liked 133 tweets, and this was the most recent:

In doing some “WTF” recon, I learned that this is a reference to a particularly annoying commercial that airs frequently on Pandora. This leads me to this question: does Mike Trout, millionaire, not have a premium Pandora account?

"Omg Mike Trout has a personality? I can finally like him more than Bryce Harper!!" -East Coast baseball fans, probably. As for the question, I dunno. Perhaps he's saving for retirement early or maybe he uses Spotify? Either way, I can't blame him.


Thanks to Rahul for doing this, as always. You can read him over at Halos Heaven or follow him at @RahulSettyHH.