The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are in town this weekend for a three-game series at Progressive Field, and I wanted to bring in an expert’s perspective on the Indians’ current opponents (it’s a little late for a series preview, but better late than never, right?). So I talked to SB Nation Los Angeles‘ Jonathan Mathis about the Halos’ early struggles, busy offseason, and roster management. Here’s what he had to say:
WAHOO’S ON FIRST: The Angels are off to a really rough start (7-14). Is it too soon to worry or is it time to panic?
JONATHAN MATHIS: It’s too soon to worry, as much as it is slightly time to panic. It’s still early, but Albert Pujols is struggling to find his groove, and the entire team is in a funk. Pujols might be overpaid, and if he doesn’t begin to string together hits real soon, the Angels might be in trouble. The pitching has been a bit shaky as well, Dan Haren is not pitching well and is capable of winning 20 games. He was a 16-game winner a year ago. Pujols was given a wealthy, long-term deal and has disappointed. And surprisingly, he has played 19 games and batted 82 times and has zero home runs. It raises concern, as Pujols is aging.
WAHOO’S ON FIRST: Pujols wasn’t the Halos’ only major free agent signing this winter. What did you think of the C.J. Wilson deal?
JONATHAN MATHIS: C.J. Wilson is a great pitcher. He’s been to the World Series twice and played a key role in the Rangers’ consecutive World Series appearances. He’ll be fine. He should be in the third spot in the pitching rotation.
WAHOO’S ON FIRST: How good is Mike Trout going to be?
JONATHAN MATHIS: Mike Trout definitely has qualities of a major leaguer. He has much potential and has compiled major league numbers in Triple-A Salt Lake, where he is hitting a staggering .419. I think he’s the future, and the Angels should consider calling him up and inserting him into the offense.
WAHOO’S ON FIRST: There was a lot of talk this spring about how the Angels would juggle their glut of corner infielders and corner outfielders. Do you think they put their best team on the field?
JONATHAN MATHIS: Mike Scioscia is experimenting to see what he has in his players. He’s juggling the outfield to snap out of a hitting funk. He’s juggling infielders, such as Mark Trumbo, to fairly split playing time with hopes that Trumbo can provide power with his nasty swings. If you get that guy going, watch out.
WAHOO’S ON FIRST: What’s your prediction for the series?
JONATHAN MATHIS: My prediction is that the Angels will come away with one win in the series.