Angels mailbag: Looking at the last two weeks

Hello, fans. Well, this is almost it. Your favorite baseball team is 76-73 and off today for the last time this season. With 13 games remaining in the regular season, they trail Minnesota by two games for the ’s second wild-card spot.

So, the Angels’ playoff destiny may not fully rest within their control. But, with good play, they can give themselves a reasonable chance to qualify for the Oct. 3 wild-card game — or an Oct. 2 play-in game in Minnesota.

It begins Tuesday, when Cleveland comes to town for a three-game series. Luckily, the Angels will miss , the contender, and . The pitching matchups follow:

Tuesday: RHP Mike Clevinger (10-5, 3.21 ERA) vs. LHP Tyler Skaggs (2-5, 4.37 ERA)

Wednesday: RHP (9-9, 5.04 ERA) vs. RHP Ricky Nolasco (6-14, 5.11 ERA)

Thursday: RHP (5-6, 4.52 ERA) vs. RHP (8-2, 3.71 ERA)

Let us get to the questions.

Evaluators I’ve asked are torn as to whether could best the $88.5 million the Angels are currently obligated to pay him over the next four years. Most agree that, if he opts out, he is not going to crush that number.

Does it make sense to risk $88.5 million for an extra 10% or 15%? Maybe. Maybe if you know the floor is something like $80 million over four years and you can at least pick the team that will pay you that money?

I can tell you that he will not be opting out for money — three years, $37.5 million. Upton offers a consistency that Trumbo did not. So while they are generally fair comparisons as bat-first corner outfielders, Upton is a better fielder, better baserunner, and a better and more consistent hitter. Teams value that.

To paraphrase A. Bartlett Giamatti, the season is structured to break your heart, if you invest yourself enough in it. But, occasionally, you will feel tremendous, incomparable satisfaction. Or so I’ve heard.

I have zero desire to speculate about any person’s job security. Mike Scioscia remains under contract through next season. To the latter question, the Angels swapped strength and conditioning coaches after last season, so the connection between the years is smaller than fans realize. As I’ve written here before, to which their teams are snakebit by injuries. Pitchers get hurt, all over the league, all over the world.

So it’s not like other teams are staying healthy and the Angels are getting wrecked. But it’s true that the quantity of arm injuries suffered by Angels pitchers in the last two seasons is abnormal, between Garrett Richards’ elbow and biceps, Andrew Heaney’s elbow and shoulder, Nick Tropeano’s elbow, Matt Shoemaker’s forearm, JC Ramirez’s elbow, Andrew Bailey’s shoulder, Huston Street’s lat and rotator cuff, and Alex Meyer’s shoulder. That is a ton of significant ailments, representing millions and millions in lost value.

The Angels do not allow members of their training staff to speak to reporters. We can still be certain that they are aware and concerned about the array of injuries.

As I wrote last year here, there are besides training. It’s not as simple as the wrong post-start exercises. This will be a topic to explore more in the off-season.

The numbers tell us that Parker Bridwell is getting lucky, to a degree. He has a 3.71 earned-run average, and his peripheral statistics do not support that kind of production. They also tell us that he belongs in the major leagues. The source of his success is simple: He pounds the strike zone, limits walks, avoids crazy homer rates, and allows the Angels’ superb defense to go to work saving some hits. His fielding-independent-pitching metric says he deserves an ERA of 4.56, which is not wonderful but certainly serviceable. Considering the Angels acquired him for cash in April and they can keep him for cheap for the next six seasons, he is an asset.

The Angels have not had an evaluator at Shohei Ohtani’s recent outings. It’s tough to predict where he will sign, especially since the differentiation within signing bonuses will be so small because of ’s nonsensical rules, but they are certainly not a favorite.

At this point, the chances are highly likely that either Minnesota or the Angels will win the second wild-card nomination. Most public playoff odds calculators peg the chances of one of those teams winning it between 90% and 95%. So, let’s not even worry about Seattle or Baltimore right now.

The Angels play seven road games and six home games. They play six games against good teams, four games against a bad team, and three games against a team that could be out of the race by the time they meet.

The play 10 road games and three home games. They play six games against good teams and seven games against a bad team.

They’re pretty similar schedules, really.

This month, Trout has more than twice as many walks as strikeouts and an .869 on-base-plus-slugging percentage. Don’t be ridiculous.

Check back each Monday for new mailbags, and submit questions to the below addresses whenever you please.


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