Advertisement
Angels

Angels mailbag: To root for the team to win, or lose?

Jared Weaver
Angels’ Jered Weaver pitches against Oakland on Sept. 5.
(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

Hello, hello, Angels fans. This mailbag is entering your consciousness one day later than normal because of Monday’s holiday. The Angels played well in the last week, but suffered a terrible shock Sunday in Seattle, when starter Matt Shoemaker was struck in the head by a line drive and rushed to the hospital.

The games keep going. With the season four weeks from conclusion, the club is 62-75 and on pace to win 73 games. They would pick 10th in the 2017 MLB draft if the season ended now. This is the place to ask anything you want about the Angels, with questions submitted through my email (pedro.moura@latimes.com) and Twitter accounts (@pedromoura).

This is strictly a matter of perspective. When I rooted for sports teams and they were not going to make the playoffs — which was pretty much the entirety of my sports fan life — I would root fervently for them to lose. There would be a day each season I just decided to reverse my hopes.

Does that stand to reason? I’m not sure that it does. The point of investing your free time into this whole sporting enterprise is to enjoy yourself, right? You have no control over what happens, but by investing your time into it over years, you become invested in the happenings, in some cases incredibly so. So, whatever is going to entertain you and harm no one, I am cool with.

Is moving up six spots in the draft worth enduring 10 more losses? I don’t know. But I do know that, fairly often, a team would pick the same player with the ninth pick that they would with the third.

Angels owner Arte Moreno, again, has refused to answer questions from The Times on repeated occasions this season. There’s no way to know if he is willing to do what you described. I’d posit that he and the Angels likely do not know for sure yet. Maybe it depends on where the luxury-tax threshold will be. Also, if the Angels fall out of the top 10 in the draft and have to sacrifice a first-rounder to sign an elite talent, it will be much harder to rationalize the pursuit of Cespedes.

Thaiss, the Angels’ 2016 first-round pick, tore up the rookie league, as 21-year-old first-rounders should do. Since he was promoted to Class-A Burlington, he logged more pedestrian numbers: a .276 average, .351 on-base percentage, and .427 slugging mark. He was also charged with eight errors in 43 games there, which seems like a lot for a first baseman. Burlington’s season ended Monday.

Overall, Thaiss had a fine half-season. We will be able to gather much more about him in his first full season next year. 

I have. Car accidents are awful. After the more serious of my two, I found it difficult to focus on anything for several days. I am amazed that Mike Trout could return to his normal level of performance not 48 hours after a severe scare.

What a song. Yes.

I’m expecting Jered Weaver to pitch another season. That is what he has indicated with his recent comments, and others who’ve spoken to him recently do not think he sounds ready to retire. Now, if no one is willing to offer him a starting spot next year, I could see that changing. He has not expressed excitement about pitching out of the bullpen.

A honeybee, no doubt. It is hard to beat honey.

Second base and third base are considered equally difficult to play. Fangraphs.com gives them the same positional adjustment bonus. If the Angels pick up Escobar’s option for next season, it is because he will play third base. While Kaleb Cowart has spent much more time at third than second, it is worth experimenting this month to diagnose his aptitude for second. More importantly, he needs to hit and develop his plate discipline if he is to become an everyday player.

The Angels have all sorts of control over Nick Buss. They can keep him in an Angels uniform for the next six seasons after this one if they’d like. But he is a 29-year-old outfielder hitting .217 with a .222 on-base percentage and .400 slugging percentage. He is performing below replacement level.

It is exceptionally difficult to succeed in the major leagues.

I don’t know that Garrett Richards’ torn ulnar collateral ligament really makes it any more likely for the Angels to re-sign him, but I do think they have a good chance of re-signing him if they choose to do so. That said, I’d be highly surprised if anything happened until at least next year. I wrote in spring training that Richards and the Angels have not discussed an extension, and of course they are not going to come to an agreement now, while no one knows what to expect.

I don’t know about a bigger city. Population isn’t the only factor that governs market size. Consider that Houston is one of the biggest cities in the country, yet is continually considered a small- or mid-market team. St. Louis is far smaller, but the Cardinals’ payroll does not reflect that truth.

Orange County is plenty big itself, and that’s not even getting into whether the Angels are part of the Los Angeles market. If Orange County was its own media market, I do think the pressure would be increased. The Angels do not resonate on a daily basis in Southern California beyond sports fans, I don’t think. 

I’d guess most 11 p.m. news shows don’t show any of their highlights. I doubt that can be said for many other major league teams. 

I love food. Here is a ranking, reflective of cost of the restaurant.

1. Bavette, Milwaukee. 

This is a butcher shop and restaurant in Milwaukee’s Third Ward. I went here three consecutive days. Their mushroom and sunchoke salad tossed in bacon vinaigrette is probably the tastiest thing I’ve consumed in 2016. The sandwich menu is creative and incredibly cheap for the quality and sourcing of ingredients, and the same for the salads.

2. Morcilla, Pittsburgh.

So, this chef, Justin Severino, is widely credited with revitalizing Pittsburgh’s dining scene with this nationally renowned restaurant called Cure. Morcilla is his second effort. It is Spanish cuisine, and it is incredible. There’s cured ham and all sorts of incredible montaditos, which are essentially tapa-sized sandwiches.  I fondly remember this bite of melting oxtail with caramelized onions and Mahón cheese. When I was there in June, there was a dining room and then a standing-room bar where you could eat, but I think they said they were installing seats into the bar area.

3. Provisions, Houston. 

This restaurant shares a space with one of the finest-dining establishments in Houston, The Pass, but Provisions is more reasonably priced. They have a cresta di gallo pasta on the lunch menu with mushrooms and roasted yeast. Eating it felt like flying. I very much enjoyed yellowtail cured in smoked miso and served with seaweed salad. 

4. Saffron, Minneapolis.

The fried cauliflower was wonderfully spicy and absolutely addicting. I had it twice, served with a sheep’s milk aioli each time. They do a lamb-bacon BLT.

5. B&O Brasserie, Baltimore.

This may have made the top five because I had low expectations and it dramatically exceeded them. I’ve been lucky to eat so many wonderful meals this year, but most of the time I am anticipating them, knowing what I will order before I arrive. This was just sitting there on a lazy night, waiting, in the hotel where I stayed. The standout dish was a ginger sweet potato fried rice, with shiso and fermented soybean. I am a sucker for shiso.

Honorable mention: Heartwood Provisions and Il Corvo, Seattle; Publican Quality Meats and The Girl and The Goat, Chicago; Spoon and Stable, Minneapolis; Mission Chinese Food, San Francisco; Oxheart, Houston; Cosme, New York City; Townsman, Boston; Ekiben and Woodberry Kitchen, Baltimore; Honest Weight, Toronto; Edison Food+Drink Lab, Tampa.


Pedro,

Greetings from the wine country of Sonoma County.

I read that CJ Cron came off the DL and immediately the Angels started to win. Amazing to see how one player can affect a team or was it just coincidental that the Angels are 8-2 in the their 10 games since he returned?

 Andrew Smith

Santa Rosa, CA

C.J. Cron is one of the Angels’ best hitters, and performing a bit better than most expected this year, a definite reason to be excited for the future.

But not even Mike Trout would singlehandedly take a team from 2-8 in one 10-game span to 7-3 in the next. Randomness is the answer you are seeking.

That concludes this week’s Angels mailbag. Send in your questions to the below addresses at any time, and check back each Monday for answers.

pedro.moura@latimes.com

Twitter: @pedromoura


Newsletter
Get our daily Sports Report newsletter
Advertisement