Know Your Enemy: The Angels

Danny Glover sees Angels ... on the day before he was due to retire.
Have mercy, Disney, it’s our first day: Murtaugh, Dick Grayson, and a precocious tyke learn to believe in Angels.

Good day to you, Chicago White Sox fans! My name is Leonard Gore, and I’m one of South Side Hit Pen’s newest contributors! I got my feet wet over at South Side Sox, taking a look at the 2020 schedule, but I’ll be fitting into the rotation here for the rest of the season, and hopefully for many years to come! Check out my Meet the Players piece on site today to learn a little more about me. You can also learn more about me by following @Leonard42 on Twitter.

OK, enough chit chat, let’s get to the good stuff.

(Hold up. Before we get started, I have to once again give a whole heaping amount of praise for James “Yes He” McCann for gifting Sox fans the No. 1 White Sox win of 2019 so far. Wow just … one more look at that salami …

Now, back to your regularly scheduled Angels programming!)


Continuing on their tour of the AL West, the White Sox travel to the land of Mickey Mouse and the modern day Mickey Mantle to face Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels of Ana— wait … (checks Baseball-Reference) oh … that’s it. It’s just The Los Angeles Angels now! Evidently they jettisoned that clunky “of Anaheim” addendum after the 2015 season. That’s gonna save a ton of extra keystrokes. Know what? Heck with that pretentious, country-club name. They’re just gonna be the Angels.

Fun fact! Owner and not a telenovela villain Arte Moreno jammed in the Los Angeles prefix just in time to be relevant enough to get run over by four straight complete games in the 2005 ALCS (man, that’s a sequence of events that will never, ever happen again will it?)

Anyway, back to Trout and the 2019 Angels … or is it the 2018 Angels? 2017? I really can’t tell any of these Angels squads apart because even with the equivalent of Bo Jackson in Tecmo Bowl playing center field, the Angles have finished an average of 21 games out of first place in the past three-plus seasons in the admittedly-strong AL West. However, even with Rob Manfred all but pleading with the Angels to take at one of two flipping wild card spots, the franchise has taken the middling road to mediocrity and are slowly morphing Trout into my generation’s Ernie Banks. (Yes, I know the Angles made the playoffs in 2014 … but when you get swept by the Kansas City Royals (!), did your playoff even happen bro?)

Anyway, since I’m obligated to continue to writing about a baseball team that clearly got one of those wishes made true in a deal with the devil that turns out to have a sinister twist like … Trout sprouts literal gills, here are the 5 W’s and 1 How about the Angels of California:

Who are the Angels?
Other than Trout aka Good Homelander (go watch “The Boys” on Amazon, it’s amazing), you have the defending ROY Shohei Ohtani who was turned into a mere DH thanks to following the offseason Micker Adolfo Tommy John Plan, has been pretty much the same competent hitter which is … fine. Old man Albert Pujols has been consistent even in his obvious decline over the last few seasons, and even notched his 2,000th RBI (of course a dirty rotten Detroit Tigers fan got his hands on the HR ball). Tommy LaStella was doing a very good job rubbing his career year in the Cubbies faces before Jermaine Dye-ing his leg with a foul ball. Jonathan Lucroy got Jack Parkman-ed in Houston and was damaged enough to get cut and fail upwards onto the Cubs’ Ricketty (see what I did there?) playoff ship. Old friend Kevan Smith is doing Kevan Smith things.

Pitching-wise it is not pretty, with Ohtani unable to and of course, the untimely and tragic death of promising starter Tyler Skaggs. Remember Matt Harvey? Well a 7+ ERA and 2 HR/9 earned him a July DFAing. I could write about the rest of the chuckers, but honestly they’d have trouble even sticking in the White Sox rotation …so here’s a Trout highlight instead:

(I wasn’t gonna dump on Chris Sale at first, but he sided with Drake LaRoche so … fuck it. Enjoy!)

What are the Angels?
Trout and Ohtani dragging 23 other guys to perpetual 80-win seasons until the sun goes supernova.

Where are the Angles?
In their customary position waffling between third and fourth place in the AL West, thanking their Lord Mike Trout that the Seattle Mariners still exist.

When are the Sox playing the Angels?
It’s a four-game series so, there’s a good chance Trout hits 10 homers and the White Sox still find a way to split the series. Your probables are:

Thursday, August 15 @ 9:07 p.m. Reynaldo Lopez (7-9, 5.16 ERA) vs. Andrew Heaney (1-3, 4.89 ERA) … SSHP coverage: Janice Scurio

Friday, August 16 @ 9:07 p.m. Lucas Giolito (12-6, 3.42 ERA) vs. Patrick Sandoval (0-0, 5.59 ERA) *BILL WALTON KALEIDOSCOPIC COLOR COMMENTARY NIGHT* … SSHP coverage: Joe Resis, with Brett Ballantini tripping on mushrooms assisting

Saturday, August 17 @ 8:07 p.m. TBD vs. Jose Suarez (2-4, 6.57 ERA) … SSHP coverage: TBD

Sunday, August 18 @ 3:07 p.m. TBD vs. Griffin Canning (4-6, 4.86 ERA) … SSHP coverage: TBD

Why the Angels?
When the team was created in 1961, they played in Los Angeles proper and much like the Houston Texans, people were evidently no more creative back then even with all the psychedelic drugs available to them.

How do the Sox beat the Angels?
Either the Sox will be walking Trout 16 times or so this series, or just praying his at-bats come with nobody on base. Thankfully, he’s only one of nine Angels playing at any given moment (and a pretty massive one at that), so as long as he’s the only hitter getting his and Ohtani can be neutralized, this Angles team is basically the same outfit that has done the same shtick for the past few years: Be the team that hosting cities beg to have play them on the weekend to increase their attendance watching the closest thing to a truly 100% Unanimous Hall-of-Famer (sorry, Mariano) in real life.

With most of these games ending well after decent folk are sleeping, you’d be forgiven for catching the Twitter highlights the next morning, but you, dear reader, are not just any old fan. You are a White Sox fan goddammit, and no blatantly obvious hit job by the front office and their mouthpieces calling you “cowards” (really, Chuck?) and “trolls” is gonna stop you from watching a good six or seven innings before dozing off and wondering why George Foreman is selling crap you don’t need when you wake up from the couch at 3 a.m.

Even if you decide that, like Ralph Wiggum, sleep is where you get to be a Viking and choose it over watching the Sox try their best to not get blitzed by another West Coast team, that’s OK! We here at South Side Hit Pen will have you covered with game recaps by writers sufficiently caffeinated to get you all the details the next morning! And isn’t it always a pleasant surprise to wake up to good White Sox news now and then?

Go White Sox!

P.S. I can’t believe I made it this whole preview without bringing up the Sox drafting Jared Mitchell a pick before the Angels picked Trout! (ooooooohhhhhh crap 😩)

P.P.S. There are three or four instances where I called them the Angles. I bet you didn’t even notice!

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Author profile

Leonard “Not Al” Gore, 35 year old Black White Sox fan/husband/father. 2006 University of Illinois-Champaign graduate, shared a class with the starting 5 of the Finals squad. Told my girlfriend in February 2005 we’d get married when the White Sox won the World Series. Improbably had to do the deed 3 years later. Capricorn. Christmas Eve baby (don’t get me started). I love baseball, Stephen King and Douglas Adams novels, and the entire filmography of the greatest living actor Nicolas Cage. Best job: Working for the Cubs (sorry) in 2007-2008 as an original operator of the first electronic ribbon boards at Wrigley, met Uecker, Santo, Ernie, and celebs like Keith Olbermann and I peed next to Tim Robbins. First time blogging in any official capacity and long time reader of SSS. Tim Anderson has blocked me on Twitter but you can still follow me @Leonard42 and l.j.gore_83 on Insta.

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Lurker Laura
Lurker Laura
10 months ago

They’ll always be the California Angels to me.

Lenny G
10 months ago
Reply to  Lurker Laura

Precisely. Even Anaheim, though technically accurate always seemed too too local. Go big and take the whole state from the Giants and Dodgers. (Mean Girls voice) THEY ARENT EVEN FROM HERE (close enough. Don’t @ me Mean Girls stans)

Brett Ballantini
10 months ago
Reply to  Lurker Laura

They’ll always be the California Golden Seals to me.

katiesphil
katiesphil
10 months ago

If Timmy blocked you, I have to wonder if I should be seen commenting on your piece… But I’ll worry about that later. Thanks for this. Teams like the Angles are sadder, in their way, than the Sox, who have at least picked a lane, whether you think they’re pursuing properly or not. The Trout-Banks comparison is pretty apt.

janice scurio
janice scurio
10 months ago

Here’s hoping we see quite an obtuse Angles team this series.

Lenny G
10 months ago
Reply to  janice scurio

Obtuse always reminds me of Andy and the Warden In Shawshank