Perhaps things will be easier for the Halos in a 60-game season than it might have been over 162 games, especially with Shohei Ohtani and Griffin Canning healthy and able to pitch a larger percentage of games than had the season started in March.
With the regionalized schedule in this truncated season, the Angels are confined to western division teams in both leagues. In addition to the 20 games against Houston and Oakland, the Angels have six games against the Dodgers, coming off a 106-win season and among the title favorites this year.
“I’ve always said you have to beat the best to be the best. Opportunities like this benefit our young players,” manager Joe Maddon said via conference call Tuesday. “I love that actually, that we’re playing better teams. I love the fact that our division is considered really good. And I love the idea that our schedule is considered tough. That’s how we’re going to get better, faster.”
PECOTA at Baseball Prospectus projects the Angels at 31.6 wins, tied for second in the American League West with Oakland, and within half a win of a wild card slot. PECOTA gives the Angels a 22.7-percent chance to win the division, and 36.7-percent chance to make the playoffs.
That’s more bullish than at FanGraphs, where the Angels are projected for 30.2 wins, essentially a .500 team, with a 26.3-percent chance of making the postseason. At Five Thirty Eight, the Angels are projected to finish 29-31, with a 24-percent chance at playing in October.
Maddon mentioned a few times during summer camp that, no matter what, the Angels will be in first place on July 24.
“If I had been selling that at the beginning of the year, it would have been met with a lot of skepticism, but it’s true,” Maddon said, smiling. “We’re in first place.”
Links & notes
- The Angels sent relief pitcher Jacob Rhame outright to their alternate training site in Long Beach, after the right-hander cleared waivers. This removes Rhame from the 40-man roster, and gives a little more clarity to the Angels’ Opening Day roster, which is due Friday morning. Rhame, who is out of options, was claimed off waivers from the Mets on July 8.
- Fabian Ardaya at The Athletic profiled the quiet, stoic leadership of new Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon.
- In FanGraphs’ positional power rankings, the Angels are projected to have the 22nd-best bullpen in the majors in 2020.
- Maria Torres at the Los Angeles Times wrote about the new MLB rules for 2020.