Opposite dugout: Angels sticking to formula of riding Trout's superstardom

angelslogo.jpgManager: Mike Scioscia (17th season)

Record: 19-22

Last 10 games: 6-4

Who to watch: CF Mike Trout (.327/.416/.588 with 10 HR, 31 RBIs), 3B Yunel Escobar (.309/.362/.426), RF Kole Calhoun (.291/.371/.412 with 20 RBIs), DH Albert Pujols (8 HR, 27 RBIs), LHP Hector Santiago (3-2, 3.42 ERA), RHP Fernando Salas (2.18 ERA, 2 saves)

Season series vs. Orioles: First meeting (4-2 in 2015)

Pitching probables:

May 20: RHP Mike Wright vs. LHP Hector Santiago, 10:05 p.m., MASN2
May 21: RHP Kevin Gausman vs. RHP Matt Shoemaker, 10:05 p.m., MASN
May 22: RHP Ubaldo Jimenez vs. RHP Jered Weaver, 3:35 p.m., MASN2

Inside the Angels:

Much like the Orioles, I now often see the Angels as the team that had the unfortunate draw of facing the red-hot Royals in the 2014 postseason. Just like the Orioles, the Angels were swept by the eventual American League champions in those playoffs and suffered a down year in 2015. But the difference between the Los Angeles and Baltimore clubs is that it seems like the Halos are still recovering.

Last season, Mike Scioscia's team finished third in the AL West at 85-77, a disappointing follow-up to the 2014 Angels' major league-best 98-64 record. Fast forward to present day, and the Angels are three games under .500 at 19-22 and hold a half-game lead for third place in the West. But it could be the injury-plagued start to 2016 the Angels have suffered: They have placed seven players on the disabled list this month and only just won their eighth game of May last night.

But don't think it's superstar center fielder Mike Trout weighing the Angels down. Once again, the former AL MVP is leading Los Angeles in most offensive statistical categories: slash line (.327/.416/.588), home runs (10), RBIs (31), hits (50) and runs (28), among others. And once again, Trout is among baseball's leaders in WAR, ranking third at 2.8.

Third baseman Yunel Escobar (.209) and right fielder Kole Calhoun (.291) have added solid contributions offensively this season, combining for six homers and 30 RBIs. Escobar is even tied with Trout for the team lead in hits. However, what we're not used to seeing is veteran slugger Albert Pujols struggling at the plate. He still has his power, smashing eight longballs with 27 RBIs, but is only batting for a .224 average.

Hector Santiago, starting tonight's series opener, will be the only left-handed starter the Orioles will see this weekend. Santiago is one of the Angels' better starters, posting a 3-2 record with a 3.42 ERA. He is coming off his best start of the season at Seattle with eight shutout innings of two-hit ball. He is 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA in six appearances (three starts) against the Birds, the last one coming in 2014.

Right-hander Matt Shoemaker is off to a difficult start to the season. He is 2-5 with an 8.49 ERA, going four innings or less in four starts and only making it into the sixth twice over his seven starts so far. He is 1-1 with a 3.55 ERA in two career starts versus the Orioles. And you wouldn't know it by looking at his 3-3 record and 5.76 ERA, but Sunday's starter Jered Weaver actually started the season pretty well. He went 3-0 with a 3.86 ERA over his first four starts. But over his last four, Weaver is 0-3 with a 7.77 ERA. He has proven to be a tough opponent for the Orioles, however, going 8-4 with a 3.29 ERA in 14 career starts against the O's.

Despite the Angels winning four out six matchups last year against the Orioles, the Birds have proven to be a daunting task for the Halos in recent years, going 9-4 against L.A. since 2013, including 5-2 at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Make sure you have plenty of coffee available for the first two games' 10:05 p.m. starts!

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