Trout, Angels ready to deliver

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Believe it or not, Mike Trout has played in just one postseason series in his storied, future Hall-of-Fame career.

One!

And here’s the kicker: the Angels were swept in that series, meaning Trout has actually never even won a playoff game in nine years in the big leagues.

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Of course, that’s not the three-time MVP’s fault. Trout continues to churn out otherworldly production, which is why he was once again rewarded with baseball’s highest individual honor a season ago.

The main issue has been the Angels’ pitching staff, which continues to disappoint for one reason or another. Injuries have largely played a role, and 2019 featured an even graver challenge after the tragic death of infectious left-hander Tyler Skaggs.

This year should be different, however. Los Angeles boasts arguably its best rotation since Trout’s arrival in 2011 — the key will be to keep those guys off the injured list.

First, there is the uber talented Andrew Heaney, who, when healthy, has shown he can be one of the top starters in the American League. Unfortunately, injuries have prevented Heaney from really harnessing his full potential.

In fact, the former first-round draft pick has amassed 20 starts in only one of his six MLB seasons. That means we haven’t truly seen the real “Heandog” yet. But when we do, it’s someone that registered 11.13 K/9 last season — a mark that would rank the southpaw ninth in baseball if he had enough innings to qualify — and is undoubtedly an All-Star pitcher.

The Halos also had to endure lengthy absences from Griffin Canning and Shohei Ohtani (though the latter was able to contribute at the dish). While both are slated to begin the campaign on the sidelines, they’ll be ready in May and that’s significant for a group of starters that collectively posted the AL’s worst ERA (5.64) in ‘19.

General manager Billy Eppler addressed this painful need by acquiring a pair of reliable innings-eaters in Julio Teheran and Dylan Bundy. Both have been around awhile and provide an upgrade over what the Angels had previously. The club also reeled in the underrated Matt Andriese, another arm that can last and make a difference as a starter, if given the chance.

So, with much-improved pitching, the window would appear to be open. How can there be any concern over this loaded offense?

Trout, the best in the game, is there. So, too, is one of the offseason’s biggest prizes, Anthony Rendon, who just enjoyed a sensational year that saw him help navigate a World Series conquest.

There’s Ohtani, coming off another solid showing as a hitter (though now he’ll also be focused on pitching). And while older, the likes of Albert Pujols and Justin Upton are still useful for any major league lineup.

Fortunately, the Angels also come equipped with a fine bullpen. Hansel Robles, seemingly much improved from his New York Mets days, fared nicely in his first opportunity closing. Ty Buttrey, Cam Bedrosian and Keynan Middleton serve as above-average options setting him up.

Perhaps above all, Joe Maddon — who served as Angels bench coach for Mike Scioscia from 2000-2005 — is back in LA as the new manager. You know, the guy who did special things in Tampa and won a very meaningful title with the Chicago Cubs.

It looks like there will be more special things ahead with Maddon at the helm. With a roster capable of contending for the duration of the shoe, make sure you bet this team to go over 85.5 wins. Put a little bit on them making the playoffs (+160) as well.

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