I have had the privilege of conversing some with former big league pitcher and current color commentator for the Angels Mark Gubicza over the last few months. Ahead of the upcoming three game series between the Red Sox and Angels, Gubie was kind enough to give me some of his time and answer some of my questions leading into the series.
BSE: In April, the Red Sox swept the Angels, outscoring them 27-3 over three games. I think we can both agree a run differential like that isn’t happening again. What do you see as some keys to the series for the Angels to avoid that fate?
Mark Gubicza: For the Angels it’s really simple, keep the ball in the yard. Red Sox hit a lot of home runs last series.
BSE: Taking a look at the pitching matchups, anything stand out from that grouping? Any particular intriguing matchup?
Mark Gubicza: Heaney vs Porcello matchup looks real good. Heaney has thrown the ball very well and Porcello is back to his Cy Young form of two years ago.
BSE: I agree, I think that will be a good pitcher’s duel. With the way Heaney is pitching I think he will give the Red Sox troubles. A big weakness of the Sox right now is their struggle vs lefties. What are weaknesses of the Angels the Red Sox might be able to capitalize on?
Mark Gubicza: The Angels have also struggled to score runs vs lefties. Mike Trout and Justin Upton are keys to this series.
BSE: Yes, Mike Trout is the best player in the game. Part of what elevates him even more above everyone else is not only his hitting and defense, but his ability to steal lots of bases. As of June 2nd he was 13-13 stealing bags. Since then, Trout has gotten on first base a whopping 44 times in 20 games, yet has not stolen a single base. This is curious to me, such a weapon being shelved. Are the Angels telling him not to run much?
Mark Gubicza: Trout hurt his index finger, so that is why the stolen bases have slowed down.
BSE: Yes, he has not been playing in the field lately. Might we see him in the field at all this series?
Mark Gubicza: He may play as of tomorrow in the outfield.
BSE: Are there any under the radar players for the Angels to keep an eye on this series?
Mark Gubicza: Andrelton Simmons is getting hot again. He could be a huge key for the Halos.
BSE: You and Victor Rojas seem to have a good time in the booth, which I appreciate having enjoyed Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy together for years. I caught your stormtroopers bit and more recently your Snow Miser and Heat Miser outfits. That was fantastic! Do you aim to keep things light and have a good time in the booth?
Mark Gubicza: Try to inform, educate and entertain every night! Love to have fun.
BSE: That’s the way to be! Do you think we might be seeing the last or close to last of Albert Pujols visit to Fenway? Or do you think he plays out his contract?
Mark Gubicza: Albert is still very productive. He has the best batting average with RISP on the team since May 22. Or at least close to the best. He’ll be back in Boston for a few more years. He has a great chance to pick up his 2000th career RBI this year.
BSE: Still great at bringing those men home. A true legend, to me he’s probably the best right-handed hitter in the last few decades. Rivaled some by Frank Thomas, Miguel Cabrera and maybe Manny Ramirez, though I think Manny is a bit behind.
Mark Gubicza: Agreed.
BSE: On a side note towards your own career, who were some hitters you hated to face?
Mark Gubicza: Don Mattingly and Ken Griffey Jr.
BSE: Some you loved to face, whether because you had great success against them or whatever reason?
Mark Gubicza: I had success, and I don’t know why, but had success vs Kirby Puckett and Dave Winfield.
BSE: Couple tough outs right there. Were there any pitchers you got a little more amped up to face off against?
Mark Gubicza: Randy Johnson and Roger Clemens.
BSE: I appreciate you taking the time to answer some questions. Hope you enjoy some more of my tweets, I love the history of the game and always enjoy hearing back about particular games.
Mark Gubicza: Talk to you later my friend. Have a good night and hope to see you sometime soon.
BSE: Thank you, hope you enjoy your stay!
Featured Pic courtesy of foxsports.com