Friday, April 25, 2014

Angels @ Yankees Series Preview April 25th-27th

Angels come to town for a 3 game set

This will be the first of 2 3-game sets the Bombers will face the Angels this year. They also play the Halos at Anaheim in a little over 2 weeks. As you and your dog surely know, they have the best player in the game: Mike Trout. The Angels used to give the Yankees all sorts of fits, but that is just not the case anymore, winning only 7 of 22 games in the new Yankee Stadium.

What have they done lately?

The Angels have just split the first 6 games of their 9 game road trip, dropping 2-3 to the Tigers and winning 2-3 against the Nationals. They were a 4 run blown save courtesy of Ernesto Frieri away from sweeping the Nationals. The Angels have an odd record at 10-11 but own a +17 run differential, which is 2nd in the league.  


The Angels may have the best player in the game, but they will be missing Josh Hamilton for this series. He broke his wrist sliding into first base a while back. He was off to a very hot start, sporting a .444/.545/.741. They are also missing Kole Calhoun. Good thing we won't be seeing him. Other than that: The Halos are one of the very best offensive teams in the game so far, averaging 5.1 runs a game. Albert Pujols is off to an amazing start with 8 home runs. He's still not the old Albert, but this version is pretty dang good (171 WRC+). Mike Trout is doing Mike Trout things with his (172 WRC+). 

Pitching Rotation:

CJ Wilson vs Hiroki Kuroda

CJ Wilson has probably been the most undeserving hated guy in the big contract spectrum. He's been a reliable workhouse for the Halos when they don't really have many. He comes into this start sporting a 4.21 ERA with a 3.94 FIP. Righties have gotten to him a little more than the lefties this year, which is completely normal. The guy is normally tough on lefties. He has 5 pitches, a low 90's fastball, upper 80's cutter, mid 80's change-up, low 80's slider, upper 70's curveball. He had a very rough start in his first start this year against the Mariners. Been pretty solid since.

Hector Santiago vs Vidal Nuno

Santiago is one of the 2 young lefties in the Angels rotation. He was a part of the 3 team deal that sent Mark Trumbo to the Diamondbacks. He has a 3.68 ERA (4.17 FIP). Santiago, as usual, has a very good strike-out rate (8.19 K/9 and a 21.1 K%) and a walk rate (4.91 BB/9 and  12.6 BB%). He has a pretty low grounder rate at 29.5%. Santiago has a very odd pitch mix, something people like to call a # and a half mix. In his case it's a 3 and a half. He'll use a low 90's 4 and 2 seam fastballs to set up his low 80's change. The half I was referring to is a low 70's screwball he'll use on rare occasion. 

Garrett Richards vs Masahiro Tanaka

Richards, 25, is the 5th starter for the Angels and by all accounts is pitching the best thus far. He has a 2.52 ERA (2.92 FIP) in his first four starts with a very strike out rate (8.64 K/9 and 24.2 K%) along with a stellar groundball rate (51.7%). While those starts are really good, Richards has a problem with the control bug, it has plagued him for most of his career. This year: (5.04 BB/9 and 14.1 BB%). He's essentially a two pitch pitcher, relying on the mid 90's fastball and a mid 80's slider. He'll throw a few curveballs a game, but not many if at all. He's allowed 2 runs combined in 3 of his 4 starts, the other start he got roughed up by the Athletics. 

Bullpen Status:

With the Angels having an off day yesterday, they are about as rested as one could think. Even with Frieri blowing the 4 run lead on Wednesday, he is still the closer (8.80 FIP). RHP Joe Smith (2.33 FIP) and RHP Kevin Jepsen (3.57 FIP) are the primary set up guys. The Halos really only have one lefty reliever in Nick Marrone, and have used him sparingly (0.69 FIP).

The rest of the Halos bullpen, is quite interesting to say the least. RHP Yosnan Herrera last appeared in a big league game in 2008 before being called up a few weeks ago (4.03 FIP). RHP Fernando Salas (4.58 FIP) is a former closer for the Cardinals back in 2011, but back problems have hurt him the past few years. Michael Kohn is just your middle of the run middle reliever with a (3.71 FIP).

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