Series Preview: Los Angeles Angels (39-43) vs. St. Louis Cardinals (49-32)
By Mark Smith
Los Angeles Angels designated hitterAlbert Pujols
(5) and center fielderMike Trout
(right) watches from the dugout in the second inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
ANAHEIM – The Independence Day celebration at the Big A is always special. And this year will be no different as Albert Pujols and the Los Angeles Angels welcome the 11-time World Champion St. Louis Cardinals. Needless to say, fans of both clubs have been anxiously anticipating this three game interleague matchup.
The storyline is obvious. In fact, we’ve heard it a thousand times. I think sports media outlets need to turn the page – Pujols is clearly tired of talking about his feelings for St. Louis. It’s been two years and by all accounts, the former Cardinals’ All-Star slugger has moved on. Most would agree the 10 year, $240 million dollar man appears happy wearing an Angels uniform yet frustrated with the nagging injuries that have plagued him this season. His numbers have been good (not great) and the Halo faithful are still waiting for Pujols to have that “signature” moment – a moment that will define him as a Los Angeles Angel.
This series would be a perfect time to have that moment. Got it, Albert? Good. The Angels are coming off a six-game winning streak after sweeping the Detroit Tigers and Houston Astros. It’s no secret that Mike Scioscia’s club needs to stay in the win column for an extended period of time if there is any hope of salvaging this season. I know, I know – the percentages look terrible but we can all dream, can’t we?!?
Game One: Tuesday, July 2, 2013, 10:05 PM ET at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Lance Lynn (10-2, 3.52) gets the start against Angels’ ace Jered Weaver (1-4, 4.15). According to MLB.com, Lynn took a rare loss his last turn up, giving up a four-run inning in a 4-3 loss at Houston. While sporting a 4-2 record in road starts, Lynn’s ERA is 4.72 away from Busch Stadium this year. Weaver looked good against Detroit giving up only one run in seven innings. The long ball has been an issue for Weaver this season – let’s all hope the marine layer does it’s part Tuesday night by keeping balls in the park.
Game Two: Wednesday, July 3, 2013, 10:05 PM ET at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. RHP Shelby Miller (8-6, 2.79) will take the mound for the Cards in game two of the series. Miller was rocked against the Oakland A’s potent offense Friday night, lasting only 1 ⅔ innings. Jerome Williams (5-3, 3.21) has done about all Mike Scioscia can ask for as of late. Williams was stellar against the Astros in his last outing, giving up only one-run in 6 ⅓ innings.
Game Three: Thursday, July 4, 2013, 9:05 PM ET at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. I hate to be Captain Obvious, but this is a scary matchup for the Halos as the Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright (11-5, 2.22) will take the ball and face Joe Blanton (2-10, 5.07). Did we mention that Wainwright is 11-5 with a 2.22 ERA? Oh, and he just threw his fourth complete game on the season. Yikes. According to MLB.com, Blanton has pitched substantially better of late, striking out 23 in his last 21 innings. He got his first win since May 23 and second of the season by beating the Astros with seven innings of three-hit ball on Saturday.