Los Angeles Angels hope to keep rolling in Pittsburgh.
The Los Angeles Angels hit the road this weekend for another inter-league series in Pittsburgh, they are hopeful that their recent strong play against the Detorit Tigers will give them momentum.
The Los Angeles Angels fresh off taking two games out of three from the Detroit Tigers, the Angels are heading to the East Coast to take on the second-place Pittsburgh Pirates in their fourth Interleague series of the season. The Angels are continuing their inter-league schedule against the NL Central, after opening the season at home against the Chicago Cubs and visiting the Milwaukee Brewers in early May.
Without the benefit of the DH, expect to see Albert Pujols at first base and C.J. Cron on the bench. Can the Angels climb out of last place?
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Game 1: Friday, 4:05 p.m. Jered Weaver (4-4, 5.40 ERA) vs. Francisco Liriano (4-4, 4.63 ERA)
Game 2: Saturday, 1:05 p.m. Nick Tropeano (3-2, 3.25 ERA) vs. Jeff Locke (4-3, 4.33 ERA)
Game 3: Sunday, 10:35 a.m. Jhoulys Chacin (1-1, 3.42 ERA) vs. Gerrit Cole (5-4, 2.72 ERA)
Best Pitching Matchup: Sunday
Chacin is coming off one of the best starts of his career on Monday against Detroit. He threw a complete game for the first time since 2011, holding the Tigers to one run on four hits while striking out 10. He’ll look to continue the positive momentum against Pirates ace Cole, who is one of the best starting pitchers in the league. Cole was an NL All-Star last year and finished fourth in the NL Cy Young voting. He has great stuff, with a fastball that reaches the high 90s and a wipeout slider. Over his last four starts, Cole is 2-1 with a 1.37 ERA, but Cole appears to be a little more hittable this year. He’s currently allowing 9.4 hits per nine innings, the most of his career, and is walking 2.7 batters per nine innings, also the highest rate of his career.
Three Angels to watch:
- Mike Trout: Duh. After an uncharacteristically slow start to the season, Trout is back to being Trout. His season line sits at .313/.416/.564, with his on-base percentage leading the AL. He’s also stolen seven bases, which puts him on pace to steal 21 bases. He’s lost some speed and won’t ever reach the 49 bases he stole in his first full season again, but stealing 20-25 bases per season seems like something he’s capable of that would add value to the Angels offense.
- Yunel Escobar: The Angels third baseman will play tonight after missing the last three games with an injury to his left wrist. Escobar has been a revelation in the leadoff spot of Mike Scioscia‘s lineup, and after the Angels were nearly no-hit the last time out against Detroit, it will be important for Escobar to get on base and help set the table for Trout and Pujols.
- Gregorio Petit: The 31-year-old has been filling in at shortstop with both Andrelton Simmons and Cliff Pennington on the disabled list. He’s been roughly a league-average defender this year, but his bat hasn’t been very good. He’s hitting just .233/.270/.300 and has struck out in a quarter of his at bats. If he improves his hitting, he could become much more valuable to this team.
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After the Angels travel to Pittsburgh they will continue on to face the New York Yankees in a four-game series next week before returning home to face Cleveland next Friday night.