LA Angels Series Preview: Angels @ Rangers (4/9/14

ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 06: Shohei Ohtani
ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 06: Shohei Ohtani /

The LA Angels are on fire. They’ve dismantled the Athletics, prevailed over the Indians, and showed consistency with another routing of the Oakland A’s. With Ohtani putting on a “best player in baseball” level performance, more so than even Mike Trout, is there any team that can stop the Halos?

 I haven’t had this much fun watching an LA Angels team in a long time, at least over a decade. This team has unbelievable chemistry, on field and off, and some of the best talent in baseball. Shohei Ohtani is coming off another historical weekend with a near perfect outing against the Oakland A’s this past Sunday. Will we see repeat dominance by this team against the Texas Rangers?

Probable Pitchers

Monday, 4/8; 5:05PM PT: Garrett Richards (1-0, 5.06 ERA) vs Doug Fister (1-1, 3.12 ERA)

Tuesday, 4/9; 5:05PM PT: Tyler Skaggs (1-0, 1.64 ERA) vs Martin Perez (1-0 ,5.06 ERA)

Wednesday, 4/10; 5:05PT; TBA vs Matt Moore (0-2, 11.05 ERA)

Are the Angels primed to run through their division with extreme prejudice? The LA Angels just finished taking apart the Oakland A’s in a series which they took 2 out of 3 and completely dominated in those two wins.

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Now the Angels are running into one of their most hated rivals, longtime division opponents the Texas Rangers. The Rangers haven’t had the best start to their season especially with their pitching staff faltering in many aspects. The starting staff that the Angels will be facing haven’t had much success in this short season, but then again the Angels are constantly hard up for success when it comes to playing in Arlington.

Garrett Richards has been up and down in his two starts this season, or maybe down and up is more appropriate phrasing. In his first start, Richards was disassembled by the A’s for 4 runs off 7 hits in 5 innings, two of those hits being home runs. In his latest start, Richards had far more success with a 1 hit, 1 run, 9 strikeout affair that resulted in a win against the Indians. Even though he walked 4 in only 5.2 IP of work it was a big step from his first start of the season.

Richards will need to prove he is the ace of the Angels staff against the Rangers; the Angels have struggled historically in Texas, but with Richards split record of 3-3 against the Rangers in the last 7 starts means this game could very well go either way. Meanwhile, Doug Fister has had great career success against the Angels with a sub-three career ERA against the Angels.

Is there enough that could be said about the second Angels pitcher on the bump in this series? Tyler Skaggs is pitching like an ace, something that’s been desperately needed by the Angels. They haven’t had much success finding an anchor in their rotation, but this season it seems like there are a plethora of guys ready to hold down the staff. You have Shohei Ohtani, Garrett Richards, and now Tyler Skaggs is lining himself up to be dominant.

Lastly, we see Matt Moore taking the mound against the Angels to close out the series. He’s struggled immensely to open this season, so it should be a high offense game.

What to look out for

  • Is Shohei Ohtani the  best player in baseball at this point? Does Mike Trout finally have a legitimate contender for that title? After Ohtani’s 6 inning of perfect pitching against the A’s this Sunday alongside a near .400 BA and .889 SLG%
  • Shohei Ohtani may blow his offensive numbers up even more. He already has 3 HR’s on the season, a few games in Arlington can easily blow that stat up into the stratosphere. We may even see his first multi home run game from him this series.

Next: Shohei Ohtani Caps Off Historical Week in Style

  • The entirety of the LA Angels team is worth watching. But Shohei Ohtani is a national, world-wide attraction. There hasn’t been a player like this in baseball in many, many decades; everyone in the world is watching. For the first time ever we have non-Angel fans glued to games for the chance to watch Shohei Ohtani. This is exciting for Angels baseball history. Gene Autry would be proud.