The LA Angels have come out of Houston with a series victory against the World Series defending champs. It was an important step for the Halos as they’ve dropped multiple series this past week, including a big series at home against the Boston Red Sox. The Angels will get their second chance at dismantling an East Coast rival this weekend against the Yankees.
What a way to end the first month of the new baseball season, with a series against one of the Angels most heated rivals. The Yankees are never a pleasure to host, and with the New Yorkers coming off a sweep of the Twins there will be a lot of pomp entering the opposing dugout. There are man ways the Angels can secure a victory against the Yankees, but what can they do to ensure a sweep of the Bronx Bombers?
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Luis Severino is hot, he’s very hot. Andrew Heaney is not. Luis Serveino has 5 starts with only 1 loss, his worst start a 5 ER, 5 IP affair against Boston. Andrew Heaney only has two starts on the season and has lost them both, his last outing a 4.1 IP 7 ER affair in which he allowed 3 HR’s. Luis Severino is a winner for the Yankees, Andrew Heaney is still looking for his first victory with the Angels.
How is this going to play out? We see red hot teams go ice cold in a matter of days, it’s the nature of the sport. We also see ice-cold players bust out of their funks at the most opportune moments. The first game of the series may not look to be in the Angels favor, especially with the HR happy Heaney going up against the trio of Judge–Stanton–Sanchez.
However, the Angel do have Mike Trout. That within itself offers many opportunities for victory. While it isn’t easy to see Heaney silencing the Yankees it is reasonable to see the Angel offense going off against Severino. Not easy to see, but a reasonable outcome to look forward to.
It seems like the Angels starting pitchers whom need immediate success have been primed to pitch in this difficult series. While Garrett Richards isn’t in “need” of success given his recent start of 6 IP with 2 ER on 11K’s against the Giants, but what he will need to do is prove that he can continue his upward trends without any kinks.
The Angels may be in a good spot to pull a win in the second game of the series with a more manageable pitcher on the opposing side of the mound in Masahiro Tanaka.
Tanaka has had his struggles to open the season, his most troubling start against the Marlins in which he allowed 7 ER and a HR in 5 IP. One of Tanakas’ biggest issues is his difficulties keeping the ball in the park, giving up at least one home run in each start aside from his last outing. Against the Twins Tanaka dominated with 6.2 IP of 1 run ball and kept the hitters to zero longballs.
Both Garrett Richards and Masahiro Tanaka have shown marked improvements in their last starts, which will make this a very fascinating game. What is going to happen? Will one of these pitchers fortunes hit a full reversal? Both of them? Or maybe we’ll get a pitching duel of proportions worthy to end the first month on.
To round out the series we have C.C Sabathia back to torment the Angels once more. Sabathia has been a thorn in the Angels side for over a decade, and with his longevity comes increased expectations. Will he be able to manage the output he is producing currently? When you look at his stats he doesn’t seem to be the blow away pitcher of yore, but that’s to be expected from an aging athlete.
What is truly incredible is his bulldog temperament on the mound, a true leader and star athlete. His last outing saw him pitch a season high 6 innings while allowing one unearned run. His strikeout ability was limited, yet his pitching I.Q is still very intact as he produces more than enough soft contact to get his outs.
The rubber match of the series may very well be the pitching duel to shame all pitching duels. Tyler Skaggs recently came off a 7 IP shutout of the Astros in which he produced enough plenty of soft contact outs. Plenty of his success came from his ability to locate his pitches as he allowed only one walk throughout the start. Aside from his disastrous 6 ER, 4.1 IP start against the Red Sox he’s been pitching like an ace.
We can easily predict pitching battles throughout the series, yet given each teams offense we could very well be in line for some serious fireworks this weekend.
What to look for
- Mike Trout is still at the top of the board with his 10 HR’s to open the season. He’s fitting into his natural groove big time, noted from his .220 BA only a week ago to his .295 BA now. This is Mike Trout, and those numbers won’t stop pumping up. Trout has had 28 hits on the season, and the fact that TEN of them are for HR’s puts his ratio at a ridiculous, near 1:3 HR hits to homerun ratio.
- Shohei Ohtani is still putting up good games at the plate, collecting four hits in his last four starts with the bat. His power numbers have a hit a bit of a lull with only one extra base hit in the last four games. Those numbers are gonna get pumped up big time with Ohtani having a vengeance series against the Yankees. We all know how upset and vindictive they became after Ohtani reminded them there are 29 other teams in the league. All that hate and vitriol is only going to break Ohtanis competitive threshold and catapult himself to the next level.
- Andrelton Simmons is one of the best shortstops in baseball, and after his series against the Astros he’s only added more ammunition to the debate. His two HR, 5 RBI game against the Astros on April 24th gives credence to his abilities to dominate in all facets of the game. The Angels will need all the competitive influence they can muster this series, and with a captain like Simmons the Angels will be have more than enough juice to find success this series.