The LA Angels just came off a series win of against the Seattle Mariners in which they took 2 out of 3 games. It should have been an ultimately satisfying series with Shohei Ohtani rightfully trouncing the Mariners and the boos of their fans. Yet with the extremely unnecessary and ugly loss in the second game of the Mariners series the Angels it doesn’t feel as good of a series win as it should.
The LA Angels should have swept the Mariners in every right, but with an implosive bullpen things didn’t go as we all expected. Maybe that’s a good thing, maybe it’s better for the Angels that they don’t get too high in their own heads like they did in the second half of April. I’m sure I’m just trying to justify a heartbreaking remote-smasher of a game. A nice sweep of the Rockies in this two game set would be a good way to forget that the Angels are fantastic at shooting themselves in their own foot. Until they inevitably shoot themselves again.
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The Angels have another big time competitor waiting with open arms at their doorstep. The Rockies have won their last five games and sit at 2nd in the NL West at 3.5 games back. The Angels, on the other hand, have won 5 of their last six and lead the AL West by half a game. There are a lot of talking points within this series for both teams, two playoff hopefuls playing like they’re on fire.
Who wins out, the immovable object or the unstoppable force?
Andrew Heaney is pitching better than his ERA might indicate. The first two starts of the season came under struggled for him, giving up a combined 10 runs in 9.1 IP. His last two starts have sat on the other end of the spectrum, pitching 11 innings while allowing 3 runs (two earned) and 11 Ks. Heaney hasn’t been too home run prone this season, except for his start against the Giants 4/20 in which he allowed 3 HR’s. With the pitching conditions in Colorado it’ll take a hard-nosed approach to keep the ball in defensible positions.
Jon Gray is in a somewhat similar boat as Heaney, his last two starts being stellar while putting some ugly starts behind him. He’s given up only one run in his last two starts, 13 IP, despite his mid-April run of 19 ER total in 15.2 innings. This first game will be a battle of wills between two starters not only righting their ship, but elevating their game.
Aside from Jaime Barrias 2 IP 2 run start against the Giants in which he threw 77 pitches he’s been very solid and even fun to watch. The rookie will be making his fourth career start after pitching a 6 inning start against the Orioles while allowing only 4 hits and 2 runs. It’s arguable that this is going to be the hardest hitting lineup he’s faced with the likes of Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon. The Rockies have put up 27 runs across their 5 game win streak, Barria will be facing one of the biggest challenges of his young season.
Tyler Anderson, the opposing pitcher facing Barria, has been rock solid as of late. In his last start against the Cubs he allowed only 1 walk while striking out 9 for the win.
What to look for
- People have been talking about how Mike Trout is on his way to putting up the best season in baseball history by any player. Sure, the big question is whether he can keep up this pace the entire season, yet it doesn’t look like he’ll be slowing down anytime soon. Mike Trout is doing more than blowing the game up, he’s making serious history as one of the greatest players in baseball.
- Shohei Ohtani took the mound in the last game, but with a day off we’ll see him back in the lineup for both games of the series. Ohtani has back to back multi-hit games. His last home run came not too long ago, three series ago against New York, but with the high-flying Colorado atmosphere we may be in line to see Ohtani put on a clinic against Rockies pitching.
- Andrelton Simmons is still the best shortstop in baseball. He was the best at the start of the season and he’s getting better. He’s batting a clean .350 in the midst of a wild 10 game hitting streak that includes 5 multi-hit games. Earlier this week he was hitting .309 and now he’s at .350. He just won’t stop getting better. Make sure you tune in to see the king at work.