LA Angels Series Preview: Angels vs Dodgers (7/6/18)

SEATTLE, WA - JULY 05: Mike Trout #27 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim yells after striking out against Marco Gonzales #32 of the Seattle Mariners in the fifth inning at Safeco Field on July 5, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - JULY 05: Mike Trout #27 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim yells after striking out against Marco Gonzales #32 of the Seattle Mariners in the fifth inning at Safeco Field on July 5, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images) /

The LA Angels are constantly a half-step ahead of being a complete travesty of a team. Right now they’re only non-competitors, yet it seems they hover around true paltriness each and every series.

This LA Angels team seems to be the definition of a .500 team; it really does seem like they’ve been entering every series this month at .500. We’ve taken a lot of beatings this season as Angel fans, but one that will really set us over the edge is a sweep at the hands of crosstown rival Dodgers.

Lord, if you can hear your LA Angels right now, please have mercy. One thing we really don’t need right now is failure in the face of the Dodgers, a polar opposite team from the Angels. One team started the season off looking like the best team in baseball, the other looked like they were playing themselves out of the playoffs only one month into the season (according to the fanbase).

Now, at this point in time, each teams true colors have shown. The Dodgers have shown that not only was their level of performance not their true baseline, but they’re still one of the more standout organizations in the league. It helps when you have the best baseball GM in Andrew Friedman running the show.

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While the Angels Billy Eppler is no slouch he’s lost some confidence among Angel fans for his stubborn refusal to spend money on pitching in the offseason and the state of the Angels today.

I want to wear my optimist hat and say the Angels can turn the page on their season so far and bring back pieces of success to build upon for the rest of the season, yet this series is a culmination of all the Angels issues thus far. The Angels will be riding the wings of fate on this one with two non-starters slated to start against the Dodgers.

Friday, 7/6; 7:07PM PT: Felix Pena (1-0, 3.71 ERA) vs Kenta Maeda (5-5, 3.36 ERA)

Saturday, 7/7; 4:15PM PT: Deck McGuire (0-1, 7.56 ERA) vs TBA

Sunday, 7/8; 5:05PM PT: Andrew Heaney (4-6, 3.94 ERA) vs TBA

Despite the Angels starting pitching struggles, so far Felix Pena has shown not to be one of them. This will be his fourth start for the Angels, and so far he hasn’t recorded a loss in any of those starts. Despite giving up three runs against the Blue Jays he wasn’t saddled with the loss, that game being the only game the Angels have lost under the starting Pena. Hopes are looking up for this series start, though hope seems to be a currency hard-up for the Angels this time around the year.

Deck McGuire doesn’t have the same confidence as Pena gives. Not that Pena gives a world of confidence, yet his ongoing success offers more hope than we should be hopeful for at this point. It just seems there’s not enough hope to go around this time of the year. McGuire was absolutely shredded in his last start, giving up 5 runs of two home runs in 3.1 IP. This is going to be his first start against the Dodgers; we can only hope Deck doesn’t show up with a handful of Jokers this time.

To close out the series is one of the Angels few legitimate starters, Andrew Heaney, His last outing against the Mariners was a few notches above solid. In 7 IP Heaney struck out 10 while allowing only 3 runs. Despite this he was saddled with the loss, which is pretty run of the mill for the Angels.

All in all, it really feels like this is going to be another long series.

What to look for 

  • Something else to watch on TV, most likely. I’m sure by the end of the 3rd inning most of us will be tuning out of these games. I know I’ll end up pulling my “go-to” escape when it comes to the Angels faltering. I’ll be going to dreamland, and hopefully if I can end the day and start a new one ASAP I won’t feel so bad about the Angels losing another ugly game. It usually doesn’t work, but I’ll try it anyway.
  • Mike Trout‘s been somewhat slow the last few series. He only has two hits in his last two games, each hit being a double however. He hasn’t recorded a multi-hitter since June 18th against Arizona. If he’s going to break into his typical Trout form this is going to be the time to do it. A practical hometown game vs big time rivals. Lets hope he shows up to lead the charge.

Next: The Great Comeback!

  • Shohei Ohtani is back for his second series with the Angels after going out for a few weeks with his damaged right UCL. In his three games since returning from the DL, Ohtani is 2-9 with one double and four strikouts. Those numbers will pump up with time, but will they pump up enough to catapult the Angels into contention? Probably not. The Angels would need some kind of miracle player. A guy who can throw 100+mph and hit dingers like none other. If only the Angels had a medical staff to keep a guy like that healthy, because God knows the Angels will monkey paw every miracle they come across.