LA Angels Series Preview: Limping Yankees stumble into Anaheim
By Ryan Falla
Home Run Heroes
The Angels still have the power to out slug the Yankees depending on how effective their starting staff is, but regardless the potential is still there. Mike Trout is the obvious big hitter, but the fact that it goes so much deeper than that is alluring.
Andrelton Simmons, as I stated before, has been hitting the ball right on the screws the last week. He’s hitting over .400 in that span and is collecting double after double game after game. Andrelton Simmons can power a ball over the fence if he gets around a good one, but that isn’t going to be needed if he can at least keep slapping the ball with force all over the field.
On top of that we have the improving Justin Bour whose improvements I also stated earlier. His .296 average in the last two weeks is a far cry from where he was at seasons start. He isn’t slugging the ball as hard, but the fact that he’s finally putting wood on the ball only means that the power will come.
He just has to continue putting up consistent, quality swings and his slugging ability will naturally come back into form. He’s getting on base quite well with a .367 OBP in this same span of time, if he can take these improvements into the Yankees series he will provide formidable protection for Trout. He’s been getting on base, he’s been connecting with the bat, the only thing we need is more tangible effort from him.
If Bour can move past the low-effort play he’s succumbed too he can do great things with the Angels. A change of energy is desperately needed for Bour, and likewise the rest of the club, but that change will come piece by piece. Some wins against the Yankees and good swings from Bour can be exactly what he needs to bring out the high energy output.
Aside from Bour, we have The G.O.A.T Tommy La Stella finding a serious career resurgence. Angels GM BIlly Eppler loves his reclamation projects and La Stella is looking like he may be a big find for Eppler. He had his 2nd multi-HR game against the Mariners yesterday and is currently tied for his career high HR total (6 HRs).
It’s only the first month of the season and if he continues this pace he can reliably launch himself into the 15-20 HR level. This Yankees series would be a great start, especially off of J.A Happ as he’s allowed 6 HR’s on the season thus far already.
La Stella, at this point in time, is not an expected commodity, but if he happens to continue hitting as he has been we may see him elevate far beyond his career power totals. La Stella is hitting .246/.348/.579 on the year. His highest full season slugging total came in 2017 with a .472 slugging percentage.
Last, but definitely not least, we have the diamond in the rough that is Brian Goodwin. Once a waiver wire drop by the Royals, now a breakout star (so far)with a .346/.435/.615 slash line. He has 3 HRs on the season and can casually add to that total during this Yankees series.
Goodwin has been one of the key pieces in this lineup as his consistency and power output has provided the Angels many, many opportunities for success. We’ll have to see if he can keep it all up past this first month, but as of now he is one of the Angels biggest hitters and I don’t see that slowing down in this Yankees series.
The name if the game here is consistency. Consistent hitting, consistent pitching, and consistent pressure. The Angels staff will need to pressure these hitters into states of discomfort and likewise the Angels hitters will have to put the Yankees pitchers into stressful situations consistently.
If they can run with the word of the word of the day throughout the series we may see the Evil Empire reel back from an unexpected whooping at the hands of a rag-tag group of young fighters.
That kind of moral victory wrapped inside an actual victory can catapult this teams energy and confidence and elevate the Angels into big time competitors all season long.