The LA Angels fresh off their three-game sweep of the Toronto Blue Jays have headed to Mexico in hopes of trying to take down the big fish, the Houston Astros.
The LA Angels are starting to get healthy and that could be dangerous for the rest of the AL West. Tyler Skaggs is already back from the IL and he has won two consecutive starts and looked good doing it. Shohei Ohtani is on the verge of being back in the line-up as soon as next week, and Andrew Heaney and Nick Tropeano are not too far behind.
The Angels goal in the first month of the season was to keep their heads above water while some their key players get healthy. Things have been up and down in the first month of the season, but the Angels are still right there in the race despite being 15-17. They are only three games behind two-time defending AL West Champion Houston Astros.
This is why the net two games are important for the Angels to hopefully send an early message to Houston that they are for real. The Angels will send Trevor Cahill to the mound Saturday and then follow with Matt Harvey on Sunday.
Harvey has turned it around his last few starts going 13 innings combined while allowing only three runs good enough for a 2.07 ERA. If Harvey can keep it going it will go a long way in solidify the Angels rotation.
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Cahill on the other hand is just the opposite of Harvey. Cahill pitched well in his first three starts of the season, but since then he has not been effective. Cahill has not made it through five innings in his last three starts and has given up 13 runs in 12.1 innings of work (9.50 ERA). His biggest problem is that he has already allowed nine home runs this season in only 30.1innings of work.
Cahill’s home runs allowed is very concerning since he is supposed to be a sinker ball pitcher. Last year in 110 innings of work Cahill allowed only eight home runs. Other than his rookie year of 2009 when he allowed 27 home runs in 207 innings of work, Cahill has not allowed more than 19 in a season.
If Cahill continues to struggle when Tropeano and Heaney come back, we could see Cahill moved to the bullpen, a role he has flourished in at times during his career. We will just have to wait and see how things play out in the next month or so.
In the bullpen the Angels should be getting Cody Allen back in the next three to four days as his back is feeling much better. He is eligible to come off the IL on Monday which should help the Angels bullpen depth if he can b effective as he was the first two weeks of the season when he allowed only one run in his first 6.1 innings converting all four of his save opportunities during that time.
The final piece to the puzzle will be when Justin Upton comes back from his turf toe injury which could be in early-to-mid June. Brian Goodwin has done a great job in Upton’s absence hitting .341 with four homers and 11 RBIs. However, Upton’s power has been missed in the middle of the Angels line-up.
So let’s see how the team does this weekend vs. the Astros and if they can start to put together a good stretch to get themselves into the thick of things in the division. Think about this, the defending World Champion Red Sox have a worse record than the Angels do right now (15-18). We all know they will get it together and this could be the case in Anaheim as well with the Angels.
It starts this weekend in Mexico.