June 21 7:05pm, June 22 7:05, June 23 12:35pm
After yesterday's wild one with the Seattle Mariners, the Angels will start fresh for the weekend. Coming to play for the weekend is a team that sits third in the National League Central, seeking to make the playoffs for the first time since 1992. The Pittsburgh Pirates are looking to rebound from last season's crumble around the All-Star Game.
The series will start with the Bucs youngster Gerrit Cole who has made his major league debut with two wins in his two starts. After defeating the Giants and Dodgers, Cole will face a team who is finally gaining steam with their bats. After last night's explosion of offense Cole and the Pirates need to be ready for everyone except the recently bumped Josh Hamilton. Also, Albert Pujols knows a thing or two about playing against the Pirates. Over the last three seasons, The Machine is batting .327 against Pittsburgh with eight home runs. Throw in the tools of Mike Trout and consistency of Howie Kendrick and we've got ourselves a game.
Angels pitching will be key in this series. Jered Weaver has got to bounce back and return to form while Jason Vargas can keep doing his thing. And of course, Joe Blanton is heading to the hill. Last time out, the offense left Joe to dry and he was surprisingly great. He fanned eleven and allowed only two runs! It's as if every time we get up to the brim with Joe, he'll do something alright. The bullpen has also been holding up for the Halos so if any of these three do indeed get banged up, there's hope when handing the ball to someone else.
All three games will be on FOX Sports West or Root Sports Pittsburgh. If you're not in the local market, you can find Saturday's game for free on MLB TV. Enjoy your Friday and congrats to anyone with family or friends graduating!
*Vargas was just put on the DL*