Series Preview: @ Chicago Cubs

USA TODAY Sports

It's getting hot in here. Not only because this could be the one that puts the Angels at a .500 record. But because I was sizzled by the sun over the Fourth of July weekend!

July 9 5:05pm, July 10 5:05pm

Coming off of a series win over the Boston Red Sox, the Angels seek to keep their momentum going against the Chicago Cubs. This two game set will be crucial because if the Halos pull out of Wrigley with a sweep, they'll be at .500 and closer to further success.

On the hill for the Angels in this series is the resurgent Joe Blanton and the recently consistent C.J. Wilson. Blanton continued his strand of strikeouts last week against the Cardinals. As for C.J., he allowed plenty of hits against the Red Sox, but only earned one run. Going against them will be Travis Wood and Jeff Samardzjia. Wood has been excellent (for Chicago), keeping his WHIP below one and his ERA (2.69) under three; however, the Cubs have not been able to cover him in his last three starts and he has earned a no decision in each.

Angels hitters will head into Wrigley looking to punch the ball over the ivy. Josh Hamilton carries his bat over with a twelve game hitting streak and Albert Pujols, who was aggressive as all hell in Sunday's game, has now disregarded his pain in order to help the team. Mike Trout continues his All-Star starting performance while Howie Kendrick continues to prove that he should've been put into at least the final vote.

Cubs hitters are very similar to their pitchers -- trade bait. Scott Hairston was just shipped to the Nationals and Nate Schierholtz will likely be dealt as well. Alfonso Soriano, he is indeed still around, is another chip looking to be moved and it's likely to happen now that he's playing just above his poor Cub-tenured numbers. Starlin Castro has fizzled and Anthony Rizzo is one of the few excitements left on the team.

Probable SPs -- Joe Blanton / Travis Wood, C.J. Wilson / Jeff Samardzija

TV Schedule: All games can be seen via FOX Sports West and Comcast Sportsnet Chicago/WGN

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