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Series Preview - Angels vs. the Royals (Dance with the devil)

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World Series winners waltz into Anaheim to allemande with the Angels

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

What can go wrong when the World Series winners, and team with the 3rd highest batting average in the AL, take on the team with the worst batting average in all of baseball?  The Royals have averaged 3.9 runs per game so far this year with just 3 per game for the Angels. When it comes to pitching, the Royals have the 3rd best ERA in the AL, and the Angels come in 7th.  Both teams are pretty comparable in batting average against their pitching staff.

During 2015 these two teams faced off 7 times, and the Angels only picked up 1 win, thanks to some 9th inning heroics last August.

Friday, October 3rd, 2014 is still day that haunts me.  It's the day the blue devils (AKA Royals) destroyed my hopes of a deep playoff run, sending the Angels to an 0-2 start in the ALDS.  It probably pains me more because I was sitting a few dozen feet away from that HR by Hosmer in the 11th.  Oh the humanity...  The Royals are still a tough team, and as much as I'd like to see them get swept under the rug, we'll be lucky to come away with a series win against los diablos azules.

Biggest question:  Can the Angels score more than in 1 inning each game?

Game 1
Garrett Richards vs. Ian Kennedy
Friday April 25, 2016 @ 7:05PM

Former Padre Kennedy is off to a great start while Richards is (hopefully) just getting warmed up.

Garrett Richards v. Royals current lineup (last 5 years)
AB H HR BA
87 20 2 .230
Ian Kennedy v. Angels current lineup (last 5 years)
AB H HR BA
49 12 2 .245
Players/Stats to watch:
Andrelton Simmons v. Ian Kennedy (last 5 years)
AB H HR BA
11 1 0 .091
Lorenzo Cain v. Garrett Richards (last 5 years)
AB HR RBI BA
11 1 3 .455
Eric Hosmer v. Garrett Richards (last 5 years)
AB HR RBI BA
11 0 0 .000
Not many Angels have seen Kennedy pitch, or have had significant at bats against him.  Both Pujols and Escobar have hit a home run off him and that's about it for the good stuff.  Simmons has done horrible against Kennedy, so hopefully he can turn that around.  On the flip side, Hosmer hasn't been able to hit of Richards in 11 at bats - a trend that would be great to continue.
VERDICT: Going to tough to pull of a win here unless Richards can keep the game close.

Game 2
Jered Weaver vs. Edinson Volquez
Saturday, April 26, 2016 @ 7:05PM

Weaver had a rough time against the Royals in 2015 and Volquez comes in with a 1.46 ERA and 3-0 record.

Jered Weaver v. Kansas City Royals (2015)
G IP AB HR ERA BA
2 10.1 41 3 6.97 .268
Edinson Volquez v. Angels Current Lineup (last 5 years)
AB HR K% BA
45 0 23.6 .289
Players/Stats to watch:
Kendrys Morales v. Jered Weaver (last 5 years)
AB RBI K OBP
17 1 1 .647
None of the Angels current roster have any recent significant stats against Volquez.  Pujols has hit 2 home runs off him, but the last was in 2009.
Against Jered Weaver, former Angels MVP Kendrys Morales is crushing it, so hopefully he can keep him off base, or at least limit the damage.  Too bad this isn't a day game so that Weaver get the rock pile advantage.
VERDICT: This will be another tough one than leans toward the Royals.  Stronger pitching AND hitting on the blue side means red is going to have to pull some tricks out of the bag to get this victory.

Game 3
Nick Tropeano vs. Chris Young
Sunday, April 27, 2016 @ 7:35PM

Tropeano has only ever pitched to Morales from the Royals side, and he 0 for 2.  Young has had a rough year so far, but pitched great against the Orioles in his last outing (6IP, 10K, 4H, 2R, Win)

Chris Young v. Angels Current Lineup (Career)
AB HR K% BA
48 5 18.0 .375
Players/Stats to watch:
Calhoun, Pujols, Soto, Trout  v. Chris Young (Career)
AB HR RBI BA
20 4 6 .450
Our 3, 4, 5 hitters (on most days) + Soto have combined to crush Young.  4 home runs in 20 at bats and Calhoun is 4 for 4.  Hopefully Soto will get the start this game as well since he's 2 for 4 against Young with a HR.
Of course the Royals haven't really faced Tropeano, so not much to review here.  I expect him to mow them all down though and pitch a perfect game.  Well, maybe that's a stretch, but he should pitch well against a team that hasn't seen him before.
VERDICT: Best shot at a win for the Angels in this series.  Probably something like 5-2
OVERALL VERDICT: It's likely going to be a painful series for Angels fans, but we are getting used to that, right?