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Series preview: Angels vs. Rangers - offense time!

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The Rangers are coming to town to see if the Angels are ready to score any runs.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Banister, and his 2015 AL West Champs, Texas Rangers are rolling into Anaheim for a 4 game series starting tonight.  Good news:  Those pesky Cubs left town, AND we are not the MLB team off to the worst start this season.  Thanks to the Padres, we're #2!!  And more good news?

I wish I could say our 12-7 record vs. The Rangers is 2015 leads me to be optimistic, but both teams are different enough in 2016 to pretty much throw that out the window.  Also, Humpty Dumpty won't be playing so you can throw most of those boos out the window as well.

Games 1-3 of this series could also be impacted by rain, so let's hope we don't see any early season rainouts.

Biggest question:  Can the Angels find their offense during this 4 game series??

Game 1
Derek Holland vs. Hector Santiago
Thursday, April 07, 2016 @ 7:05PM

These lefties were tough for both teams in 2015:

Hector Santiago v. Texas Rangers (2015)
G IP R HR SO BA ERA
6 34.1 12 25 3 .175 2.10
Derek Holland v. Anaheim Angels (2015)
G IP R HR SO BA ERA
2 14.1 4 1 11 .130 2.51
Players/Stats to watch:
Rougned Odor v. Hector Santiago (2015)
AB H R HR BA
13 7 3 1 .538
Kole Calhoun/Mike Trout v. Derek Holland (2015)
AB H R SO BA
13 2 1 6 .154
Rougned Odor is pretty much a Santiago killer.  He is only 1-for-10 to start off the season, so it will be interesting to see if he continues to smash on Santiago and breaks out of his starting slump.  On the Angels side, it doesn't look promising for two of our heroes, who managed only a triple (Trout) and a single (Calhoun). Good thing it's a small sample size.
VERDICT: Expect a low scoring game and probable pitching duel that may come down to late inning heroics for the victor.  Could go either way.

Game 2
A.J. Griffin vs. Matt Shoemaker
Friday, April 08, 2016 @ 7:05PM

Griffin hasn't pitched a big league game since 2013 due to Tommy John surgery and Shoemaker only faced the Rangers once in 2015

Matt Shoemaker v. Rangers Current Lineup (2013-2015)
AB HR K% BA
60 1 22.7 .233
A.J. Griffin v. Angels Current Lineup (2012-2013)
AB HR K% BA
49 4 15.7 .265
Players/Stats to watch:
Adrian Beltre v. Matt Shoemaker (2015)
AB H BB HR BA
12 4 1 0 .364
Mike Trout v. A.J. Griffin (2013)
AB H HR SO BA
11 2 2 2 .182
Beltre had decent success against Shoemaker last season, but it's nothing too substantial.  Trout on the other hand, didn't hit Griffin very well the last season he pitched.  BUT, the only 2 hits he did have were homeruns.  Will his trend on all or nothing against Griffin continue?  Pitching wise, Shoemaker would appear to have a slight edge and with Griffin making his post Tommy John surgery debut, he is a bit of a wild card.
VERDICT: I expect some more runs in this game and am giving the slight edge to the Angels.

Game 3
Cole Hamels vs. Garrett Richards
Saturday, April 09, 2016 @ 6:05PM

One of these guys had a pretty great debut in 2016, the other was a bit shaky.

Garrett Richards v. Texas Rangers (2015)
G IP R HR SO BA ERA
4 26.2 8 1 18 .215 2.70
Cole Hamels v. Angels Current Lineup (Career)
AB HR K% BA
110 3 15.7 .145
Players/Stats to watch:
Elvis Andrus v. Garrett Richards (Career)
AB H SO HR BA
41 10 9 0 .270
Adrian Beltre v. Garrett Richards (Career)
AB H SO HR BA
39 10 5 2 .270
Shin-Shoo Choo v. Garrett Richards (Career)
AB H SO HR BA
28 7 8 0 .280
Prince Fielder v. Garrett Richards (Career)
AB H SO 2B BA
24 8 3 1 .400
Albert Pujols v. Cole Hamels (Career)
AB 2B HR SO BA
30 3 3 3 .233
October 4th, 2015 ended up being the last game of the Halo's 2015 season thanks in part to an Astros win and a complete game victory by Cole Hamels (Richards got the loss).  Richards has his work cut out for him, coming back from his less than stellar start on Monday, since nearly half the Rangers team has pretty good success hitting off him.  Hamels, on the other hand has been pretty lights out against the Angels, though Pujols, Escobar, and Simmons are the only Halos with significant at bats.  Those three are batting .233, .172, and .053 respectively against Hamels.  This could be a challenging game on many fronts.
VERDICT: You may want to prepare the buttercup now.  Good thing it's baseball and anything can happen, but the definite edge goes to Hamels and The Rangers on this one.

Game 4
Martin Perez? vs. Jered Weaver
Sunday, April 10, 2016 @ 12:35PM

Questions remain over who will pitch on Sunday, bit it looks to be Weaver vs. Perez:

Jered Weaver v. Texas Rangers (2015)
G IP R HR SO BA ERA
2 12 2 1 5 .140 1.50
Martin Perez v. Anaheim Angels (2015)
G IP R HR SO BA ERA
2 13 4 0 7 .191 2.77
Players/Stats to watch:
Shin-Soo Choo v. Jered Weaver (Career)
AB H RBI HR BA
47 17 7 1 .405
CJ Cron v. Martin Perez (2015)
AB H 3B RBI BA
6 3 1 4 .500
Weaver got the loss against The Rangers on September 5th, 2015, despite only giving up 1 earned run and going 6 innings.  With the season on the line, he picked up a 6 inning win on October 2nd.  You can see by his stats above that The Rangers were not much of a match for him last fall.  Perez took losses in both his games vs. the Halos last fall, though he only gave up 1 earned run in a 2-1 Angel's victory.  Fear the Choo is probably Weaver's mantra for this game, since the dude has raked on him during his career.  Cron hit his ONLY triple of 2015 against Perez, and has hit him well in the limited time he's seen him.
VERDICT: Weaver pitches best at home, and while he should fear the Choo - the Rangers should fear the rock pile.  I'm giving the edge to the Angels on this one mainly because of how well Weaver pitches at home and how badly he needs to prove he is still relevant.