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Series Preview: Rays @ Angels - Selfie time

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Angels look for a series win in light of recent devastating rotation news

Brian Blanco/Getty Images

Seems there are more important things on the minds of Angels fans than a series preview, but a win in this series may be the mood boost fans need right now.

The Tampa Bay Rays have three starters with a BAA under .167 and WHIP under 0.78. The good news, is we don't face any of those starters in this series.

More good news going into this series with our strained pitching staff is that the Rays have the lowest runs scored and AVG in the AL.  The bad news is they are good at hitting home runs and if our offense doesn't show up, those could be the difference maker in some of these games.  Is it too much to ask for a lot of marine layer when Weaver pitches at least?

In an effort to distract from the product on the field (don't look behind the curtain!), the Angels plan to pack the stands on Friday night with a World Record attempt for the "largest gathering of people using selfie-sticks".  Yeah, that's not a horrible idea at all.

Biggest question:  How annoying will those selfies sticks be in game 1?

Game 1
Cory Rasmus vs. Chris Archer
Friday May 6, 2016 @ 7:05PM

Archer is having a rough year but historically has been an Angel killer.  Fortunately, many of the Angels he is good at shutting down are not on the roster this year.

Chris Archer v. Angels current lineup (last 5 years)
AB H HR BA
54 18 1 .333
Players/Stats to watch:
Mike Trout v. Chris Archer (last 5 years)
AB HR RBI BA
13 0 0 .308
Albert Pujols v. Chris Archer (last 5 years)
AB HR RBI BA
10 1 1 .400
Fortunately, the Angels kick off the series with struggling starter Chris Archer.  Though for the more cynical, that just may mean Archer will finally find his groove pitching against the Angels since that's how it usually works, right?  Case in point is when the Angels faced Zach Davies on Wednesday and turned him into the pitcher with the 3rd best ERA on the Brewers, from a pitcher who had the worst starting ERA in all of baseball.
Trout and Pujols have hit well off Archer and Trout has yet to hit a HR off him.  Given Trout's current hot streak - there is no time like the present to hit a long ball of struggling Archer.  Important to note is that Trout is 0 for 7 off Archer in the past two season.  Yes, he is due.
We already have our first bullpen game of 2016.  Richards was supposed to pitch and in light of his need for TJ surgery, Rasmus has been called in to start a bullpen game.
VERDICT: Our bullpen has been good lately.  Archer has been off but is finding his groove.  We need at least 3-4 runs to win this and have a good shot at that.

Game 2
Jered Weaver vs. Jake Odorizzi
Saturday, May 7, 2016 @ 6:05PM

Has Weaver turned into what we feared he would be in 2016, or does he still have gas in the tank?

Jered Weaver v. Rays Current Lineup (last 5 years)
AB HR K% BA
96 1 18.2 .198

Jake Odorizzi v. Angels Current Lineup (last 5 years)

AB HR K% BA
19 1 8.7 .421

Players/Stats to watch: None
Odorizzi hasn't been around that long, so not many Angels have hit off him.  Soto IS 1 for 3 with a HR and Trout is 2 for 3. Weaver has done a good job of shutting down the Rays in the past.
I don't expect Weaver's .198 BAA to hold for this game.  We are looking back 5 years here and we all know about Weaver's regression over the past few years.
VERDICT: Toss up game.  Neither pitcher is all that hot and probably neither will last through the 6th inning.

Game 3
Nick Tropeano vs. TBD
Sunday, May 8, 2016 @ 12:35PM

Tropeano hasn't faced any of these Rays dudes before and we don't know yet who is pitching for the Rays.  What we do know, is that Tropeano is here to stay in the rotation for probably all of 2016.  We don't have a lot of options, so hopefully Tropeano continues to pitch strong and gets better with time.  We certainly need it.

VERDICT: Hard to say when we don't know who's pitching for Tampa Bay
Overall VERDICT: The Angels were seemingly delivered a double death blow today with news that Richards is done for the year and Heaney may soon join him.  If ever we needed a sweep or series win, it would be this one to breathe some life back into the hearts of Angels fans who collectively lost their most of their faith in 2016 today.