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Series Preview: Angels @ Orioles (Back to the real world)

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The Angels head to Camden Yards to take on the Orioles in their last series before All-Star Break

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Going into the series with the Angels, the Rays had lost 16 of their last 18 games.  This was an opponent ripe for some losses and the Angels took 3 out of 4, but now they face the first place Baltimore Orioles.  It's back to reality with the Angels taking the field tonight in Baltimore.

The Angels are on pace to go 68-94 this year, but have been on fire lately.  Granted it has been agains the Tampa Bay Rays, but also a slugfest to embarrass those annoying Red Sox.  In the past 6 games, the Angels are 4-2 and have scored a staggering 53 runs.  Signs of a turn-around or running into a bad team?  Probably mostly the later, but there sure have been some impressive performances as of late.

Angels .400+ hitters over the past 7 days:

Andrelton Simmons,  .500AVG, 3 doubles, 1 triple
Yunel Escobar, .500 OBP, 3 doubles
Jett Bandy, .636 OBP, 1 double (7AB)
C.J. Cron, .429 AVG, 5 HR, 13 RBI
Carlos Perez, .429 AVG, 1 HR, 2 doubles

Those numbers don't even include Giavotella, Petit, Trout, and Nava who are all hitting over .300 the past week.  The Orioles have been no schleps either, but in the past 7 days, only Joey Rickard is batting over .400, and he had only 9 AB.

The Halo offense has been on a tear, and over the last 14 days, the Angels lead all American League teams in batting average and are 4th in runs scored and stolen bases. Their offensive WAR tops all teams as well.  Pitching continues to be a mess and the Angels are 4th from last in ERA and second from last in strikeouts.  Orioles pitching over the past few weeks has been just marginally better.

The Orioles are still first place in the AL East but have lost 4 of their last 6 games.  They are still striking out at a high rate, but also continue to mash the ball.  On Wednesday, Mark Trumbo went long 2 more times for 26 on the season.

Last time these two teams played, the Orioles took the series 2 games to 1 at the Big A in late May.  The Orioles hit 6 home runs in that 3 game series.

Fun Fact:  The Orioles lead the majors in homeruns but their home ballpark ranks 18th in HR park factor.  Imagine how many dingers they would have if they played at Yankee Stadium (#1) or Coors Field (#2)?

Biggest question(s): Can Angels pitchers rack up K's instead of homeruns?

Game 1
Matt Shoemaker vs. Ubaldo Jimenez
Friday, July 8th, 2016 @ 4:05PM

No one messes with da splitter.

Matt Shoemaker v. Orioles Current Lineup (career)
AB H HR K% BA FIP
54 6 2 40 .111 2.26
Jubaldo Jimenez v. Angels Current Lineup (career)
AB H HR K BA OBP
142 38 2 25 .268 .365
Players/Stats to watch:
Adam Jones v. Matt Shoemaker (last 5 years)
AB H RBI HR BA
9 3 4 2 .333
Yunel Escobar v. Ubaldo Jimenez (careeer)
AB H RBI HR OBP
26 10 2 1 .500
Albert Pujols v. Ubaldo Jimenez (career)
AB H RBI HR OBP
28 8 9 1 .382
Shoemaker absolutely shutdown the Orioles on May 21st.  He struck out 12 over 7.1 scoreless innings with only 3 hits allowed and zero walks.  He was in line for the win until Joe Smith gave up a 3 run homer in the 9th.  Shoemaker had a bad start finally his last time on the mound after a string of 8 great starts before that.  He is a strikeout pitcher facing a high K team in the series opener but he can also give up the long ball from time to time.
Jimenez was announced as the started on Friday morning.  The Angels raked him over the coals back on May 22nd when they scored 6 runs in 5.2 innings against Jimenez and 10 runs overall in that game.  Jimenez has a 6.95 ERA in 2016 and has given up 5 or more runs in 7 of his starts this year.  Jimenez hasn't pitched past the 6th inning since May 7th.

VERDICT: Good chance for the Angels to get their winning streak to 4 games if they can give Shoemaker some run support which has been a difficult task it seems.


Game 2
Nick Tropeano vs.Yovani Gallardo
Saturday, July 9th @ 1:05PM

Good to have NiTro back!

Nick Tropeano v. Orioles Current Lineup (career)
AB H HR K BA FIP
2 0 0 1 .000 0.00

Yovani Gallardo v. Angels Current Lineup (career)
AB H HR K% BA FIP
60 26 4 8.7 .433 8.70

Players/Stats to watch:
Andrelton Simmons v. Yovani Gallardo (2014)
AB H RBI HR BA
4 4 1 1 1.000
Albert Pujols v. Yovani Gallardo (last 5 years)
AB H RBI HR BA
14 7 3 3 .500

The Angels haven't faced Gallardo yet this year, but they have faced him plenty when he was on the Rangers.  Fortunately, they have also hit him well.  He last faced the Angels in July of last year and only stayed in the game 4 innings.  Gallardo missed about 6 weeks this season with a shoulder injury but has pitched in 4 games since his return from the DL.   Gallardo hasn't had a scoreless outing yet and he gave up 2 home runs and 4 runs in 4 innings his last time on the mound against the Dodgers.

Tropeano has not faced the Orioles before, but he has faced Mark Trumbo who is 0 for 2 against NiTro.  Of active pitchers on the roster, Tropeano has the 3rd best ERA behind Cam Bedrosian and Deolis Guerra.  Tropeano has been good but this also shows the lack of quality pitching the Halos have had this season.  In his last start, he only pitched 5 innings, but also only gave up 2 runs on two solo homers.

VERDICT: Hopefully Tropeano can keep the ball in the park.  Either way, he should have a good shot at winning this game.


Game 3
Tim Lincecum vs. Chris Tillman
Sunday, July 10th, 2016 @ 10:35AM

The Freak is back.  Again.

Tim Lincecum v. Orioles Current Lineup (career)
AB H HR K% BA FIP
42 8 1 25 .190 2.75
Chris Tillman v. Angels  Current Roster (career)
AB H HR K% BA FIP
87 25 0 16 .287 3.40
Players/Stats to watch:
Albert Pujols v. Chris Tillman (last 5 years)
AB H RBI HR BA
9 3 1 0 .333
Yunel Escobar v. Chris Tillman (last 5 years)
AB H RBI HR BA
19 6 1 0 .316
Mark Trumbo v. Tim Lincecum (last 5 years)
AB H RBI HR BA
8 3 2 1 .375
Tim Lincecum has given up 14 runs his last 3 games and hasn't made it past the 5th inning.  His last two starts he threw over 100 pitches each start and gave up 17 hits, 5 walks, and 10 runs in 9IP, but at least he struck out 13 in those games,  so hopefully he can take advantage of those Ks in Baltimore.

Tillman has been pretty solid this year with a 3.55 ERA but he did just go through a string of bad starts at the end of June where he gave up 14 runs over 3 games and 14.2 IP.   He seems to have righted his ship against the Dodgers last time out when he pitched 7 innings of 1 run ball.

VERDICT: Probably leans Tillman and the Orioles unless this is the game The Freak finds his mojo.

OVERALL VERDICT: NiTro and the Beard could pitch the Angels into a series win, but it will be a battle.  Angels should win at least 1 though.