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Series Preview: Reds @ Angels (Party like it's 2002)

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The Reds roll into Anaheim for the first time since 2002

Angels' Bengie Molina is caught in a rundown by Reds shortstop Barry Larkin.
Angels' Bengie Molina is caught in a rundown by Reds shortstop Barry Larkin.
AP Photo

The Angels and Reds both come in to this series with 74 losses, two of the worst records in baseball this year.  While the Halos are coming off back to back series wins, the Reds lost both their last two series (though they did beat the Dodgers before that).

The Reds have one of the worst team ERAs in baseball this year (about 40 points worse than the Angels).  However, since the All Star break, they have the 9th best team ERA and the Angels sit at 24th.  Also since the break, the Red have scored 205 runs (4th) to the Angels 168 runs (20th).  The second half Reds are definitely better than the first half Reds, so this series will be no walk in the park for the Angels.

These two teams haven't met since 2013 and have played each other only 9 times in their entire history.  The Angels lead the series 5 games to 4. Those 9 games are the fewest number of times the Angels have played ANY team.  The Phillies are runner up at just 10 games.  The Red haven't been to Anaheim since 2002, so those 3 or 4 Cincinnati fans living in OC are going to be very happy for a few days.

The Angels are currently tied with Milwaukee to be in line for the 7th overall pick in the 2017 draft.  It's unlikely they'll fall lower than the #9 pick, but could go as high as #3 or #4.  This series definitely plays into that since the Reds are currently tied with the Rays for a #5 pick.

Biggest question: Can the Angels take three series in a row to end August on a high note?

Game 1

Matt Shoemaker vs. Dan Straily
Monday, August 29th, 2016 @ 7:05PM
Matt Shoemaker v. Reds Current Roster (Career)
AB H BAA K% HR FIP
2 2 .500 0.0 0 3.20
Dan Straily v. Angels Current Roster (Career)
AB H BAA K% HR FIP
42 18 .429 10.9 2 5.58
Players/Stats to watch:
Kole Calhoun v. Dan Straily (Last 5 years)
AB H RBI HR BA
5 2 2 1 .400
Albert Pujols v. Dan Straily (Last 5 years)
AB H RBI HR BA
16 6 3 1 .375
Mike Trout v. Dan Straily (Last 5 years)
AB H RBI HR BA
17 7 2 0 .412
Dan Straily is on his 4th team in his short 5 years history as a big league pitcher.  His 3.57 ERA in 2016 is a career best, as is his 1.123 WHIP.  He's been pretty solid for the Reds all season and hasn't allowed more than 2 runs in a game since July 2nd.   In 27 starts, he's only had 3 where he allowed more than 3 runs.
Not surprisingly, Matt Shoemaker hasn't really seen any of these Reds players before.  He's coming off two strong starts back to back but he's been a little hit or miss since the All Star Break.
VERDICT: Going to be a tough game for the Halos unless they get to Straily early.
Game 2
Jered Weaver vs. Tim Adelmann
Tuesday, August 30th, 2016 @ 7:05PM
Lots of unknowns here

Jered Weaver v. Reds Current Roster (Career)
AB H BAA K% HR FIP
8 0 .000 25.0 0 1.38
Players/Stats to watch:

None
Almost none of the players on either team have faced either pitcher before this series.  Tim Adelmann is a 28 year old rookie who's been floating around in independent ball and the minors since 2010.  He's only started 6 games but has a 3.68 ERA.  He's allowed 6 HRs in just 29.1 innings and hasn't pitched more than 6 innings in a game (his first start).  Aside from that first start, most of his games have been in the 5 inning range.  The Reds don't have a great bullpen either, so an early exit could be an added bonus for the Angels.

A bunch of guys who haven't seen Jered Weaver before probably bodes well for him (at least until the 2nd and 3rd time through the order).  He has seen Joey Votto, Zach Cozart, and Brandon Phillips in the past and they are hitless against him in 8 trips to the plate.
VERDICT: I'm going Weaver on this one if Scioscia doesn't leave him in too long.

Game 3
Ricky Nolasco vs. Brandon FInnegan
Wednesday, August 31th, 2016 @ 4:05PM

Finnegan begin again

Ricky Nolasco v. Reds Current Roster (Career)
AB H BAA K% HR FIP
62 20 .323 20.9 4 5.77
Players/Stats to watch:
Zach Cozart v. Ricky Nolasco (Last 5 years)
AB H RBI HR BA
7 5 1 1 .714
Joey Votto v. Ricky Nolasco (Last 5 years)
AB H RBI HR BA
11 4 3 1 .364
I was never a huge fan of Hector Santiago (though he had his moments), so being no fan of Ricky Nolasco isn't a huge change.  Nolasco has a 5.70 ERA and 1.433 WHIP as a Halo.  He's 0-4 in his 5 starts and has given up 7 homeruns in 28 innings.  At least he is a good inning eater and that's about it in my book.  Nolasco is the only starter in this series that has faced the Reds before, but that was back in 2013.  He gave up 6 runs in 5 innings and lost that game.
Brandon Finnegan is 23 years old and has been pitching in the majors since he was 21.  This year hasn't been great for him with a 4.276 ERA and 1.348 WHIP (both are career highs).  Finnegan gives up a lot of walks and homeruns.  He is, however, pitching better in the second half and is coming off two strong starts with a combined 13 innings and only 2 runs allowed, along with 20 Ks.
VERDICT: I'm thinking a high scoring game here.  Get the fireworks ready!

OVERALL VERDICT: This series could really swing either way and all 3 games are mostly a toss up.