The Angels are coming off a sweep of the Mariners and sit atop the AL West in early going and are off to their best start since 2007 when they wen they also went 5-2 in their first 7 games (be sweeping the Rangers and splitting 4 with the A’s). That year the Angels won the AL West and sadly were swept out of the ALDS by the Red Sucks.
The Rangers were swept by the Indians to open the year and took 2 out of 3 from the A’s over the weekend. We’re gonna go ahead and enjoy for a minute that the Rangers currently sit in 4th place with their 2-4 record. Rangers batters only hit .215 last week, though they did hit 11 homers (second in the AL). Their pitching didn’t fare well either, putting them among the bottom 4 teams in most stats.
It’s been a great week of some hot baseball for the Angels but they face a couple of tough pitchers in this series with Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish.
Question: Is there such a thing as starting off too fast?
Tyler Skaggs v. Cole Hamels
Tuesday, April 11th @ 7:07PM
Skaggs has a tough matchup in his redemption outing
Pitchers vs. Batters:
Not many Rangers players have seen Skaggs a whole lot. However - Robinson Chirinos, Delino DeShields, Carlos Gomez, Johnathan Lucroy, and Rougned Odor are a combined 0 for 14 against Skaggs. Skaggs could use a nice rebound after being beat up by the A’s last week.
Cron, Espinosa, Perez, Trout, Simmons, and Pujols are all hitting .200 or less against Hamels who was 2-1 against the 2016 Angels. Aside from Maybin and Escobar, most of the current Angels roster hasn’t had much success against Hamels. Hamels started the season with a no-decision against the Indians when he pitched 6 innings and allowed 3 earned runs.
Verdict: Hamels has been tough on the Angels so this will be a challenging game. Edge goes to the Rangers in game 1.
Jesse Chavez v. A.J. Griffin
Wednesday, April 12th @ 7:07PM
Chavez is looking to prove his 2017 debut was no fluke.
Pitchers vs. Batters:
Jesse Chavez only allowed 2 runs in 5.2 innings while striking out 6 in his Angels debut. He’s pitched pretty well against this current Rangers lineup and is looking to followup his stellar outing on Friday in what may be the game with the best odds of a win.
Against A.J. Griffin, Albert Pujols has only 2 hits in 14AB, one of them a homer. Griffin had a rough time against the A’s in his last start, giving up 2 homeruns and 4 earned runs in 3.1 innings. Griffin was 2-1 agains the Angels last year but gave up 11 runs in 9.2 innings.
Verdict: Much better odds than game 1. Good shot for an Angels win here.
Ricky Nolasco v. Yu Darvish
Thursday, April 13th @ 12:37PM
Is Darvish the pitcher he used to be?
Pitchers vs. Batters
Yu Darvish had his first ever opening day start in which he gave up 4 runs through 6.1 innings and walked 5. He followed that up by allowing only 1 run to Oakland over 6 innings, but walked 3. It’s unclear which version of Darvish the Angels will see, but let’s hope for the former.
Fun to note is that struggling Mike Napoli (091 AVG) is 1 for 11 career against Ricky Nolasco. Nolasco is coming off a pair of decent starts, allowing 5 ER over 11.2 innings. He’s prone to giving up homeruns and the Rangers are good at hitting them so hopefully he can keep it in the park on what will probably be a non-marine layer affected game.
Verdict: Could be a close game if Nolasco can keep the dingers down.
Overall Verdict: Hopefully that magic will keep coming and the Angels will pull off another series win.