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Series Preview: Angels @ Rangers (Back to .500)

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The Angels head to Texas for their last series before a much needed day off on Monday

MLB: Texas Rangers at Los Angeles Angels Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Can the Angels stay above .500 after their road trip to Texas? They will have take two out three from a team that took two of three from them just a few weeks ago. The Rangers lost two of their last 3 series, including being besting 2 games to 1 by the A’s (whom the Angels just swept) and Twins. Last weekend though, they swept the Royals in a 4 game set.

The Angels offense still has not really caught fire and 3 of their last 4 wins have been by a score of 2-1. Over the last week, the Angels are 12th in wRC+, last in homeruns hit, and 12th in OBP, yet they are 5-2 during that timeframe. Why? Pitching.

Angels starters have a ridiculous 1.83 ERA over the past week which is top in all of baseball. They also have a 2.52 ERA over the past 2 weeks - also the best overall. The Angels bullpen has been quite a bit more shaky with a 5.16 ERA these past 7 days and they have allowed more homeruns than any team in baseball with 9. The next closest team is the Diamondbacks with 6 allowed and 10 teams have allowed 1 or less homerun from their bullpens the past week.

Question: Can the bullpen not blow it this weekend?

GAME 1

Tyler Skaggs v. Nick Martinez
Friday, April 28th @ 5:05PM

Both pitchers are coming off dominate 7 inning starts

Pitcher vs. Batters

Notable Stats:

Summary:

Tyler Skaggs was beat up for 5 runs last time he faced the Rangers, including homeruns to Lucroy and Andrus, but has shown some dominate stuff since that game. In his last 2 starts, Skaggs has thrown 14 innings and allowed just 2 runs while striking out 13.

Nick Martinez is making just his second start of the year. In his recent debut, he threw 7 innings against the Royals allowed just 1 run, 1 walk, and 4 hits. Calhoun has hit well against Martinez in the past so this could be a great way to get him back on a hot hitting streak. Martinez didn’t start against the Angels last year but threw 3.1 innings in relief back on September 20th and allowed just 1 hit and 1 walk.

Verdict: I’m going with Skaggs and the Angels on this one but I don’t think it will be a high scoring game.


GAME 2

Jesse Chavez v. Yu Darvish
Saturday, April 29th @ 4:15PM

Darvish had 10 Ks against the Angels earlier in April

Pitcher vs. Batters

Notable Stats:

Summary:

The Rangers beat up Jesse Chavez back on April 12th with Napoli and Andrus homering. He gave up 5 runs in just 4.1 innings, but it’s been his only bad start of the year and he’s coming off a 6 inning 1 run game against Toronto.

Yu Darvish has been historically hard on the Angels (check out the K rate above) unless you are named Mike Trout or Kole Calhoun. Darvish K’d 10 batters and went 7 scoreless innings back on April 13th against the Angels. In 2016, Darvish faced the Angels once and allowed just 3 hits and 1 run over 6.2 innings.

Verdict: Edge goes to the Rangers thanks to Yu Darvish.


GAME 3

JC Ramirez v. Martin Perez
Sunday, April 30th @ 12:05PM

The Angels newest pitching phenom is named JC Ramirez

Pitcher vs. Batters

Notable Stats:

Summary:

Billy Eppler is looking like a genius with the way Ramirez has been throwing lately which includes his 7 inning scoreless pitching duel on Tuesday. This will be Ramirez’s first career start against the Rangers as he looks to stay hot. Ramirez threw 5.2 innings against the Rangers in 2016, allowing just 1 run (a homerun from Adrian Beltre)

Martin Perez is 1-3 this year but only has a 3.81 ERA. He has given up a lot of hits (31) and walks (15) in his 26 innings of work. Perez was 1-2 against the Angels in 2016 and gave up 26 hits, 10 walks, and 12 runs in 25.1 innings.

Verdict: Could be a tough matchup if Ramirez stays hot.

Overall Verdict: Tough pitching for the Angels with a series edge going to the Rangers. The Angels offense is going to need to show up to take this series.