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Series Preview: Twins @ Angels (Welcome to June)

Hard hitting Miguel Sano and the Twins come to town for a 4 game set

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Los Angeles Angels Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

How hard does Miguel Sano hit the ball? Very. According to Statcast, no one (with 50+ AB) hits the ball harder than Sano who averages an exit velocity of 97.8 MPH. For comparison, Trout and Escobar are in the 89MPH range.

The Twins have perhaps been the biggest surprise two months into this 2017 season. Most pegged them to finish last, but 50 games into the season and the Twins are still hanging on to first place in the AL Central even after they ran into the Astros who demolished (and swept) them in a 3 game set by scoring 40 total runs. Ouch.

So I’m bummed. Four games and we don’t get to face Hector Longball Santiago? That’s just not fair. Santiago got pushed back because he pitched in relief this past Sunday and proceeded to give up 2 homeruns after entering in a tie game in the 15th inning. The Twins would go on to lose by those same 2 runs.

The Twins have some top hitters in Sano, Mauer, and Grossman who are all batting .274 or higher. Sano, who boasts a .406 OBP has struck out a ridiculous 73 times in 161 AB. Without Mike Trout or Yunel Escobar, the Angels look a bit worse than the Twins offensively but they match up pretty well in the pitching department (outside or Ervin Santana who has been on fire).

The Angels were impressive in their first win in the no-Trout era by scoring 9 runs against the Braves in one inning on Tuesday then besting the Braves by 1 run to take the series on Wednesday.

Question: In which game will Albert Pujols hit his 600th homerun??


Alex Meyer v. Adalberto Mejia
Thursday, June 1st @ 7:07PM

Meyer gets to face his former team for the first time

Pitcher vs. Batters

Both pitchers are facing the other team for the first time. Whee!!

Notable Stats:

None, unless you count Jason Castro who is 2 for 3 with a homer off Meyer.


Meyer has been nothing if not inconsistent so far for the Angels. He’s really only had one good outing at that was against the Tigers when he allowed just 1 run over 6.1 innings. In his last trip to the mound, he gave up 4 runs (3 earned) in only 4 innings of work. Walks continue to be a problem for Meyer but the good news is that strikeouts are not. Meyer has 28 Ks and 18 walks in his 23.1 innings this year.

Mejia is the #8 prospect for the Twins, according to MLB. He has pitched 5 games for the Twins so far this year and hasn’t allowed more than 3 runs in any of those starts. He’s prone to walk people and strikes out nearly a batter per inning. Mejia has a good mix of pitches and throws a 92-95MPH fastball with some sink. His changeup is the pitch to watch out for.

Verdict: Meyer will need to be under control as Mejia has been pitching pretty well. If Meyer can keep the score down, the Angels have a shot. Meyer should match up well against Sano since Sano strikes out a lot and Meyer doesn’t give up many homeruns.


JC Ramirez v. Kyle Gibson
Friday, June 2nd @ 7:07PM

Is this the game for #600?

Pitcher vs. Batters

Notable Stats:


Ramirez has emerged as the top pitching on the Angels staff. Not bad for a guy who din’t start a game before this season. He already has racked up a 0.9 WAR and a team leading 3.38 ERA in his 9 starts. Ramirez has only faced Castro and Gimenez on this current roster and they are a combined 0 for 4 with 2 Ks against him.

Albert Pujols has taken Gibson long twice in 16 at bats, so this could be the magic game if he doesn’t hit a homer off Cy Rookie in game 1. Let’s hope there is no marine later on Friday night. Couple this with the fact that Gibson just has not been good this year and has a 7.85 ERA and 1.96 WHIP with 7 home runs allowed in 36.3 innings.

Verdict: This game definitely leans Angels and if all goes well, Gibson will be remembered as the guy who gave up #600.


Matt Shoemaker v. Ervin Santana
Saturday, June 3rd @ 7:07PM

Ervin Santana is (so far) having the best year of his career at age 34

Pitcher vs. Batters

Notable Stats:


Matt Shoemaker gave up 4 runs in his last start, 0 before that, 4 before that, 0 before that. This dude has been on a seesaw, but if the recent pattern holds up - should be due for a great game. Shoey has faced Castro the most in this lineup and has allowed 4 hits and struck him out 6 times in 16 AB.

Ervin Santana is having the ride of his life right now and has been absolutely ridiculous this year. He has, however, lost 2 game in which he gave up 6 runs to the Red Sox and 5 runs to the Rockies. Aside from that, he has a 1.75 ERA and 0.84 WHIP in 77 IP.

Verdict: This should be a tough game IF Shoemaker is on. Too close to call here as both of these pitchers are capable of putting on a show.


Ricky Nolasco v. Jose Berrios
Sunday, June 4th @ 12:37PM

Keep in the park Nolasco!

Pitcher vs. Batters

Notable Stats:



Ricky Nolasco has given up 16 homeruns in 60 innings, which is twice the rate at which he was giving them up last year. He’s sitting at a 5.07 ERA and 1.39 WHIP on the season and has given up 11 runs over his last two starts. Hopefully we see a rebound performance from him here.

Jose Berrios looked like an ace in his first two starts (CLE & COL) after being called up and was virtually unhittable. He threw 15.1 innings in those 2 starts, allowing only 4 total hits. However, in his last two starts (BAL & HOU), he gave up 9 hits and 7 runs in 11.1 IP. Berrios has a great ability to get ahead with his 93-95 MPH fastball and also leans alot on his curve. Both pitches have the ability to make batters look foolish.

Verdict: Nolasco will give up a homerun. Probably to Sano. Berrios has been pitching better than Nolasco so this may be a tough matchup.

Overall Verdict: The Angels may split the series. I’m not sure they can pull off a series win, however with Santana on the mound and the unpredictable Meyer and Nolasco getting starts.