Three games back in the wildcard race and facing the team with the best record in the NL. The Angels shouldn’t win either game which means they might. Right? #tod
The last time the Angels faced the Nationals was back in 2014 when the Angels took 2 out of 3 games in Washington. Mike Trout was 5 for 14 and Bryce Harper was 1 for 11 with 3 Ks.
Danny Espinosa’s former team (wait - which one?) has a lot of thump with 5 guys in double digit home runs and 3 hovering around the 20 mark. Could be a good series for a home run souvenir chasers.
In this edition of “whose stats are these”, I present you with this. The first one is a challenge. The second should be a no brainer.
Overall team ERA (July).
Bullpen WAR (Season)
Question: Who ends the series with a higher OPS - Trout or Harper?
Jesse Chavez v. Edwin “been around the block” Jackson
Tuesday, July 17th @ 7:07PM
Pitcher vs. Batters
There are pitchers that have been around a while, and there is Edwin Jackson. He first broke into the majors at age 19 and in 15 years has played for 12 different teams - none of them longer than 3 years. Jackson had been with the Nationals 5 years ago and they recently signed him to a minor league deal. He’s only thrown 45 total innings this year so it will remain to be seen how long he last, but he did have a 5 inning, 95-pitch start on July 6th, and 6 innings with 78 pitches on July 1st in AAA.
If you go back a few years, Chavez is pitching pretty much as expected so far in 2017. An ERA just below 5, WHIP in the 1.3ish range, etc. EXCEPT if you are talking about home runs in which case Chavez already has a career high by 2. The Nationals have the 6th most home runs in all of baseball which should prove to be a challenge for Chavez and his mate in this series series - Ricky Nolasco.
Verdict: The Nats have a weak bullpen and if the lethargic Angels offense can get going early against Jackson, the Angels could pull of a win here.
Ricky Nolasco v. Gio Gonzalez
Wednesday, July 18th @ 7:07PM
Pitcher vs. Batters
Harper and Zimmerman will go back to back of Ricky Nolasco. Either that or he shuts down the Nats for 7 innings. You never know what you are going to get with that guy. Nolasco has had 2 strong starts in July spanning 16 innings with only 1 run allowed. However, he also stuck a turd in the middle of those starts by giving up 8 runs to the Rangers in just 1.2 innings. Let’s hope that version doesn’t show up for this game.
Gio Gonzalez along with Max Scherzer have been a strong one-two punch at the top of this Nationals rotation (Strasburg as well). Gonzalez is having a career year and has not given up more than 3 runs in a game since May 19th (and only twice this season). Gonzalez has generally been good for 7 innings and a couple of runs in most of his starts. He’s coming off a strong 8.1 innings of shutout ball against the Reds last week.
Verdict: The Angels don’t really have a shot at this game - on paper. But who knows what mystery lies ahead for this matchup?
Overall Verdict: This series begins a rough 8 game stretch against some of the best teams in baseball. If the Angels can’t pull off some wins here, their wild card hopes will swing and miss faster than a Danny Espinosa strikeout.