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Series Preview: Angels @ Royals (debut time)

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Nick Tropeano & Andrew Heaney will both be making their 2018 debuts in this series

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Los Angeles Angels Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The season to date has been an amazing ride already for the Angels and Angels fans. The Angels are having so much fun that they’ve scored more runs (86) than anyone in baseball and it’s not even close. The Pirates, Braves, Yankees, and Blue Jays round out the top 5 with 71, 68, 66, and 64. Home runs? No it’s not the Yankees (they have 16). It’s the Angels, who have 20 long balls. The Royals, meanwhile, have been struggling to the tune of just 31 runs and 4 home runs over 10 games - good for last in baseball.

But we can’t take any team for granted, because out of those 31 runs scored, 15 of them have been in the past 3 games which could be a sign of the Royals heating up and de-thawing from their frozen start to their season.

GAME 1

Nick Tropeano v. Ian Kennedy
Thursday, April 12th @ 5:15PM

Pitcher vs. Batters

Relevant Stats

None

Summary:

Nitro is back and making his 2018 debut! Nick Tropeano who hasn’t thrown a big league game since July of 2016, had one start in AAA where he struck out 7 and allowed zero runs over 3.2 innings. He faced the Royals last in 2016 with a 5.1 inning outing where he struck out 6 and allowed 2 runs.

Ian Kennedy has been off to a strong start with just 1 run allowed and 13 Ks over 12 innings. Last year, Kennedy was brutal to the Angels. He faced them twice in KC and in Anaheim. In those outings he struck out 14 over 14 innings with only 1 run allowed and 4 hits.

Verdict: This could be a good pitching matchup with two strikout pitcher on the mound. Hopefully the Angels offense carries over from Texas.


GAME 2

Andrew Heaney v. Jason Hammel
Friday, April 13th @ 5:15PM

Pitcher vs. Batters

Relevant Stats

Summary:

Thankfully, Andrew Heaney’s DL trip was short. Heaney, who landed on the DL just before the season opened (elbow inflammation), will also be making his 2018 debut. He was looking good in spring through his first 3 starts but not so great in his last (which could have been due to elbow issues). Heaney had a huge home run problem last year when he returned from TJ surgery which hopefully is under control.

Jason Hammel has had a pair of starts in 2018, both on the road. He threw 11 innings and struck out 8. HIs starts were bad (v. Tigers) and good (v. Indians), so he’s been unpredictable so far in this very young season. Hammel hasn’t faced the Angels since 2013.

Verdict: Both pitchers are wild cards here and both are capable of huge and/or disastrous starts. Buckle up!


GAME 3

Garrett Richards v. Jakob Junis
Saturday, April 14th @ 4:15PM

Pitcher vs. Batters

Relevant Stats

Summary:

Garrett Richards’ main problem this year has been walks. He has given up 12 free passes and 12 hits in 15 innings. He has, at least, struck out 19. Hopefully this is the game we see Richards finally finish 6+ innings. Richards last faced the Royals in April of 2016 in a game he won and allowed 0 earned runs over 6.2 innings.

The 25-year-old Jakob Junis has been lights out over 2 starts with only 4 hits allowed, zero runs, and 9 Ks. Junis faced this Angels once in his rookie campaign and the got to him for 8 hits and 5 runs with home runs by Cameron Maybin and Albert Pujols

Verdict: I like the matchup here for the Angels and I have a good feeling Richards will have a nice outing this time around.


GAME 4

Shohei Ohtani v. Eric Skoglund
Shoday, April 15th @ 11:15AM

Pitcher vs. Batters

No data

Relevant Stats

None

Summary:

If you haven’t heard how Ohtani has been pitching, you certainly haven’t been paying attention. He’s been absolutely elite in his two start and now will face his first road challenge in Kansas City.

Eric Skoglund came up through the Royals system and threw 18 innings in his first big league season last year. He made his 2018 debut on Tuesday night against the Mariners and was knocked out after given up 5 runs in 4.2 innings.

Verdict: I like this matchup. It’s Shoday!!


Overall Verdict: The Angels momentum going into this series bodes well. I’m not sure when they last won 5 series in a row, but this is their shot if the pitching holds up.