So our old friend CJ Cron returns to the Big A for the first time since being traded to the Rays. How is he doing there? Well, he has 10 home runs and a slashline of .289/.339/.522. Not bad, right? Cron is better than some probably gave him credit for now that he’s a regular starter. Is he gonna burn us in this series? Probably. Isn’t that what usually happens??
The Angels haven’t had much luck with the Rays in recent years, with a 6-8 record over the past two seasons - including a 1-5 record at home. Let’s hope they turn that around after a series loss to the Astros.
Know your foe:
Rays - who’s hot (last 7 days):
CJ Cron .400 AVG, .419 OBP, 2 home runs
Matt Duffy .478 AVG, .500 OBP, 1 home run
Alex Colome 3.0 IP, 2 saves, .182 BAA, 0.67 WHIP
Sergio Romo 4.1 IP, .071 BAA, 0.23 WHIP\
Tyler Skaggs (3.07 ERA) v. Chris Archer (5.64 ERA)
Thursday, May 17th @ 7:07PM
Pitcher vs. Batters
Skaggs is good now - right? Only 1 game so far this year in which he’s allowed more than 2 runs. THIS is the kind of starting pitching we need. Over his last 4 starts, he’s allowed 6 runs in 23.2 innings - good for a 2.33 ERA. Is this the Skaggs we’ve been waiting for? I hope so - because we need him.
With a 5.64 ERA and 1.405 WHIP, Archer is not really having a great year. He’s been, err, beat up on multiple occasions, including the 6 runs he gave up last time out agains the Orioles (though he did last 7 innings). Last year, a perhaps better version of Archer, struck out 9 and allowed only 2 runs over 6 innings when he faced the Angels in Anaheim.
Verdict: Archer has pitched well against the Angels in the past but I’m going Skaggs on this one. He’s been locked in so far this season and the Angels will need a bounce back form the loss to Justin Verlander.
Nick Tropeano (3.64 ERA) v. Blake Snell (3.12 ERA)
Friday, May 18th @ 7:07PM
Pitcher vs. Batters
Tropeano has been good - mostly, and especially if you just look at his last 2 starts where he’s allowed only 3 runs over 12.1 innings. We’ve yet to quite see the strikeout totals he’s capable of with just 22 over 29 innings.
Unlike Archer, Snell IS having a good year with a 3.12 ERA and 1.2 WAR to go along with that. He has been very effective this year (unless you are the Orioles or Yankees), but he is prone to home runs and has given up 8 of them in 9 games (5 against the Yankees and Orioles). In his 6th major league start back in 2016, Snell allowed 2 runs over 6 against against the Angels. Snell was pulled after 73 pitches in his last start due to a “minor” hip issue but is supposedly ready to go against the Angels.
Verdict: This might be a tough one with the way Snell is pitching. I’m also predicting a Cron HR. Let’s hope the Angels offense comes through.
Andrew Heaney (3.93 ERA) v. Ryan Yarbrough (3.93 ERA)
Saturday, May 19th @ 6:07PM
Heaney has a tough act to follow with perhaps the best performance of his career last week. But that was no fluke as Heaney has a 1.80 ERA over his past 4 games with 25 IP and 26 Ks. This season, Heaney has a 3.83 ERA - the exact same as his foe in this matchup.
Cy Rookie alert! Yarbrough is in his first big league season with 10 games and 34 innings under his belt. This will be his 4th start and his longest started have only lasted 83-88 pitches so it’s unlikely he’ll go super deep into this one.
Verdict: Heaney is the man. Like Skaggs, he’s been locked in so I’m thinking this game leans Angels.
Shohei Ohtani (3.58 ERA) v. Anthony Banda (5.40 ERA)
Shoday, May 20th @ 1:07PM
When Ohtani is on - look out. AND he’s usually on. Ohtani already has two double digit K games this year in his 6 starts. Last time out he dominated the Twins over 6.1 innings with 11 Ks and only 3 hits allowed. Already he has 43 Ks over 32.2 innings.
Anthony Banda and his 30 innings (5 this year) of big league experience will (probably) start this game. He only gave up 1 run on 5 hits in his 2018 debut against the Royals. He had a 3.50 ERA over 36 innings with 44 Ks in AAA this year and a 5.96 ERA with the Diamondbacks last season.
Pitch Arsenal (2017 and 2018):
Verdict: I’m not going against Ohtani here. He’s going to mow down the Rays and the Angels will back him by giving Banda a not so warm big league welcome.
Overall Verdict: The Angels could sweep but I’m thinking they take 3 out of 4. The need to not let Archer get to them in game 1 and the first two may be the toughest challenges of this series.