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Series Preview: Twins @ Angels (Twinkie Redux)

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Seeing double. Here come the Twins again.

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Minnesota Twins Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Twins (30-16) @ Angels (22-24)

I’m back! Thanks to Jeffrey for filling in on these previews while I was soaking up some R&R in the South Pacific.

Thanks to MLB scheduling fun, the Angels play both their away and home series against the Twins over the span of 12 days. Last week the Angels dropped 2 of 3 games in the series, but did manage to score 15 runs. Offense? Not the main problem. The Twins scored 16 runs, besting the angels twice by a single run margin.

Nelson Cruz, destroyer of Angels pitching, is still on the IL and will sit this one out. However, the Twins are getting offensive production out of much of their lineup and after the Astros, have the best offense in baseball right now (and much of this season).

Know your foe:

Twins - who’s hot (last 7 days):

Jorge Polanco .469 OBP, 1 HR
Ehire Adrianza .500 OBP, 1 HR
Eddie Rosario .407 OBP
Marwin Gonzalez .348 AVG, 1 HR

Weather Forecast

GAME 1

(R) Félix Peña (3.49 ERA) v. (R) Jake Odorizzi (2.63 ERA)
Monday, May 20th @ 7:07PM

Pitcher vs. Batters

Notable Stats

Angels Summary:

Technically Taylor Cole is the starter of this game, but Peña is listed here since he’ll be the main inning eater in this one. This will be Cole’s first “opener” appearance this year. Peña has started 4 games but this will be his 5th appearance after an opener. In games he’s started, his ERA is 4.15 with a 1.154 WHIP. In games he’s taken over after an opener, his ERA is 2.95 with a 0.797 WHIP.

Pitch Data:

Twins Summary:

Jake Odorizzi has been pretty much lights out fo the Twins this year. He has won 6 straight starts. Over those 6 starts, the most runs he’s allowed has been 3 and that was last week against the Angels when he allowed 9 hits and 2 home runs - both of those season highs in a game.

Pitch Data:


GAME 2

(R) Trevor Cahill (6.95 ERA) v. (R) Michael Pineda (5.55 ERA)
Tuesday, May 21st @ 7:07PM

Pitcher vs. Batters

Notable Stats

Angels Summary:

Félix Peña gets an opener yet Trevor Cahill does not? Cahill has quickly nose-dived into a negative WAR this season after showing some promise for about 5 seconds. It’s no suprise that Polanco and Rosario have hit him well since Cahill is getting crushed by lefty hitters this season. Cahill is even worse at home (8.66 ERA) than he is on the road. Yikes!

Pitch Data:

Twins Summary:

Michael Pineda gives up a lot of home runs (13 in 9 games) and a fair amount of contact as well. He hasn’t exactly been the Twins best pitchers but he is coming off 3 straight starts in which he’s only allowed 3 runs each time (2 of them were quality starts).

Pitch Data:


GAME 3

(R) Matt Harvey (6.35 ERA) v. (L) Martín Pérez (2.89 ERA)
Wednesday, May 22nd @ 6:07PM

Pitcher vs. Batters

Notable Stats

Angels Summary:

Matt Harvey gives and he takes. He has a negative WAR on the year to go with his sky high ERA but over his past 5 starts he has a decent 4.12 ERA with just one bad start (against the Astros). Is Matt Harvey finding his groove? Let’s hope so. But like Cahill, he has also been crushed at home (8.63 ERA over 5 games).

Pitch Data:

Twins Summary:

The Angels have said they don’t know why the can’t hit lefty pitching. Here’s more more chance for them to try and figure it out. Pérez shouldn’t give the Angels much hope though since he’s also sporting a 3.38 FIP and has allowed more than 3 runs in a game only once this year. He also has a 1.40 ERA over his last 6 starts.

Pitch Data:


Overall Verdict: The Angels best scenario is 2 games with game 3 being the most certain loss. Game 2 is winnable but Cahill is starting so... Game 1 could be the lowest scoring and may be decided late in the game unless Simba, Trout, and Lucroy continue their success against Odorizzi.

Current Standings (sorted by playoff odds)

Notes/Credits:
(Pitch tracking data from baseballsavant.mlb.com)
(Splits from FanGraphs Splits Tool and Baseball Reference)
(Standings/odds from fivethirtyeight.com)