We are past the halfway point in the season but not at the official “break” part of the season. The entire roster outside of Mike Trout and Tommy La Stella will be getting 4 days off next week. Leading up to that, the Angels get to play 7 days in the Texas heat against the Rangers and Astros. Well, technically that last part isn’t completely true since the roof will likely be closed and the AC running when the Angels get to Houston.
So far the season series between these two teams is split at 5 apiece, but the Angels were swept by the Rangers in Texas back in April.
Know your foe:
Rangers - who’s hot (last 7 days):
Rougned Odor .417 AVG, 2 doubles, triple
Elvis Andrus .400 OBP, 9 hits
Joey Gallo .478 OBP, 3 HRs, 4 walks, 5 RBI
#RIP Tyler Skaggs
Jose Suarez kicks off this series against a brutal opponent who has dominated the Angels. It’s to him to keep this game close. The 21 year old has had pretty mixed results so far. He has throw around 90 pitches in each of his last 4 starts, and has yet to make it out of the 6th inning. In his last trip to the bump, Suarez was knocked around by the Blue Jays for 8 hits and 5 runs in 5 innings.
Do we have to?? Minor is easily one of the top pitchers in the AL this year with his 2.4 ERA and 5.5 bWAR. He’s thrown 2 complete games this year, including a shutout agains the Angels in April. He’s also tossed 8 innings 3 times and has 11 quality starts in 17 attempts.
(R) Griffin Canning (3.79) v. (R) Ariel Jurado (3.90 ERA)
Tuesday, July 2nd @ 5:05PM
Pitchers vs. Batters
Griffin Canning has already racked up 1.5 bWAR in 11 games. Not bad for a rookie. He also had a solid outing against the Rangers in May. He’s clearly emerged as one of the top pitchers on the staff and you can expect him to rack up some more Ks against this Rangers.
Ariel Jurado is a formidable foe for Canning in this start. He’s pitched well against the Angels this year and he’s been really good for the Rangers - at least until June. Jurado had a 2.47 ERA in April and May but that ballooned to 5.46 in June. However, Jurado is coming off 7 shutout innings against the Tigers.
TBD v. (R) Lance Lynn (4.00 ERA)
Wednesday, July 3rd @ 5:05PM
Pitchers vs. Batters
One of the better starts for the Rangers, Lynn has also held the Angels to 2 runs in each of his 2 starts against them in April. Since April 27th, Lynn has pitched 6 or more innings in every game and he has 12 quality starts this year, so I wouldn’t expect the Angels to knock him out early.
TBD v. (R) Adrian Sampson (4.16 ERA)
Thursday, July 4th @ 5:05PM
Tyler Skaggs was supposed to start this game :( Over his last 4 starts he had a 2.45 ERA. Gone too soon indeed...
Sampson faced the Angels in early April for a 66 pitch relief sting. He allowed 1 run over 3.2 innings. He’s less than a month removed from a complete game 1 run win over the A’s, and aside from a blip against Boston, hasn’t allowed more than 3 runs in a game since May 17th.
Overall Verdict: The Mike Minor and Lance Lynn games will be the toughest to win and Griffin Canning will give the Angels the best shot in his start.
Current Standings (sorted by playoff odds)
(Pitch tracking data from baseballsavant.mlb.com)
(Splits from FanGraphs Splits Tool and Baseball Reference)
(Standings/odds from fivethirtyeight.com)