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Angels look to bounce back and take the series against Baltimore

The Halos will wrap up the long 11-day road trip with a matinee showdown against the Orioles.

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Cleveland Indians Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Angels didn’t play the ugliest game by a Southern California-based team last night, but it still was embarrassing. After leading the Orioles 6-2 in the fourth inning, the seams came apart in the eighth and the Halos ended up losing 10-6.

They’ll look to win the rubber match this morning and come away from the 10-game, 11-day road trip with a series victory.

The road trip has been strangely indicative of the Angels’ season, to say the least. An Angels’ win today would make the road trip a .500 effort at 5-5 (they’re currently sitting at 4-5). The Halos have hit the .500 mark 25 times this season, but missed the opportunity to do it again on Wednesday.

There have been some duds during the trip, like last night and the entire Cleveland series. However, there have also been some highlights like the Detroit comeback to secure the sweep and the emergence of Brandon Marsh at the plate. A win today against the Orioles wouldn’t necessarily make the road trip a success, but it would at least help create some good momentum for a team that will undoubtedly be tested against a tough upcoming schedule among injury and COVID concerns.

The O’s are entering their first game after a win since August 3 and are salivating at the prospect of winning their first series since July 25 (against Washington). Currently owning the worst record in baseball at 39-86, Baltimore was riding a 19-game losing streak before last night. Only two losses away from tying their 1988 AL record of 21 losses, the O’s may come out feeling energized with that monkey off their back.

The Angels have put up 20 runs in the two games played in this series, but have also surrendered 18. With the Angels’ thin pitching staff and a Baltimore starter with an almost 8.00 ERA, this game has the potential to turn into another offensive showdown.

Pitching Matchup

  • Angels: RHP Jaime Barria gets his sixth start for the Angels this season. He is 2-2 with a 5.87 ERA, 17 strikeouts and a 1.47 WHIP in 30.2 IP. Like much of his Angels career, Barria has struggled with consistency. He only lasted two innings in his last start after giving up six hits, a home run and five earned runs against the Cleveland Indians. Barria relies heavily on his slider, but will also go to a 4-seam fastball, sinker and changeup. With the rotation in limbo heading into next season, Barria needs to make the most of his remaining starts if he wants to remain in the conversation.
  • Orioles: The Angels have no excuses against Baltimore starter Keegan Akin after already seeing him once this season. Akin faced the Angels earlier this season on July 2 and got lit up at the Big A. He went 3.0 innings, gave up four earned runs on seven hits, walked one, struck out three and gave up home runs to Shohei Ohtani and José Iglesias.

The 26-year-old lefty is pitching in his second season in the Majors and has had a rough 2021. With an 0-8 record, Akin has a 7.92 ERA in 63.2 IP. He has allowed 12 home runs and 56 earned runs while sporting a .328 batting average against. Akin’s actually coming off a respectable start against Atlanta where he went 5.0 IP while allowing three runs on five hits with three walks and three strikeouts in a losing effort. However, he struggled with the long-ball again, giving up a pair of home runs.

Akin is primarily a fastball pitcher whose stuff succeeds when he generates swings and misses. A hitter friendly ballpark like Camden Yards and a flyball pitcher like Akin could be a good mix for a Halos team looking to continue to build confidence on offense.

Players to Watch

  • Angels: Brandon Marsh has been absolutely on fire as of late. In his last 27 at-bats, Marsh has 12 hits, 10 RBIs, a .444 AVG, .483 OBP, .741 SLG and his first Major League HR. Development is especially key in a season absent of postseason berth and Marsh is definitely coming into his own. A speedy baserunner and outfielder with a great glove, Marsh is showing that an outfield trio of himself, Jo Adell and Mike Trout can be incredibly dangerous for the opposition in the future. As for this game, he’s got the hottest bat on the team and it will be interesting to see if he can keep it going before the Halos return home.
  • Orioles: Outfielder Anthony Santander has tormented the Angels during this series, going 7-9 with two home runs, six runs scored and four RBIs. He’s gotten to almost every pitcher the Angels have thrown at him and he’ll look to continue to his hot-hitting against Barria and company.

On the season, Santander is hitting .256 with 14 HR, 39 RBIs and a .765 OPS. He is currently in his fifth season with the Orioles after playing in the Cleveland Minor League system for five years.

Lineups and Notes

  • José Suarez was named the starter for Saturday’s game against the Padres. There has yet to be a starter named for Friday, which could ultimately be a bullpen game or (hides from projectiles) a possible José Quintana start.
  • Iglesias is notably out of the lineup after a tough HBP last night in the second inning. Hit on the hand, he showed a bit of discomfort while fielding. His status is something worth monitoring.

First pitch is at 10:05 a.m. PT and can be accessed via Bally Sports West and KLAA-AM830.