Monday, April 19, 2010

By Jon Hoppie - Fantasy Writer


This past week was the Angels first trip back to the Bronx since they lost to the Bombers in last years ALCS. After a tragedy that the team had to witness at their hotel Tuesday morning, the Angels turned their brains back to baseball in an attempt to spoil the Yankees home opener. Such efforts seemed futile as the Yankees were clearly fueled by the pre-game World Series ring ceremonies, return of Hall of Famers Whitey Ford and Peter “Yogi” Berra, and a touching tribute to former teammate turned rival Hideki Matsui. When all was said and done, the Angels came out of New York with a win and two losses, and headed to Toronto where in 3 games, they outscored the Blue Jays 16-9 to sweep the series.

This week, the Angels face the start of a 10 game home stand where they will look to get past 4 games with Detroit before meeting the Yanks at home for 3 more. Coming off a huge series sweep in Toronto, this Angels team looks like they’re going to be tough to beat, and will surely be looking to rebound against a tough New York squad. You may get to see some of the regulars take a seat for the Halos as they won’t have an off day for some time, and with the return of Reggie Willits from the DL, they couldn’t have timed things better. If you’ve got Mike Napoli in your lineup, don’t give up on him yet, but if you have a chance to get Mathis off waivers, grab him and bench Napoli until he starts getting more playing time.


Brian Fuentes (CL) – 15 day DL (Mid-Back Stiffness)
Fuentes is scheduled to make a Class A rehab appearance on April 19th
Due to return back to the Angels on April 21st

Maicer Izturis (2B) – Day to Day (Tightness in Right Shoulder)


DET @ LAA – 4/19, 4/20, 4/21, 4/22

Stats for Angels probable starters

Joel Piniero: 2.66 ERA with a 6-2 record against the Tigers
Slated to face Dontrelle Willis

Scott Kazmir: 4.69 ERA with a 2-4 record against the Tigers
Slated to face Rick Porcello

Jered Weaver: 7.36 ERA with a 2-2 record against the Tigers
Slated to face Jeremy Bonderman

Joe Saunders: 5.18 ERA with a 1-1 record against the Tigers
Slated to face Justin Verlander

NYY @ LAA – 4/23, 4/24, 4/25

Stats for Angels probable starters

Ervin Santana: 5.50 ERA with a 5-3 record against the Yankees
Slated to face Andy Pettitte

Joel Piniero: 3.22 ERA with a 3-3 record against the Yankees
Slated to face Javier Vazquez

Scott Kazmir: 3.14 ERA with a 6-6 record against the Yankees
Slated to face Phil Hughes

In his first 2 starts, Joel Piniero has gone 1-1 with an ERA of 2.77. So far this season, Joel has held the opposition’s batters to a .204 AVG, 69 points better than his career average of .273 opponents BA. Historically, when Joel’s team can give him any sort of substantial run support, he fairs much better to get the win. In games where his offense has scored 2 runs or less, Piniero has a very sour 6-44 record. On the other hand, when Joel’s teammates can give him 3 runs or more, he boasts much more positive results with an 82-36 record and an ERA of 4.28. With the way the Angels swung the bats in Toronto this past weekend, I imagine Joel is going to get just the run support he needs. This week, Joel Piniero is twice going to be my must start of the week.


Jeff Mathis: Although Mathis has only hit .091 against the current Tigers staff, he has clearly been on the warpath, proving that the catcher’s spot belongs to him. Over the past week, Jeff went 4-11 with a double, 3 runs, and even a stolen base. It was quite the productive week to add to his .323 season AVG, and its only bound to continue as he looks to further establish himself as a force to be reckoned with at the plate, and behind it. Jeff is a career .364 hitter against Andy Pettitte who he’ll face this weekend in Anaheim. If you need a productive catcher in an AL Only League, pick him up and ride out his hot streak. Keep an eye on him in mixed leagues, but he’s a good stop gap if your starting catcher is hurt or not producing.

Kendry Morales: Kendry is a career 0 for 11 against Andy Pettitte, but has a much better track record against Detroit’s staff, with a .333 AVG, with a homerun and 6 RBIs to show against Jeremy Bonderman. As of late, Morales has 6 hits including a double and 2 homeruns in his last 6 games. Morales is due to bust out after a lackluster past two games in Toronto. Look for him to have a big series against Detroit.

Hideki Matsui: Yet another player that has had great success against Tiger Jeremy Bonderman, Hideki has shown great presence at the plate hitting .444 with 3 HRs and 10 RBIs against the Detroit right-hander in 30 plate appearances. Thus far, a staggering 16-49 this season with half of his base knocks for extra bases, Matsui is clearly a threat to anyone in 2010. Leading the Angels in hits and RBIs in 2010, Matsui, though limited by most leagues as solely a utility player, can still be an effective presence in your fantasy lineup.

Bobby Abreu: There seems to be a trend forming within this Angels lineup. Over the course of his career, Abreu has hit .363 with a SLG of .525 against the current members of the Tigers staff. Particularly impressive are his numbers against Tigers pitcher Jeremy Bonderman. Facing Bonderman, Bobby is 10 for 18 with a HR and 5 walks and an OPS of 1.486. Abreu has also faired well against New York’s Javier Vazquez. While he has only a .282 AVG against Vazquez, he’s got 9 homers, 15 RBIs and an SLG of .746. Clearly he’s got these two hurlers figured out, and with 2 HRs and 7 RBIs in his last 5 games, it seems he may have his game in full swing.

Torii Hunter: A career .345 hitter against Justin Verlander, and an even more impressive .424 AVG and 1.065 OPS against Jeremy Bonderman, Hunter seems to have this Detroit staff pretty much nailed. So far in 2010, Torii’s hitting .341 with 5 doubles, 4 of which have come in his last 6 games. Over the years, the unnoticed rule is that if Torii gets on base, his team wins. A .369 OBP and .314 AVG in games won versus a .283 OBP and .227 AVG in games lost, its clear that there is in fact a Torii factor.


Jered Weaver – In his first 3 games, Weaver has gone 2-0 with an ERA of 2.84, and as the team looks for an ace in its staff, look no further than Jered. In just 19 innings he’s given up only 6 runs, allowed 3 walks, and has struck out a phenomenal 21 batters. Nothing more needs to be said really. Jered has wicked stuff, his 16-8 record and 174 strikeouts last season are proof enough of that, and it’s only sure to get nastier with time.


Brandon Wood – Although Wood continues to show signs of improvement, he still gets punched out at the plate way too often for most fantasy owners. With only 4 hits in 38 ABs, and all 4 being of the single variety, Wood has yet to impose his power in the lineup. BENCH


Though the Angels and their fans are clearly awaiting the return of the Yankees to their house in Southern California, you simply can’t look past the success that most of the Angels have had against the Tigers in years past. Their upcoming series against Detroit is going to be worth following for those of you who want to see the Halos put up some big numbers this week. The Yankees are always going to be good for some fireworks, and since the Angels still seem to be the biggest thorn in their sides, never count out the Angels in a homestand against arguably their biggest rival. Tune in Angels fans, it looks like the Halos may have found their groove!
Love to hear what you think!


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