Monday, April 16, 2012

Jered Weaver takes the mound Monday night looking to get the team back on track against the Oakland A's

By Brian Waller, Columnist

Yoenis Cespedes and the Oakland A’s are next up for the Angels as the two teams prepare for a 4-game series that begins on Monday night at the “Big A”. It will be the first chance for Angel fans to see the highly touted Cuban born player as he comes to Anaheim for the first time in his young career.

The A’s come into the series second in the AL in pitching, but last in hitting. The Oakland line-up might be just what the Angels’ pitching staff needs as they look to gain some confidence and get back on track

Despite the early offensive struggles for the Halos this season, they enter tonight’s game ranked fourth in the AL in batting. Led by the sizzling Howie Kendrick and Mark Trumbo, the Angels will look to continue their recent hot hitting in an attempt to pick up their first series win in 2012.

Pitching Match-ups:
4/16 – Brandon McCarthy (0-1, 2.50 ERA) vs. Jered Weaver (1-0, 3.21 ERA)
4/17 – Tyson Ross (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Dan Haren (0-1, 6.97 ERA)
4/18 – Bartolo Colon (2-1, 3.72 ERA) vs. Ervin Santana (0-2, 7.71 ERA)
4/19 – Tommy Milone (1-1, 2.57 ERA) vs. C.J. Wilson (2-0, 1.38 ERA)

4/16 – Sunny – High of 76 degrees
4/17 – Sunny – High of 80 degrees
4/18 – Sunny – High of 76 degrees
4/19 – Partly Cloudy – High of 77 degrees

Game Times/Channels/Promotions:
4/16 - 7:05 a.m. / FSW
4/17 - 7:05 p.m. / FSW / Albert Pujols Bobblehead
4/18 - 7:05 p.m. / FSW
4/19 –7:05 p.m. / FSW / Erick Aybar Gold Glove T-shirt
Player(s) to Watch:
In his last 3 starts Mark Trumbo is 3-for-9 with 2 home runs, 3 RBI’s and 3 walks. The walks are especially nice to see since he had only 29 in 570 at-bats last season. Assuming  Trumbo gets 500 at-bats this season, if he maintains his new found plate discipline then he is on pace for 94 walks. Trumbo will be interesting to watch in this upcoming series not only at the plate but on defense as well. He has definitely had some trouble adjusting to third base so far in 2012.

Dan Haren should have a solid bounce back game on Tuesday against the A’s. Haren has always pitched better at the “Big A” then on the road and he will be facing an A’s team that have tallied fewer than 10 hits in each of their first 10 games, tying the record from the team's 1978 campaign. With the recent bullpen struggles and the lackluster Oakland offense, I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Dan Haren pitch a complete game.

Howie Kendrick has been on fire recently, going 6-for-10 the last two games with 1 home run, 3 RBI’s and 12 total bases. Even though Albert Pujols hasn’t gotten off to the best start in an Angels’ uniform it seems his presence in the line-up is having a big impact on Kendrick’s production so far in 2012.

Misc. Team Notes:
OF Vernon Wells' solo home run in the fifth inning Saturday was the 250th of his career. That made the Angels and Yankees the only teams in Major League Baseball to each have four players with at least 250 career home runs. For the Angels, Albert Pujols, Bobby Abreu, Torii Hunter and Wells have at least 250 HRs. For the Yankees, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Andruw Jones and Raul Ibanez have at least 250 homers each.

2B Howie Kendrick had his second consecutive three-hit game Sunday, missing a cycle only when his drive over the wall in the eighth inning curled just foul down the right-field line. Kendrick is now a .345 (60 for 174) hitter in his career against the Yankees. That is the highest average against the Yankees of any active player (minimum 150 plate appearances).
Weaver has made 20 career starts against the A's, compiling a 6-7 record with one shutout and a 2.85 ERA.

Angels’ relievers have a 5.34 ERA so far this season.

Kendrys Morales has only 1 hit in his last 23 at-bats with 7 strikeouts.
GM Jerry Dipoto told Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times that he remains very confident the Angels will be able to sign Erick Aybar long-term. “I'm very encouraged by where we are and that we will ultimately get there," he said. The Angels would prefer to sign Aybar for something close to Howie Kendrick’s four-year, $33.5MM extension, but the shortstop appears to be seeking at least five years and $50MM.
Angels’ Team Statistics / League Rank (as of 4/16/12):

Avg.: .263 / 4th
OBP: .315 / 8th
SLG: .409 / 9th
OPS: .724 / 10th
Hits: 81 / 6th
HR: 8 / 11th
RBI’s: 41 / 6th
R: 42 / 7th
BB: 24 / 8th
SO: 68 / 6th
SB: 8 / 2nd

W: 3 / 12th
ERA: 5.26 / 13th
SV: 0 / 14th
SVO: 2 / 13th
IP: 77.0 / 13th
HR: 15 / 2nd
BB: 24 / 8th
SO: 62 / 7th
Avg.: .282 / 14th
WHIP: 1.43 / 11th

Opponent Interesting Facts:
Some notable players that have played for both the A’s and the Angels are…Randy Velarde, Bartolo Colon, Mike Fetters, Hideki Matsui, Jose Guillen, and Adam Kennedy.

Prized A’s off season acquisition Yoenis Cespedes leads the league in strikeouts with 15.

Catcher Kurt Suzuki had thrown out 4 of 9 (44.4 percent) of attempted base stealers entering Sunday. Last season, he threw out only 23 of 121 (19 percent). He spent the spring working on throwing mechanics with manager Bob Melvin and Triple-A Sacramento manager Darren Bush.

The A’s have hit 9 home runs in the first 10 games. Last year, it took the A's 21 games to record nine home runs. The team has gone 279 consecutive games without hitting more than three homers in a game, the longest such streak currently in the majors.

The A's enter Monday’s game with an AL worst .201 batting average.

The A’s were founded in Philadelphia in 1901 when the A.L. became a Major League. They moved to Kansas City in 1955 and to Oakland in 1968 where they have been since.

In 2011, the Athletics had the lowest attendance in baseball, with an average attendance of 18,232.

The A's are the only remaining MLB team in the United States still sharing a stadium with an NFL team. In Canada, Toronto's Rogers Centre is shared by the Blue Jays and the Canadian Football League's Toronto Argonauts.
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