Friday, May 18, 2012

 

By Brian Waller, AngelsWin.com Columnist

Angels/White Sox Recap:
I said it a few days ago and I will say it again...this team is like a roller coaster ride filled with ups and downs, sharp turns and sudden drops. After taking the first game of the two game series the Halos dropped the second. C.J. Wilson was very wild and just didn't seem to have his "stuff" working on the mound Thursday afternoon. It wasn't all bad news though; much to the delight of Angels fans everywhere, prized off-season acquisition Albert Pujols finally seems to be heating up. He homered in both games and looks to be getting his "mojo" back, coincidentally the same time the team brought in a new hitting coach. The bullpen continues to improve, the starting rotation still looks solid and the offense is finally coming together. Although the team split the two game series with the Sox and didn't get much momentum going into the weekend series with the Padres, there are enough "things" going right for the Halos right now for fans to feel confident about the rest of the season.

Angels/White Sox MVP(s)
Albert Pujols. He hit two home runs during the series, his 2nd and 3rd of the season. It's clear that Pujols is heating up and it could not have come at a better time. The Angels will be facing the Padres, A's and Marines the next week, a crucial stretch for the team if they want to get back into the race before summer.

Angels/Padres Preview
This is a big series for the Angels. As I stated above they are in the middle of a stretch in their schedule where they are facing teams they should beat. The Halos have a lot of things going for them right now; they will have their top three pitchers throwing this weekend, they will be facing a lackluster San Diego offense, and their big bopper Albert Pujols finally seems to be heating up.

The Padres have made a whopping 39 errors this season, the Angels' speed and aggressiveness on the base paths could be a difference maker in the series. Pitching and aggressive base running are the keys to winning this series in my opinion.

Pitching Match-ups:
5/18 – Jered Weaver (5-1, 2.83 ERA) vs. Jeff Suppan (2-1, 1.69 ERA)
5/19 – Dan Haren (1-4, 4.41 ERA) vs. Tim Stauffer (0-0, 5.40 ERA)
5/20 - Ervin Santana (2-6, 4.36 ERA) vs. Anthony Bass (2-4, 2.87 ERA)

Weather:
5/18 – Partly cloudy with a high of 65 degrees
5/19 – Partly cloudy with a high of 67 degrees
5/20 - Sunny with a high of 69 degrees

Game Times/Channels/Promotions:

5/18 – 7:05 p.m. / FSW
5/19 – 7:05 p.m. / FSW
5/20 - 1:05 p.m. / FSW

Player(s) to Watch:
Last series preview I picked Albert Pujols as the player to watch, and boy oh boy he didn't disappoint. Pujols notched his 2nd and 3rd home runs of the season during the brief two game series with the White Sox. Although I do think "King" Albert is heating up, I don't expect him to go deep this weekend due to having to play in pitcher friendly Petco Park. The fact that two of the games are night games and their will be the San Diego marine layer also make me think that not many balls will be flying out of the yard.

I think Mike Trout will have a big series this weekend. His speed will be important in the outfield due to the large amount of real estate he will have to cover. If Trout can find the big alleys in Petco then he can run for days. I wouldn't be surprised to see a triple...or two, by him this weekend.

Usually I try to select just one player to watch but I can't help but pick Jered Weaver. He will be facing a light hitting Padres' offense in a big expansive pitcher friendly park. Couple that Weaver looking to rebound from one of his worst starts in 2012 and I think he will be very dominant on Friday night.

Angels’ Team Statistics / League Rank (as of 5/17/12)
Offense
Avg.: .252 / 6th (+.002)*
OBP: .302 / 12th (+.001)*
SLG: .382 / 11th (+.003)*
OPS: .686 / 11th (+.006)*
Hits: 327 / 8th
HR: 35 / 9th
RBI’s: 135 / 12th
R: 142 / 12th
BB: 93 / 14th
SO: 263 / 9th
SB: 20 / 10th

Pitching
W: 17 / 11th
ERA: 3.86 / 6th
SV: 5 / 14th
SVO: 11 / 12th
IP: 340.2 / 10th
HR: 37 / 11th
BB: 113 / 11th
SO: 271 / 8th
Avg.: 249 / 9th
WHIP: 1.28 / 6th

* Although it is a VERY small sample size, the team has improved their team Avg., OBP, SLG, and OPS since switching hitting coaches.

Opponent Interesting Facts:
The Padres were the first team to ever play a series outside the U.S. or Canada. They played the New  York Mets August 16-18, 1996 in Monterrey Mexico in a series called "La Primera Serie"

The "Swinging Friar" is the Padres mascot and has been since the 1970's when he replaced the chicken.

Preston Gomez was the Padres' first manager.

Randy Jones was the first Padre to win the Cy Young Award in 1976 after posting a 22-14 record. Jones set franchise records for wins, innings pitched and complete games.

The Padres changed their team colors in 1992 going from brown and orange to navy blue and white.

The Padres joined Major League Baseball in 1969, their first season in MLB resulted in a 52-110 record.

Tony Gwynn (Mr. Padre) retired in 2001 with a .338 career batting average. Gwynn was selected to the National League All-Star team 15-times and won 8 batting titles during his 20 season career.

Rickey Henderson collected his 3,000 hit while he was with the Padres. Henderson got the hit off of Colorado's John Thompson on the final game of the 2001 season.
Love to hear what you think!

Listen to "A Fish Like This" Tribute song to Mike Trout's Greatness

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