Friday, June 22, 2012

By Brian Waller, Columnist

Angels/Dodgers Preview:
The Angels continue to roll! After taking two out of three games from the San Francisco Giants earlier in the week the Angels head into the weekend series with the Los Angeles Dodgers having won eight out of their last nine series. The Halos are a season high six games over .500 and finally seem to be clicking on all cylinders.

The Dodgers on the other hand come limping in to the "Big A" after getting swept by the Oakland A's. The Dodgers' offense is slumping having only scored 3 runs in their last 27 innings. With Matt Kemp still on the DL, the lone "Big Bopper" for the Dodgers is Andre Ethier and he is in the middle of a 1-for-15 mini slump. It's worth noting however that Ethier has solid career numbers against Dan Haren and Ervin Santana, both of whom he will be facing this weekend.

Andre Ethier vs. Dan Haren
17-for-44 (.386 avg.), 2 HR, 7 RBI's and a 1.049 OPS

Andre Ethier vs. Ervin Santana
5-for-15 (.333 avg.), 1 HR, 5 RBI's and a 1.042 OPS

With no protection for Ethier in the line-up, it would behoove Angels' hurlers to avoid giving him much to hit this weekend. Things aren't going as well for the Dodgers like earlier in the season; they no longer have the best record in baseball, they have lost three in a row and have a 4-6 record their last 10 games. The Angels will again not have to face the reigning NL Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw or the NL MVP runner-up Matt Kemp. The Angels have a lot of positives going into this weekend series; all they need to do is execute on the field.

Player(s) to Watch:
Mark Trumbo continues to produce at a high level, some would say at an unreal level. He ranks 4th in batting (.324), 8th in home runs (17), 6th in RBI's (48) and 2nd in OPS (1.014). Keep in mind the season isn't even half way over! In his last five games Trumbo has 3 home runs, 9 RBI's and is hitting .381. He will be facing Chad Billingsley Friday night, who has a four-seam fastball that averages 92 mps and a cutter and two-seam fastball which both average about 90 mph. Billingsley tends to get a bit wild at times but if Trumbo can avoid swinging at pitches out of the zone I wouldn't be surprised to see him launch a TrumBOMB.

It will be very interesting to see what Ervin Santana does for an encore Saturday when he faces the Dodgers. We all know that Santana is coming off of his best start of the season but we also all know that Santana is a like a Six-Flags roller coaster with crazy ups and downs. As I mentioned above, Santana will be facing a sputtering Dodgers' offense that has only scored 3 runs in their last 27 innings. If Santana attacks the zone like he did against the D-Backs, I think he will have a very strong outing.

Albert Pujols should have a pretty big just might get off to a slow start. Here is how Pujols has fared against the trio of Dodgers that will be taking the mound:

Albert Pujols vs. Chad Billingsley
3-for-18 (.167 avg.), 0 HR, 0 RBI's and a .540 OPS.

Albert Pujols vs. Chris Capuano
 19-for-36 (.528 avg.), 5 HR, 12 RBI's and a 1.651 OPS.

Albert Pujols vs. Aaron Harang
22-for-70 (.314 avg.), 5 HR, 13 RBI's and a .948 OPS.

Pitching Match-ups:
6/22 – Dan Haren (4-7, 3.97 ERA) vs. Chad Billingsley (4-5, 3.75 ERA)
Match-up Notes - Patience will be a virtue against Billingsley, he throws a lot of pitches and he tends to walk a lot of batters. He averages approximately 3 BB per start and has only pitched into the 7th inning twice this season. Haren has not been sharp his last two outings giving up a combined 9 ER and 18 hits in only 11 innings. In his career, Haren is 5-5 against the Dodgers with a 3.27 ERA.

6/23 – Ervin Santana (4-7, 5.16 ERA) vs. Chris Capuano (8-2, 2.71 ERA)
Match-up Notes - After allowing 7 earned runs in consecutive outs, Santana pitched a complete game shutout on June 16th against the D-Backs. Against the Dodgers, Santana has a career record of 4-3 with a 3.45 ERA. Capuano lasted only 5 innings when he faced the Angels on June 11th and took the loss which was only his 2nd of the season.. During that outing he only gave up 2 ER but he also gave up 8 hits and walked 4 batters.  

6/24 - Garrett Richards (2-0, 0.86 ERA) vs. Aaron Harang (5-4, 3.76 ERA)
Match-up Notes - Richards faced the Dodgers earlier this month and was a bit wild giving up 5 BB in only 5 innings.   Although Richards has been very impressive so far this season he has had control issues, he's walked 9 batters in his last 13 innings. Harang's last outing against the Halos was a strong one, he went 7 innings giving up 2 unearned runs off of 6 hits. It's worth noting that Harang's ERA at pitcher friendly Dodger Stadium is 2.51 but on the road its 4.59.

6/22 – Partly cloudy with a high of 78 degrees
6/23 – Partly cloudy with a high of 78 degrees
6/24 - Partly cloudy with a high of 76 degrees

Game Times/Channels/Promotions:
6/22 – 7:05 p.m. / FSW / Big Bang Fireworks!
6/23 – 4:15 p.m. / FSW
6/24 - 12:35 p.m. / FSW / Family Sunday

Angels’ Team Statistics / League Rank (as of 6/21/12)
Avg.: .260 / 5th
OBP: .317 / 9th
SLG: .404 / 8th
OPS: .721 / 8th
Hits: 613 / 4th
HR: 71 / 7th
RBI’s: 275 / 11th
R: 287 / 11th
BB: 193 / 13th
SO: 466 / 10th
SB: 53 / 3rd

W: 38 / 4th
ERA: 3.43 / 1st
SV: 15 / 11th
SVO: 24 / 8th
IP: 622.1 / 5th
HR: 58/ 12th*
BB: 211 / 4th
SO: 224 / 5th
Avg.: .237 / 3rd
WHIP: 1.25 / 4th

FPCT: .984 / 9th
E: 42 / 6th

Love to hear what you think!

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