Monday, June 18, 2012

By Brian Waller, Columnist

Angels/Giants Preview:
The Angels are winning the type of games they were losing in April; the close nail biter type of games where timely hits and a solid pen are needed to secure the win. The Angels took two out of three games from the Arizona Diamondbacks over the weekend; receiving outstanding pitching performances from Ervin Santana and Garrett Richards. It took strong pitching from the starting rotation and bullpen to win the series against the D-Backs and it will take the same this week against the San Francisco Giants.

This isn't the same anemic Giants offense from last year, in fact, the offense is quite potent and there are a few bats that could cause the Halos trouble. Outfielder Melky Cabrera is having a career year; he leads Major League Baseball in hits (95), is 2nd in average (.360), is 3rd in runs (47), and is 7th in OBP. (.398). Another force the Halos must deal with is third baseman Pablo Sandoval. After being slowed by a broken hamate bone in his left hand that required surgery earlier in the year, "Kung Fu Panda" has rebounded nicely recording at least one hit in six of the eight games he has played in since being activated from the DL. Speaking of rebounding nicely, that is exactly what catcher Buster Posey is doing in 2012, after missing the majority of the 2011 season due to injury. Posey, interestingly enough, is on pace to eclipse his 2010 number which netted him Rookie of the Year honors and MVP votes. His value to the club is not only with the bat, it's also with the glove and the way he handles one of the top pitching staffs in the majors.

The Angels have the dubious task of facing Giants "ace" Matt Cain on Monday night, his first start since throwing a perfect game against the Houston Astros. Cain comes to the "Big A" with an impressive 8-2 record and a sparkling 2.18 ERA. Also taking the mound for the Giants will be familiar foe Barry Zito, who previously pitched against the Angels as a member of the Oakland A's. Zito, who hasn't quite lived up to the monstrous contract the Giants signed him to in 2006, is having a fairly decent season thus far. The Angels will face Zito and his big "12 to 6" curve ball on Tuesday night. Ryan Vogelsong will pitch the third and final game of the series on Wednesday. Vogelsong, who struggled with the Giants and Pittsburgh Pirates early in his career, has found recent success in San Francisco the past two season. Vogelsong enters Wednesday's game against the Halos with a 6-2 record and a 2.29 ERA.

Player(s) to Watch:
C.J. Wilson continues to impress in his first season with the Halos. In his last five games, Wilson is 3-0 and has only allowed 3 ER in 35.0 innings while striking out 29. Wilson will face a Giants offense ranked 6th in the NL in hitting. As efficient as San Francisco's offense has been this season it should be noted they don't hit a lot of home runs, in fact they rank 15th in the NL with only 43. Wilson has never faced the Giants so the match-up should be fun to watch.

Jerome Williams has a career 8-1 record with a 2.79 ERA at the "Big A". I wouldn't be surprised at all to see him shut down the Giants offense while the Angels scratch out a run or two off of Matt Cain.

Pitching Match-ups:
6/18 – Jerome Williams (6-4, 4.20 ERA) vs. Matt Cain (8-2, 2.18 ERA)
6/19 – C.J. Wilson (7-4, 2.30 ERA) vs. Barry Zito (5-4, 3.61 ERA)
6/20 - Dan Haren (4-7, 3.97 ERA) vs. Ryan Vogelsong (6-2, 2.29 ERA)

6/18 – Partly cloudy with a high of 78 degrees
6/19 – Sunny with a high of 70 degrees
6/20 - Sunny with a high of 74 degrees

Game Times/Channels/Promotions:
6/18 – 7:05 p.m. / FSW /
6/19 – 7:05 p.m. / FSW / Angels Drawstring Bag
6/20 - 7:05 p.m. / FSW /
Love to hear what you think!

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