Friday, July 13, 2012

By Brian Waller, Columnist

Angels/Yankees Preview:
The Angels have a pretty important stretch of games here the next week or so as they will face the New York Yankees and the Detroit Tigers on the road then come back to the "Big A" for a showdown with the Texas Rangers. These are definitely not "must win" games for the Halos but they are rather important as the Halos look to stay hot and continue winning series. Since their disastrous start, the Angels have rebounded nicely and currently have the 3rd best record in the AL. For the things going right for the Halos, there are still several questions; most of which pertain to the starting rotation. Fortunately for the Halos, they enter the 3-game series this week against the Yanks' with their two best arms on the mound in Game 1 and Game 3.

Facing the Yankees is never fun but the Halos are catching a break because they won't have to face left-hander Andy Pettitte or staff ace C.C. Sabathia this weekend. As you can see in the below pitching match-ups, the Halos should have the advantage on the mound. For those wondering, despite the injuries to the rotation the Yanks still rank 4th in the AL in pitching with a team ERA of 3.73.

So far in the 2012 season, the Bronx Bombers are living up to their nickname. New York ranks 6th in the AL in average, which may not seem too impressive but they rank 1st in OPS (.792) and home runs (134). The Yankees also rank 3rd in walks (302); it will be important for the Angels starters to have good control and avoid high pitch stressful innings that will bloat their pitch counts and knock them out of the game prematurely.

Player(s) to Watch:
Torii Hunter is 19-for-48 (.396 avg.) with 4 home runs and 8 RBI's in his career against Freddy Garcia, the pitcher he will be facing Saturday. Couple that with Hunter's .333 (18-for-54) career average at the new Yankee Stadium and the fact he was sporting a 1.144 OPS the final three games before the All-Star break and it appears as though the 36-year old is primed for a big game/series.

I wouldn't be surprised if C.J. Wilson has a big game against the Yankees. Wilson has had some pretty good success so far against a few sluggers, take a look below:

vs. Alex Rodriguez
1-for-16 (.063 avg.), 0 HR, 2 RBI's and a .433 OPS

vs. Curtis Granderson
2-for-11 (.182 avg.), 0 HR, 1 RBI and a .490 OPS

vs. Mark Teixeira
1-for-12 (.083 avg.), 0 HR, 0 RBI's and a .298 OPS

One thing to keep in mind though, C.J. has struggled with his control at times in 2012 but has always managed to avoid big innings. The Yankee line-up is a patient one so if Wilson isnt sharp then he might encounter a few high pitch innings which will knock him out of the game a bit earlier than expected.

Pitching Match-ups:
7/13 – C.J. Wilson (9-5, 2.43 ERA) vs. Hiroki Kuroda (8-7, 3.50 ERA)
Match-up Notes - Kuroda has a career 2-2 record against the Angels with a 1.71 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP. In his last outing before the All-Star break, Kuroda allowed 6 ER over 5.2 IP while giving up 10 hits. Wilson is 6-2 with a 2.01 ERA on the road this season. Wilson's last outing came 8 days ago against the Baltimore Orioles where he gave up 3 ER in 7.0 IP. In his career Wilson is 5-4 with a 2.75 ERA on 6+ days rest.

7/14 – Jerome Williams (6-5, 4.46 ERA) vs. Freddy Garcia (3-2, 5.23 ERA)
Match-up Notes - In his last two starts Garcia is 1-0 and only allowed 3 ER over 12 IP while striking out 9 and walking only 2. Garcia has a 15-3 career record against the Angels with a 2.59 ERA. Williams' 2012 debut was on April 15th at Yankee Stadium. In that outing he went 2.2 IP and allowed 5 ER while walking 3 and giving up 5 hits. This is Williams' first game back since returning from the DL.

7/15 – Jered Weaver (10-1, 1.96 ERA) vs. Ivan Nova (10-3, 3.92 ERA)
Match-up Notes - Nova has a career 3-1 record against the Angels with a 5.11 ERA. So far in 2012, Nova's road ERA is 3.36 while his ERA at Yankee Stadium is 4.70. In his last 27.2 innings Weaver has only allowed 4 ER. Despite spending time on the DL this season, Weaver still ranks 2nd in the AL in wins and is 1st in ERA, avg. against and WHIP.

7/13 – Partly sunny with a high of 90 degrees
7/14 – Cloudy with a high of 86 degrees
7/15 - Chance of showers with a high of 85 degrees

Game Times/Channels/Promotions:
7/13 – 4:05 p.m. / FSW & MLBN
7/14 – 10:05 a.m. / FSW
7/15 - 10:05 a.m. / FSW & TBS

Angels’ Team Statistics / League Rank (as of 7/12/12)
Avg.: .268 / 3rd
OBP: .324 / 7th
SLG: .420 / 6th
OPS: .744 / 6th
Hits: 783 / 4th
HR: 94 / 7th
RBI’s: 360 / 8th
R: 378 / 8th
BB: 233 / 13th
SO: 556 / 12th
SB: 65 / 4th

W: 48 / 3rd
ERA: 3.61 / 2nd
SV: 21 / 7th
SVO: 31 / 6th
IP: 762.1 / 9th
HR: 76 / 13th
BB: 273 / 6th
SO: 605 / 10th
Avg.: .241 / 3rd
WHIP: 1.26 / 5th

FPCT: .983 / 7th
E: 54 / 7th

Opponent Interesting Facts:
The exterior of the new Yankee Stadium was made from 11,000 pieces of Indiana limestone along with granite and pre-cast concrete.

Each locker in the in both the home and visiting dugouts is equipped with a safety deposit box and a touch screen computer.

The Yankees are the first team to chemically treat their uniforms, as well as the showering surfaces with an anti-bacterial agent that reduces the risk of infection.

A new single-season record for most home runs hit at a Yankee home ballpark was set in 2009 when Vladimir Guerrero of the Los Angeles Angels hit the 216th home run of the season at the new Yankee Stadium, surpassing the previous record of 215 set at the original Yankee Stadium in 2005.

New Yankee Stadium Regular Season Firsts!
First Ceremonial First Pitch - Yogi Berra
First Pitch - C.C. Sabathia
First Home Run -Jorge Posada
First Hit - Johnny Damon
First win - Cliff Lee (Indians)
First Save - Mariano Rivera
First Game Results - Indians 10, Yankees 2
Love to hear what you think!

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