Another test for Garrett Richards Starting Pitcher Edition. He's done well so far against three reasonable offenses, but two of the games were at home and one was in pitcher friendly O.co Coliseum. Now though, Richards will have to deal with Yankee Stadium which is a tough place to pitch because of the dimensions, the jet stream and the supposed "mystique" of the place (if you actually buy into that). The Yankee lineup kind of stinks, but it is still another bar Richards will have to clear before he gets guaranteed a rotation spot in 2014.
Jason Vargas will most likely make his return to the rotation here. He will then most likely exit the rotation in favor of the rotation of a team who isn't terrible. He will then possibly, but not likely, later return to the Angel rotation this off-season since he and the Halos have mutual interest in Vargas signing a long-term contract. I'd be a little more nostalgic, but it isn't like Vargas was a long-time Angel. I am just sad to see him go because it means Williams or Blanton or some Triple-A scrub will be conscripted into getting his head bashed in every five days after Vargas vacates the rotation spot.
For whatever reason, the Yankees kind of own Weaver even though the Angels themselves have had so much success against the Bronx Bombers throughout Weaver's career. With a 5.19 ERA against, no AL team has gotten to Weaver more over the years. Of course, this ain't your daddy's Yankees. This team struggles mightily to score runs. I mean, Vernon Wells was batting cleanup until a few weeks ago. Jered should fair much better this time out.
Forget about C.J., we've talked enough about him recently. This game is worth watching because Phil hughes might very well be auditioning for the Angels. He has underachieved for the Yankees, but a lot of that is him being such a poor fit for the ballpark. However, his extreme flyball tendencies would be an ideal fit for the Big A. He is also one of those classic change of scenery guys. Don't be at all surprised if Dipoto kicks the tires on the guy that the Angels very nearly drafted instead of one Michael Nelson Trout.
The index reading for this series is: A break in the storm
I'm not that miserable for this series, which is a feeling I forgot was possible. But really, things are shaping up nicely. The Halos are playing a little better and they have all four of their best starters going. Meanwhile, the Yankees are playing poorly and on the verge of dipping under .500 and falling completely out of the Wild Card race. It gives me a little bit of joy that the Halos could be the ones to deliver the death blow, especially given the Angels' history of owning the Yankees during the Scioscia era. Plus, we Angel fans get to boo A-Rod and Wells and the Yankees in general. It is a nice little break from the normal booing of the Halos.
The Angels aren't the only team with bullpen troubles. Mariano Rivera has blown three straight saves, so maybe, just maybe, the Angels can finally be on the good side of a team being unable to protect a lead. Or maybe this series will just be teams trading blown saves non-stop. Yeah, probably that one.
There is going to be SO MUCH steroid talk this series and it is going to make me want to jam letter opener into my temple. First off, there's A-Rod and the entire circus surrounding him. Then there is Pujols and his big blow up with Jack Clark late last week. I'm sure reporters and broadcasters will gladly draw comparisons to Alex and Albert whenever there is a lull in the action. And now we Trout saying this morning that he thinks PED users should be banned for life after their first offense. That is only going to stoke the Hot Takes flames even further, not to mention make for some awkward social situations when Trout stands on third during the series.
There is probably going to be a lot of talk and really hackneyed jokes about Trout ending up as a Yankee in a little over four years. That is going to be annoying, but I'm thinking of it from a silver lining perspective as it will at least give us a reprieve from the aforementioned PED talk. Besides, I think we all know the Phillies are probably more of a threat to steal Trout away.
I can't help but notice a lot of similarities between the owners in this series. Both place a premium on winning, which is good. But both are so motivated to win that they can't help but meddle with their GM, which is bad. Both insist on forcing their GM to sign aging players to overly long and expensive contracts, which is really bad. That is only natural though as Moreno has admitted to wanting to model his ballclub after the Yankees. I just don't think he intended to replicate all of the bad things that the Yankees do too. Moreno did get his wish though as the Angels and Yankees are now both wildly underachieving despite high expectations and big payrolls. Careful what you wish for, Arte.