We now interrupt this incredibly compelling and tense playoff race to bring you a pretty cool series featuring two of the most talented and exciting young players in the game.
I was all set to deride the idea of the Angels having to play an interleague series right in the middle of a pennant race, but dammit, Mike Trout facing Giancarlo Stanton is pretty dang awesome. This is why interleague exists, right? So that we can see these two incredible talents actually share a field once in a great while.
As much as I want to be the old curmudgeon who wails into the night about the evils of interleague, even I cannot deny that this is kind of a must-see matchup. Alas, if only Garrett Richards and Jose Fernandez weren’t both crippled, then this would be a real blockbuster of young talent not seen since the days of the Teen Titans. Though I’m not sure who is Starfire in this scenario. Just so long as nobody makes anyone dress up like her, I think we’re cool.
LAST TIME ON ANGELS VS. MARLINS…
Technically speaking, the Angels have never faced the Miami Marlins. They’ve only faced the Florida Marlins against whom they are 6-3 all-time. These two franchises haven’t played each other since 2011 and the Marlins haven’t visited Anaheim since 2005. I guess what I’m getting at is that there is no real history between these teams and this whole section has been a giant waste of time. You shouldn’t have read it.
GHOST OF ANGELS PAST
Just when you thought it was safe to watch baseball… JEFF MATHIS RETURNS TO ANAHEIM! Yes, the former bane of every Angels’ fans existence is miraculously still in the league, toiling as a back-up catcher for the Marlins. But in this series he finally gets to reunite with his long lost paramour, Mike Scioscia.
He may not actually play in this series, but if he does, I’m sure Lyle Spencer will emerge from the depths of MLB.com to try and once again convince us that Mathis is FINALLY going to put it all together any day now. Yep, any day now.
OK, enough fun. I should be nicer to Mathis. After all, he actually has been a thorn in the Angels’ side ever since he left. He only has eight plate appearances against the Angels, but somehow managed to rip off four hits, one walk, one double and a homer.
MONDAY, 8/25: Wade LeBlanc vs. Jarred Cosart
Despite being a former Marlin himself, LeBlanc has the most experience against Miami. That isn’t really saying much though. The more important factor is that this will be LeBlanc’s first start as the de facto replacement for Garrett Richards. Even if LeBlanc sucks on a true talent level, the Angels need him to just fake being competent for six or seven starts and they still have a shot at winning the AL West crown. Get to fakin’, Wade.
The Angels know Cosart from his time with the Astros. He’s upgraded to a better roster, but downgraded on the uniform front. As far as actually hitting Cosart, they’ve done well enough in a small sample, including two middling starts he made against them early in the year. Kole Calhoun is the only one to take him deep though. Gordon Beckham has faced him the most, but it is unlikely that he will be in the lineup for the game.
Eovaldi has only racked up 22 plate appearances against the Angels, but he has an odd line against them. He’s allowed four hits and one walk but no extra base hits, which is good, but he’s somehow only picked up one strikeout, which is weird.
WEDNESDAY, 8/27: Hector Santiago vs. Henderson Alvarez
Santiago has almost no experience against the Marlins roster, but he has allowed a double to Jeff Mathis. I’m pretty sure that is grounds for immediate dismissal.
Once again, Beckham leads in PAs and once again isn’t very effective. In his defense, no Angel has been effective against Alvarez in their small sample sizes. Mike Trout has been particularly ineffective with three whiffs and a .000 OBP in seven plate appearances.
I regret to inform you that I have the Halos down for just one win this series. Go a
UNOFFICIAL PREDICTION (so don’t hold me to it)
The Angels will acquire some sort of starting pitcher during this series. It will be after LeBlanc makes his start, but with so many possible rotation options hitting the waiver wire over the weekend, I have to think one of them will make it to the Angels and that Dipoto will make a trade happen. It may not be for a great pitcher, but they’d be foolish to not try and get someone they can rely on more than LeBlanc. This doesn’t count as part of the prediction, but I will say that my money is on Trevor Cahill.