A two-game set in Philly? I am against interleague in general, but this feels almost like the schedule-maker saw that Trout was in the area and squeezed a two game series in just to throw the people of Millville a bone. Oh, and it worked, because just about every resident of Millville will be in attendance tonight. That actually makes me wonder how the “normal” Philadelphia fans will respond to Trout. I’m pretty sure they can use the adoring Millville faction as a reason to boo him vociferously. Philly gonna Philly.
My history graphs are broken Whatever. The Angels and Phillies have only met for two previous series, once in 2003, in which the Angels took two of three, and again in 2008, when the Angels pulled off a three-game sweep.
TUESDAY, 5/13: Matt Shoemaker vs. Cliff Lee
Shoemaker has almost not MLB experience, so it is not surprise that he hasn’t faced any Phillies before (at least not in the majors). He can be vulnerable to lefties, which represents a real issue since the Phillies’ best hitters are almost all left-handed. We could be wishing for the return of Hector Santiago to the rotation earlier than we thought.
Newsflash! Cliff Lee is really good. Raul Ibanez has faced him the most and had almost no success. Don’t expect him to be in the lineup for this one, especially with no DH available. What’s really scary though is Ibanez actually has had the MOST success out of any Angel. Howie Kendrick, Erick Aybar and even Albert Pujols all have a little history with Lee and he has totally dominated them. Speaking of Pujols, I wonder if we might not see him play third base in this series so the C.J. Cron can get on the field, at least against Lee.
WEDNESDAY, 5/14: Garrett Richards vs. A.J. Burnett
Richards has only faced one Phillie in the past, Tony Gwynn Jr., who has one hit in five at-bats. But really, who cares about Tony Gwynn Jr.? What will be more important for Richards is keeping the ball down as all the lefty sluggers in the lineup can really hurt him in the bandbox called Citizens Bank Park. If Richards pitches like he has in his last three starts, he shouldn’t have any problems.
Once again, Ibanez has the most experience. It is almost like he is super old or something. This time, Raul actually has done a little bit of damage, though not really with much power. Pujols, however, has via two homers in 19 PAs against Burnett, though he only has four hits total. Kendrick has whiffed seven times in 18 PAs against Burnett and Erick Aybar has just been pathetic. It wouldn’t be the worst idea for either of them to get the day off.
This one has split written all over it. There is on way Matt Shoemaker beats Cliff Lee, that just isn’t going to happen. Garrett Richards has been rolling though, so I like his odds to outduel Burnett.
UNOFFICIAL PREDICTION (so don’t hold me to it)
Motivated by the presence of his hometown, Mike Trout will not strikeout once the entire series.