For years, the Rangers have, as far as I can remember, almost exclusively worn their red alternates against the Angels (moreso in Arlington than Anaheim). What I haven’t ever gotten a satisfactory answer to is if that is just coincidence or if they do that on purpose in some sort of weird mindgame that only Ron Washington is actually playing. This has vexed me for years because I just want to know what the reasoning is. That’s you homework assignment, dear readers. Get me a concrete answer.
Wow, the Angels and Rangers were just wrestling for supremacy for decades before the Angels opened up a gap starting in 1985. Even now though, that gap is only ten games, so one catastrophic season series and they are back to being knotted up. You know, kind of like last year when the Angels went 4-15 against Texas. Ugh. I don’t even want to talk about this.
FRIDAY, 5/2: Hector Santiago vs. Colby Lewis
Santiago has a limited history with the Rangers, but the guy he has faced the most, Prince Fielder has had a lot of success making good contact off of Hector. Shin-Soo Choo, however, has whiffed three times in eight plate appearances with a walk and a single. So the whole theory that loading up on lefties in the rotation would help well counter the big bats in the AL West, particularly in Texas, is only half-right. From the right side, Adrian Beltre and Alex Rios have both taken Santiago deep once in the past.
This is interesting because Lewis actually has limited experience against the Angels outside of Howie Kendrick, who he has dominated with 7 Ks in 22 PAs. It really goes to show how much turnover there has been in the Angels roster in recent years. Anyway, Lewis has been quite good against the Angels in the past, though he has given up an oddly high number of triple. Weird.
SATURDAY, 5/3: Garrett Richards vs. Matt Harrison
Richards has done a very good job of suppressing extra-base hits against Texas in his past. Adrian Beltre has homered off of him once and Rios doubled once, but that’s it. He’s actually mostly shut down the guys he has faced frequently, Elvis Andrus being the sole exception, but you can live with that.
Howie Kendrick and Albert Pujols have pounded Harrison, but the rest of the Angels with decent sample sizes have had more middling results. My favorite is David Freese‘s brief but high degree of success, just because I can’t wait for Texas fans to have PTSD flashbacks every time Freese comes to the plate. For what it is worth, this is only Harrison’s second start back after missing almost all of 2013, so he may not be at his best.
SUNDAY, 5/4: Tyler Skaggs vs. Yu Darvish
As usual, Skaggs doesn’t have enough experience to make it worth showing the chart. That being said, Texas has one hit, one walks and six strikeouts in 14 plate appearances against Skaggs. The caveat is that Donnie Murphy and Mitch Moreland are prominently involved.
The immediate topic of discussion here is Mike Trout well-documented dominance of Darvish. Supposedly, Yu has a new plan of attack for Trout this year, so it will be worth watching that match-up a little more closely to see what he does differently and if it works out. After Trout though, things go downhill. Pujols and Aybar have held their own, but just about everyone else has been obliterated by Darvish.
This is a tough one. The Angels are on a roll and I want to buy into it, but I feel like that is a trap. One thing I am fairly certain of is that Darvish is probably going to just shove against the Angels. I would not be at all surprised if they got shutout in that one. I also suspect they will knock around Colby Lewis, but I’m not sure that Texas won’t do the same to Santiago. That game will be a toss where I will give the Halos the nod simply because they are at home. I think Richards will outduel Harrison in the remaining game.
UNOFFICIAL PREDICTION (so don’t hold me to it)
Grant Green becomes a folk hero with a walk-off hit and a homer (maybe at the same time) in this series. Grant Green fever, catch it!