Despite their cushy lead in the AL West, the Angels need to fix some things. They have some areas that need to get better and get better soon.
One of the biggest areas is their sputtering offense. Who better to fix that problem against than the team that has allowed the third-most runs and second-worst ERA in the American League. The Twins are just what the doctor ordered!
Now, let’s just hope the Angels are willing to take their medicine.
LAST TIME ON ANGELS VS. TWINS…
The Angels have had just one series against the Twinkies this year. They swept that three-game set in Anaheim. That series was really the beginning of that huge hot streak the Halos went on leading up to the All-Star break. Here’s to hoping this series can ignite a similar hot streak.
GHOST OF ANGELS PAST
Even with the roster expansion, the Twins have no former Angels on their active roster. At least as far as I can tell. It is always possible that one of the random relievers they called up once spent a short amount of time in the Angels farm system and slipped under my radar. Even if that is the case, it probably isn’t anyone worth worrying about.
THURSDAY, 9/4: Hector Santiago vs. Kyle Gibson
Despite the time he spent in the AL Central, Santiago doesn’t have nearly the history with the Twins that you’d expect. Maybe it is because of how young their roster is now. However, those he has faced have had a lot of collective success against Hector. There is a lot of small sample size issues here though.
Gibson has faced the Angels just once in his career and it was ugly. He got pounded for seven runs in just two innings of work. He only allowed seven baserunners in those two innings, but they all scored. The Angels offense would be well-advised to try and replicate that efficiency as it has been sorely lacking of late.
Nolasco also got hit hard when he faced the Halos in June. That just kind of what Nolasco does though. He’s basically the second coming of Joe Blanton.
SATURDAY, 9/6: Toobie Determined vs. Phil Hughes
We still don’t know who will start this game for the Angels. It probably depends a lot on how the bullpen is used in the previous two games. If the bullpen is well-rested, I could see them rolling with Cory Rasmus and a parade of relievers again, otherwise I think they might try and sneak Michael Roth in for a start and hope he can give them at least five or six non-awful innings.
Hughes has faced the Angels quite a bit in the past. He looks to be a new pitcher now, but the old version of Hughes got hammered by several Angels. It is a bit hard to tell from the graph because Iannetta throws things off, but Kendrick, Hamilton, Boesch, Trout and Pujols all have OPS numbers over 1.000 against Hughes. What that will mean now that he’s finally figured things out though remains to be seen.
SUNDAY, 9/7: C.J. Wilson vs. Tommy Milone
Wilson was awful against the Twins back in June, but he was up against Kyle Gibson in that aforementioned shellacking Gibson took, so Wilson sort of got away with one. The good news is that, overall, Wilson has an excellent track record against the Twins, though Mauer and Suzuki are the only players he has faced more than a handful of times.
The Angels know the former Athletic Milone well and are probably licking their chops at the idea of facing him without having O.co Coliseum to hide his flaws. That being said, Milone has faced the Angels three times this year and done decently in all three starts, so it isn’t as if they are guaranteed to obliterate him, despite what their historic numbers suggest.
With the exception of Hughes, the Twins are rolling out bad starting pitchers who don’t miss bats. That is exactly what the Halos need right now, which I think means they will win three games with the one loss coming in that Hughes versus Whoever contest.
UNOFFICIAL PREDICTION (so don’t hold me to it)
The Angels won’t allow a single homer all series. With Angel-killer Josh Willingham traded to KC, there is not really much left for them to fear.