Series Preview: Angels vs. Orioles vs. Dingers

The Angels welcome the Baltimore Orioles into town riding an offensive high, having scored 52 runs (6.5 per game) in their last eight contests. The recent surge has been a nice reprieve from the constant flow of injuries, but if the Halos want to stay competitive against the high-powered O’s they’re going to have to keep it up through the weekend.

Thanks to a steady flow of dingers from Chris Davis (9), Manny Machado (11), Jonathan Schoop (7), and old friend Mark Trumbo (12), Baltimore boasts the second-best slugging percentage (.451) and second-most homers (57) in the American League and presently sits atop the AL East as a result. The Angels, meanwhile, have the second-fewest home runs (36) and a slugging rate (.382) still well below the league average.

Trumbo’s been an especially (and surprisingly!) effective weapon for Baltimore through the team’s first 39 games, hitting .309/.360/.592 while playing a semi-awful right field. The former Halo slugger’s success has done a good job of obscuring an O’s rotation that’s been almost as up-and-down as the Angels’. Chris Tillman (2.61 ERA) and Kevin Gausman (3.00 ERA) have pitched well, but everything else has been extremely slipshod. Ubaldo Jimenez, Yovani Gallardo (DL), and Mike Wright all own earned-run averages over 5.00, while Tyler Wilson‘s average ERA (3.68) is belied by a poor FIP (4.43). And just who the heck are Mike Wright and Tyler Wilson? No one knows. I imagine they were acquired from the Yankees’ mid-innings white-guy reliever cloning center and re-appropriated as back-end starters.

Game 1: Hector Santiago vs. Mike Wright

Santiago looks to keep the good times rolling following the best start of his career. The key to continued success for the left-hander is his fastball velocity, so we should know what kind of start is in store more or less right off the bat. If he’s sitting at 92-93 mph, he’s got a good chance. But if it’s 89-91, watch out.

Wright has never had overwhelming stuff at any level, but made it to the show thanks to an arsenal that limited his home runs allowed at every stop in the minors—he has a career 0.7 HR/9 in parts of five minor-league seasons. Unfortunately for him, that trait hasn’t carried over to the big leagues yet, which make his other less-than-stellar peripherals—i.e. 5.9 K/9, 10.0 H/9—more of an issue.

Game 2: Matt Shoemaker vs. Kevin Gausman

Oh man, Shoemaker is going to get absolutely destroyed in this game. Are we sure Tim Lincecum can’t be ready to go by Saturday? Because the world’s most dinger-prone pitcher should never be pitted against a team like the Orioles, even in a more pitcher-friendly home park.

The Orioles seem to at last be done arbitrarily yanking Gausman between the rotation, the bullpen, and Triple-A. And whaddaya know? Now that he’s got a fixed spot on the roster, he’s pitching like the top arm they always hoped he would be. Gausman has been the beneficiary of a bit of batted-ball luck this season, but it’s nothing so egregious as to discredit the strides he’s made on the mound since finally getting a chance to settle in.

Game 3: Jered Weaver vs. Ubaldo Jimenez

The Times Through the Order Penalty is absolutely destroying Weaver this season. He’s been able to fool hitters the first time through, keeping them to a .227/.292/.364 line, but after that it’s a disaster. Batters own a greater than 1.000 OPS against Weaver in their second, third, and fourth (?) times facing him this year. Makes you wonder when exactly the Angels will decide to move him into long relief.

I can’t believe Ubaldo Jimenez still has another year on his contract after this one. How in the world did he get a four-year deal? Jimenez has been as wild as ever this season (4.8 BB/9), and now suddenly seems to be much more hittable (11.0 H/9) than in years past as well. Not a great combination. His ERA (5.60) is only a few points better than Weaver’s at this point. Should be a real pitcher’s duel.

Nate Aderhold

About Nate Aderhold

Nate Aderhold was a writer and managing editor at Halos Daily for three years until the folks at MWAH swept him off his feet. He got his start in the blogging world in 2012 as a contributing editor at MLB Daily Dish. He's pretty sure his Mike Trout shrine is bigger than yours.