Series Preview: Angels vs. Rangers vs. Southpaws

The Angels’ offense has really come alive in the last two weeks, averaging six runs and 11 or so hits a game since May 12. As the Halos are armed with one of the more unbalanced lineups (i.e. RHH-heavy) in the game, one would think that facing the Texas Rangers, who have the most lefty-heavy rotation in the league, would be a great opportunity to continue the offensive onslaught.

The team really hasn’t fared all that well against lefty starters this season, however, batting just .238/.303/.341 in 14 games against southpaws, vs. .256/.322/.381 overall. Mike Trout (108 wRC+), Albert Pujols (74 wRC+), and C.J. Cron (91 wRC+) have all been oddly impotent against left-handed pitching, far worse than their career norms. What’s more, the team line against lefties would be significantly lower if not for the success of Kole Calhoun (142 wRC+), the only non-platoon left-handed hitter on the roster.

It’s all been pretty weird, which might lead one to believe that better times are ahead for the other eight-ninths of the Angels lineup. Whether those times will come this week in Texas or at a later date remains to be seen.

Game 1: Nick Tropeano vs. Derek Holland

Fun Fact: Nick Tropeano has allowed three runs or fewer in seven of his eight starts this season. Less Fun Fact: Nick Tropeano has allowed three runs or fewer in seven of his eight starts this season, but he’s made it through the sixth inning in just one outing. Thankfully that one outing was his most recent one, so there’s at least some optimism he can learn to consistently be more efficient with his pitches.

Holland has faced the Halos twice already this season: He lasted just five innings and allowed three runs in a loss on April 7; and threw six innings of shutout ball in a win on April 30 to lower his ERA to 2.48. Since then, though, he’s allowed 18 runs in his last 11 innings, including a pair of outings in which he failed to escape the third inning. Let’s hope that that Derek Holland shows up Monday.

Game 2: Jhoulys Chacin vs. Martin Perez

Chacin’s honeymoon period with the Angels ended with a jolt last Thursday. The right-hander’s final line in his first home start—4.1 IP, 4 R, 3 BB, 2 K—was a far cry from his stellar Angels debut and did little to assuage fears that the rotation isn’t still hemorrhaging at all ends. Chacin’s true talent is probably somewhere between what he’s shown in his two Angels starts, which won’t push the team back into contention but should at least stop the bleeding.

Perez is probably the MLB pitcher whose success I understand the least. He doesn’t overpower anyone with his fastball (~93 mph); he doesn’t strike many batters out (13.8% K rate); and he allows a ton of free passes (12.4% BB rate). The only thing he really has going for him is an extreme groundball rate (59%), which limits his homers but also usually causes his BABIP to be inflated. That latter number (.261) is a bit lower than normal this year, so maybe his early success (3.48 ERA) will prove to be a mirage.

Game 3: Hector Santiago vs. Colby Lewis

Santiago experienced the high point and low point of his season last week. He tossed eight innings of shutout ball on Sunday only to allow three dingers and get ejected in 2⅔ on Friday. I imagine something in between those starts will be in store on Wednesday in Arlington, where Hector owns a solid 2.63 ERA in 48 innings for his career.

Lewis seemingly pitched really well against the Angels on April 29, allowing two runs in seven innings. Hidden just under the surface, though, is a whole ton of luck. He didn’t walk anyone that night, but he also didn’t strike anyone out and all nine Angels hits off him just happened to be singles. Given that, his 4.44 FIP, and his history against the Halos—6.08 ERA in 23 starts—one imagines Lewis is going to pay the piper very soon.

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.