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Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim series preview: Mike who? This Ohtani kids rakes and hurls

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MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Toronto Blue Jays Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Losers of 12 of their last 19, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim—they chose that two-citied name—have slid into third place after leading the division as recently as May 14. While they’re mid-tailspin, the Angels are still one of the best teams in the American League, though they aren’t quite in the Astros/Yankees/Red Sox division.

Game times and pitching matchups are as follows:

  • Monday, June 4 — 9:07 PM CDT — Danny Duffy (L) versus Nick Tropeano
  • Tuesday, June 5 — 9:07 PM CDT — Brad Keller versus Andrew Heaney (L)
  • Wednesday, June 6 — 9:07 PM CDT — Ian Kennedy versus Shohei Ohtani

All stats courtesy of FanGraphs and Baseball Reference

Royals at Angels pitching matchups

Pitcher G IP K K% BB BB% ERA FIP xFIP SIERA fWAR rWAR
Pitcher G IP K K% BB BB% ERA FIP xFIP SIERA fWAR rWAR
Game 1
Danny Duffy (L) 12 64.2 54 18.6 31 10.7 5.71 5.74 5.19 4.99 -0.3 -0.1
Nick Tropeano 8 45.0 37 20.4 16 8.8 3.80 4.91 4.62 4.50 0.2 0.6
Game 2
Brad Keller 22 25.1 16 15.7 8 7.5 2.13 3.31 3.89 3.78 0.3 1.0
Andrew Heaney (L) 9 51.2 54 25.0 18 8.3 3.66 3.25 3.72 3.82 1.2 0.3
Game 3
Ian Kennedy 12 60.2 57 20.5 22 7.9 6.08 4.89 4.41 4.39 0.3 -0.5
Shohei Ohtani 8 45.1 57 31.3 17 9.3 3.18 3.22 3.26 3.27 1.0 1.0

Nick Tropeano has been a bit on the lucky side this season as the beneficiary of a .269 BABIP. He throws five pitches, having added a sinker to his mix this season. He’s gone to the four-seamer 32.2% of the time this year, opting for the slider next most frequently (26.4%), then the sinker, splitter, and change. Thus far, just his sinker and four-seamer have been pitches with positive values this season, but the sinker looks to have improved the viability of his four-seamer, the latter of which was a rough offering last year.

The oft-injured Andrew Heaney was profiled by old friend Jeff Zimmerman here. In short, Heaney looks exactly like the heralded prospect he once was. He is still a massive injury risk, he missed time with left elbow inflammation to start the season after getting shut down last year with a shoulder injury and undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2015. Health notwithstanding, Heaney looks like a stud, and his sinker/change/curve mix is serving him well.

After ten days separating his last two starts, Ohtani will go on his standard seven days’ rest. The Royals missed out on Ohtani the last time these two teams met thanks to a rain-out. Such luck is unlikely to be in their favor in Anaheim this week. Ohtani throws harder than any starting pitcher. His splitter his devastating and his slider can be filthy. He occasionally mixes in a curve, but it’s not the pitch you’ll tell your grandchildren about.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim position players

Name Pos PA HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ fWAR rWAR
Name Pos PA HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ fWAR rWAR
Mike Trout CF 264 19 49 37 13 0.308 0.443 0.678 0.462 201 4.8 5.3
Andrelton Simmons SS 238 4 32 33 5 0.336 0.405 0.469 0.38 145 3.0 3.3
Justin Upton LF 252 12 34 36 3 0.235 0.313 0.43 0.321 105 0.9 1.2
Shohei Ohtani (L) DH 128 6 16 20 1 0.283 0.367 0.531 0.382 146 0.9 0.8
Zack Cozart 3B 219 5 27 17 0 0.233 0.311 0.394 0.307 95 0.5 0.4
Martin Maldonado C 158 3 14 19 0 0.243 0.299 0.361 0.291 84 0.5 0.4
Ian Kinsler 2B 199 5 20 12 6 0.217 0.281 0.356 0.279 76 0.4 0.6
Jose Briceno C 13 2 3 3 0 0.333 0.385 0.833 0.503 229 0.3 0.3
Luis Valbuena (L) 1B/3B 160 6 16 20 0 0.242 0.288 0.383 0.292 85 0.1 0.1
Jefry Marte LF/3B 81 2 9 9 0 0.24 0.296 0.4 0.302 92 0.1 -0.1
Kaleb Cowart (S) IF 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -100 0.0 0.0
Michael Hermosillo OF 13 0 1 0 0 0.182 0.308 0.364 0.303 93 0.0 0.0
Chris Young RF 74 2 7 5 2 0.156 0.26 0.281 0.248 55 -0.2 -0.4
Albert Pujols 1B 234 8 22 30 0 0.248 0.282 0.401 0.292 85 -0.4 -0.1

Led by the incomparable Mike Trout and an Andrelton Simmons in the midst of his best offensive season to date, the Angels position players have been worth 10.6 fWAR, the sixth-best mark in the game. They’re slashing .247/.320/.419 with a .320 wOBA and 105 wRC+. That wRC+ puts them sixth in the game too. On the defensive side of the game, they have amassed 18 DRS and 14.5 UZR, good for fifth and fourth in the game respectively. In short, there isn’t much that this unit doesn’t do well.

Poll

How will the Royals fare in Anaheim?

This poll is closed

  • 6%
    Royals sweep
    (8 votes)
  • 6%
    Royals take two of three
    (8 votes)
  • 44%
    Angels take two of three
    (57 votes)
  • 43%
    Angels sweep
    (56 votes)
129 votes total Vote Now

This series will be a WAR.