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Los Angeles Angels Series Preview: Brian Goodwin’s return is here

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And he brought some other guy named Mike Trout with him.

MLB: New York Yankees at Los Angeles Angels
Apr 22, 2019; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels center fielder Brian Goodwin (18) hits an RBI single against the New York Yankees in the twelfth inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The Royals return home from a long road trip that saw them win just three of 10 games and they’re welcomed in by the best player in the world, Mike Trout. Of course, even with Trout, the Angels are floundering and are in last place in the competitive American League West by a fair amount, especially for this early in the season. The issues are plenty and they’ve already removed Cody Allen from the closer’s role, at least for now, because of his massive struggles. But really, outside of Trout and two of the unlikeliest of unlikelies, Brian Goodwin and Tommy La Stella, the offense has been rough. Oh yeah, their starting pitching has been rough too. But you know what? Their offense doesn’t strike out much, so they have that going for them, which is nice.

Meet the Angels

Angels vs. Royals Tale of the Tape

Category Royals Angels
Category Royals Angels
Winning % .320 .385
Team wRC+ 96 97
Team xFIP 4.62 4.90
Highest fWAR Hunter Dozier, 1.3 Mike Trout, 1.9

Angels Projected Lineup

Player Pos PA AVG OBP SLG BB% K% wRC+ fWAR
Player Pos PA AVG OBP SLG BB% K% wRC+ fWAR
Kole Calhoun RF 104 .185 .279 .424 11.5% 27.9% 86 -0.1
Mike Trout CF 101 .304 .515 .623 26.7% 11.9% 198 1.9
Justin Bour 1B 79 .188 .291 .319 11.4% 25.3% 71 -0.1
Andrelton Simmons SS 107 .276 .290 .448 1.9% 9.3% 96 0.7
Albert Pujols DH 91 .227 .341 .387 13.2% 13.2% 101 0.0
Brian Goodwin LF 79 .333 .423 .576 12.7% 20.3% 167 0.6
Jonathan Lucroy C 82 .269 .305 .333 4.9% 9.8% 75 -0.2
Tommy La Stella 2B 80 .232 .329 .551 11.3% 5.0% 134 0.6
David Fletcher 3B 88 .301 .341 .410 5.7% 4.5% 102 0.4

Angels Projected Bench

Player Pos PA AVG OBP SLG BB% K% wRC+ fWAR
Player Pos PA AVG OBP SLG BB% K% wRC+ fWAR
Kevan Smith C 43 .270 .372 .432 9.3% 14.0% 124 0.2
Luis Rengifo INF 4 .250 .250 .250 0.0% 25.0% 34 0.0
Peter Bourjos OF 42 .100 .119 .125 2.4% 35.7% -41 -0.4

Angels Key Relievers

Pitcher G IP W L K% BB% ERA xFIP fWAR
Pitcher G IP W L K% BB% ERA xFIP fWAR
Ty Buttrey 12 12.0 1 1 32.7% 6.1% 0.75 2.76 0.6
Hansel Robles 14 12.0 1 0 33.3% 6.3% 3.00 4.02 0.4
Luis Garcia 12 10.1 0 1 10.2% 22.5% 3.48 7.92 -0.3

Probable Pitching Matchups

Friday April 26th - 7:15pm

Pitcher G IP W L K% BB% ERA xFIP WAR
Pitcher G IP W L K% BB% ERA xFIP WAR
Tyler Skaggs 3 15.0 1 2 22.6% 3.2% 4.20 5.11 0.1
Danny Duffy (2018 Stats) 28 155.0 8 12 20.4% 10.1% 4.88 4.92 1.2

Tyler Skaggs, like his counterpart in this one, is coming off the disabled list, but he has actually pitched this year. It’s a limited sample, but he’s been hit hard by the home run and a quick glance at the stats might make you believe he’s been a little bit too in the zone with just two walks in his 15 innings. Of course, he’s not allowing a ton of barrels and his exit velocity allowed or hard hit rates aren’t off the charts, so maybe he’s just had some bad home run luck that will correct itself. The issue is his four-seam fastball, which had a nearly 25 percent whiff rate last year and is at just 17.7 percent this year. He’s also allowed three homers on it already after allowing just seven all of last season on the pitch. Skaggs seems to be constantly flirting with being both good and being healthy while not always acquiescing to either, but against the Royals, he’s been amazing with a 0.43 ERA in three starts spanning 21 innings with 22 strikeouts, five walks and zero home runs. Maybe they can change that in this one.

Danny Duffy gets his first crack at 2019 after not getting into a single spring training game and making just one rehab start. For what it’s worth, it was a really good rehab start in Northwest Arkansas. He went 5.1 innings and gave up an unearned run on four hits with seven strikeouts and no walks. The big news is that he hit 95 MPH with what he says is relative ease. And that’s the thing. If the velocity is back, he’s probably going to be just fine. If he’s sitting 91 or 92, the Royals might have yet another reliever in their starting rotation. It remains to be seen. Personally, I’d have given Duffy one more rehab start to be completely sure, but they didn’t, so we’ll get an answer sooner than if I was in charge.

Saturday April 27th - 6:15pm

Pitcher G IP W L K% BB% ERA xFIP WAR
Pitcher G IP W L K% BB% ERA xFIP WAR
Jaime Barria 3 12.2 2 1 17.7% 3.9% 4.26 4.81 0.2
Jorge Lopez 5 30.0 0 2 22.7% 7.0% 4.50 4.28 0.0

Barria, after a very solid rookie campaign last year, has already been up and down, but one thing he’s shown in a very, very limited sample is better control this season than last. He’s not ever going to be a strikeout guy, which limits his upside, but he can be effective, as he showed in his 26 starts in 2018. He throws his slider more than anything and it was really good last year with a 37.3 percent whiff rate and a .170 average against. He’s throwing it even more this season, but it hasn’t been as good with a whiff rate down to just under 23 percent and an average allowed of .290. His start will really depend on if that’s working or not because if isn’t, the Royals have the ability to punish a mistake. He didn’t get a chance to face the Royals last season, so this’ll be their first crack at him in his career.

Lopez continues to put up starts that have some sort of value, but also don’t really give the Royals a great chance to get the win. In his last time out, he went seven for the first time this year, but still gave up five runs and a home run. He also got his fewest swinging strikes of the year while throwing more pitches than he had all season. In fact, it was the second most pitches he’s ever thrown at the big league level, second only to his near perfect game in Minneapolis last year. Look, I still think Lopez’s best future is in the bullpen and it’s probably a really bright future, so I’ll give you his times through the order update that you’re getting on every one of his starts now. He’s allowed a .146/.222/.220 line the first time, which is awesome. The second time, it jumps to .268/.333/.585, which is less awesome. And finally, the third time, it’s .387/.412/.871, which is Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. AAA-type numbers. So tune in next time to see how this start changed those.

Sunday April 28th - 1:15pm

Pitcher G IP W L K% BB% ERA xFIP WAR
Pitcher G IP W L K% BB% ERA xFIP WAR
Matt Harvey 5 24.2 0 2 14.3% 8.9% 8.03 5.13 -0.1
Homer Bailey 5 24.0 2 2 26.7% 10.9% 5.63 3.98 0.4

Matt Harvey could probably go out and throw a perfect game against the Royals on 27 pitches and fans would still have fond memories of his Game Five start in the 2015 World Series. That said, if he does that, Terry Bradshaw may have to be fired because Harvey has been real bad this year. His strikeout rate is comically low. His hard hit rate is high. His average exit velocity allowed is high. He’s allowed a .341 average on his fastball with a .634 slugging percentage and he’s probably overperformed where he should have been on it. So yeah, it’s real bad. The good news for Harvey is his slider has actually looked pretty good and he’s gotten some unlucky results. And his changeup has been very effective, which is great, but he only throws it about 10 percent of the time. On top of completely choking in the ninth inning of that World Series game, Harvey is 0-1 with a 5.06 ERA in two regular season starts against the Royals. The biggest thing you can expect in this one is World Series highlights being shown throughout the game, so it could be worse.

I’m not convinced Homer Bailey makes this start after how he looked in Tampa the other night. He only threw one inning, so the results were obviously not there, but the velocity wasn’t either. For a guy who has been injured for the better part of the last five seasons, there’s big time reason for concern. After that start, his numbers have taken a big dip. The strikeout numbers are still great, so maybe he can rebound in this one, but I think we’ll have an idea pretty quick if he’s going to look like he did against the Indians and Yankees or like he did against the Rays. I imagine concern over him (and maybe Jakob Junis after getting hit in the hand) is what led the Royals to keeping Heath Fillmyer around instead of Tim Hill, who got sent down in place of Duffy.

Prediction

The last time the Royals were in Kansas City, they were sweeping the presumptive favorite to win their division. Now they’re back home and riding the high of a one-game winning streak. Can they keep the magic up? I’m going to say yes because the Angels are sort of a mess and give the Royals two of three in this series, which means the smart money is on an Angels sweep. What do you think?

Poll

Brian Goodwin’s Angels or Lucas Duda’s Royals?

This poll is closed

  • 14%
    Royals Sweep
    (21 votes)
  • 12%
    Angels Sweep
    (18 votes)
  • 43%
    Royals Win Two of Three
    (62 votes)
  • 28%
    Angels Win Two of Three
    (41 votes)
142 votes total Vote Now