Rox hope baseball gods follow to Angels Stadium

Colorado embarks on three series road trip through California

I guess we'll see where the baseball gods' loyalties lie - with our beloved Rockies, or the "Angels."  The Rockies have played marvelous baseball of a gritty fearless and persistent sort over the past 17 games, but the gods have certainly been in Jim Tracy's corner.  See:  Freddy Sanchez forgetting his shades flubbing a popup.  See: securing a comeback vs. Seattle via a pitcher's slug bunt, a squeeze and a wild pitch.  See: being 9-0 in games decided by 2 or less in the last 12 games, despite having a largely makeshift bullpen.  See: Pittsburgh grooving two fastballs up and down the middle to Todd Helton and Chris Iannetta Saturday.

We've been good, but we've also been fortunate, and we will need that to continue through a grueling nine game stretch through California.

We are used to seeing the Angels sitting atop the AL West.  They have won the four team division four times in the past five years, yet have not been in first since Opening Day this season.  A poor 6-11 start has put them in a hole that they have not escaped from.  With the Giants sweeping the Rangers over the weekend, Mike Scoscia's club had their chance following a 7-game win streak, but the Dodgers beat them Saturday and Sunday.  The Angels remain a half game back in the division.  

The Rockies are only 6-13 in franchise history against the Angels, winning only two of seven series against California/Anaheim/Los Angeles.  However, both of those series wins came at Anaheim, the last of which came in 2006, when Colorado outscored the Angels 22-11 in taking two games.  It is the only time the teams have faced since in the past seven seasons. Just as long as we don't see this again.

 The Rockies are 7-2 in interleague play, good for the best WP% of any MLB club. The Angels have the most interleague wins this season with nine; they are 9-3. 

Halos Heaven is the Angels' SBNation blog. 

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Los Angeles Angeles of Anaheim (36-31, L2, 2nd, 0.5 GB) 

Monday-Wednesday : 3-game series at Angels Stadium


The Bats: B

Even though former MVP Vladimir Guerrero is playing like a replacement player (his wOBA barely beats out Yorvit Torrealba), the Angels still have a formidable offense.  Los Angeles boasts the majors' best batting average at .280, but batting average is not king.  A team wOBA of .338 has led to a 12th ranking in runs, but they are an elite team, speed-wise.  Only Tampa Bay has more stolen bases.

They only have 62 HRs, 22nd in the bigs.  That's what happens when you get 2 HR out of your 3B and DH spots, typically huge power positions.  Still, overall, the offense is above average.  Torii Hunter has picked up some of Vlad's production. The former Twin is having by far a career year at 33, but it's not completely out of the blue.  His wOBA has increased nearly every year since 2003, save a 2 point drop from 2004-05.

Also note Mike Napoli, the only catcher with a better wOBA than Chris Iannetta in 2008.  He's a streaky hitter with sneaky power, and despite being quite cold for several weeks until recently, has the 4th highest wOBA of MLB catchers with 180+ PAs, trailing studs Joe Mauer, Victor Martinez and Brian McCann

LINEUP

Avg

HR

RBI

OBP

SLG

wOBA

Chone Figgins - 3B

.327

1

19

.403

.423

.374

Bobby Abreu - RF

.296

3

35

.390

.412

.364

Torii Hunter - CF

.316

16

52

.397

.601

.427

Vladimir Guerrero - DH

.288

1

10

.308

.360

.295

Juan Rivera - LF

.315

10

37

.358

.509

.375

Kendry Morales - 1B

.272

11

35

.323

.506

.343

Maicer Izturis - 2B

.275

1

19

.335

.355

.311

Mike Napoli - C

.290

9

27

.365

.509

.372

Erick Aybar - SS

.276

2

20

.309

.387

.306

OF Gary Matthews Jr (.226/.280/.328), C Jeff Mathis (.196/.295/.237), and IFs Sean Rodriguez (.167/.231/.417) and Rob Quinlan (.232/.259/.304) fill out the bench.   Howie Kendrick, he who has long been touted as a "batting title talent," was sent down to AAA June 13.

 
The Arms: C-

We will actually miss the Angels' best starter by tRA (Jered Weaver, by far) and their longtime ace John Lackey.  The gods must be crazy - about the Rockies.  The Angels' staff ERA is 4.65 (26th). The rotation has been above average with a 4.19 ERA and 4.31 FIP but their relievers have the worst ERA in the majors by far at 5.65.  Note that their pen FIP is 4.39, so that's a bit of a mirage, but tRA suggests they are still below average. 

Angels' hurlers allow the 5th highest WHIP (note: 2nd highest BABip).  Ervin Santana and Lackey have drastically underperformed (especially Santana), but by avoiding the Angels' top two starters talent-wise, the pitchers we will face will be below average overall.   Brian Fuentes is the closer, obviously.  He has converted 19-of-22 save opportunites and is an above average relief pitcher, but still isn't as good as the closer in purple thus far.

W-L ERA WHIP K BB
2009 - Brian Fuentes 0-2 4.24 1.41 26 9

 

 The D:  C

The Angels have a UZR/150 rating at 0.5, about average.  They have only made 34 errors and are 8th in fielding percentage.  However, JinAZ at BtB averaged multiple UZR ratings, and the Angels got a -6.7, worse than the Rockies.  So their range is a bit below average, but they generally make the plays they get to.  Napoli and Mathis have thrown out 19-of-72 base stealers, good for a 26.4% rate, clearly below average.

 

The Ballpark: Neutral with a slight lean to offense

This season, Angels Stadium has a 100 Park Factor, but for the past couple years, it has hovered in the 102-103 range, almost midway between league average and Coors Field.

 


Probable Pitchers:

Tonight, 8:05 pm MDT

Battle of the Quietly Successful 

W-L ERA WHIP K BB
2009 - Aaron Cook 6-3 4.23 1.39 42 28

Cook has quietly passed Jason Hammel for the third lowest ERA in the Rockies' rotation.  He's still the only Rockies starter with a below average tRA, but he is getting better.  Red has won his last three starts, allowing 5 ER in 21 IP.  He can break his current tie with Jason Jennings for the most wins in franchise history with one more win.

W-L ERA WHIP K BB
2009 - Matt Palmer 6-0 4.13 1.27 35 22

Stop looking at that record!  He's not that good.  In fact, you might have already forgotten the Rockies beat him up for 4 runs in 4.1 IP last year while he was in San Francisco.  His peripherals are decent this year, but are indicative of n average pitcher, not a 6-0 record.  LA has scored an average of 6.6 runs in his starts, and at least 8 in half of them.  Only one of his wins came with less than 6 runs of support.  He throws a fastball and cutter, neither of which eclipse 90mph often, plus a mid-70's curve and low 80's change.

Tuesday, June 23, 8:05 pm MDT

Battle of the Talented Young Righties

W-L ERA WHIP K BB
2009 - Ubaldo Jimenez 6-6 3.73 1.38 76 38

Jimenez is the best SP in this series, hands down.  He still has the fastest fastball in the majors, and FIP and tRA suggest his superb ERA is actually much worse than he deserves.  Man, I love to watch him pitch.  He has 9 quality starts in his last 10 games, allowing just one run in each half of them.

W-L ERA WHIP K BB
2009 - Ervin Santana 1-3 7.47 1.85 21 13

Santana has been the worst pitcher for Mike Scoscia this season.  His ERA is strangly high, but his K and BB rates are going in the wrong direction.  He has allowed at least six runs in three of his last four starts and has lost 4mph on his fastball from last year.  Add that he's dealing with forearm tendinitis and the Rockies have a clear pitching advantage in this one.  He still has superlative talent though, and who knows, it might just show up.

 

 

 


Wednesday, June 24, 8:05 MDT

Battle of the WINNARS

 

W-L ERA WHIP K BB
2009 - Jason Marquis 9-4 3.71 1.34 44 34

Jason Marquis for All-Star!  Well, maybe so.  If he can continue winning, he has the chance to set the franchise record for wins by the break.  His ERA leads the staff (barely), though it is artificially low to a degree.  That K/BB rate could use some polish, but hey, he's a winner.  He has a quality start in 6 of his last 7, and in that one outlier, he allowed 4 runs, the game before the streak. 

W-L ERA WHIP K BB
2009 - Joe Saunders 7-4 3.80 1.27 51 28

Joe Saunders doesn't get a lot of love for some reason.  I picked him up as a free agent in fantasy after the draft was over in my league.  Peripherals suggest an artificially low ERA, but the soft tossing lefty is 39-19 with a sub-4.00 ERA in his career, so well, he's a winner.  He has, however, allowed at least four runs in three of his last four starts.

 Note:  Sorry for the messed up pitchers' stats.  The site is being buggy again.

 

33_15_10---fire-flame-texture_web_mediumMike Napoli has 9 hits in his last 17 trips including a HR.  Vladimir Guerrero might be showing signs of breaking out after getting 7 singles in his last 16 ABs.  Juan Rivera had a couple home runs last week with a 1.153 OPS.

 

IceSean Rodriguez, Gary Mathews Jr and Erick Aybar each had one home run last week, but in their other 37 ABs, they could only scratch out two singles, both by Aybar. 

 

 

Bandaid_mediumKelvim Escobar and Shane Loux are both on the 15-day DL with shoulder injuries.  Dustin Mosely (elbow) and Scot Shields (knee) are listed on the 60-day DL.  Ervin Santana is listed as questionable for his start Tuesday after his last start was postponed with forearm tenderness, but he figures to start.

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