The Rockies open up their interleague slate with a pair of games against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The Angels were favorites to win the division prior to the season, but they now sit in second place behind the Houston Astros. The Angels enter with a 15-17 record. They are in second place in the division.
Hitters to Watch
Mike Trout. Trout has been among the very best players in baseball since 2012. If we take FanGraphs’ WAR model, he has been the very best. At just 23 years old, Trout has already accumulated more fWAR (31.8) than any single Rockies outfielder the team has ever had, besides Larry Walker. Trout doesn’t steal as many bases as he used to. He swiped 49 in his rookie season. But as a trade off he has added power. It will be really interesting to see how the Rockies pitch to Trout. The team-wide pitching philosophy is to keep the ball down in the zone. But that is Mike Trout’s sweet spot. Pitchers should generally stick to their own strengths regardless of opposition, but it’ll be tough willingly throw balls down in the zone to Trout.
Other hitters to watch are leadoff man Kole Calhoun, who has turned himself into one of the most valuable outfielders in the American League. Albert Pujols isn’t what he used to be, but he still has a great deal of raw power and an excellent batting eye. The Rockies will also probably see a couple of former organizational players in Chris Iannetta and Taylor Featherston. Iannetta, whose on-base percentage is just barely above the Mendoza line, has been miserable at the plate this season. Featherston is a Rule 5 draftee and is part of an unimpressive second base coalition.
Pitchers to Watch
The Rockies will likely face two lefties in Anaheim in C.J. Wilson and Hector Santiago. Each has posted an ERA under 3.00 so far this season. Wilson primarily throws four and two-seam fastballs, both of which sit in the low 90s. His primarily third pitch is a slider, but he also mixes in a changeup and a cutter every now and then. Santiago is also a fastball pitcher. He relies mostly on a four-seamer. Santiago includes a cutter, a changeup, a slider, and a curveball to his repertoire. He’s also known for throwing a screwball from time-to-time, although he’s only thrown one so far this season.
The Angels have a solid bullpen that has posted a 3.30 ERA thus far in 2015. Using a park adjusted measure, the bullpen has been 14 percent better than league average in terms of run prevention. Former Rockies closer Huston Street now serves as the Angels closer. He’s been striking out about a batter an inning on his way to saving 10 games so far this season.
Tuesday (8:05 MT): Kyle Kendrick vs. C.J. Wilson
Wednesday (8:05 MT): Jordan Lyles vs. Hector Santiago