Series Preview: Chicago Cubs (23-32) at LA of AAA Angels (25-33)

seriespreview

The Cubs head to LA for a short 2 game series against the Angels, who are fresh off being swept in a four game series by the Astros. I’m not kidding. Seven of the Astros’ twenty-one wins this year have come against the Angels, which tells you pretty much all you need to know about how their season has gone.

Team Overviews

ML ranks listed

  Angels Cubs
wRC+ 103 (10th)  93 (20th)
BSR -2.2 (21st)  -.7 (17th)
UZR -12.8 (27th)  4.9 (11th)
DRS -41 (29th) -3 (20th)
SP FIP- 107 (20th) 92 (7th)
RP FIP- 98 (18th) 109 (26th)

The big story for the Angels has been the poor performance of Josh Hamilton, who got slapped with a Kubel comp by Dave Cameron after his abysmal start. The power hasn’t been there this year, and neither has the BABIP (.259 to date), which makes for a poor combination when paired with his characteristic free-swinging ways. Their big signing from last season, Albert Pujols, has also struggled, though he’s been battling plantar fasciitis throughout the year.

I was pretty shocked by the defensive numbers for the Halos, though they have been missing center-fielder extraordinaire Peter Bourjos since the beginning of May. The defensive metrics have been decidedly unimpressed with the way that Trout has filled in for him, which is given perhaps a shred of credibility based on the fact that Trout checked in at around 240 pounds for spring training. On the other hand, Trout is still stealing bases at an impressive clip.

Injury Updates

Aside from a missing Bourjos and a hobbled Pujols, the Angels are also without proven closer Ryan Madson, still recovering from Tommy John surgery last April. Ernesto Frieri has been just fine "filling in", though he struggles with control and induces fewer ground balls than just about anyone you will ever see (25% for his career).

Pitching Matchups

The Cubs get Jered Weaver tonight, who missed about a month and a half with an injury to his non-throwing arm, but looked good in his first game back. Weaver has been dealing with declining velocity for some time now, though it’s possible that the time off has helped him in that regard. Tomorrow it’s Jason Vargas, who doesn’t seem to do anything well except outpitch his peripherals.

The Cubs will send Scott Feldman tonight, who has been great, despite my distaste for his signing this offseason. Matt Garza continues his league-wide showcase tour tomorrow night.

Random News and Notes

  • Starlin Castro has been moved down to 7th in tonight’s lineup. The sad thing is that I'm not inclined to argue, even with this putrid group of hitters.
  • It appears that MLB is going to suspend players linked to Biogenesis, including a potential 100-game suspension for Ryan Braun. Not sure how that works, given that his previous suspension was overturned, but it could kickstart a selloff in Milwaukee. It will be interesting to see if any other names come out of this scandal, which has the potentially to single-handedly alter the results of every fantasy league in the country.
  • Carlos Quentin faces the Dodgers tonight for the first time since the fertilizer hit the fan with Greinke back in April. It will be interesting to see if Uncle Ted plunks him, or leaves it up to someone with a better fastball, like Kenley Jansen.
GW

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