Series Preview: Angels (44-33) at Royals (40-38)
By Mike Vamosi
We’ve reached the final part of this homestand against west coast teams, which Kansas City is currently 1-5 with three left. This weekend the Royals (40-38) change out LA teams having completed three against the Dodgers and welcome in the Angels (44-33) to the K.
Ahead of this series we caught up with Jose Serrano, editor at Halo Hangout for all things about the Los Angeles Angels.
Kings of Kauffman – What’s been at the heart of the Angels run since these teams last met?
Halo Hangout – The starting rotations has exceeded expectations. Questions coming out of spring training revolved around whether Jered Weaver could regaining his dominance and if the back end of the rotation could keep this team afloat.
Few expected Garrett Richards and Matt Shoemaker to complement Weaver and C.J. Wilson so well. Richards is contending for an All-Star slot and ranks among league leaders in most pitching categories. Meanwhile, Shoemaker-an undrafted pick up- is 5-1 heading into the series’ opener at Kauffman. If it weren’t for these two, problems in the team’s relief core would be more apparent.
KOK – Who will the Halos throw over the weekend?
HH – First up is Shoemaker. He’s been a savior in every way Hector Santiago couldn’t be. Since his May 29 recall, Shoemaker has won three of four decisions, averaging 7.9 strikeouts per nine innings. He’s never pitched in KC, but limited the Royals to two runs in a home outing earlier this season.
Speaking of Santiago, he’s the only viable option with Tyler Skaggs still sidelined. The left-hander is still looking for his first win as a Halo after losing six of his first seven starts. For a while it looked like time spent with Triple-A Salt Lake did Santiago good, but he became unraveled in a June 15 start in Atlanta. Santiago was a tough-luck loser through his first few outings, but now it seems like he just hasn’t found his comfort zone.
C.J. Wilson closes out the series Sunday morning in search of his ninth win. It’s somewhat surprising given his rollercoaster 2014 campaign. He’s buried in talks of Weaver and Richards’ seasons.
Wilson leads the Angels in wins and pitches per start. He’s a workhorse, but one that goes under-the-radar. It’s somewhat surprising given his rich contract and notoriety (we’ve all seen the Head and Shoulders commercials).
KOK – Mike Trout has rediscovered some things, what’s the been the key?
HH – Earlier this season, David Ortiz stated “when the weather heats up, Papi heats up.” Mike Trout is the same way. His slash line is just under what it was at the same point last year, yet he leads the Halos in nearly every offensive category one can think of.
Trout’s 5.2 WAR isn’t just great; historically, it’s the greatest any 22-year-old has ever composed. He’s .01 behind Ty Cobb and we’re still in June. Trout isn’t so much rediscovering anything as much as he’s hitting his stride.
KOK – Series Prediction?
HH – Angels take the series 2-1. They will take Friday and Sunday’s contests on strong outings from Shoemaker and Wilson. With Santiago taking the mound Saturday, expect a high-scoring affair in favor of Kansas City.
The Royals outfield trio ofAlex Gordon
look to finish off the homestand strong at Kauffman Stadium against the Angels. Phot Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Probable Pitching Match-ups:
Friday, 7:10 pm – Matt Shoemaker/RHP (5-1, 3.42) v. Jason Vargas/LHP (7-3, 3.16)
Saturday, 1:10 pm – Hector Santiago/LHP (0-7, 4.41) v. Yordano Ventura/RHP (5-6, 3.75)
Sunday, 1:10 pm – C.J. Wilson/LHP (8-6, 3.70) v. Jeremy Guthrie/RHP (5-6, 3.75)
Comments on Pitching Match-ups – Let me start by stating I’ve not heard of Shoemaker but his record and ERA look impressive. Santiago is winless with a high earn run average with Wilson closing out the series on Sunday. I think that LA has decent options Friday and Sunday with Saturday being the question mark. KC’s pitching lines up well here throughout the weekend with Vargas, Ventura and resurgent Guthrie.
Series Predictions – I’ve had a rough go of it the past two series predicting how the Royals were going to do but I remain unfazed. I feel two out of three is the most likely outcome and the pitching will give the boys in blue that opportunity. As always it comes down to the offense which is our 2014 broken record. Prediction: Royals win two of three
A month ago in Anaheim the Angels took two of three winning the first and last games. LA took game one 6-1, KC game two 7-4 in 13 innings with the Royals surrendering a lead in game three losing 4-3.
The California/Anaheim/Los Angeles Angels lead the all-time series 282-271. LA also leads meetings in Kansas City 145-126 which includes a 126-112 record at Kauffman Stadium.
Fans can tune into FOX Sports Kansas City for all three games with Ryan Lefebvre and Rex Hudler on TV. Joel Goldberg and Jeff Montgomery hosts Royals Live before and after from Rivals. Royals Hall of Famer/2007 Ford C. Frick Award winner Denny Matthews is joined in the booth by Steve Physioc and Steve Stewart on the Royals Radio Network (610 Sports Radio in KC) describing the action from the Kauffman Stadium.
AL Central Standings (June 27):
Detroit Tigers (43-32, – GB)
Kansas City Royals (40-38, 4.5 GB)
Cleveland Indians (38-40, 6.5 GB)
Minnesota Twins (36-41, 8 GB)
Chicago White Sox (36-44, 9.5 GB)
Series Schedule v. Dodgers
May 23-25, 2014 – Angels Stadium: L 6-1, W 7-4 (F/13), L 4-3
June 27-29, 2014 – Kauffman Stadium
Los Angeles Angels
Kansas City Royals