Series Preview - Angels (15-9) @ Red Sox (9-14)
After a Monday off and an embarrassing series against the Orioles, the Red Sox will host Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani, and the rest of the Angels for a three game set at Fenway. If we get the same results that we have been seeing all year, I expect the boo birds to be out and about.
Tuesday, May 3rd 7:10 PM – Michael Wacha (2-0 1.77 ERA) vs Noah Syndergaard (2-0 2.12 ERA)
Wednesday, May 4th 7:10 PM – Garrett Whitlock (1-1 0.54 ERA) vs TBD
Thursday, May 5th 1:35 PM – Rich Hill (0-1 3.71 ERA) vs TBD
In the opener, Michael Wacha will take on Noah Syndergaard. Two pitchers that were considered to be on the decline having standout starts to the season. Before Wacha's last start, I questioned whether or not he would continue his dominance, a mistake that I will not make again anytime soon. He has seen this Angels lineup a bit, with 26 plate appearances against him. In those 26 PAs, only 2 batters have gotten hits - Anthony Rendon (3-10, 1 2B, 1 HR) and Mike Trout (2-3). Everyone else has seen him 1-4 times and have collected 0 hits against Wacha. Looking deeper into the numbers, this Angles lineup reminds me a lot of the Red Sox lineup. They have a lot hard-hit balls (6 batters with average exit velocities over 90) that don't quite translate to hits (only 2 batters with BAs over .290). The big difference though, is the long ball is actually working for them. This group has 28 home runs spread between 10 different players compared to the Sox having 13 from 8 players.
Looking at the Sox against specifically Syndergaard, our lineup has some success seeing him, collecting 10 hits in 32 plate appearances. The usual suspects are leading the charge, with JD and Xander combining to go 5 for 11. This looks like another low scoring game with the Sox only having 3 extra base hits off of Syndergaard, and the advanced numbers don't look too promising against him. I like the under in Game 1.
Next we have Whitlock in the middle game, followed by Rich Hill in the finale. I already ran through all of my TBD jokes so I'll focus on the Red Sox starters. Whitlock obviously has not faced the Angels lineup much, so we can't go off of history. His advanced numbers are a little off when you look at the season he is having. His average EV is 92.2, higher than any pitcher on the Angels staff, but his xBA on those balls is .191. I think Trout can get to him and place balls better than anyone in the league, but outside of that I wouldn't expect the Angels to be able to figure him out. If he can get the Angels to continue to chase balls like they have all season, he can keep his pitch count down and pick up some Ks. Rich Hill has seen him a little bit more, allowing 5 hits on 17 ABs, one of which being a home run. That being said, Trout and Ohtani have only seen him twice, so those numbers could be a little bit skewed. Again, the bottom of the Angels lineup will chase balls, but the core of the lineup will barrel anything in the zone. Hill may get beat up a little bit in this one. We will need Wacha to go deep in game 1 because games 2 and 3 are looking like bullpen games for the most part.
Under game 1
Red Sox game 2
Over game 3