We’ve lost two in a row. Going into a road trip, this is less than ideal. Luckily, this road trip is three total games. All against Mike Trout and the 2002 World Series Champion Angels. I kid because before #LOLPadres and #LOLMets (21st Century edition), #LOLAngels was the thing. Mike Trout, undeniably the greatest hitter of the Millennial Generation has 12 post season at bats and one hit (home run) in the postseason. That was in 2014. NINE years ago. Anaheim has paired him with other great players like Zack Greinke, Albert Pujols and others in that span to no avail. Until 2023 they have been the textbook definition of the #LOL[teamnamehere] joke. Especially for big-spending teams.
But this is 2023. They have a still-prime Mike Trout. They have the best player to touch a baseball since The Big Bang, God, or some M.I.B. cat collar attachment created the universe in Shohei Ohtani, also in his prime. They’ve had them both for most of the last decade. Again, to no avail. This season though, the Angels have a chance later in the season than usual. They are 44-39 heading into the series, only one game behind Houston for third in the AL West. They are six games behind Texas for the Division Lead. They are even closer in the Wild Card, 1.5 games behind Toronto for the third and final postseason spot, 2.0 games from the middle spot (NYY) and 5.0 games behind the top Wild Card position (BAL).
Most importantly, they actually have multiple good-enough pitchers to go alongside Tungsten Arm O’Doyle and the Millville Meteor. Unfortunately, Arizona will see two of these pitchers this weekend: Griffin Canning and Reid Detmers.
Friday June 30 at 6:38pm Arizona Time - ONLY on AppleTV+
Tommy Henry (5.45 FIP, 1.58 HR/9, 3.30 BB/9, 5.89 K/9) vs Griffin Canning (4.53 FIP, 1.52 HR/9, 2.34 BB/9, 8.54 K/9)
Canning is one of those young Anaheim pitchers who has been having a solid year. Across the board, he’s just that much better than Henry in most every category. If Arizona is going to have a chance in this game, the offense is going to have to figure Canning out early and/or Henry is going to need to continue taking steps forward rather than regressing after good starts like he is prone to do.
Luckily for him (and us), he’s put two very solid starts together back-to-back in the second half of June. There’s hope that he can make that three! Downside, there’s a chance that Corbin Carroll rides the bench in this game as he had an injury scare in the finale of the Tampa Bay Series (nothing serious according to him and the team) AND because he was just voted to start the All Star Game.
A lot rides on the young pitchers in this match up. Because of that, I have this game as a tossup with a slight edge in Anaheim’s favor.
Saturday July 1 at 7:07pm Arizona Time - Bally Sports AZ (I think?) and MLB Network
Ryne Nelson (4.45 FIP, 1.08 HR/9, 3.02 BB/9, 6.26 K/9) vs Tyler Anderson (4.68 FIP, 1.08 HR/9, 3.98 BB/9, 7.23 K/9)
Tyler Anderson is the pitcher who should’ve waited to sign last winter. Considering the deals his equals (or frankly worse pitchers) received, he could be a lot richer than he is right now. He obviously wanted to play for the Angels, and who can blame him? 162 games a year with Trout, Ohtani and youthful arms keeping you at your best? Some personalities thrive in that environment. So far this season his results have been ok, but nothing special. A lot like his opponent on the mound, Ryne Nelson’s 2023.
Nelson though, is coming off an absolute GEM of an outing in San Francisco five days ago. Anderson played in Colorado and pitched pretty well himself going 6 allowing only 3ER. Much like Henry, Nelson has been taking his lumps as a rookie in the Bigs this season. Unlike Henry, he’s shown less positive consistency though.
Another tossup with a larger edge in favor of Anaheim here. If Nelson builds off his SF start, I think we have a legit chance in this game. Ditto if Anderson falters a bit as he’s been known to do in the past.
Sunday July 2 at 1:07pm Arizona Time - Bally Sports AZ (I think?), possibly MLBN
Zac Gallen (2.74 FIP, .60 HR/9, 1.90 BB/9, 9.32 K/9) vs Reid Detmers (3.26 FIP, .83 HR/9, 3.42 BB/9, 11.08 K/9)
The Arizona Ace on the mound! Guaranteed win certainly? Well... you’ve probably heard by now that Gallen is far better at home than he is away. Some of that is because of a REALLY BAD start in Pittsburgh. Sadly it’s a true fact even without that game. But he’s still the ace. The stopper of bad things. The Milk Man.
Reid Detmers is the de-facto ace of the Angels (non-Ohtani division). He’s young. He’s got the tools to be a stud. He’s still figuring it all out. But man, June 2023 might just be the month we all point to in a few years when asked when he turned it all around. His last four starts have been varying degrees of magnificent; no more than 1ER in 5.2-7.0 innings pitched against CHC, TEX, LAD & CWS.
This game will be fascinating to watch. I still have it as a tossup, but this time with an edge toward Arizona. Hopefully Carroll is back in action by this game and can help the rest of Perdomo/McCarthy/Thomas/etc wreak havoc on the basepaths and get into Detmers’ head. Hopefully Gallen can pitch well enough and the bullpen continues to be better than we’ve seen in quite a while.
Other Noteworthy Mentions for the Series
- Corbin Carroll’s injury and/or rest days leading into the ASG
- Arizona pitching being able to contain Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani
- Carlos Estevez (LAA Closer) has 20 saves, 2 Wins and 41 K’s already - don’t let him come into a game in the ninth...
- Bouncing back from a tough series loss at home against a superior team
What Will Happen? Prognosticate!
This poll is closed
OPTIMISM - Roaring Twenties Baby ‘Backs SWEEP
HALF FULL - AZ takes two
HALF EMPTY - LAA takes two
PESSIMIST - These snakes are cooked, Angels SWEEP
I’m lazy and just want to know what everyone else thinks