The Yankees will start a three-game series with the Los Angeles Angels this evening in the Bronx. This is the first time the Yankees get to see the must-see TV Halos in person, and if you’re a Yankee fan who hasn’t had a chance to see them, here’s what you need to know.
The Angels are currently in second place in the AL West with a 27-22 record, good for four games out of first. (Although their run differential and strength of schedule suggest they’re a little better than the 27-22 record would indicate.) They come into the Bronx tonight having lost five games in a row, with the last three all being by one run.
The Angels are “good” at preventing runs as they rank 11th in MLB in runs allowed per game and the staff has posted the ninth-best ERA+ league-wide in 2022. I put “good” in quotes because what the Angels are very good at is smashing baseballs.
The LA offense ranks fourth in MLB in runs per game in ’22 and it’s almost entirely due to a lineup deep with very good power hitters. As a team they rank second across MLB in HR percentage, SLG, and OPS+ while also being in the top five in total bases, extra-base hit percentage, expected SLG, and expected wOBA. They’ve also struck out at a higher rate than all but four teams in MLB so their strategy is pretty clear when they get in the box – grip it and rip it.
The biggest story for the Angels this season rather remarkably has been the production they’ve received from right fielder Taylor Ward. The 28-year-old Ward is having a breakout year, his fifth in MLB. His absurd 238 wRC+ would lead MLB but having missed the first ten days of the season he falls just short of having qualifying PA. (As it is, teammate Mike Trout has the best wRC+ in baseball with a 203, with Aaron Judge second at 198.) On a team that has Trout, Shohei Ohtani, Jared Walsh, and Anthony Rendon, Ward’s .359 BA, .472 OBP, and .709 SLG are all the highest on the team.
If you forgot, we’ll get to see familiar faces and former Yankees Tyler Wade and Andrew Velazquez over the next three days as well. (Did you know that Velazquez is from the Bronx?) With regards to their bats, still neither can hit water if they fell off a boat and Wade hasn’t done anything to make Yankees fans miss him. Velazquez however has been a rather valuable player for LA posting the second-highest deserved runs above average in all of MLB as their everyday shortstop.
Former Met Noah Syndergaard will be on the hill tonight to face the Yankees and Thor is having himself a very good 2022 season thus far. He doesn’t throw as hard as he used to (94 mph average on the fastball) but his 84th percentile ranking in BB percentage and 78th percentile ranking in average exit velocity shows how good his command has been. Overall in 2022 he’s posted a 119 ERA+ with a 2.96 FIP and is coming off his best start of the season one week ago today when he threw eight innings of one-run ball against the Rangers.
Of course, I’m sure you’re aware that Mike Trout might be the best player to ever step on a baseball field and Shohei Ohtani is perhaps the most unique talent the game has ever seen, and yes, we’ll see both of them this week (in fact Ohtani will be the starting pitcher Thursday night).
Jordan Montgomery will toe the slab in the Boogie Down for the Yanks and will throw his first pitch at 7:05 PM. You can watch the game on YES, TBS, and stream it on MLB.tv. John and Suzyn will have the radio call on WFAN 101.9/660 and you can always follow along with me @mybaseballpage1 on Twitter and the “My Baseball Page” on Facebook.
Here’s the Yanks lineup that’ll try to get some runs for Monty tonight:
And for the Angels…
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