Series Preview: New York Yankees @ Los Angeles Angels (6/12-6/14)

The Yankees begin their West Coast road trip with a visit to Los Angeles to take on the Angels, who currently sit at 33-33, and second place in the AL West. The Yankees bats will look to stay on fire, as they have scored 30 runs and hit nine home runs in the last two games. The Angels will be without their best player, Mike Trout, for this series, as they have been since late May, which will ease the mind of pitching coach Larry Rothschild and the entire pitching staff.

Game One (Monday, June 12th | First Pitch: 10:07 PM ET)
Masahiro Tanaka (5-6, 6.55 ERA) vs. Alex Meyer (2-3, 4.08 ERA)

After his start was pushed back a day, Masahiro Tanaka will face the Angels in the series opener looking to have at least a quality start, as his last two outings have continued his season trend of getting crushed by opposing hitters. Tanaka has surrendered 17 home runs in just 66 innings this year, and will need to keep the ball in the park if he wants to make it past the fifth inning. The Yanks have also lost the last five games in which Tanaka has pitched. Tanaka will be on five days rest, and has had his two best starts of the year when pitching on five or more days of rest, giving the Yankees and their fans a bit of hope.

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The Angels will send Alex Meyer to the mound, who is coming off his best start of the season, a performance where he threw six innings without allowing an earned run and only giving up three hits. Meyer is a second-year pitcher who has solid numbers so far this year, but has had major control issues, walking 24 batters in only 35.1 innings. Look for the Yankees to take advantage of Meyers control issues, and possibly steal some bases in the process.

Game Two (Tuesday, June 13th | First Pitch: 10:07 PM ET)
C.C. Sabathia (7-2, 3.66 ERA) vs. JC Ramirez (6-4, 4.33 ERA)

The second game of the series will see C.C. Sabathia try to continue his winning ways, as he has picked up the win in each of his last five starts, and has seen his ERA drop from 5.77 to 3.66 in that time frame. Sabathia has also only allowed three earned runs in his last five starts, meaning that the Angels will have a tall task in front of them.

The Yanks will see JC Ramirez, who was a relief pitcher his entire career up until this year. He has made 11 starts this season, going at least four innings in all those starts. The long ball has been a problem for Ramirez as a starter, as he has given up 12 in his 11 starts, and he will be facing the team that has hit 100 home runs in its first 60 games coming off a weekend where they scored 38 runs.

Game Three (Wednesday, June 14 | First Pitch: 10:00 PM ET)
Michael Pineda (7-3, 3.39 ERA) vs. Matt Shoemaker (6-3, 4.22 ERA)

Michael Pineda will get the ball in the final game of the three game set and will look to continue his solid season. This game is not in Yankee Stadium, however, and that could be a problem, as Pineda has struggled away from the stadium this year. In his five starts on the road, Pineda is 1-2 with a 5.96 ERA, while having a 1.96 ERA at home. Pineda has won four of his last five starts, but will need to shake his road woes to come away with the victory.

Matt Shoemaker, who has been the Angels most consistent arm in the rotation, will start on Wednesday night. Shoemaker has been great in night games this year, 6-0 with a 3.08 ERA, but has struggled when pitching at home. Shoemaker has only faced the Bombers twice before in his career, and has lost both outings.

Players to Watch: Yankees

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Aaron Judge: It seems as if Judge is one of the players to watch for every series; but how can he not be? Judge is coming off a weekend where he hit three home runs, including the longest of his career and the second longest since they started officially tracking homers in 2009, a 495 foot home run that cleared the left field bleachers. Judge is doing a lot more than just hitting long balls though, as he now leads the American League in all three Triple Crown categories, hitting .344 with 21 home runs and 47 RBIs. Judge also has been running the bases well and playing a great right field, showing he is the complete package. Look for Judge to possibly do more damage this series, as he has some favorable pitching matchups to look forward to.

Didi Gregorius: The entire Yankees lineup has been hitting, so it almost has gone unnoticed that Didi Gregorius is currently riding a 13-game hitting streak heading into this series. Didi has been great ever since he came back from the DL, and has turned it up a notch since the calendar turned to June. Didi is hitting .378 in the month of June, including three home runs and some marvelous plays at short. Despite hitting towards the bottom of the order, Didi has been a pain to deal with for opposing pitchers, and will look to extend his hitting streak on the West Coast.

Players to Watch: Angels

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Albert Pujols: After a very solid May, Albert Pujols has been ice cold in June, batting .161 with an abysmal on base percentage. His home run numbers are not where they usually are at this point of the season, yet he still has 45 RBIs, which puts him fourth in the AL in that category. The Angels could really use a hot streak from Pujols, and it may have started yesterday, as he hit his first home run since he hit number 600 on June 3rd. Pujols went deep in Sundays game vs the Astros, so look for him to possibly gain some momentum in this series.

Eric Young Jr.: Eric Young Jr. has only been in the Angels lineup for a couple of weeks, but he has gotten off to a very solid start, going 14-44 (.318) in his first 13 games. Young is seen as a sort of MLB journeyman, but has been producing for the Angels in his short time with the team since Mike Trout got hurt on May 29th. Young, like Pujols, homered in their game Sunday, which can be a bad sign for the Yanks considering Masahiro Tanaka makes the start Monday, giving Young Jr. a great chance to go deep again.

The Yankees will look to keep the momentum they gained from taking five of six against the Orioles and Red Sox, and possibly continue their ridiculous streak of scoring eight or more runs in five consecutive games. The Yanks will need some good innings out of their starters, specifically Tanaka, as the Yanks were forced to use several arms out of the bullpen in Sunday's win.

Article by: Matt Luzzi


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