Los Angeles Angels New York Yankees Series Preview

The Los Angeles Angels are headed to the Bronx for a four game set against their American League Eastern Division rival the New York Yankees. The Angels are 37-40 and fourth in the AL West while New York is 40-37 fourth in the AL East.

The Angels come in having lost two of three in Tampa Bay against the Rays, including a 13-3 pounding on Saturday. With Sunday’s win they snapped a five game losing streak.

Los Angeles plays four against the Bronx Bombers before heading to Baltimore on the weekend.

Ohtani Continues To Amaze

He was a single short of hitting for the cycle on Sunday in Tampa Bay. With now 25 homers on the season, It took Shohei Ohtani 77 games to reach that mark. He stands alone as the only Angels player to do so. Not even Mike Trout hit this milestone in any of his seasons with the Angels.

Ohtani now boasts a slash line of .277/.363/.668 on the season. His 46 extra-base hits also lead the league.

If that isn’t enough, Ohtani has a 2.58 ERA in 11 starts with 82 strikeouts in 59 innings while pitching. Combine his pitching and hitting together he has a 5.0 WAR before the halfway mark of the season. 

This is the Ohtani we had glimpses of prior to 2021 but he was hampered by injuries, the COVID-19 pandemic, and other challenges. 

Trout’s Injury Status Updated

Mike Trout will move over to the 60 day injured list with his right calf strain but that won’t hamper his ability to return by a July 17th target date.

Trout was enjoying one of his best seasons with a slash line of .333/.466/.624 in 146 at bats before his injury on May 18th.

Yankees Taking Heat For Fourth Place Standing In The A.L. East

The Yankees return home having been outscored by The Boston Red Sox 18-7 in the three-game series at Fenway Park. It was Boston’s first time sweeping New York in consecutive series since 2011.

Boston hammered Gerrit Cole 9-2 Sunday.

New York is 5-5 in their last ten games with a team .252 batting average New York’s team on-base percentage of .318 is fourth in the American League. They have a 4.45 team ERA. They are 21-18 at home.

Cole is under scrutiny given his recent comments about the use of sticky substances and the fact that his spin rate has suffered with the league’s recent crackdown on pitchers.

DJ LeMahieu  riding a 10-game hitting streak

DJ LeMahieu was a bright spot for the Yankees against the Red Sox as he went 7-14 with one homer, two runs and four RBI in the three-game series.

He has a 333/.383/.547 line with four dingers and 15 RBI in the last 17 games leading us to believe that he is on pace for another MVP type season.

Aaron Judge leads the Yankees with 27 extra base hits and is slugging .509. He also leads the team with an OBP of .375.

The opening game of the series sees the Angels Dylan Bundy; 1-7, 6.68 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 60 strikeouts against the Yankees Michael King; 0-3, 4.05 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 34 strikeouts.


Major League Baseball’s Opening Day Comes And Goes

Major sports leagues like the National Hockey League (NHL) and the National Basketball Association (NBA) have been on hold for two weeks with the COVID-19 pandemic in full swing across North America.

When this shutdown happened, Commissioner Rob Manfred announced on March 12th that the season would be delayed a few weeks for Major League Baseball (MLB) as well. 

Today is March 26th, Opening Day for MLB, didn’t happen. 

Social media, particularly Twitter, was full of messages and hashtags regarding #OpeningDay  #OpeningDayAtHome but there were no games. Parks and their stands stood empty with no dramatic fastball’s or swings of the bat that knocked the ball out of the park.

2020 Season Story Lines To Watch

There are still some interesting stories that should unfold when baseball does resume though. Here are a few of those:

Houston Astros

We saw how the Houston Astros sign stealing scandal unfolded after their World Series loss against the Washington Nationals last year.

We wrote about their hiring of new manager Dusty Baker replacing the fired Art Hinch and what effect that move does for the Astro’s image going forward.

The Astro’s faced a barrage of fan feedback and heckling in the games they did play in spring training and that won’t let up in the regular seasons when it starts.

Washington Nationals

The Washington Nationals, 2019 World Series Champions, should have a chance to defend their title, albeit in a shortened season. They are without Anthony Rendon, who went to the Los Angeles Angels, a separate story line in itself.

The Nationals have retained the majority of their 2019 team but won’t surprise teams like they did last season. A Wild Card Team that needed a 19-7 August amongst others to stay in contention, their pitching staff Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Patrick Corbin should feel fatigue from their innings pitched in October.

Teams will also know what to expect from them now as well both on the mound at at the plate.

Anthony Rendon

Anthony Rendon’s move to the Angels is an interesting one because of the complement he provides to Mike Trout.

The Angels have finally found a piece that can give them a serious one two punch. An aging Albert Pujols is still a threat but not enough.

Trout was the American League MVP in 2019 with 45 Home Runs, and a .291 Batting Average but his OPS of 1.083 was a really telling stat to go along with his WAR of 8.2.

Anthony Rendon’s .319 batting average, 34 Home Runs and 126 RBI’s to go with a 6.4 WAR did not garner him an MVP but he did win the World Series as we mentioned.

With him and Trout in the same lineup, the Angels look dangerous at the plate!

Albert Pujols

We mentioned the aging Albert Pujols and his role on the Angels might be limited, but he is closing in on 700 Home Runs and 700 Doubles. That’s a huge milestone.

He’s already a career .300/.379/.549 hitter with over 3,200 hits and 2,000 RBI. Those are Hall of Fame worthy stats alone.

Pujols has a legitimate chance to be the first 700/700 player in baseball history. It could be tough though as the 2020 season won’t be 162 games as expected. Even with a full 2021 season, his age and health will also play a factor in getting to this accomplishment.

Toronto Blue Jays

As a Canadian, I follow the Toronto Blue Jays naturally and while they aren’t likely to make the playoffs this season, they were scheduled to start their season against the Boston Red Sox today.

The Blue Jays have some of the best young talent in the game in Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Cavan Biggio, and Bo Bichette. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Danny Jansen also show promise in the outfield and at catcher.

They also signed Hyun-jin Ryu to a monster 80 million dollar four year deal in the off season with the hopes of boosting their pitching staff.

They are in tough in the American League East with The Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees. The Yankees won 103 games last year and Tampa won 96. Tampa lost to the Houston Astros in the divisional round while the Yankees lost to the Astros in the American League Championship.