Series Preview – Sox At Angels: California Love



RECORDS: White Sox 54-65  Angels 59-63

Gametimes: Thurs/Friday: 9:07, Saturday 8:07, Sunday 3:07

TV: Thursday – Saturday NBCSN, Sunday WGN

We Got Rocks In Our Outfield: Halos Heaven


So as the White Sox finished up a season series yesterday against the Houston Astros, they begin one today against an Angels team that has had a pretty rough start to the month of August. The Angels kicked off the month by losing 8 in a row before finally breaking through against the Red Sox last Saturday. They currently sit at 3-9 for the month, and have given up 86 runs so far, culminating in a series loss this week to the Pirates where they gave up 24 runs in 3 games.

The Angels starting pitching has been brutal this season, as only the Phillies, Mariners and Orioles have had worse stats than them so far. The team ERA is an unsightly 5.07, and the entire unit has been worth a measly 5.1 WAR as a whole. The Sox for comparison have garnered 8.5 WAR with a team ERA of 4.85. Not a ton better, but if you just look at the last month the Sox have fared much better, going from 18th in the league to 9th in team pitching. The Angels actually get worse in that span, going from 4th last to 3rd.

Most of the Angels issues stem from the fact that Tyler Skaggs, their statistical leader in most starting pitching categories, tragically passed away last month in his hotel room on the road in Texas. At the time, Skaggs was the team leader in innings pitched and strikeouts. It also can’t be dismissed that his passing had an effect on the overall morale for the starting 5. The other pieces are young and mostly untested, the best of which is probably Griffin Canning.  Canning was actually having a pretty solid rookie campaign until it was derailed by elbow issues a few weeks ago. Before that his ERA sat in the 4.15 range, and his strikeout totals were fairly impressive. He’s your atypical fastball-slider combo guy, who has a decent change to round out his arsenal, though he doesn’t throw it very much.

The one thing the Angels do well his hit the piss out of the ball.  They’re 5th in the AL in hitting, and most of that is due to Mike Trout. He’s having another of his atypical MVP-caliber years, currently leading the whole damn league in hitting (yet again). For a good chunk of the season he was behind Christian Yelich and Cody Bellinger, but they’ve fallen off slightly and that’s been enough for Trout to go sailing by them. The rest of the squad can hit the ball too, as 3B David Fletcher is having an excellent breakout campaign. He’s currently slashing .284/.343/.738, which isn’t all that impressive power-wise but he gets on base at a good clip and sets the table for the bigger bats behind him in the lineup. Shohei Ohtani hasn’t let Tommy John surgery stop him from being the power threat the Angels thought he’d be when they signed him over from the Japanese league. He’s still slashing .294/.356/.868 with 15 dingers and 45 RBI thus far. He’s also a threat on the basepaths, as he’s swiped 10 bags so far giving him a solid chance at 20/20 honors. Justin Upton is also here, though you wouldn’t know it by his stats. He’s had a rough go of it since missing 2/3rds of the season with a turf toe injury he sustained back in spring training.

As for the Sox, after yesterday’s exciting win they had to jump on a plane and head west to a new time zone. Rick Renteria hasn’t set his rotation past tomorrow night’s game but we will kick it off with Reynaldo Lopez and Lucas Giolito. I would assume that Dylan Cease will probably be skipped in the rotation and Saturday will be a bullpen day with Nova going on Sunday. The Sox bats seem to have come to life recently, and the Angels pitching staff is the perfect choice to continue that streak. They’ll have plenty of chances to hit the ball around, and if Lopez and Giolito can keep the ball off the mountain in left center field the Sox stand a good chance of at least a split in this series. Keep that momentum rolling while you can, because the Twins wait on the other side of this one.




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