Series Preview: Anaheim Angels @ Texas Rangers - Possibilities

He doesn't even look happy to be there

You know, for all the doom and gloom surrounding our behind-the-Yankees-by-percentage-points-for-best-record-in-the-American-League Texas Rangers, in putting together the numbers for this preview, the Rangers have been, and still are, a better team than the Anaheim Angels. It's pretty shocking, I know. I thought the Angels had surely passed the Rangers by now. Turns out, it was the A's passing the Angels.

Oh sure, since June or so the Angels have been putting on a charge. But they have been doing so at a pace only barely above the level that the Rangers have been playing since then. And you know why? The Angels are a good baseball team. It hurts to type those words, but it's true. We knew they were going to be good and they are. The A's? Well that's just weird.

I don't think these Angels are better than the Rangers. Not with Zack Greinke. Not with Vernon Wells. Not with Mike Trout. Not yet. Probably not for the rest of 2012. Five game leads in exceptionally late July are a pretty big deal. Maybe they eventually do overtake the Rangers, though. A five game lead is a great thing to have, but it's not an impossibility that the Angels continue to tick upward enough while the Rangers somehow extend their recent stalling out for an extended period of time.

But the other thing we should know by now is the Rangers are a good baseball team. I wouldn't count on the Rangers to continue going 1-31 with in RISP situations forever. I wouldn't count on Josh Hamilton to continue hitting basically like a 150 lbs shortstop forever. I wouldn't count on a sigh of relief coming from seeing Craig Gentry is up at the plate instead of Nelson Cruz, Mike Napoli, or Ian Kinsler forever. And who knows, maybe we shouldn't count out having some reinforcements in the next 24 hours or so.

I had come to terms with the notion that the Rangers were likely going to stand pat at this deadline after missing out on Cole Hamels and Grienke. Let's just say some recent rumors have altered my deadline expectations. Perhaps to my own detriment, but so be it.

I'm too distracted by Cliff Lee rumors to really finish any of these thoughts. Maybe that says a lot about my level of concern regarding the Angels. Anyhow, here's basically all you need to know:

  • Angels sweep - The Rangers lead the Angels in the AL West by 1.0 games
  • Angels win 3 of 4 - The Rangers lead the Angels in the AL West by 3.0 games
  • Series 2-2 split - The Rangers lead the Angels in the AL West by 5.0 games
  • Rangers win 3 of 4 - The Rangers lead the Angels in the AL West by 7.0 games
  • Rangers sweep - The Rangers lead the Angels in the AL West by 9.0 games

Monday, July 30 6:05: RHP Ervin Santana vs. RHP Roy Oswalt

Tuesday, July 31 7:05: RHP Jered Weaver vs. LHP Derek Holland

Wednesday, August 1 7:05: RHP Dan Haren (Garrett Richards or Jerome Williams) vs. RHP Yu Darvish

Thursday, August 2 7:05: LHP C.J. Wilson vs. LHP Matt Harrison

Here's a breakdown of the pitching match-ups against the third place Anaheim Angels:

  • Roy Oswalt: 3-1, 7.67 K/9, 1.84 BB/9, .406 BABIP, 69.8% LOB, 3.85 FIP, 3.73 xFIP, 0.6 WAR - Last three starts: 11 runs allowed in 16.2 innings
  • Ervin Santana: 4-10, 6.08 K/9, 3.57 BB/9, .270 BABIP, 65.5% LOB, 5.37 FIP, 4.58 xFIP, -0.5 WAR - Last three starts: 16 runs allowed in 9.0 innings

Advantage: Roy Oswalt's bad back but vaguely promising peripherals over Ervin Santana and the 15-out Pitch Limit.

  • Derek Holland: 7-5, 7.01 K/9, 2.84 BB/9, .265 BABIP, 67.6% LOB, 4.68 FIP, 4.30 xFIP, 0.9 WAR - Last three starts: 9 runs allowed in 22.0 innings
  • Jered Weaver: 13-1, 6.93 K/9, 2.02 BB/9, .232 BABIP, 81.8% LOB, 3.40 FIP, 3.99 xFIP, 2.5 WAR - Last three starts: 7 runs allowed in 19.0 innings

Advantage: I assume that Jered Weaver will win every game he pitches over Derek Holland looked pretty good last time out.

  • Yu Darvish: 11-7, 10.15 K/9, 4.71 BB/9, .301 BABIP, 72.7% LOB, 3.77 FIP, 3.81 xFIP, 2.5 WAR - Last three starts: 14 runs allowed in 19.2 innings
  • Dan Haren: 8-8, 7.39 K/9, 2.18 BB/9, .315 BABIP, 72.7% LOB, 4.23 FIP, 3.99 xFIP, 1.3 WAR - Last three starts: 9 runs allowed in 16.1 innings (Garrett Richards or Jerome Williams)

Advantage: Did you know Yu Darvish has .1 higher RAR and the same WAR as Jered Weaver this season over hopefully the Rangers can derail this notion that Dan Haren is back. (Garrett Richards or Jerome Williams)

  • Matt Harrison: 12-6, 5.39 K/9, 2.39 BB/9, .289 BABIP, 78.4% LOB, 3.75 FIP, 4.11 xFIP, 2.7 WAR - Last three starts: 9 runs allowed in 22.0 innings
  • C.J. Wilson: 9-7, 7.52 K/9, 3.92 BB/9, .259 BABIP, 74.5% LOB, 3.57 FIP, 4.01 xFIP, 2.6 WAR - Last three starts: 15 runs allowed in 19.1 innings

Advantage: Matt Harrison in Stay Out of the Basement over it's amazing to me how similar C.J. Wilson and Yu Darvish's seasons are going.

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Anaheim Angels (55-47, 3rd Place AL West)

Rangers Record vs. Anaheim: 5-4 (2-1 at The Ballpark)

Anaheim's Recent Results: 1-2 series loss against the Tampa Bay Rays

Anaheim's Home Record: 25-25

The Ballpark in Arlington Park Factors (LHB/RHB): HR: 117/117 - Runs: 115/114

SB Nation Angels Blog: Halos Heaven (Nope.)

Match-up: (as of 07/30) Rangers Angels Advantage
Batting (RAR) 43.9 (3rd) 38.9 (4th) Rangers
Base Running (RAR) 0.0 (17th) 6.9 (3rd) Angels
Starters (RAR) 63.4 58.8 Rangers
Bullpen (RAR) 39.0 (3rd) 11.6 (21st) Rangers
Defense (UZR) 21.2 (4th) 30.9 (2nd) Angels
Overall (UZR + RAR) 167.5 144.1 Rangers

Questions to Answer:

  • Which will be higher: The number of runs allowed by Ervin Santana in the game tonight or the number of home runs the Rangers hit in this series?
  • Who is your Return of the McLemore Approved Player to Watch in this series? (I hear Mitch Moreland is back.)
  • Over/Under: 6.5 XBHs hit collectively by Michael Young, Mike Napoli, and Josh Hamilton in this four game series?
  • What's your guess for line (IP/H/K/BB/ER) by Roy Oswalt in his return from back issues tonight?
  • Doesn't that Zack Greinke just look more perfectly hateable than you ever could have imagined in that red Anaheim cap?
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