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Series Preview: Angels @ Rangers - Let No Pythagorean Tear Asunder

I was going to write a post with lots o' tidbits from the Toronto series, but goodness, no. Who would ever want to relive that debacle? None of you? Good. Let's move on.

The Rangers traveling circus makes its way back home for two against the hated LA Angels. The cotton candy and buffalo nickels to see the bearded Elvis are on me. Why the Rangers are playing back to back home two-game sets and also playing the Angels for the first time in mid-May—especially when you consider they've already played the Blue Jays six times—is a question again left for the MLB schedule wizards.

Monday, May 17 7:05: LHP Scott Kazmir vs. LHP Derek Holland

Tuesday, May 18 7:05: RHP Jered Weaver vs. LHP C.J. Wilson

Don't look now (I mean really, don't, it's unpleasant), but the Angels are now 18-21, only 2 1/2 games back of the first place Texas Rangers, and a half game back of the A's for second place, after sweeping the A's in Anaheim. Is this yet another May where the Angels start to get it going and begin their destined ascent to AL West glory while zooming past the Rangers in the process? Maybe the 15-21 start was meant to lull the West into a false sense of security allowing Mike Scioscia and the Rally Monkey to orchestrate another claim on what has been recently rightfully theirs.

One thing though, I'm not buying it. Not yet at least. The sweep against Oakland could be the turning of the tide, but as of today, the Angels might have played as one of the worst five teams in baseball. They aren't one of the worst five teams in baseball, so their regression will mean progression, and maybe that has begun, but they've played like they are so far this year.

Even if the Angels aren't one of the five worst teams in baseball, they're still batting 13 runs below adjusted average, walking less than any AL team (tied at 7.1% with the Royals and Orioles), and are tied for 23rd in baseball in wOBA at .314. Their BABIP is at .288. That's a far cry from the otherworldly team BABIP of .322 they enjoyed last season. Perhaps that BABIP we waited all of last summer to regress to average has finally done so, it just took a brand new season for it to happen.

Pitching wise, the only teams with a worse FIP than the Angels in the AL are the Indians and Royals. They have the highest HR/9 rate in the AL at 1.18, the second highest BB/9 at 4.21, and the misery has been spread evenly through the rotation and bullpen. The starters have the third worst RAR at 20.1 in the AL while their pen has the AL's second worst RAR at -6.9. It doesn't get any better defensively, either. The Angels are second worst in the AL in Defensive Runs Saved and second worst in all of baseball in team UZR.

The season is only about seven weeks old, so things can change, and the Angels have their little annoying ways of making these stats look silly in the long run, but simply put, the Angels aren't very good right now. The Rangers need to strike down this team while they're actually as bad as the numbers show for once.

The good news for this series is the Rangers are rolling out their two lefty starters. The Angels hit lefties just a smidgen better than the Rangers do, which is to say, not very well. (.679 OPS vs. lefty starters to the Rangers .658.) The bad news is the Rangers get a lefty themselves (albeit, a struggling Scott Kazmir), and a Jered Weaver having one of the best runs of his career. In fact, you could make the case that Jered Weaver has been the best pitcher in the American League so far. The best news of all, however, would be if C.J. Wilson continued his excellent start to the season and if Derek Holland had a repeat of this performance.


Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (18-21, 3rd place AL West)

Rangers' 2010 Record vs. Los Angeles: 0-0 (The Rangers are going to be playing this team a lot late in the season, it will seem. After this short two game series, the Rangers and Angels don't play again until June 29th. What? Weird.)

Los Angeles' Recent Results: 3-0 Series sweep against the Oakland Athletics

SBN Angel's Blog: Halos Heaven (Don't go there.)

     Match-up: (as of 5/16)









(tied for 27th)
















Overall RAR




Defense Runs Saved

















Questions to Ponder:

  • Will Vladimir Guerrero break the record for bro grabs from former teammates?
  • Will C.J. Wilson keep his 0.0 HR/9 rate?
  • Does Miss North Dakota look like a lady Derek Holland to anyone else?

  • Just who do the Toronto Blue Jays think they are anyway? Gosh...