Washington Nationals Series Preview: Los Angeles Angels have some stars and old friends

Effectively, the Washington Nationals confronted a daily previous workforce of their newest sequence, so clearly they dropped the three-game set to the Colorado Rockies as they’re solely allowed to beat groups who made noise final season. Sorry, we don’t make the principles.

In all seriousness, it was a minimum of promising that the offense regarded fairly energetic at Coors Area thanks a minimum of partially to the altitude, but in addition on account of extra constant hitting up and down the order.

What ended up letting them down, nonetheless, was supervisor Dave Martinez’s favourite factor, The Little Issues™ as some gamers made some essential errors — taking a look at you, Alcides Escobar — within the subject and on the bases at inopportune instances.

The Nationals now end their lengthy west coast journey towards the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim, which nonetheless sounds as silly because the day they modified their identify, however I digress.

Over the primary month of the season, the Angels lastly look like giving Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani the assist they deserve and sit fairly atop the American League West at 17-10 with an offense that ranked second within the majors in wRC+ getting into Thursday’s slate.

Right here’s the lowdown from Anaheim forward of the three-game weekend sequence…

The schedule

  • Sport One: Friday, Could sixth, 9:38 pm EDT. TV: MASN 2, Radio: 106.7 The Fan
  • Sport Two: Saturday, Could seventh, 9:07 pm EDT. TV: MASN 2, Radio: 106.7 The Fan
  • Sport Three: Sunday, Could eighth, 4:07 pm EDT. TV: MASN 2, Radio: 106.7 The Fan

Possible Pitchers

  • Sport One: Joan Adon (1-4, 7.33 ERA) vs TBD (0-0, -.– ERA)
  • Sport Two: Josiah Grey (3-2, 3.12 ERA) vs Michael Lorenzen (3-1, 3.04 ERA)
  • Sport Three: Erick Fedde (2-2, 4.68 ERA) vs Patrick Sandoval (1-1, 1.29 ERA)

Who’s sizzling?

Yadiel Hernández: Sure, Hernández was listed on this part simply a few sequence in the past, however it’s unimaginable to not pay attention to the additional step that the outfielder has taken within the final week.

Forward of this highway journey, Hernández was slashing a strong .289/.313/.422 on the season, however because of a torrid five-game stretch the place the outfielder has gone a mixed 12-for-22 (.545) with 4 doubles and 7 RBIs, he’s raised his season line as much as .373/.394/.522.

Nelson Cruz figures to return to the lineup as the first Designated Hitter in Anaheim, the place Hernández has been positioned the previous couple of video games, nonetheless, he’s made himself too productive to go away on the bench and looks as if a must-start choice till he cools off.

Taylor Ward: On a workforce with the likes of Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani, Anthony Rendon, and Jared Walsh, guess who leads the workforce in OPS to this point this season? Okay, sure, it’s the man whose identify you already learn a couple of seconds in the past.

After being a bit-part participant for the Angels over the previous couple of seasons, to various ranges of success, Ward has exploded early on this season to the tune of a .368/.476/.721 slash line with six residence runs and a rare 248 wRC+ in his first 19 video games of the season.

Ward additionally earned Participant of the Week honors within the American League final week and is a reputation that the Nationals might not have anticipated to be circling on the Angels’ lineup card this week.

Who’s not?

Joan Adon: Whereas there have definitely been positives about Adon within the early going, it’s secure to say that his begin to the season isn’t what the Nationals have been hoping for out of the 23-year-old.

Except for a wonderful 6.1 scoreless innings towards the Arizona Diamondbacks, who’re one of many worst offenses within the NL, the Adon has surrendered a minimum of 4 runs and didn’t pitch 5 innings in each different begin this season with 11 walks and 16 strikeouts in these video games.

The best-hander is about to go within the sequence opener towards the Angels on Friday, but when issues don’t flip round quickly, it might be finest for him to move again to Triple-A and regain some confidence.

Andrew Velazquez: When David Fletcher went down injured for the Angels within the first week of the season, they referred to as upon Velazquez to step in because the workforce’s shortstop within the interim.

Whereas his protection has drawn rave opinions from Angels brass, he’ll want to supply some form of offense to go together with it to stay round long-term. In his final 15 video games, Velasquez is slashing simply .105/.146/.132 with a solitary extra-base hit, 10 strikeouts, and simply two walks.

From the opposing dugout

Try a number of the prime Angels storylines from our pals at Crashing the Pearly Gates…

Yet another factor to look at

We’re certain everyone seems to be well-acquainted with the star energy that the Angels possess, with two of the perfect gamers in all of baseball in Trout and Ohtani, in addition to a number of the workforce’s rising younger prospects like Ward and Walsh who we touched on earlier within the preview.

That signifies that a sure former Nationwide is effectively inside his aspect and glad to fly below the radar at instances, simply as he did in D.C. — which, to be sincere, was this participant’s whole model.

Clearly, we’re speaking about Anthony Rendon, who is happy to be part of a course of with the Angels that feels moderately acquainted to him…

“We’re making that transition to grow to be actually aggressive. We’re making that tradition change,” Rendon instructed Chelsea Janes of The Washington Submit earlier this 12 months. “It’s enjoyable to see that change, and I solely discover it as a result of I used to be in D.C. after we went by way of it.”

Whereas his finest pal with the Nationals, Trea Turner, is not on the workforce after he was traded to the opposite membership in LA final season, Rendon will nonetheless get the possibility to meet up with a few of his different former teammates in the course of the sequence.

Up to now this season, Rendon is slashing simply .231/.347/.410 with three residence runs and 5 doubles, which can appear disappointing, however that offers him a 126 OPS+, a determine normalized to the remainder of the league and the brand new lifeless ball that the league seemingly launched.

Clearly, Rendon will nonetheless be hoping for higher, however the numbers for the time being could also be deceiving with this 12 months’s ball shenanigans.

Collection Preview Trivia

Final sequence’ trivia query: In 2017, Coors Area was the positioning of the primary of Trea Turner’s three cycles for the Nationals. However are you able to identify the order wherein he ticked off every sort of base hit?

Reply: Single, double, residence run, triple

As you’ll have seen in our sequence previews to this point, we’ve added a trivia query for every sequence so that you can strive your hand at and reply down within the feedback, then we’ll reveal the reply in our subsequent sequence preview.

Right here’s the trivia query for this sequence towards the Angels…

With Anthony Rendon’s first sport towards the Nationals in his profession, what number of instances did he and Trea Turner regular-season begins did they make on the left facet of the infield collectively of their profession? a) 336 b) 360 c) 399 d) 431