Angels vs. Nationals Series Preview
By Mike Rose
A huge week lies ahead for the Los Angeles Angels who currently own the second wild card slot in the American League. Five teams sit within 2.5 games of them in the standings, so it’s imperative the team succeeds on the road over the next week. Up first is a trip to D.C. where the NL East leading Washington Nationals will go at them without the services of Bryce Harper who suffered a mighty injury scare of the weekend.
Dates: Tuesday, August 15 – Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Location: Nationals Park
Don’t look now, but the Halos are making their run towards securing a bid into the postseason. Winners of six straight and off a huge road sweep at Seattle that saw them take four straight from the division rival Mariners, Mike Scioscia’s squad continues its road trip on the east coast where it will look to improve upon their 28-32 record as visitors( $668 ).
The Nationals suffered a huge scare on Saturday night when they watched Bryce Harper go down like a house of cards on a close play at first base. Test results later confirmed there were no broken bones or ligament damage, so the All-Star right fielder will be back for the stretch run. Washington holds an enormous 14 game lead atop the NL East standings, so there’s no reason to rush their superstar back.
Game 1 Probable Pitchers – Tuesday, August 15, 2017, 7:05 p.m. ET ( Local )
Tyler Skaggs vs. Gio Gonzalez
Skaggs’ return from the DL has been decent with the youngster holding the A’s and Mariners to 11 hits and just 3 ER with a K/BB ratio of 8:5 through 10.1 total innings. He was much better in his most recent turn shutting Seattle out through 6.1 innings. The three walks were a concern however, and he’ll now run up against a Nats offense ranked 15th in the league at taking free passes. The lefty was electric in his lone appearance against Washington back in 2014 when he limited Anthony Rendon and company to just three hits and 2 ER through seven innings. LA has split his four road starts where he’s pitched to a 2.28 ERA and 1.10 WHIP over 23.2 innings. The under cashed in three of those contests.
Gio Gonzalez continues to put forth a season for the ages. The veteran will enter start No. 24 with an impressive 2.59 ERA and .209 BAA through his 149.1 total innings of work. The lefty will be gunning for win No. 16 in his twelfth home start of the season. Gio has shined in his home digs where he’s allowed just 52 hits through 69.1 innings and pitched to a stellar 1.95 ERA. Each of his last three starts have been of quality, and he should be in line for another good outing in this one matched up against a Halos offense hitting just .239 versus left-handers ( No. 23 ). Washington’s just 5-6 in his 11 home starts with the under cashing in seven of those outings.
Game 2 Probable Pitchers – Wednesday, August 16, 2017, 1:05 p.m. ET ( MLB Network)
Ricky Nolasco vs. Tanner Roark
The Nats will be licking their chops about the prospects of stepping into the box to face Nolasco whose been nothing short of wretched in his last two turns. It all started with him getting shellacked for nine hits ( 1 HR ) and 5 ER against the A’s at home back on August 6. That gory outing was followed up with another nightmarish stint on the road in Seattle where the Mariners ripped him for seven hits ( 2 HR ) and another 5 ER through five innings. The veteran has failed to pitch past the fifth inning in three of his last five starts, and will take a 2-7 record and 5.37 ERA with him on the road to D.C. for his 25th start of the season. LA has dropped nine of his 12 road starts with the under cashing at a 7-4-1 clip.
Since navigating through some choppy water through the end of June, Roark has turned it around in a big way tossing quality efforts four of the last six times he took to the starting bump. His last two appearances have been nearly identical with him holding the Cubs to just five hits and 2 ER through 6.1 innings, and following it up with another six innings of four hit and 2 ER ball at home against the Marlins in his last turn. The outing snapped a string of four straight non-quality starts in front of the hometown faithful, and moved him to 3-5 with a 5.24 ERA in D.C. Another solid performance wouldn’t come as a shock with the Halos 40-42 and averaging just 4.2 runs per game against right-handed pitching ( No. 26 ).