Thursday Night Baseball Preview: Los Angeles Angels Vs. Texas Rangers
Pitching Matchup: Andrew Heaney (6-3, 3.29 ERA) vs. Derek Holland (3-3, 4.99 ERA)
More of a rock than a rookie, Andrew Heaney has turned into a great offseason addition for the Los Angeles Angels. Heaney crossed the 100 inning threshold over his last start. His ERA of 3.29 is lowest among all American League rookies with over 100 innings pitched. His WHIP of 1.15 is quite impressive and likely indicator for future success. Heaney is 1-0 versus the Rangers this year – allowing two runs and 6 hits over 6 innings, while striking out four.
Derek Holland has not been a productive pitcher since Labour Day, giving up at least four runs over each of his last four starts and the Rangers losing three out of four. His last start against Los Angeles – also his last start before his streak of futility – was quite successful. He limited the Angles to over one run and three hits over 8 innings pitched, while striking out five. The September 5th start again the Angels is his only start against them since the 2013 season.
Tale of Two Los Angeles
The Angels had a dreadful August, finishing 10-19 and singlehandedly dropping themselves out of a Wild Card spot. September has been a completely different story for the Angels, who are 18-8 – as of Wednesday afternoon – and within striking distance of the Rangers for the AL West crown. The hot streak has coincided with Mike Trout’s return to MVP form. Trout has batted over .300 with an OPS over 1.000 and much better plate vision since the beginning of September. If Mike Trout can help the Angels win the AL West with a superb final series, he will garner some serious MVP consideration.
Manager of the Year?
In his first season with the Rangers, Jeff Bannister has wildly over-exceeded expectations and may be the lucky recipient of the 2015 American League Manager of the Year award. The Rangers – who were pretty awful in 2014 – lost their best pitcher before the season even began, making them a trendy pick to finish last in the AL West and even the entire American League. Bannister through positive reinforcement, some crazy and creative management strategies – particularly putting 10 year veteran Mike Napoli in left field, which is crazy considering he had never played outfield during those 10 years – and getting bounce-back seasons from sluggers Prince Fielder and Mitch Moreland. Even if he does not win it, Bannister seems to a have a bright future ahead of him.
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