The Los Angeles Angels kick off an eight-game road trip with a four-game set against the Chicago White Sox. This is the first time the red-hot Angels will face the White Sox in 2022, who are dealing with a downward spiral of their own.
Manager Joe Maddon is enjoying hefty contributions from Mike Trout, Brandon Marsh, and perhaps the most locked-in player in baseball, Tyler Wade.
Wade recently shared made a bit of history with his single shy of the cycle performance against the Cleveland Guardians on Wednesday. Since being reinstated from the injured list, he has posted an on-base plus slugging of 1.271 with four homers and 11 RBI. However, in his past seven games, his OBP is .552 with twice as many walks as strikeouts.
With Trout seemingly back to his MVP self, the lineup around him will begin to benefit from teams wanting to avoid big swings that have resulted in the Angels being MLB’s first team to have three players to have multi-homer games.
The Angels have won their last five games, are winners of seven of their last 10, and now hold a 1.5-game lead over the Seattle Mariners in the American League West.
Game 1: 4:10 p.m. PT
UPDATE: Noah Syndergaard was originally scheduled to start but the Angels have scratched him with an illness that does not appear to be COVID-19. Jimmy Herget will start in his place.
Hergert has thrown 8.1 innings this season with a 6.48 ERA, however his 2.23 FIP suggests he’s been a much better pitcher this season.
The right-hander owns a career 4.58 ERA and 4.34 FIP in 53 innings.
The Angels send Noah Syndergaard to the mound with his 2-0 record and 2.12 ERA. The first-year Angel has made the most of his opportunity in L.A. and has improved his strikeout numbers each start. Syndergaard has primarily relied on contact finding the defense, but if that helps him keep the pitch count down and limits his walks, there shouldn’t be many complaints about the big right-hander as he continues to build up in 2022.
The White Sox start Lucas Giolito, who has been electric this season and one of the lone bright spots for his club that is 1-9 in their last 10 games and are on the verge of some big issues for a team that entered the year with massive expectations in a weak division.
Giolito has not recorded a decision in his two starts but carries a 1.13 ERA with 15 punchouts over just eight innings of work. The only knock on him thus far is his five walks, three of which came in his most recent start against the Minnesota Twins.
Game 2: 1:05 p.m. PT
José Suarez gets game two on Saturday afternoon having struggled in his three prior outings. On April 24 against the Baltimore Orioles, he only lasted 4.1 innings, striking out six, but allowed three earned runs. On the season, Suarez carries a 5.54 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP.
If he struggles, the Angels’ potent offense will need to match runs in order to keep it close.
The White Sox counter with 29-year-old Vince Velasquez, who got knocked around in his last start against the Twins allowing five earned with eight hits and only lasting 3.1 innings.
Game 3: 11:10 a.m. PT
Micahel Lorenzen has embraced his role as a starter with the Angels, a spot that he expressed is when he’s at his best. His strong six innings against the Guardians on April 25 contributed to a three-hit shutout for the Angels, in what was his strongest performance in the first month of the season.
After taking the loss in his last two appearances is Dallas Keuchel, who gets game three. Owner of a 9.00 ERA and a 2.40 WHIP in 10 innings this season, Keuchel looks every bit of a pitcher struggling to find a sliver of success.
The 34-year-old most has rebounded from his April 20 outing against the Guardians in which he allowed seven earned, and 10 hits in just one inning, with four incredibly shaky innings against the Kansas City Royals.
Game 4: 11:10am a.m. PT
The series finale features perhaps the most interesting pitching matchup, with Patrick Sandoval riding a 15 inning scoreless streak and 20 strikeouts over 15 total innings of work. His most recent start at home against the Guardians was superb and his nine strikeouts over seven innings earned him his first win of the season.
Sandoval became the first traditional starter in Angels franchise history to not give up an earned run over his first three starts in a season.
Dylan Cease has always been an interesting case for the White Sox. His stuff is absolutely electric, and on any given day he can be nearly untouchable, but when he misses, he gets hit and hit hard. That coupled with a slight inability to find the strike zone can put him in some trouble.
In 2022, Cease carries a 3.27 ERA and has punched out 28 over 22 innings, contributing to a 1.18 WHIP.
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