The Los Angeles Angels did what they needed to against the Minnesota Twins, taking three of four on the road. Now, they are back home, but must continue their elite play against the basement dwellers of MLB as they take on the Colorado Rockies in a three-game set.
The Angels made up some ground in the American League Wild Card race over the weekend, especially with the Oakland Athletics dropping a series to the Seattle Mariners. Because of this, the Halos are just 5.5 games back with a chance to capitalize against the Rockies while at home. The Angels are 27-22 this season while in Anaheim.
They also play most of their best baseball against below-.500 teams. This season, the Angels are 23-8 against teams that have lost more games than they’ve won. Against above-.500 teams, they are 26-41. While that obviously needs to change if they want to make the playoffs, they can still remain competitive by beating up on teams like the Rockies.
When the Rockies traded Nolan Arenado to the St. Louis Cardinals during the 2020 offseason, many presumed that they would be among the worst teams in the league. However, despite their less than ideal record, the Rockies are not the standard 43-56 team.
Colorado is 24-28 against teams not playing in the NL West. With the L.A. Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, and San Diego Padres all among the MLB elite, it’s hard to blame the Rockies for posting a 19-28 record against their division.
Statistically, the Rockies are more of an offensive team, although nearly all of their numbers could be inflated due to playing at hitter-friendly Coors Field. They rank 12th in batting average, 19th in OPS, and 18th in runs. They are 28th in home runs, meaning they do plenty of manufacturing.
As for their pitching — which conversely would look worse on paper because of their ballpark — they rank 23rd in ERA, 22nd in WHIP, 24th in OBA, and 30th in strikeouts. German Marquez has served as their ace this year — and has done a great job of it — with Jon Gray and others rounding out a fairly league-average starting rotation.
Their bullpen, meanwhile, has been a troubled spot to say the least. Just two relievers who have pitched more than 15 innings have a sub-4.00 ERA.
If the Angels can work pitch counts offensively and continue their recent string of good starting pitching, there’s no reason they wouldn’t win this series. Even as Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon remain out indefinitely, Shohei Ohtani — who will start on Monday night — and the Angels offense should be able to muster enough to get past the Rockies.
Every series against a lesser opponent is critical as the Halos seek to make up ground. And with this being the team’s final full series before the trade deadline, a 2-1 or 3-0 showing would go a long way towards helping their front office make some decisions.
Angels (49-49) vs. Rockies (43-56)
Angel Stadium, Anaheim, California
Probable Pitching Matchups: