Series Preview: Angels Finish Difficult Road Trip North Of The Border Vs. Blue Jays
Shohei Ohtani, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 2021 Season
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Angels head to Canada for the lone time this season as they close out a difficult 10-game road trip against the Toronto Blue Jays. So far, the Halos are 1-6, and will need some sort of offensive production to salvage the trip.

Batting futility has been an ongoing topic for the Angels this season, after starting the year as one of the best offensive teams. On the seven games of this road trip, they have scored a grand total of 12 runs, six of them in back-to-back losses against the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday and Thursday.

High strikeout rates and a lack of production with runners in scoring position has haunted L.A., and against a team like the Blue Jays, that struggle is even more amplified. In this series, the Angels face who has arguably been the best Blue Jays starter this season in Alek Manoah.

Luckily, they do avoid Kevin Gausman and Jose Berrios, who are the marquee names in the Blue Jays rotation. Those two pitched in their most recent wins against the Boston Red Sox, capping off a stretch in which Toronto won seven of eight.

In a rather important note, the Angels will be without Ryan Tepera, Aaron Loup, and Taylor Ward for this series, as all three were placed on the restricted list prior to the opener. This likely means that they are unvaccinated, and therefore not allowed to enter Canada.

In their places, RHP Jose Marte, RHP Gerardo Reyes, and OF Ryan Aguilar were selected to the Major League roster.

Game 1: Friday, Aug. 26, 4:07 p.m. PT

The Angels open up their series on the other side of the border with Reid Detmers on the mound. Detmers is coming off of one of his worst starts of the season, but was dominating in the six starts prior.

Like all young pitchers, Detmers has gone through phases of dominance and difficulties. But he has always managed to bounce back, showing resilience that is uncommon for a starter at his age and experience. Detmers is likely to cross the 100-inning mark in this start, as well.

For the Blue Jays, it is former L.A. Dodgers reliever Mitch White on the mound. White has a 3.63 ERA and 1.30 WHIP in 69.1 innings. He has struggled with traffic on the bases, but the sub-4.00 ERA shows an ability to bend, not break.

Game 2: Saturday, Aug. 27, 12:07 p.m. PT

In an early start on ESPN+, the primetime matchup of the series takes place with Shohei Ohtani and Manoah on the mound. Statistically, both of these pitchers have been their team’s best starter.

Ohtani holds a 2.83 ERA and 1.10 WHIP with 167 strikeouts in 121.0 innings. His 5.22 K-to-BB ratio is a stark improvement from his first two full pitching seasons, and his 10-8 record is massively impressive given the Angels are 21 games below .500.

For Manoah, it’s a 12-6 record with a 2.66 ERA and 1.04 WHIP. His strikeout numbers and basic ratios are not quite as staggering as Ohtani, but Manoah has been a consistent figure, already tossing 148.2 innings this season.

Game 3: Sunday, Aug. 28, 10:37 a.m. PT

While the Angels may not have to deal with two of the Blue Jays frontline pitchers, they won’t have it easy with Ross Stripling, who was once nearly involved in a trade to the Angels. He has been a vital part of a deep Toronto rotation, holding a sub-3.00 ERA in 95.0 innings this season.

He faces off against Tucker Davidson, who is making his fourth start as an Angel. The early part of his Angels tenure has been a mixed bag, with one less than ideal start, one winning effort, and a low-run, but high-traffic outing against the Rays.

The Halos pitching coaches firmly believe they can optimize Davidson’s abilities, hence why he was the main acquisition in the Raisel Iglesias trade. He’ll have another chance to prove it in the series finale.

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