Howie Kendrick. Image Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Phillies vs. Los Angeles Angels Series Preview

 

The Phillies played an interleague series against the Blue Jays last week. It didn’t go well.

They’ll have a chance to make up for some of that misery as another American League team comes to town for a two-game series. Will the Phillies have more success against the Los Angeles Angels?

What’s the deal with the Angels?

The Angels are led by two of the biggest offensive stars in baseball. At age 22, many people already consider Mike Trout to be the best player in baseball. It doesn’t hurt that one of his teammates was considered to be the best not too long ago.

Many people scoffed at the contract the Angels offered to Albert Pujols a couple of years ago. It’s generally not a good idea to offer long-term contract to any slugging first baseman, let alone one already in his thirties whose peak years were probably behind him. But for this season at least, Pujols is proving to be worth the money. He’s currently second in the American League with ten home runs.

The Angels pitching is less impressive, although Wednesday’s starter Garrett Richards is 3-0 with a 2.80 ERA. And unlike the Phillies, in Michael Kohn, Joe Smith, and Fernando Salas, the Angels actually have some relievers who can be depended on in the late innings.

Phillies vs. Angels: The rivalry

Good ol’ Vicente Padilla pitched a gem back in 2003. Image Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

There isn’t much of a rivalry here. I’m not 100% sure, but I think out of all the major league teams, the Angels are the one the Phillies have faced the least amount of times. As best as I can tell, the teams have only played six games against each other, with the Angels winning five of them.

The most recent meeting came in 2008 when the Angels swept a three-game series in Philadelphia. (Don’t worry, the Phillies were eventually able to recover from the losses.)

The only time the Phillies have beaten the Angels was back in 2003 when the teams faced off in Anaheim. The winning pitcher in that game? Vicente Padilla who delivered seven innings of shutout ball. The Phillies runs came courtesy of homers by Jimmy Rollins and Jim Thome.

Angels player who isn’t entirely horrible

Trout and Pujols get all the publicity, but second baseman Howie Kendrick is having a strong season as well. Kendrick has been a solid offensive player throughout his career, but seems to have stepped it up a notch this year. He’s got a .389 on-base percentage, as well as nine stolen bases. The Phillies would do well to keep him off the bases.

Angels player who is horrible

I feel bad saying this, but it looks like Raul Ibanez may be at the end of the road. While it is remarkable that he is still playing at age 42, he doesn’t seem to have much left. He’s batting only .139, and has only one hit in 18 May at bats.

Outlook

In their best years, the Phillies haven’t performed all that well against American League teams. (Remember, the Angels swept them in 2008). It wouldn’t surprise me if the Phillies have some problems against the Angels, although it does help that they’ll have Cliff Lee and A.J. Burnett on the mound.

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