Colorado Rockies vs Los Angeles Angels Series Preview

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Mar 6, 2015; Tempe, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Angels infielder Albert Pujols (5) attempts to tag Colorado Rockies infielder DJ LeMahieu (9) at first base during a spring training baseball game at Tempe Diablo Stadium. The Angels beat the Rockies 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

After a rainy, snowy weekend in Denver, the Colorado Rockies head to warmer weather, and face off with the Los Angeles Angels – their first inter league series of the season.

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The weather didn’t cooperate for the Colorado Rockies in the past week. A team that needs as many home games as possible to succeed this year lost several, made up two with a doubleheader (in which they were swept), and lost a rain-shortened game to the Dodgers. Yikes.

Now, the Rox head to the City of Angels – well, more like the city of Disney – as they take on the Los Angeles Angels Of Anaheim Which Is In California And They Might Be Moving To Tustin Or Riverside (I think that’s the team’s official name now).

Here are the probable pitchers for this week’s two-game set, plus some notes in our series preview:

DATES, TIMES, AND PITCHERS

Tuesday, May 12, 8:05 pm
Kyle Kendrick (1-4, 8.73) vs. C.J. Wilson (1-2, 2.70)

Wednesday, May 13, 8:05 pm
Jordan Lyles (2-3, 4.42) vs. Hector Santiago (2-2, 2.57)

KEYS FOR THE ROCKIES

Prepare yourselves for The Kyle Kendrick Experience! 

After rain wiped out Saturday’s game in Denver against the Dodgers, and the rotation got bumped back to accommodate the weather, Kyle Kendrick suddenly finds himself starting in Anaheim this week against  the Angels.

I can’t possibly imagine him getting any longer leash if he has one more really bad start in this series (but… who the hell could the Rockies replace him with, especially with Tyler Matzek already being demoted to AAA?). Either way, the Angels don’t hit – at all – so what will cure them? The Kyle Kendrick Experience!

Show some life.

Baseball gets really hard when you’ve lost eight in a row, nine of ten, and like, 87 of the last 92 (come on, that’s what it feels like). The Rockies need to pitch well enough, play good defense, and turn the offense up a few notches. Show some life. Give yourselves a chance. Put the team in a position to win, where one swing of the bat by a Troy Tulowitzki or Corey Dickerson can turn the tide and end the slide.

KEY NUMBER

0-3

The Rockies are surprisingly average on the road this year (7-8 before this trip), but they were swept handily in Los Angeles last month for an 0-3 record in the City of Angels. Granted, that was against an arguably much better Dodgers team compared to this Angels club, but starting Thursday the Rockies will get those Dodgers for four more at Chavez Ravine.

Because of that, and because I have little faith in the Rockies winning more than one against the boys in blue, Angel Stadium must become real comfortable real fast this week if the Rox hope to salvage much of anything from this road trip.

Let’s Meet The Angels

I spoke to Halo Hangout (@HaloHangout) writer Trey Hannula about the Angels and what Rockies fans can expect during this week’s series:

The Angels are struggling to hit the ball, and besides Mike Trout and Kole Calhoun, it’s a snooze fest up and down the lineup right now. Are you in the “it’s still early, no problem” camp, or the “holy crap we need to get new guys here immediately” club?

I would probably err on the side of “it’s still early” as of right now. The Angels currently rank 29th in the league in BABIP so there’s reason to believe they’ll break out of their slump soon. I expect Albert Pujols and Matt Joyce to heat up in the next few weeks.

Let’s look at some former Rockies… Chris Iannetta has (had?) the starting catching gig and, um, yeah… what the hell is going on? Most catchers aren’t you know, like Buster Posey, but the Halos need better than what Iannetta’s given. Is his roster spot at risk?

Iannetta is definitely on the hot seat right now. Coming into the season, Chris was probably going to get 100+ starts with Drew Butera backing him up but then Carlos Perez was recalled, hit a walk off home run in his first start, and won over Twitter. There’s no way Iannetta continues to play as poorly as he has but we could see him share time 50/50 with Perez, or even devolve to backup catcher, if he doesn’t break out soon.

Josh Rutledge came over to sunny SoCal, fought for a big league middle infield job, and lost to light hitting Johnny Giavotella (who’s actually doing ok!). Do you think you’ll see Rutledge later this year in Anaheim? How’d you feel about giving up Jairo Diaz for him?

Unless Erick Aybar or Giavotella succumbs to injury, I have a hard time seeing Josh Rutledge getting significant time with the Angels this year. At this point, he’s lower on the totem pole than Triple-A prospect Grant Green and hasn’t hit much at Salt Lake so he’s probably not going to be stationed in California anytime soon. I never liked the trade and thought Diaz was too much of a return for the Rockies.

Infielder Taylor Featherston made the Angels after being taken in the Rule V Draft this winter. He played in AA with the Rockies last year; will he stick on the big league roster all summer, or do you expect him to be offered back to the Rox?

Hard to tell. He’s started just two games the entire year which is peculiar when you think about how the Angels’ offense has struggled. The coaching staff must have serious concerns about his game to limit his playing time so much and his at bats in particular.

As of right now, he’s mainly a late defensive replacement/pinch runner and he’s doing a fine job in that role. If a situation arises that requires him to start, it’s possible that he gets returned if his bat doesn’t catch up.

Closing out the book on former Rockies, we really, really, really miss Huston Street. Could we have him back? We’ll give you hard-hitting Daniel Descalso and likely soon-to-be batting champ Drew Stubbs, since you guys need offense and you’re looking for an outfielder. Does that sound like a fair trade?

Throw in Tulo and you’ve got yourself a deal!

Ok, former Rockies talk complete. Let’s get down to the important stuff. Pretend you’re a GM. Do you build around Trout, or Tulowitzki?

Tulo is the best shortstop in the league when he’s healthy but it’s not even close, sorry. Mike Trout is a once in a lifetime player.

You answered the last one wrong. The correct answer is Jose Altuve. Kidding (well, not really). Speaking of Altuve, though, what the hell is up with the Astros? Is your division crown in jeopardy with the Astros, Athletics, and Mariners all looking competitive on paper?

I thought the Astros would be a much improved team this year but they’re surprising everyone right now. I don’t think they have the pitching to take the division right now but give it a year or two and they’ll likely be at that point. I expect the Angels, A’s, and Mariners to finish the year at the top of the division but I can’t tell you in which order.

It looks like the Rockies will see starters C.J. Wilson and Hector Santiago in the two games at Angel Stadium. What should Rockies fan know about those two? (Considering how soft-tosser Josh Collmenter dominated us twice last week, you guys totes should’ve let Jered Weaver throw 73 mph fastballs both days.)

Santiago and Wilson have been pleasant surprises this year and rank 2nd and 3rd in Halo starters’ ERA, respectively, only behind Garrett Richards. Wilson is having a great bounce back year after an ugly 2014 and looks to have corrected himself. Santiago’s peripherals aren’t pretty but he’s getting the job done so far.

Related to that, it looks like you’ll see Tyler Matzek and Jordan Lyles take the hill for the Rox. Are you disappointed that the Angels won’t get a day against The Kyle Kendrick Experience and his 76.45 ERA?

I would definitely buy a ticket to see The Kyle Kendrick Experience if I could. It would give the Angels’ offense a much needed confidence boost. [Editor’s note: with all the rainouts in Denver this week and Matzek’s demotion, it looks like the Angels now will get a day against the Kyle Kendrick Experience.]

Josh Hamilton: give me the cliff notes version: happy he’s gone? Wishing him well? Regret Arte Moreno’s actions? What should I think about Hamilton and the Angels in, like, 75 words?

I think Josh is happier to be out of Anaheim than the fans are. I think the team, fans, and general manager Jerry Dipoto wanted him back but Arte would have no part of it. Hopefully this debacle doesn’t scare away future free agents from coming to the Halos.

I live in LA and go to 5-10 Angels games every year. I am trying really hard to make them my favorite AL team, but I just can’t quit the Chicago White Sox, I think because of Hawk Harrelson. What do you have that’s better than Hawk that will sway me to start rooting for the Angels?

If you give it some time, the tandem of Victor Rojas (play-by-play) and Mark Gubicza (color) can grow on you. Throughout the game Rojas likes to make fun of Gooby whenever he can and it makes for some good laughs (Exhibit 1 and 2).

Also, a new trend that might be exclusively native to Angels Stadium is the light wave. The video doesn’t do it justice but if you ever see it in person and the crowd gets into it, it can look pretty spectacular.

***

Big thanks to Trey for taking the time to enlighten us about the Halos.

The light wave is really cool, I remember being mesmerized by it at the games I’ve been to, so, credit to the Angels for that one. Maybe I will make them my AL team.

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But, for now, go Rockies!

This team can still go undefeated against the American League this year (which… I guess is cool?).

Remember, four games coming up against the Dodgers this weekend after these two with the Halos on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Judging by recent events… yeah.

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