Los Angeles Angels
The Angels have struggled offensively over the last six games, which has led to only two wins. Their backend pitching has been drilled twice in the last four starts. Tyler Skaggs was blasted by the Rangers last week at home when he allowed six runs and 11 base runners in 2.7 innings. Hector Santiago wasn’t much better in his last outing against the Yankees. He only allowed two earned runs (six total) and eight base runners in 2.3 innings. Santiago has lost six of his seven starts this season. Jered Weaver dominated the Yankees on Monday night thanks to some shady pitch calling by the umpire. He allowed one run in eight innings with 7 K’s to get his ERA (3.48) back in line. Joe Smith surprisingly developed some soreness in his right side, which allowed Ernesto Frieri a window to steal the closing job back. Frieri earned a saved his first chance, but he allowed a game losing home run in the ninth inning in his last outing. Kole Calhoun is getting closer to returning from the DL. He has started running and take batting practice. He appears to be two weeks away from the majors. Josh Hamilton has also stepped up his baseball activities. He is expected to hit off a tee this weekend with an eye on returning to the majors around the last week in May. LA called up top hitting prospect C.J. Cron over the weekend. He is expected to see time at first base with Albert Pujols having a slight hamstring issue. If he has success, he could push his way into regular at bats at DH. He has 8 hits in his first 19 major league at-bats with 3 RBI. Mike Trout only has two hits in his last 20 at bats. Albert Pujols led the team in hitting last week after Cron (.364 with 3 RBI).
The Astros have only won 5 of their last 22 games. Their pitching staff has allowed 6 or more runs in 7 of their last 11 games. They are last in the American League in runs scored (114) while only hitting .217 as a team. Top prospect George Springer has brought nothing to the table in his first 76 major league at-bats (.224 with 28 K’s). He is still looking for his first home run. As bad as he has looked, Springer was Houston’s best batter last week (7 for 21). Jason Castro has 10 K’s in his last 25 at bats (39 K’s in 107 at bats on the year). Jonathan Villar was the Astros most productive hitter in the last six games (.294 with 2 HR’s, 5 RBI, and 4 SB’s). Jarrod Cosart threw seven shutout innings on the road against Tigers. Houston’s starters went 0-5 on the week. Carlos Correa returned to action at High A. He has a five-game hitting streak (8/23 with 3 RBI and 1 SB). One of their top pitching prospects, Mike Foltynewicz, had 12 K’s with one run allowed in his last start at AAA. He has only allowed two runs in his last 15 innings with 15 K’s, but he has a 4.20 ERA on the year with 15 walks in 30 innings.
Oakland has lost five of their last seven games, which has tightened up the race in the AL West. Their offense has really struggled in their last seven games (18 runs). The only pitcher that has had consistent success over the last couple of weeks has been Sonny Gray. He has allowed three runs or less in every start this season. Drew Pomeranz made a spot start this week against Seattle where he delivered five shutout innings with 5 K’s. He could push his way into the starting rotation if Tommy Milone continues to struggle. Milone was drilled for 6 runs, 9 base runners, and 3 HR’s in his last start against Boston. Jim Johnson recorded his second save of the year against the Mariners. Fantasy owners are hoping that he can string together a few good outings to regain his closing job. Josh Donaldson had 11 K’s in 23 at bats last week. Josh Reddick only has 1 hit in his last 18 at bats. Coco Crisp is listed as day-to-day with a neck issue. He’ll be replaced in the starting lineup by Craig Gentry.
The Mariners have somehow worked their way into second place in the AL West by winning 10 of their last 13 games. Their success has been driven by a bump in their offense. Seattle has scored five runs or more eight times during that stretch. Overall, they haven’t had plus pitching over the last two weeks. They have only allowed three runs or less six times in their last 13 games. On the year, they are 4th in the AL in ERA (3.65). Michael Saunders has been the team’s best hitter over the last eight games (.314 with 4 RBI and 1 SB). He should continue to get regular at bats with Abraham Almonte being sent back to AAA. Logan Morrison still hasn’t started his rehab assignment as he recovers from his hamstring injury. Robinson Cano tied for the team lead in RBI (7) on the week, but he only has 1 HR in 132 at bats this season. Mike Zunino has only 3 hits in his last 21 at bats, but two of them left the park. Seattle called up James Jones when they sent Almonte to the minors. He is a career .282 hitter in the minors with 42 HR’s, 248 RBI, and 99 SB’s in 1902 at bats. His K rate (21.6%) isn’t great for a player with his skill set. Felix Hernandez has been unimpressive in his last two starts (3.97 ERA). He had no strikeouts in his last start against Oakland, which was only the second time in his career when pitching more than five innings. Hisashi Iwakuma returned from the DL last week. He allowed four runs in 6.7 innings with 3 K’s. Roenis Elias was the Mariners best pitcher on the week (2-0 with a 2.70 ERA and 16 K’s in 3.3 innings). Chris Young continues to get batters out with mirrors. He has allowed 16 walks in 29.7 innings, but he is 2-0 with a 3.03 ERA. Seattle also called up Erasmo Ramirez, who made a spot start against the A’s. He allowed two runs in six innings with 4 K’s. He pitched well enough where he could bump Brandon Maurer from the starting rotation.
The Rangers continue to show no guts as a team. They have lost eight of their last 10 games while only scoring 17 runs in their losses. Texas has been railroaded by the highflying Colorado Rockies over the last three games. The Rockies have outscored the Rangers 29-5. Their pitching staff has allowed five runs or more seven times in their last 10 starts to drop Texas to 14th in the AL in ERA (4.72). They are tied for eighth in the American League in runs scored (141). The starting pitchers have allowed 26 runs and 64 base runners in the last six games covering 29.7 innings. The Rangers called up Scott Baker from AAA. He pitched 5.3 innings in relief of Colby Lewis while allowing two runs. I expect him to get a shot in the starting rotation in the near future. Shin Soo Choo has 11 hits in his last 20 at bats with 1 RBI and 2 SB’s. Prince Fielder hit .318 for the week, but he still only has 2 HR’s in 124 at bats this season. Adrian Beltre has homered in his last two games. Elvis Andrus has 5 hits in his last 24 at bats, which has led to Texas hitting him at the bottom of the order. Leonys Martin only has 3 hits in his last 18 at bats.