The Los Angeles Angels begin a two-game Interleague series with the host Cincinnati Reds on Monday. The two met for two games in Los Angeles earlier in the season, with the Angels winning both by an identical 5-1 score.
The Angels are now 56-57 this season after taking a loss in Cleveland in their last game. They are sitting in fourth place in the AL West, 17 games back from the first-place Houston Astros. The Angels have obviously had a rough season this year, but they do have some young talent to build around and one of the best players in the entire league with Mike Trout.
Patrick Sandoval will make his major-league debut in this game for the Angels. While Taylor Cole is expected to work the first inning or two, Sandoval should get the majority of the game. Any time a pitcher makes a debut, it can cause trouble for the opponents just because of the lack of experience against them. It will be interesting to see how fast the Reds can adjust to the new pitcher.
It is no surprise that centerfielder Mike Trout leads the Angels in, well, just about everything. He currently has 36 home runs this season, which is tied for second in all of baseball. He is posting a .296 batting average, which is 11th in the American League, and has 87 runs batted in, first in the American League. Needless to say, Trout has an impact in every game he is in, and the Reds will need to minimize that impact to avoid letting him take over the game.
Still In It
The Reds are 52-58 this season, and while their record is just below the Angels, Cincinnati is in the NL Central, which has been tight and is a division that they play well within. They are in fourth place in the division but just 7.5 games back from the first-place Chicago Cubs. They are 6-4 over their last 10 games, and they were one of the more active teams at the deadline, building not just for this year but also the future of the team.
Scheduled to get the start will be 26-year-old Luis Castillo. The right-hander is 10-4 this season after allowing just one run over seven innings and picking up the win in his last game against the Pirates. Castillo leads the Reds in wins, ERA with 2.63, and strikeouts with 151. He has been very solid for them this year, and the young starter should be a centerpiece of their rotation for years to come.
On offense, third baseman Eugenio Suarez leads the team in home runs with 29 and also with runs batted in with 71. Reds shortstop Jose Iglesias leads the team with his .285 batting average, but he is currently listed as day-to-day.
What To Expect
In this game, the teams are fairly even, though taking a team with a new pitcher can be a huge risk, I think the lack of experience against him will work to the Angels advantage in this game. Look for the Reds to struggle to get the bats going and for Los Angeles to capitalize and take the win.