Though an interleague matchup between two teams that hardly ever meet usually wouldn’t normally be cause for national attention, the faceoff between the Washington Nationals (11-8) and the Los Angeles Angels (8-10) has garnered such attention because of the two phenoms it features.
After more than two full years in the majors Mike Trout and Bryce Harper are past their rookie days, but the 2012 Rookies of the Year will play against each other in the regular season for the first time since the start of their highly publicized careers.
The comparisons of the two sluggers are never-ending, and when looking at the stats, Trout usually holds an advantage over Harper.
Trout’s four-year career slash line is .314/.402/.548, while Harper’s three-year line is .273/.353/.477. Trout’s line this season is .307/.373/.613, and his slugging percentage is the highest in the American League. After a slow start to the season, Harper’s line sits at .292/ .352/.415, but he has been heating up recently.
Although the national conversation will likely be focused on the two young players, the two teams will only have winning on their minds.
The Angels and their sub-500 record are in third place in the AL-West. They are coming off a series loss against the Detroit Tigers, and are on a two-game losing streak.
The Nationals just split a series with the St. Louis Cardinals, and continue to battle the critique that they struggle to compete with excellent teams, but excel against poor ones. The Angels probably sit somewhere in between excellent and poor, but regardless, the Nationals will be looking for the win.
After hitting four home runs in his last seven games, Angels’ slugger Albert Pujols is approaching the career benchmark of 500 homers. Only 26 players have ever reached this goal, so Angels fans and the baseball community are eagerly waiting to welcome the newest member to the exclusive club.
After a disappointing 2013 season when Pujols hit only 17 home runs, the fewest he’s ever hit in his 14-year career, he seems back on track this season, and is leading the Angels’ offense with a total of six home runs.
Pujols’ career home run total currently sits at 498, so there is a chance he could hit his 500th out of Nationals Park. No Nats pitcher ever wants to surrender a home run, of course, but if it’s going to happen, becoming a part of history seems like the best way to do it.
- The Nats have played the Angels just nine times since 2005, and have a 3-6 record against them. The last time they met the Angels swept the Nationals in a three-game series in 2011.
- The Angels have the most home runs in the majors (29), and the second-highest slugging percentage (.441). However their pitching staff also gives up a lot of home runs, a total of 22 which is fourth-most in the majors, and is an average of 1.2 per nine innings.
The Nationals allow fewer home runs, so they have a chance to hold the Angels and Pujols at bay. Their 17 home runs allowed is in the middle third when compared to other teams, and is an average of 0.9 per nine innings.
In The Zone
Danny Espinosa (2B) .308 AVG, .357 OBP, .577 SLG, 1 HR, 3 RBI (last seven games)
Howie Kendrick (2B) .370 AVG, .414 OBP, .593 SLG, 2 HR, 7 RBI (last six games)
Albert Pujols (1B) .360 AVG, .429 OBP, .760 SLG, 3 HR, 7 RBI (last six games)
Erick Aybar (SS) .125 AVG, .125 OBP, .125 SLG, 0 RBI, 3 SO (last six games)
Raul Ibanez (LF) .045 AVG, .045 OBP, .091 SLG, 0 RBI, 6 SO (last six games)
4/21, Tanner Roark (1-0, 5.29 ERA, .281 BAA, 13 SO, 17.0 IP) vs. Garrett Richards (2-0, 2.84 ERA, .182 BAA, 18 SO, 19.0 IP)
4/22, Taylor Jordan (0-2, 5.94 ERA, .315 BAA, 12 SO, 16.2 IP) vs. Tyler Skaggs (1-0, 3.43 ERA, .250 BAA, 11 SO. 21.0 IP)
4/23, Gio Gonzalez (3-1, 2.88 ERA, .209 BAA, 24 SO, 25.0 IP) vs. Jered Weaver (1-2, 4.74 ERA, .195 BAA, 20 SO, 24.2 IP)