Friday, August 27, 2004

After beating up on a Williamsport also-ran, the Angels set themselves to host the Minnesota Twins, a bona fide good team in line for yet another playoff spot from what is possibly baseball most mediocre division. We've split our six games against the Gemini to this point in the season, so let's take a look inside the series:

                                     Park Adjusted*

Team W L RS RA PythW PythL RS RA
ANA 73 54 663 585 71 56 675 598
MIN 71 56 606 571 67 60 587 553
*based on the park factors available here.
Hey, so we're really the better team. Another thing to consider is that we don't play in a weak sister division, meaning we get more games against toughies like Oakland and Texas. Here are the pitching match-ups ("Adj" using the same park factors):

Pitcher  ERA   Adj  K/BF  BB/BF  HR/BF

Sele 4.43 4.51 .096 .087 .032
Radke 3.41 3.30 .162 .025 .026
The cover-your-eyes match-up of the series. Radke has owned the Angels over his career, as the Halos have always seemed unable to build a team that can hit his change-up. He owns a 12-5 record against the Lads, with a 1.65 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP in 153 innings. He strikes out a decent number of men, and has impeccable control, so expect a lot of Halo flailing about tonight. Of course, the last time Radke faced Anaheim (May 1) he lost a 1-0 decision to ... Aaron Sele, who was in the prime of his groundball coaxing powers, getting the Twins to hit 11 grounders against two flies. The Angels will likely need to have Sele continue is high-wire act; or, of course, they could finally solve The Riddle That Is Radke.

Pitcher  ERA   Adj  K/BF  BB/BF  HR/BF

Escobar 4.11 4.19 .208 .091 .024
Santana 3.13 3.03 .291 .065 .034
You probably know that Johan Santana has been on fire for the last few months. His ERA stood at 5.61 on May 29. Since then, he's rattled off 120 innings with 153 strikeouts, a mere 27 walks, and 13 home runs allowed. And, oh yeah, 25 earned runs for an ERA of 1.47. 1.47!!!

To clarify: 1.47.

So, though Kelvim's been our most consistent starter to this point, he has his hands full, and his chances of at long last receiving sufficient offensive support are, at best, slim. But there are still chances. Santana sticks around the plate, so maybe the Angel free-swinging ways will give him trouble. And no one is good enough to put a 1.47 ERA over three months in this day and age. Are they?

Pitcher  ERA   Adj  K/BF  BB/BF  HR/BF

Colon 5.30 5.40 .172 .085 .047
Silva 4.71 4.56 .087 .039 .029
Silva is questionable due to back and neck pain. And as we know, The Big Mango has been pitching like his old self of late, though against lousy teams. Colon hasn't faced a team with a record above .500 since July 27, when he pitched seven scoreless innings and picked up a win against Texas. That ended an excellent three-game stretch for Colon (against Boston once and Texas again) where he pitched 20 innings and allowed two runs against two good teams. I feel good about this game.

But the first two are going to be tough. The Angel offense has been torrid (this is the sophisticated analysis you can rely on me for!), and they'll need to be at their best to knock of Radke and Santana.

Wasn't last night's game a thriller? The end especially. I'm going to today's game, and I'm almost optimistic about it.
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