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Series Preview: Braves vs. Angels

Let's go fishing!

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Trout is coming.

There. That's it. Preview over. All you need to know about this upcoming series is summed up in one sentence. For those who prefer a broader analysis, read on.

After winning only three games on a seven-game road trout trip, the Braves return home to try to reel in some wins against the visiting Angels. That has proven to be an elusive achievement as the Braves are 0-6 against the AL this year.

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Orange County, California, United States, North America, Western Hemisphere, Planet Earth, Milky Way Galaxy Mike Trout Mike Trout Mike Trout Mike Trout Mike Trout Mike Trout Mike Trout...holy crap, I got off track! Anywho, the Angels are riding a streak of six wins in their last eight games, which may or may not have to do with Josh Hamilton's return.

Hamilton missed most of two months with a torn thumb ligament, but has since recorded 11 hits in his last 25 at-bats, and homered in his return June 3. He's only appeared in 17 games, so his .381 average should be expected to return to his career norms. He has, along with Trout and Albert Pujols, hit Aaron Harang very well. Hamilton has been one hitter who's been tearing it up lately. Fellow outfielders Kole Calhoun and Collin Cowgill are hitting .385 and .353 respectively in the past week. The same can't be said for new guy David Freese who has just three hits in his last 19 at-bats and is overall having a miserable time, hitting just .222 and slugging .285 (6 XBH in 158 AB) with 15 RBI.

Since hitting nine homers in April, Albert Pujols has cooled off considerably. He hit .234 in May and currently holds a .205 June batting average (8-39). This is clearly no longer the Albert from St. Louis and provides little more than home runs these days. Gone is the .300-hitting Albert, but the pop is still there.

As for Mike Trout, what can you say about a guy whose bats are carved by magical master craftsmen and whose glove is a magnet for would-be home runs? If it weren't for a pinch-hit appearance June 3, he'd have a 19-game hitting streak. No one on the Angels has drawn more walks or struck out more.

By AL standards, the Angels pitching is good, but far from great. The team ERA (3.83) is a full run higher than that of Oakland, but is good enough for fourth in the AL and Garrett Richards has a lot to do with that. His 3.09 ERA leads the team and he has gradually improved his results since his debut in 2011. One area of concern is wild pitches. His 11 wild pitches this year already equal his total in 145 innings last year.

While the rotation has been okay, the bullpen, has seen its share of trouble. Their "closer", Ernesto Frieri, has allowed 13 runs in 28 innings. One of the few bright spots in the Angels relief corps is rookie Mike Morin who, in 19.1 innings, has allowed just three runs with 15 strikeouts. That's one thing this bullpen does well: in 188.2 relief innings, Angels relievers have struck out 196 hitters, and their K/9 is second in the AL (fifth in MLB). Morin is one of three rookies currently in the Angels bullpen; former Brave Cory Rasmus is among them.


Friday, June 13, 7:35 p.m. ET

Aaron Harang (ATL)

13 starts, 4-5 W-L, 3.33 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 2.66 K/BB

C.J. Wilson (LAA)

13 starts, 7-5 W-L, 3.32 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 2.32 K/BB

Saturday, June 14, 7:15 p.m. ET - FOX

Gavin Floyd (ATL)

7 starts, 1-2 W-L, 2.57 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 2.92 K/BB

Garrett Richards (LAA)

13 starts, 6-2 W-L, 3.09 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 2.85 K/BB

Sunday, June 15, 8:00 p.m. ET - ESPN

Mike Minor (ATL)

8 starts, 2-4 W-L, 4.31 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 2.87 K/BB

Hector Santiago (LAA)

8 starts, 0-6 W-L, 4.15 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 2.05 K/BB

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