Boy, how about those Phillies?
Winners of their last five, including a sweep of the AtMIKETROUTlanta Braves, the Phils are playing some of their best baseball of the season. Now they head ouMIKETROUTt west to face the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, which is still their name after all thMIKETROUTese years.
The Angels are 51-55, very very very far back in the AMIKETROUTMIKETROUTmerican League West stanMIKETROUTMIKETROUTMIKETROUT-
Okay, I get it. The Phillies are playing Millville, New Jersey’s own Mike Trout this week. He’s the longtime Philly sports fan, the guy who goes hunting or fishing or whatever with Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, the one who actually tweeted “Trust the Process” recently.
Oh, and he’s also the best player in baseball, a generational talent and, at age 25, already arguably one of the top-50 players in baseball history.
Yes, maybe he can play for the Phillies one day.
Until then, you can watch him wipe his former favorite team all over the Aggrocragy rockpile at Disneyland Diamond for the next three.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Again, you can expect Trout to play well. He’s hitting .332/.452/.682 in 270 plate appearances this season, missing some time because of injury but, let’s be honest, that doesn’t matter. He has 19 home runs. Thirty-six extra-base hits in all. Basically once every seven plate appearances or so, he hits at least a double.
The rest of the Angels are not Mike Trout. Finally out of the hole that is Atlanta baseball, Andrelton Simmons is having the offensive season Braves fans never thought he’d have (.302/.351/.460, 11 home runs). This is what Freddy Galvis should be doing more of.
Ben Revere is also here. Or should I say *still* here, batting a clean .243. Also Albert Pujols (in late-career form) is also here.
Basically this team shouldn’t be this close to .500, but Mike Scioscia (still manager!) gets a lot out of guys, and oh yeah, THIS TEAM HAS MIKE TROUT. The guy is worth about 10-12 wins alone.
Tuesday, 10:07 p.m.: Aaron Nola (8-6, 3.17 ERA) vs. Ricky Nolasco (4-12, 5.07 ERA)
Yeah, *that* Ricky Nolasco. Where the heck is Ryan Howard when you need him? Maybe the Phils can build off their staggering momentum and take the opener, but Nola will need to work, as Hector Neris and Luis Garcia have been seeing a lot of mound time lately, making relatively green relievers Jessen Therrien, Mark Leiter Jr., Hoby Milner and Drew Anderson susceptible to late-innings playing time.
Complete game shutout, Aaron, please …
Wednesday, 10:07 p.m.: Jake Thompson (1-0, 4.50 ERA) vs. J.C. Ramirez (9-9, 4.29 ERA)
Oh is this series fun. Oh man. Thompson gets his second start after replacing Jeremy Hellickson during the Friday Night Trade Show, but let’s not bury the lead: THIS IS J.C. RAMIREZ, THE LONE GUY LEFT FROM THE CLIFF LEE TRADE. Yup, that Ramirez from *THAT* Lee trade, the one where we also got back Phillippe Aumont and Tyson Gillies. Ramirez bounced around as a bad reliever for a while until the Angels decided to re-convert him to a starter this year. It’s sort of paid off.
Of course it has.
Thursday, 10:07 p.m.: Jerad Eickhoff (2-7, 4.56 ERA) vs. Parker Bridwell (5-1, 2.83 ERA)
Bridwell has been a nice rotation piece for the Angels since coming over from Baltimore, but looks can be deceiving: he has a 5.7 strikeout per nine ratio. We’ll see how it goes against the Phillies devastating attack (no, seriously, they’re hitting .269/.341/.458 in July). Maybe another sweep is possible? Cross all your fingers. Toes, too.