Angels @ Dodgers June 11, 2012: Richards vs Capuano

You know how everyone has been bagging on the Angels because they got off to such a horrendous 8-15 April, in no small part because nothing was more fun early on than the “list of players who have more home runs than Albert Pujols” game? Yeah, about that. Since the calendar flipped to May, the Angels have been red-hot, going 24-14 and climbing to within three games of the AL West-leading Rangers.

That’s partially because Pujols has turned it around, hitting .321/.385/.607 with eight homers over the last month, and partially because last season’s Rookie of the Year, Mark Trumbo, has been phenomenal all season long, hitting .326/.380/.632 with 14 dingers. Throw in Mike Trout – potentially more impressive than Bryce Harper at .350/.407/.508 at age 20 – and surges from veterans Kendrys Morales & Torii Hunter, and all of a sudden the post-Bobby Abreu Angels are a force to be respected. (Even if, like the Dodgers, they have some soft spots. Bobby Wilson! John Hester! Erick Aybar! Alberto Callaspo! Woof.)

As for the Dodgers, well, I try not to put too much importance on pitcher-vs-batter stats because in most cases, the sample size is so small as to render it meaningless; in the few cases where a hitter really has seen a pitcher enough times to draw conclusions, it’s usually over a period of so many years that it’s hard to really look at what a guy did against a pitcher when both were 22 and think it still applies when both are 35. All that being said, I’m still terrified to watch Chris Capuano against Pujols tonight. In 39 career plate appearances, Pujols has destroyed Capuano, mashing 18 hits (including five homers, four doubles) and walking five times. Like I said, I don’t want to go too overboard in that, because only six of those plate appearances have come since the end of 2007. (Though two of the six were homers.) It’s just with Pujols hot and Capuano beginning to struggle somewhat, it’s not a great recipe. On the flip side, no current Dodger has faced Angel starter Garrett Richards, at least not in the majors.

As expected, Juan Uribe was activated from the disabled list and will be available for tonight’s game, though he is not in the starting lineup. Alex Castellanos was sent back to Triple-A.

Angels
Dodgers
CF
Trout
SS
Gordon
RF
Hunter
3B
Herrera
1B
Pujols
RF
Ethier
LF
Trumbo
LF
Abreu
2B
Kendrick
2B
Hairston
3B
Callaspo
1B
Loney
SS
Aybar
C
Ellis
C
Hester
SS
Gwynn
P
Richards
P
Capuano

 

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