West Coast baseball continues for one more week, with the Yankees heading to SoCal for a three-game set with perhaps the most dysfunctional organization in the American League. The Angels have accrued nearly 11 fWAR between Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout, likely the two best baseball players we will see in our lifetime, and they sit 15 games out of a Wild Card spot. We do not see Ohtani pitch this series, as he dominated the Blue Jays on Saturday, but expect to see him in his customary #3 slot in the lineup.
Monday: Frankie Montas vs. José Suarez, 9:38pm Eastern
Suarez is the worst of the Angels’ “regular” starters, a 4.19 ERA with an identical FIP across 73 innings. He walks too many batters and gives up too many home runs, though he has seen an uptick in Ks since his rookie season last year.
Montas hasn’t gotten off to the best start with the Yankees, alternating good and bad outings in his first four since the trade deadline. He is coming off a good start against a powerful Mets team, going 5.2 innings of two-run ball, with a 6:1 K:BB ratio last week. The Angels lineup is extremely top-heavy, so if Montas can work through the top third, he’ll be in a good place for a second-straight strong start.
Tuesday: Jameson Taillon vs. Patrick Sandoval, 9:38pm Eastern
Sandoval is the best non-Ohtani pitcher the Angels feature, with a sterling 3.05 ERA and 3.15 FIP. He’s done a terrific job of managing contact, with a 47 percent groundball rate and 5.5 percent barrel rate. He does walk a few too many batters, but with just six home runs in 115 innings, he hasn’t really had to pay for those mistakes much this season.
Taillon is quickly becoming the definition of an average pitcher — there’s nothing really wrong with what he brings to the table, but he’s also not going to give you the kind of high-ceiling domination that he showed in his first half-dozen or so starts of the year. He has a 4.55 ERA in the month of August, though that’s inflated by one terrible start against Seattle, and his following four starts have graded out as just about average.
Wednesday: Gerrit Cole vs. Mike Mayers, 9:38pm Eastern
It’s hard to evaluate Mike Mayers, the swingman of the rotation due for his second start of the season. He’s given up eight home runs in just 34 innings, and a shocking 12 percent barrel rate, but 34 innings just isn’t enough data to really tell what kind of pitcher he is. He was considerably better in a relief role last year, with a 3.84 FIP instead of this year’s 5.11.
The Yankee ace had a blip a couple weeks ago against the Blue Jays, but outside of that, has been on a roll, allowing six runs in his last four starts, with 30 strikeouts in 24.1 innings. He leads all of MLB in Ks, and can build on that lead while continuing to chase down Gator with a big outing in the finale.