Hello, Anaheim! Disneyland, the Mighty Ducks, the Rally Monkey … oh, and That Guy Who Used to Play First Base.
Yes, the time is finally here — the Cardinals are facing Albert. A series preview is below, straight from the latest edition of The Bird’s Eye View e-newsletter published by the United Cardinal Bloggers (with this one written by me). If you don’t yet subscribe to The Bird’s Eye View, click here — it’s quick and simple and you can stay well informed!
St. Louis Cardinals (49-32) at Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (39-43)
Angel Stadium of Anaheim
So, the Cardinals are visiting the Angels for the first time ever – though obviously that’s not the real story of this series. No, of course, it’s the Cardinals facing That Guy Who Used to Play First Base, Albert Pujols, for the first time. Much already has been written, much already has been said, much more will be written over these next couple days, much more will be said both during the game broadcasts and elsewhere – you don’t need anything more right here. You already have your own thoughts.
How We Got Here
The Cardinals look for a better month ahead in July than June, when they went 14-14. They’ve lost six of their last eight games and have gone 2-3 on the current three-city road trip. Tonight officially begins the second half of the season for the Cardinals as they play game number 82. They’re 49-32 thus far and in second place in the National League Central, two games behind the Pittsburgh Pirates. They have the second-best record in the majors.
By contrast, the Angels are hot right now and in the midst of a six-game winning streak that includes sweeps of both the Detroit Tigers and Houston Astros on the road. They’re 7-3 in their last 10 games (the three losses being a sweep by the Pirates), though they went 14-13 in June. Currently the Angels are 39-43 and in third place in the American League West, nine games behind the Texas Rangers and 8½ behind the Oakland A’s.
The Cardinals and the Angels have played three series in interleague play previously and, oddly, all were in St. Louis. The first-ever game between the two teams, June 18, 2002, was the last-ever game pitched by Darryl Kile (and also was the night that Jack Buck died). The win put them into first place in the NL Central, a position they held the rest of the season. The Cardinals won the next night as well, before the Angels took the series finale.
The Angels next visited St. Louis in 2007 and took two of three games. The Cards lone win came in the final game behind the pitching of Todd Wellemeyer.
2010 was the most recent time these teams met, with the Cardinals taking two of three. The first game is notable for the grand slam hit by Brad Penny off former Card Joel Piniero, as Penny injured an oblique muscle in the process and never pitched again that season (or for the Cardinals at all).
The Cardinals lead the overall series 5-4.
Cardinals team hitting: .274/.334/.413
Cardinals team ERA: 3.31
Angels team hitting: .267/.332/.419
Angels team ERA: 4.23
Cardinals team leaders
Batting average: Yadier Molina, .345
On-base percentage: Matt Carpenter, .397
Slugging percentage: Carlos Beltran, .549
OPS: Carlos Beltran, .896
Home runs: Carlos Beltran, 19
RBI: Allen Craig, 63
WAR – batting: Matt Carpenter, 3.6
Stolen bases: Daniel Descalso, 4
Wins: Adam Wainwright, 11
ERA: Adam Wainwright, 2.22
Strikeouts: Adam Wainwright, 114
Saves: Edward Mujica, 21
WAR – pitching: Adam Wainwright, 4.3
Angels team leaders
Batting average: Howie Kendrick, .317
On-base percentage: Mike Trout, .392
Slugging percentage: Mike Trout, .545
OPS: Mike Trout, .938
Home runs: Mark Trumbo, 18
RBI: Mike Trout, 52
WAR – batting: Mike Trout, 3.5
Stolen bases: Mike Trout, 20
Wins: C.J. Wilson, 8
ERA: Jerome Williams, 3.21
Strikeouts: C.J. Wilson, 99
Saves: Ernesto Frieri, 21
WAR – pitching: Jason Vargas, 1.8
Who’s Hot and Who’s Not (last 7 games)
Hot: Allen Craig. .400/.429/.900
Carlos Beltran, .350/.381/.750
Matt Adams, .333/.467/.833
Matt Carpenter, .320/.320/.600
Not: Jon Jay, .167/.231/.250
Pete Kozma, .154/.214/.154
Ty Wigginton, .000/.000/.000
Hot: Mike Trout, .435/.500/.696
Chris Iannetta, .429/.556/.857
Josh Hamilton, .429/.519/.571
Erick Aybar, .391/.423/.522
Not: Brad Hawpe, .167/.375/.167
Albert Pujols, .154/.241/.231
Peter Bourjos, .000/.333/.000
Brendan Harris, .000/.167/.000