Division title is within reach as Angels visit South Side

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Updated: August 10, 2015

After all of this gripe of a team in free-fall, and even after a disastrous 6 game losing skid, The Angels find themselves right where they need to be. Now just a .5 gm back of the AL West lead, this team is poised to take control of the division leading Astros, who have struggled mightily of late. Winners of just 3 of their last 10, which includes 1 win in their last 7 contests has put a damper on their domination of the AL West. The Angels are also no stranger to struggles. Just ask the greatest player on the planet, Mike Trout, who finds himself in the middle of an almost two week slump that has seen him hit just 7-39. But, even with all of these late July struggles, Trout is still batting over .300 and the Angels are right in the thick of it, fighting for the AL West division crown.

The Halos enter tonights 3 game series against the south-siders fresh off winning their past two series, against the Indians and the Orioles, respectively. The Halos have a difficult stretch in the AL Central as they will play the division leading Royals right after they wrap up affairs on the south side. The Sox have not been nearly as impressive as the Royals this season, but they will not just lay down for the Angels. Starting tonight, the White Sox will put their ace Chris Sale on the mound. Sale is an absolute monster on the rubber, and can usually find himself in the conversation for Cy Young. Tonight will be a great litmus test for this potent offensive lineup. Can they get to Sale early and keep him from going deep into the game? Success against Sale can be had, especially from this offense, however if he settles in early, it will be a tough go for the Halos.

Tonight, the Halos will send Matt Shoemaker to the rubber, and by all means is en fuego. Shoemaker finds himself in the midst of a 19 inning scoreless streak, which has brought his season ERA down almost below 4.00. The most dangerous thing in baseball is a hot pitcher. They can dominate on any given night and I would not be surprised if Shoemaker continues this stretch of dominance, and in case you haven’t yet been sold on Shoemaker, he’s racked up 27 K’s during that 19 inning scoreless streak, but only 1 win. He’ll look to improve that tonight against Sale, who like I’ve said before, will be no easy contest.

Hector Santiago will take the mound tomorrow night as he looks to continue a fine 2015 season thus far. His season ERA steps in at 2.78 while he’s collected 122 K’s in 129 innings of work. However, in Santiago’s last 3 starts, he offers up a mere 0-1 with a 6.19 ERA. He will be battling White Sox youngster Carlos Rodon. Rodon, the first round pick of the White Sox in 2014, has shown his flashes of brilliance this season. The former NC State alum has rung up 90 in just 84 innings of work and while his win-loss record and overall ERA is nothing too impressive, there is no doubt that he will blossom at the number 2 role behind ace Sale.

At this time it is unclear who the Sox will pitch on Wednesday, but it will be the young flamethrower Andrew Heaney. Heaney’s role in this rotation, so far, has been nothing short of spectacular. The team has really depended on him, especially with key injuries to crucial veterans Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson. While Wilson still remains out, Weaver has returned and can now take some of the pressure off the rotation.

More to come on the series and a look towards the Royals,

@wtjefff

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