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Series Preview: Milwaukee Brewers @ Los Angeles Angels

The Brewers kick off their first West Coast swing of the season in a battle of MVPs

Texas Rangers v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

With the Brewers being both in the National League and not on the West Coast, most of us don’t get to see Mike Trout that much. That changes this week, as the Brewers head into the Big A to face the Angels for their first interleague series of the season.

Trout signed a 12-year, $430 million extension just a few weeks ago, and an argument could be made that he deserved even more. After all, if anyone deserves more of MLB’s record profits and the first half-billion dollar contract in North American sports (and the league is certainly making enough money to pay its top player that amount), it’s him.

Instead, he took a bit of a discount to stay with the team that drafted and developed him into the all-around baseball killing machine he’s become, and that’s good for the game. If this was 10 years ago, we’d be talking about how he’d be getting ready to join Bryce Harper in the Bronx. Now we’re talking about whether the Angels will be able to recruit other big name players to come play with the Best In The World, especially once Albert Pujols’ contract comes off the books.

The Halos have struggled to put a good team around Trout for years now, and Shohei Ohtani needing elbow surgery likely sank this season before it truly began, but they’ve at least tried to patch together a competent -- if limited-ceiling -- rotation and cast of supporting players, including Justin Bour and Old Friend Jonathan Lucroy. Ohtani won’t be able to throw a baseball this year as he recovers from the surgery, but there’s still hope he could return as a DH and at least be able to hit at some point this season.

Whether that’s enough to keep up with Oakland or the Seattle Former Brewers remains to be seen. They come into this series at 4-6, although they’ve won their last 3 straight, taking a 4-game set from the Rangers after losing 5 in a row.

Probable Starters

Monday, April 8th - 9:07 p.m. CDT
Jhoulys Chacin vs. Trevor Cahill

The Angels signed Cahill to a one-year, $9 million free agent deal this winter and he’s off to a decent start to the year, rebounding from a 6 inning, 4 earned run effort against the A’s on Opening Day to hold the high-powered Mariners to 1 run over 6 innings in his last start. He still doesn’t throw hard but excels at getting groundball outs.

Tuesday, April 9th - 9:07 p.m. CDT
Freddy Peralta vs. Matt Harvey

Another one-year stopgap signing (this one for $11 million), Harvey still looks extremely hittable, allowing 10 earned runs on 14 hits over 10 innings in his first two starts with the Angels. He has nearly as many walks (5) as strikeouts (6) in his first two appearances. Most of those runs -- 8 of them -- came in his most recent start.

Wednesday, April 10th - 9:07 p.m. CDT
Brandon Woodruff vs. Felix Pena

Pena has struck out 10 batters in his first 2 starts but hasn’t been efficient, pitching only 8.1 innings in those outings. The former Cub is trying to stick as a starter with the Angels with a sinker/curveball mix.

Previous Meeting

May 2nd-4th, 2016

These two met early in a 2016 season that ended up being disappointing for both teams, as the Angels finished in 4th place in the AL West at 74-88 and the Brewers finished 73-89 in what’s ended up being their most recent losing season.

Mike Trout did go on to win his second MVP award in that season, though, hitting .315/.441/.550 with 29 home runs, 32 doubles, and 30 steals on 37 attempts.

Trout ended up going 7-for-11 in this three game series with 2 home runs and 7 RBI, but the Brewers were able to take 2 of 3 in a series that also saw Junior Guerra’s first start as a Brewer (he allowed 4 runs in 6 innings, and was credited with the win in the series’ second game). The Brewers had a chance at the sweep with a 3-2 lead in the 8th inning of the series finale, but Tyler Thornburg was tagged for 4 runs and David Goforth gave up another run in the 9th in what ended up being a 7-3 loss.

Player to Watch

There’s still really only one player worth watching on the Angels, and it’s Trout.

As good as Christian Yelich has been to start 2019 for the Brewers, Trout has been better -- which probably isn’t a surprise, considering he’s the best baseball player alive.

Through the Angels’ first 10 games, Trout is hitting .393/.581/1.000 for a 1.581 OPS with 5 home runs, 2 doubles, and 11 walks with just 3 strikeouts in his first 43 plate appearances. Yelich made headlines for homering in each of the Brewers’ first four games, and Trout has matched the feat, homering in the Angels’ past four games coming into tonight. In fact, all 5 of his home runs have come in that stretch, as he’s gone 6-for-11 in those games (all but one hit in this stretch has been a home run). He’s about as locked in as a hitter can be at the moment.

Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference