Washington Nationals 2020 Season Preview: Los Angeles Angels

HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 22: Max Scherzer #31 of the Washington Nationals reacts after retiring the side in the fifth inning against the Houston Astros in Game One of the 2019 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 22, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 22: Max Scherzer #31 of the Washington Nationals reacts after retiring the side in the fifth inning against the Houston Astros in Game One of the 2019 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 22, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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The Angels are tired of wasting Mike Trouts prime and have made moves to go all in. Will this year be any different for the Halos?

The Rundown

The Angels were projected by some to be a sleeper in 2019. Instead the pitching staff was injured and finished as one of the worst in the league. Mike Trout continued to do Mike Trout things as he won his third MVP award. But as we all know, one player can’t carry a team in baseball. The Angels are determined to get the best player in baseball back to the playoffs. So they hired Joe Maddon to be the new manager and signed Anthony Rendon to a seven year deal worth $245 million. Rendon and Trout will form the best three-four combo in baseball. Shohei Ohtani should be cleared to begin pitching again and Justin Upton will be healthy.

Rendon is a huge addition to this offense. He had a career year in Washington where he hit .319, with 34 homers, 126 RBI’s, and an OPS of 1.010.  Rendon then helped put the team on his back and delivered a World Series title to D.C.

The Angels found the perfect running mate for Trout, but the team may still be hampered by the starting rotation.

The front office struck out on all the big name starters and chose to bring in Julio Tehran and Dylan Bundy. While they are not marquee names, they will help bolster a starting rotation that ranked 29th in ERA last year with a 5.64. A trade for a proven ace is still a necessity, but this was a good start. Teheran is coming off of a decent season in Atlanta where he went 10-11, with a 3.81 ERA, and 162 strikeouts. The 29 year old will bring stability to a rotation that is crying for help.

LAA’s 2019 record: 72-90

Washington’s record vs. the Angels: Didn’t play each other

LAA added/re-signed: Anthony Rendon, Dylan Bundy, Julio Teheran,

LAA lost: Justin Bour, Kole Calhoun, Trevor Cahill, Zack Cozart,

 Nationals to Watch

Albert Pujols. Mike Trout. Anthony Rendon. Justin Upton. Shohei Ohtani. The Angels have a deep lineup if they can all stay healthy and consistent. Washington’s pitching staff should be drooling at the mouth for a challenge such as this. And who better to face a lineup such as this than Max Scherzer. The Angels lineup is meant to wear down opposing pitchers, and Scherzer is prone to giving up the long ball early on in the game. Now with Rendon in the mix, the Angels have the perfect player to protect Mike Trout in the lineup.

In a limited sample size, Scherzer has dominated against the Angels. In 61 at bats against Scherzer, the current Angels lineup is hitting .164 with an OPS of .592. The key match-up to watch for is Trout vs. Scherzer. Surpisingly, Scherzer has dominated Trout over the years. Trout is 3-16 with a homer and 10 strikeouts against the righty. Trout is the heart and soul of the Angels lineup and will need to overcome Scherzer in order to jump start the offense.

2020 Series Prediction

May 11-13 @ LA

The Angels have an improved lineup but their pitching staff is still a liability. Max Scherzer and company will be the different makers in the series.

Prediction: Nats win series 2-1

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