Cubs @ Angels: Series Thread (Games 60-62)
The Cubs continue their tour of the West Coast with a stop in Anaheim. The Angels enter the series in third in the NL West, while the Cubs can console themselves that they still have a better record than the Cardinals--and that no one is really out of the NL Central "race" yet. The Cubs will dodge their 2024 Opening Day starter and primary DH question mark, Shohei Ohtani. See below for matchups.
Game 60, Tuesday, June 6, 8:38 pm central
LAA: LHP Tyler Anderson (2-1, 5.47 ERA)
CHC: RHP Hayden Wesneski (2-2, 4.81 ERA)
The veteran Anderson had a career 2022 in his first year with the Angels. He's fooling fewer hitters this season, however, resulting in less weak contact and fewer swings at pitches out of the zone. He's had hardly any platoon splits over his career as a whole, but he's been hammered by righties so far this year.
Wesneski pitched 3.2 innings in relief of Steele on May 31 and takes his rotation spot while Steele recovers from his injury. He was solid in two minor league appearances after getting shellacked at the major league level on May 13, when the Twins tagged him for four homeruns.
Game 61, Wednesday, June 7, 8:38 pm central
LAA: RHP Jaime Barria (2-2, 1.59 ERA)
CHC: RHP Jameson Taillon (1-3, 7.05 ERA)
Barria debuted way back in 2018 at the age of 21. After making 26 starts that season, he has since bounced between the majors and the minors filling in rotation and bullpen depth as needed at the Major League level. He's allowed more than one earned run only once this year, way back on April 4.
Taillon has generally struggled to shut down opposing offenses this season. However, he got sixth inning outs for the first time in his last start and took home his first Cubs' win.
Game 62, Wednesday, June 8, 8:38 pm central
LAA: LHP Reid Detmers (0-5, 5.15 ERA)
CHC: LHP Drew Smyly (5-3, 3.56 ERA)
A tenth overall pick in the 2020 draft, Reid Detmers is only 23 years old. He made five starts with the Angels in 2021 and returned for 25 more starts in 2022. He came up with a well-reviewed curve but relies more frequently on a slider, playing off of his mid-90s fastball. He's a bit of a flyball pitcher and has been knocked around by lefties so far in 2023.
Smyly was a pleasant surprise in 2022, turning in 22 solid starts and remaining a Cub by virtue only of a poorly timed injury. He's already surpassed that 2022 value in just over half the innings this season. He was hit fairly hard in his last two outings by the Padres and the Reds.