Los Angeles Angels vs. Atlanta Braves Series Preview

In a showdown of current wild-card leaders, the Atlanta Braves will host the Los Angeles Angels for a three-game interleague series beginning on Friday.

The Angels are fresh off a series victory over the AL West-leading Oakland A's, and have won five of six to vault themselves to the upper echelon of the American League.

The Braves, on the other hand, have lost four of six to fall from their perch atop the NL East. They will look to get the 28th-best scoring offense in the Majors (230 runs scored) on track in front of the home faithful at Turner Field.


Home: Atlanta Braves (34-31, 18-14 home)

Away: Los Angeles Angels (36-29, 16-15 away)

Key Stat:

Mike Trout's current OPS (.936) places him tenth in Major League Baseball in the category - despite being over 50 points behind his amazing 2013 campaign.

Angels Outlook:

For all the talk of Yoenis Cespedes' two amazing defensive plays for the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Angels still came out of the series with the AL West leaders winning 2-of-3 - trimming Oakland's division lead to 3.5 games.

This next seven-game road trip through Atlanta and Cleveland is the next step for the Angels in their journey toward the top of the standings.

Establishing themselves with five wins or more on this week-long trip could be just what the Halos need to extract major dividends from their recent upswing in momentum.

Braves Outlook:

The Braves' offense looked to have found their groove on Tuesday, churning out 16 hits in a 13-10 slugfest victory over the Rockies at Coors Field.

After that? The Braves were outscored 18-5 in two series-ending losses to Colorado, going just 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position in Thursday's finale.

Atlanta now finds themselves looking up at the Washington Nationals in the standings, desperately looking for some answers on offense in order to right things heading into the long summer ahead.

What to Watch For:

This weekend's series pits two second-place teams with division championships aspirations, attempting to put together a winning streak to make a run for the top of the standings.

The team who comes out of this series with momentum will most likely be the winner of the battle between Atlanta's dominant pitching (3rd in MLB with a 3.18 ERA) and the Angels' vaunted offense (4th in MLB with 303 runs scored).

What They're Saying About the Angels:

Pujols discusses his slump, Angels sign 14 draft picks (Monkey with a Halo)

Bedrosian follows in father's footsteps (Official Site of the Angels)

What They're Saying About the Braves:

Braves' Simmons trying to 'ratchet down' hard swings (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

There is nothing wrong with David Carpenter (Talking Chop)

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