Dirtbags, cat suits and Trout's postseason debut: Here's what to watch in Royals-Angels Game 1
1. The Game 1 starters for the Royals and Angels are a couple of Dirtbags. Seriously.
Jason Vargas and Jered Weaver, the starters for Thursday's Game 1, not only pitched for the Long Beach State Dirtbags together, but were both drafted in 2004. While Weaver was snagged in the first round after a 15-1 record and 1.93 ERA in his junior season, Vargas had to wait until the second round. Perhaps Vargas has spent the last decade waiting for this moment, plotting to enact his revenge.
As for As for which team will emerge victorious, here are a few important factors:
2. Jered Weaver versus the running game
While Weaver is historically very strong at limiting baserunners (his 1.15 WHIP is sixth-best among pitchers with 1,000 innings since 2006) he's not so great at stopping the running game. Runners stole 25 bases off of Weaver in 2014, the fourth-most among all starters, at an 83 percent success rate.
This was a rare occurrence:
Look for the Royals to press this advantage after leading the Majors with 153 steals during the regular season, then adding a record-tying seven more during their victory over the A's in the Wild Card .
3. Jason Vargas' cold streak
In his first season with the Royals, Vargas posted a career-low ERA of 3.71. Unfortunately, he doesn't come into the Royals' first ever Divisional Series on a good run. Since pitching 6 2/3 shutout innings against the Rangers on September 3rd, Vargas surrendering 18 runs in 18 innings pitched over his last four starts of the season.
But the former Long Beach State player and Angel seems to like pitching in Southern California. Over his career, Vargas has a 3.02 ERA against the Angels, that number dropping to 2.86 when pitching at the Big A.
4. What will Mike Trout's first postseason game look like?
While we've seen an endless montage of Mike Trout highlights like home runs:
And Puig Destroyer songs, all of that has happened during the regular season. With the biggest game of Trout's career coming up, does the center fielder have something special planned?
A three-dinger game? A diving catch with the bases loaded in the ninth inning? Finally solving the Jack the Ripper case before making said diving catch with the bases loaded in the ninth inning? Anything can happen and when it comes to Trout, it usually does.
5. Can the rally monkey defeat the cat suit boys?
That's the real battle in the animal kingdom.