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October Confidential: Angels

Rival players offer inside look at facing the AL West champions

How do you beat the Angels? asked rival players from around Major League baseball to offer an inside look at how best to face the AL West champions.

Mike Trout
"Try to not throw any low strikes to him, I guess. Either expand something or try to get him to pop something up that's up in the zone."
-- AL West pitcher 2

"Honestly, one of the best low-ball hitters I've ever seen. Ever. Honestly, the scouting report on him is anything up -- up and out, up and in. Just don't miss down. I think he hits righties better than lefties. He just seems to have a very good strike-zone discipline when it comes to right-handed pitchers down and in, down and away. From my experience with him, I have got him down, but more times than not, I've tried to pitch him up in the zone, and if you establish up, he will chase up. Other than that, he will punish you if you leave anything over the plate."
-- AL West pitcher 4

"He has a good downward swing. He really stays inside the ball. He has quick hands. His approach is what makes him so good. We actually had this discussion in the dugout in Anaheim about why he's so good. ... I honestly think it's a combination of everything that he does so well. I'd say to get him out, you have to throw him hard in, for sure, right or lefty, because he dives out over the plate. He knows pitchers respect him, therefore his focus is always out over the plate and down. That's what we tell our pitches, down. He counteracts that with a really good downward swing. You have to pitch him hard in and up and hopefully he chases one and gets out."
-- AL West pitcher 3

Albert Pujols
"Pujols, I think he's a really smart hitter, so you've got to kind of figure out what he's trying to do and go from there. I think him and Adrian Beltre are a lot alike. They both have a pretty good idea of what the pitcher is trying to do to them."
-- AL West pitcher 2

"He's getting up there in age. I think his hands have slowed sown so he has a hard time, hard-in, soft-away combo. And slider, cutter, curveball, hard back foot. That combo right there works to him every time."
-- AL West pitcher 3

"His bat has definitely slowed down a little bit over the years. This year is definitely is comeback year as to opposed when he signed with the Angels for two years before. He's a big mistake hitter and he's a great hitter right behind Trout, a great two-three punch right there. You can't make a mistake in the middle of the plate either. He will chase offspeed. So if I was ahead in the count, I would bounce a few balls and then go away. He seems to hit the pitch inside a lot better than the last two years." -- AL West pitcher 4

Howie Kendrick
"Kendrick's a good all-around hitter, I think. He's able to put the ball in play, and I think a lot of guys pitch him away. He's a guy if you make a mistake over the middle, he's always ready for it. He doesn't change his approach that much. If you make your pitches across the board down and away, he'll get himself out. But if you make a mistake down over the plate, he's ready to make you pay for it."
-- AL West pitcher 3

"I think he's up there in the top three second basemen in the league. The guy can hit any type of pitch. He will give you a strike early in the game. Later in the game, if there's runners on, he will be swinging. Other than that, you've just got to make pitches and breaking balls down and in are big out pitches. Very underrated."
-- AL West pitcher 4

Josh Hamilton
"I've had a lot of success against him this year. He's a free swinger, more so than any other year, I think. Really aggressive early in the count. I threw him a lot of off-speed, changeups down and away -- sliders, curveballs, fastballs, and I think he's probably the opposite of Kendrick, meaning from the left side. He has the same approach, down and in, middle in. He'll make you pay for it. If you make your pitches down and away, he'll get himself out."
-- AL West pitcher 3

"Free-swinger. One of the more free swingers in the league. But you can get him out on pretty much any pitch. On the flip side, he can pretty much hit any pitch. You're dealing with fire there. You hope to get him kind of on his cold streak because when he gets hot, he's hot."
-- AL West pitcher 4

Jered Weaver
"He's going to throw you any pitch in any count. He's going to work the corners and not give in. If you're too aggressive off him, he's going to really give you problems."
-- AL West third baseman

"Deception. He's going to throw it all over the zone. You just never know where it's going to be. He's not overpowering, obviously, but he sneaks it in and out, up and down and hits his spots and changes speed on you. He's deceptive, which gives him an advantage."
-- AL West utility player

"Weaver's kind of a crafty guy. He actually kind of comes at you decent and challenges you with his fastball first time through the order. And then after that, that's when he starts relying more on his off-speed stuff and really mixing speeds and never really falling into any patterns. That's what makes him good is his ability to throw any pitch in any count."
-- AL West catcher

C.J. Wilson
"He moves the ball in and out and has good cutters, a slider. He's a tough guy when he's on."
-- NL West third baseman

"C.J. Wilson's tough. Every pitch that he throws comes out of the same release point and kind of has a tunneling effect towards the plate, and it's not until late that the pitches kind of break apart. All of his pitches kind of look the same initially -- his fastball, slider. He throws a cutter variation of the slider as well. His ability to kind of get you in one spot and then fool you as to what pitch he's actually throwing is his strength."
-- AL West catcher

Matt Shoemaker
"He's kind of the same way as Hisashi Iwakuma, just not as much sink. He'll come in a lot, which a lot of guys don't come in that often. He comes in, and he's that breaking ball and he's got a splitter, too, that he can get you out in front. He pitches to contact and he's been on a roll. He's been hot."
-- AL West outfielder

Read More: Los Angeles Angels, Matt Shoemaker, C.J. Wilson, Jered Weaver, Josh Hamilton, Albert Pujols, Howie Kendrick, Mike Trout