Description: Angels center fielder Mike Trout continued his pursuit for his first MVP Award.
Insight: He clubbed his 35th homer of the season, while knocking in his 108th and 109th runs of the year. The AL MVP favorite is slashing .290/.379/.568 with 112 runs and 14 stolen bases. Oh, and he's only 23-years-old.
Description: Angels first baseman Albert Pujols had a big night to get to the 100 RBI plateau, on Saturday.
Insight: Although his second half of the season (.268 BA, 7 HR, 36 RBI) has not been as good as the first half (.279BA, 20 HR, 64 RBI), Pujols has rebounded nicely in 2014. While he will never be the player he once was, Pujols is still a major threat at the plate, and will continue to be over the next couple of seasons.
Description: Angels manager Mike Scioscia is considering using a three-man rotation in the American League Division Series.
Insight: In order to do that, starter Matt Shoemaker needs to return 100 percent healthy. Shoemaker left Monday's with a mild left oblique strain. The Angels are confident that he will return before postseason play. If Scioscia uses the three-man rotation, Jered Weaver would pitch on short rest.
Description: Angels left fielder Josh Hamilton is out of the lineup on Tuesday night against the Rangers.
Insight: Hamilton returned to action on Tuesday after missing 11 games, but he has now been out three straight days. Hamilton said Thursday that he will do his best to get ready for the playoffs, but his status is very unclear.
Description: Angels center fielder Mike Trout has had tremendous success against Mariners ace Felix Hernandez.
Insight: Trout is 18-for-47 with three doubles, two triples, two home runs and 11 RBI against King Felix. That produces an incredible .383/.404/.660 batting line. The AL MVP favorite is hitting .289 with 34 home runs and 107 RBI this year.
Description: Angels starter C.J. Wilson threw seven shutout innings and allowed one hit in Wednesday's victory over the Mariners, 5-0.
Insight: Wilson's efforts helped clich the American League West division title as the Athletics lost to the Rangers to seal it. Wilson also struck out seven and walked three as he won his third straight game. In his first two victories over that stretch, however, he allowed five earned runs over 11 1/3 innings and won behind 23 runs of support. So it was nice to finally see Wilson win on his own accord.
Description: Angels starter C.J. Wilson has a nice record at 12-9, but has struggled with his ERA this season.
Insight: Heading into tonight's start against the Mariners, Wilson is sporting a 4.61 ERA, and an even worse 6.14 ERA over his past three starts. However, he continues to benefit pitching for such a dynmauc offense, as he is 2-1 during that span. Wilson should be in your lineup, simply as a result of how good the Angels are.
Description: Angels first baseman Albert Pujols left last night's game with a left hamstring cramp. UPDATE: Pujols is in the Angels lineup Tuesday.
Insight: He had a bases-clearing double in the third inning, but seemed to come up lame on his way to second base. The news coming out of Los Angeles is that they are calling it just a cramp, which would be great news. Consider Pujols day-to-day.
Description: Angels starter Matt Shoemaker will undergo an MRI in the coming days, afer leaving last night's start with slight discomfort, on the left side of his rib cage.
Insight: The removal from the game seemed to be precautionary, as the Angels were up 8-1 at the time. However, the fact that he needs to be checked out is a little alarming. Nevertheless, Shoemaker was fantastic on Monday night. He went 7 2/3 innings, allowing only one earned run, and improving his record to 16-4 with a 3.04 ERA. Assuming everything comes back clean, Shoemaker has another favorable matchup on Saturday, against the Ramgers.
Description: Phillies starter Jerome Williams has come back down to earth.
Insight: Williams got off to a surprising start in Philadelphia, with a 3-0 record. However, he has struggled over his previous four starts, posting a 1-1 record with a 5.51 ERA. Although he is heading to San Diego and playing in a pitcher-friendly park tonight, Williams is not a recommended start.
Description: Angels starter Matt Shoemaker has had a tremendous second half of the season, and that trend has continued over his previous three starts.
Insight: All signs point to Shoemaker continuing his stellar play. Not only is he 2-0 with a 2.04 ERA over his past three starts, Shoemaker has also been dominant since the All-Star break (8-2, 1.95 ERA) and at home (8-3 2.20 ERA). With Garrett Richards on the shelf, it looks like LA has found their new ace.
Description: Angels center fielder Mike Trout is just a .182 hitter against Mariners starter Hisashi Iwakuma.
Insight: Trout is still the man, and you aren't going to take him out of your lineup, just don't set your expectations too high for Monday. The center fielder leads the American league with 107 runs and 107 RBI while batting .290. He is fourth in home runs (34) and third with a .945 OPS.
Description: Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick is 8-for-16 in his career against Astros pitcher Dallas Keuchel.
Insight: Kendrick also has a home run and two RBI against Keuchel. The second baseman has had a tremendous month of September, hitting .451 with a ridiculous .725 slugging percentage. He also has 14 RBI in September. Kendrick now leads the Angels with a .293 batting average.
Description: Angels starter Jered Weaver recorded his 17th victory of the season on Saturday and now leads the American League in the category.
Insight: Weaver had one of his best starts of the season on Saturday, going seven innings and allowed one run on four hits. He struck out a season-high 12 and walked one. Weaver is 2-1 with a 2.84 ERA this month and is now 17-8 with a 3.50 ERA this year.
Description: Angels center fielder Mike Trout went 3-for-3 with two solo home runs and an intentional walk on Saturday as the Angels beat the Astros, 5-2.
Insight: The home runs are his 33rd and 34th of the season. Trout's other hit was a double, his 39th of the year. The center fielder leads the American league with 107 runs and 107 RBI while batting .290. He is third in home runs and third with a .946 OPS.
Description: Angels left fielder Josh Hamilton is not in the lineup on Thursday. UPDATE: Hamilton has been ruled out through the weekend.
Insight: Hamilton is missing his sixth straight game. He has been dealing with discomfort around his shoulder and neck since late August. With the healthy division lead, the Angels won't rush him back.
Description: Angels first baseman Albert Pujols went 3-for-5 with a three-run home run and three runs scored as the Angels defeat the Indians, 12-3, on Monday.
Insight: Pujols had a big day at the plate on Sunday, recording his 2,500th career hit and scoring his 1.500th career run. Monday was his third straight multi-hit game. Over that stretch, he is hitting .571 (8-for-14) with two home runs, two doubles and seven RBI.
Description: Angels left fielder Josh Hamilton (shoulder, neck) is out of the Angels' lineup again Monday versus the Indians.
Insight: Hamilton left Thursday's game due to the injury, which he says he suffered Tuesday. He has been experiencing discomfort around his right shoulder and neck. He received trigger point injections on Sunday to help, but he still isn't quite ready. Collin Cowgill is starting in left field on Monday.
Description: Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick was 3-for-4 with a triple, home run and four RBI in the Angel's blowout victory over the Twins, 14-4.
Insight: Kendrick was a home run away from the cycle on Saturday, and he was a double away from it on Sunday. In the four game series with the Twins, Kendrick went 10-for-18 with two doubles, two triples, a home run, eight RBI and four runs. Kendrick is a must-start until he cools off.
Description: Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick went 4-for-5 with three RBI and a run against the Twins on Saturday.
Insight: Kendrick was a home run away from the cycle, clubbing a double, triple and two singles. Kendrick is 7-for-14 in his last three games and is batting .282 with five home runs and 60 RBI this season.
Description: Angels first baseman Albert Pujols recorded his 2,500th career hit on Saturday in the Angels' 8-5 victory over the Twins.
Insight: The record-setting hit was a go-ahead two-run double in the top of the ninth. Pujols also had a home run and reached 1,500 career runs in the game. Pujols is the 16th player to reach the 2,500 hits, 500 home runs and 1,500 run clubs in his career. Pujols is batting .274 with 25 home runs and 87 RBI this year.
Description: Angels first baseman Albert Pujols has been very successful when facing Minnesota right-hander Ricky Nolasco.
Insight: In 22 career at-bats, Pujols is batting .545 with three homers and 10 RBI. he's batting .271 with 24 HR and 83 RBI this season. Nice numbers, but hardly the Pujols we remember from years past.
Description: Angels catcher Chris Iannetta went a perfect 3-for-3 with a RBI, two runs and a walk on Sunday against the A's.
Insight: Ianetta tacked on a solo home run in the eighth with the Angels routing the A's to get the four-game sweep. Ianetta also hit a home run on Saturday. The catcher is batting .265 with seven home runs and 38 RBI this year.
Description: Angels starter Matt Shoemaker pitched his third straight beautiful start, throwing seven shutout innings, allowing five hits, striking out seven and walking none.
Insight: That makes 21 and 2/3 scoreless innings in Shoemaker's last three starts. He has also given up just eight hits, three walks while striking out 22. This is just what the Angels needed with Garrett Richards out for the season, and it's just what fantasy owners want heading into September.
Description: Angels center fielder Mike Trout went 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBI against the A's on Sunday.
Insight: Trout has his average back to .290 and the home run Sunday gives him 31 on the season, a new career high. His 97 RBI also ties a career high. Trout's .934 OPS is third highest in the American League.
Description: Phillies starter Jerome Williams raised his record to 3-0 with his new club after Saturday night's 7-2 win over the Mets.
Insight: Williams has a 2.03 ERA and 1.013 WHIP and is worthy of a shot from fantasy in his next outing. He's gone six or more innings in three of four starts as a National Leaguer and has yet to have a bad outing,
Description: Angels starter Jered Weaver pitched seven scoreless innings against the A's Friday, allowing three hits, striking out three and walking three, as the Angels won, 4-0.
Insight: Weaver outdueled Jon Lester, who pitched six innings and allowed two earned runs. Believe it or not, this is Weaver's first start this year in which he did not yield a run. Better late than never. He is 15-7 with a 3.57 ERA and 1.22 WHIP.
Description: Angels catcher Chris Iannetta recorded three RBI in three plate appearances on Friday against the A's.
Insight: Ianetta broke a scoreless tie with a two-run shot off Jon Lester in the fifth inning, then walked with the bases loaded to force in a run during the sixth. In 257 at-bats this year, Ianetta is hitting .257 with six home runs and 37 RBI.
Description: In a matchup of All-Stars, Oakland left-hander Jon Lester has gotten the best of Angels center fielder Mike Trout.
Insight: Trout is 0-for-6 with three strikeouts in their matchups. Trout is just starting to break out of a slump, going 6-for-12 over the past three games. Hopefully, Lester won't slow the progress, but Trout isn't a great option Friday.
Description: Angels starter Matt Shoemaker has given Los Angeles exactly what it needs in the wake of Garrett Richards' season-ending knee injury.
Insight: In his last two starts, Shoemaker has thrown 14 2/3 scoreless innings, struck out 15 and allowed three hits. He's won four straight games and is 13-4 with a 3.33 ERA, a 1.08 WHIP and 108 Ks in 110 2/3 innings this season.
Description: Phillies starter Jerome Williams threw another strong game Sunday against St. Louis, hurling eight innings and giving up one run of five hits.
Insight: It was Williams' longest outing since May 21 of last season. The 32-year-old has gone 2-0 with a 1.77 ERA in three games since the Phillies picked him up from Texas. He was 2-5 with a 6.71 ERA prior to joining Philadelphia.
Description: Former White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham was traded to the Angels Thursday night.
Insight: Beckham will back up Howie Kendrick at second and David Freese at third so has little to no fantasy value. Not that he did even when starting every day in Chicago batting .221 with a .598 OPS.
Description: With Garrett Richards going down the Angels needed an outing like this from Matt Shoemaker - 7 2/3 IP, one hit and nine strikeouts.
Insight: Shoemaker's record jumps to 12-4 and his ERA falls to 3.56. It's surprising he gets so little publicity and fantasy attention (36 percent ownership in Yahoo) considering he's posted a dozen wins and is striking out almost a batter an inning.
Description: Angels center fielder Mike Trout has batted just .174 (8-for-46) over the past two weeks (11 games).
Insight: Fantasy owners are probably getting a little frustrated, but looking at the big picture shows he's still a fantasy stud. He's batting .288 with 27 HR, 89 RBI, 84 runs scored, 12 SB and a .930 OPS. Still, for fantasy owners it's what have you done for me lately?
Description: Angels starter Garrett Richards suffered a left patellar injury during Wednesday's game. The extent is unknown at the moment, according to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times.
Insight: Richards caught his spike in the dirt as he was covering first base in the second inning and his knee buckled. The right-hander has been the Angels' ace this season and one of the best starters in baseball, going 13-4 with a 2.61 ERA, a 1.04 WHIP and 164 Ks in 168 2/3 innings.
Description: Angels starter Garrett Richards suffered what appeared to be a major right leg injury Wednesday against Boston, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Insight: Richards caught his spike in the dirt as he was covering first base in the second inning and his knee buckled. The right-hander has been the Angels' ace this season and one of the best starters in baseball, going 13-4 with a 2.61 ERA, a 1.04 WHIP and 164 Ks in 168 2/3 innings.
Description: Angels left fielder Josh Hamilton went 0-for-3 in his return to the lineup Tuesday at Boston and he's just 2-for-22 (.091) with six Ks against Wednesday's starter Clay Buchholz.
Insight: Hamilton has gone 5-for-41 (.122) with 18 strikeouts in his last 11 games and he was out of the lineup Sunday and Monday at his own request in order to clear his head. He's not someone fantasy owners should be using right now even if he has a favorable matchup, which isn't the case Wednesday.
Description: Angels center fielder Mike Trout is 6-for-13 with two homers against Boston starter Clay Buchholz.
Insight: Trout has gone 4-for-11 with a double, a triple and two RBI over his last three games after running into a 4-for-37 (.108) slump prior to that. His strikeout rate is up from 19 percent last year to 24.8 percent this season which has contributed to his average dropping from .323 to .291. However, he's put up a much higher extra-base hit rate (12.2 percent in 2014, 10.5 percent in 2013) and is going to drive in more runs than he did in each of his first two seasons. He's a strong choice Wednesday against Buchholz.
Description: Angels left fielder Josh Hamilton is back in the lineup for Tuesday's game against the Red Sox. He will hit cleanup.
Insight: Hamilton had requested time off because of his struggles at the plate and manager Mike Scioscia gave him the time. The outfielder is hitting .132 in his last ten games and has gone 10-for-59 (.169) since July 31.
Description: Angels right fielder Kole Calhoun reached base all four times he came to the plate Monday at Boston.
Insight: Calhoun singled, doubled, walked twice and scored two runs. The right fielder and leadoff hitter has gone 17-for-41 (.415) with five doubles, two homers, eight RBI and five runs in his last nine games.
Description: Angels starter C.J. Wilson worked around five hits and five walks to hold Boston to one run over 5 1/3 innings in Monday's win.
Insight: Wilson (10-8, 4.59 ERA, 1.42 WHIP) has gone 2-1 with a 3.57 ERA in three starts since he returned from the disabled list, but he's also recorded a 1.64 WHIP and a 12/11 K/BB over 17 2/3 innings in that span.
Description: In two starts with the Phillies, veteran right-hander Jerome Williams has gone 1-0 with a 2.19 ERA.
Insight: He did it against two AL West opponents, the Angels and Mariners. Williams played for two teams in that division, the Astros and Rangers, earlier this season and had a 6.71 ERA. The last two starts aside, he's not a fantasy option.
Description: Angels center fielder Mike Trout has gone 4-for-32 (.125) with 11 Ks the past three games.
Insight: Two of the hits were home runs and he drove in five runs during that stretch, but daily league players should consider other options Saturday. Trout is always one of the most expensive players and you can't afford to eat up a significant portion of your salary with a player who is on a bad run.
Description: Angels right fielder Kole Calhoun should receive strong consideration from fantasy owners Saturday against the Rangers.
Insight: Calhoun went 3-for-4 wih a double, a homer and three RBI Friday and is 13-for-29 (.448) with three doubles, two homers and five RBI his last six games. He's hitting .301 with 12 homers and an .860 OPS against righties this season and is 3-for-3 with a double and a triple against Rangers starter Colby Lewis.
Description: Angels left fielder Josh Hamilton is a career .545 hitter (6-for-11) with a double and three homers against Phillies starter Jerome Williams.
Insight: Williams was bad with Houston and worse with Texas and should be ripe for the picking by Hamilton. The outfielder is just 1-for 20 over the past five games, but might still be worth the gamble.
Description: Angels starter Hector Santiago held the Red Sox to two hits over six scoreless innings Sunday.
Insight: Tyler Skaggs needs Tommy John surgery so Santiago will stay in the rotation for the rest of this season. The 26-year-old lefty has recorded a 1.95 ERA in 32 1/3 innings over his last seven games (five starts).
Description: Angels lefty Tyler Skaggs will undergo Tommy John surgery, according to Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register.
Insight: Skaggs (5-5, 4.30 ERA, 1.21 WHIP) left his start of July 31 after 4 2/3 hitless innings due to forearm soreness and now he'll miss most of 2015. Hector Santiago (3.84 ERA, 1.27 WHIP) will stay in the rotation.
Description: Angels minor league outfielder Brennan Boesch is tearing up the PCL, batting .320 with 19 HR, 68 RBI and a .979 OPS at Triple-A Salt Lake.
Insight: Boesch was up for a couple of weeks in April, but didn't do much. He could be a September call up, but for now his way is blocked by a solid Angels outfield of Mike Trout, Josh Hamilton and Kole Calhoun.
Description: Angels lefty Tyler Skaggs was cruising along through 4 2/3 hitless innings Thursday night, but he left with tightness in his left forearm, according to Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register.
Insight: Forearm soreness can sometimes be indicative of a ligament issue. Skaggs has a 3.55 FIP this season, but his ERA is 4.30 because he's stranded just 63.9 percent of baserunners.
Description: Angels lefty Tyler Skaggs was crusing along through 4 2/3 hitless innings Thursday night, but he suffered an apparent injury, according to Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register.
Insight: Skaggs appeared to gesture at his forearm and didn't even throw a warm-up pitch before leaving. The left-hander has a 3.55 FIP this season, but his ERA is 4.30 because he's stranded just 63.9 percent of baserunners.
Description: Los Angeles left-hander C.J. Wilson (ankle) could be back Saturday against the Rays, according to Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register.
Insight: Wilson has been out with a right ankle sprain and hip tightness since July 10. He threw a bullpen session Wednesday and said he's ready to start. For the season he has a 4.33 ERA and 1.332 WHIP, and he had a 6.81 ERA over his last eight starts before the injury.
Description: Los Angeles left-hander C.J. Wilson (ankle) threw 81 pitches at Double-A Arkansas Monday and came away healthy.
Insight: Wilson has been out with a right ankle sprain since July 10, but should be ready to go by the weekend or early next week. For the season he has a 4.33 ERA and 1.332 WHIP, though his ERA was 6.81 over his last eight starts before the injury.
Description: Angels left fielder Josh Hamilton is just 1-for-12 (.083) versus Orioles right-hander Chris Tillman.
Insight: It's a little unusual in that Hamilton is a .305 hitter against right-handers in his career 35 points higher than against lefties, but this season he's been better against left-handers. Avoid this matchup.
Description: Angels left fielder Josh Hamilton (knee) is back in the lineup Sunday, according to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.
Insight: He left Friday's game with a sore left knee, but manager Mike Scioscia said Saturday that he's made "a lot of progress." In 46 games since he returned from his thumb injury, Hamilton has batted .268 with three home runs. He's batted .462 (6-for-13) with two homers against Tigers starter Rick Porcello.
Description: Angels left fielder Josh Hamilton (knee) may return to the lineup Sunday against the Tigers, according to the Orange County Register.
Insight: He left Friday's game with a sore left knee, but manager Mike Scioscia said Saturday that he's made "a lot of progress." In 46 games since he returned from his thumb injury, Hamilton has batted .268 with three home runs. He's batted .462 (6-for-13) with two homers against Tigers starter Rick Porcello.
Description: Angels left fielder Josh Hamilton left Friday's game with a sore left knee and is not in Saturday's starting lineup.
Insight: Hamilton went 0-for-1 before leaving. In 46 games since he returned from his thumb injury, Hamilton has batted .268 with three home runs. Efren Navarro will get the start in left field and has batted .313 in limited action (64 ABs).
Description: Los Angeles left-hander C.J. Wilson (ankle) threw a bullpen session Monday, according to Alden Gonzalez of mlb.com.
Insight: Wilson has been out with a right ankle sprain since July 10. He had a 6.81 ERA in his last eight starts before going on the DL. Wilson says he'll probably need a rehab assignment, so he likely won't be back before early August.
Description: Since he started off May 10-for-62 (.161) with 22 Ks, Angels outfielder Mike Trout has batted .358 with 19 doubles, one triple, 15 home runs, 46 RBI, 39 runs and five steals in his last 49 games.
Insight: Trout went 2-for-4 with a solo homer, a walk and three runs Sunday against the Mariners. He's hitting .313 with 23 home runs, 74 RBI and an AL-leading 1.012 OPS.
Description: Los Angeles center fielder Mike Trout is a career .386 hitter with a 1.067 OPS against Felix Hernandez.
Insight: King Felix may be the best pitcher in baseball, certainly in the top-five, but Trout doesn't seem to have a problem with him. Trout leads the league in OPS (1.008) and total bases (214) to go along with his .313 batting average, 22 HR and 73 RBI.
Description: Los Angeles left-hander C.J. Wilson has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right ankle sprain.
Insight: Wilson hasn't pitched well since mid-June and it's likely fantasy owners haven't been using him of late anyway. He's 8-6 with a high 4.33 ERA and 1.332 WHIP, but was 0-0 with a 10.13 ERA and 2.375 WHIP in two July starts.
Description: Angels starter Jered Weaver (back) played catch Tuesday and said he feels "a lot better," according to Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register.
Insight: Weaver (9-6, 3.50 ERA, 1.14 WHIP) left Monday's game prior to the third inning due to lower back tightness. That he was able to play catch just one day later leaves the door open for him to make his next start.
Description: Angels starter Jered Weaver left Monday's start with lower-back tightness, according to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times.
Insight: Weaver (9-6, 3.50 ERA, 1.14 WHIP) displayed obvious frustration after throwing a warm-up pitch prior to the third inning and he was removed from the game. The good news is that he doesn't have an arm injury. Matt Shoemaker, Wednesday's scheduled starter, came on to pitch in place of Weaver, so Hector Santiago is likely to start in Shoemaker's place.
Description: Matt Shoemaker will remain in the Angels rotation, according to Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register.
Insight: Hector Santiago will move to the bullpen. Shoemaker has been very good in three of his last four starts, but he gave up eight runs on 11 hits at Kansas City on June 27 and has a 4.35 ERA overall in 14 appearances (nine starts). The 27-year-old also has a career 4.52 ERA in 786 2/3 minor league innings.
Description: Angels left fielder Josh Hamilton has gone 7-for-16 (.438) with a double and a homer against White Sox starter John Danks.
Insight: Hamilton went 3-for-6 with a homer and three walks during Tuesday's doubleheader against Chicago. He's also hitting .421 with a 1.095 OPS in 38 at-bats against lefties this season and will get Danks Wednesday.
Description: Angels starter Garrett Richards went 4-0 with a 1.05 ERA and 35 Ks over 34 1/3 innings in June, and he threw eight innings while giving up three runs on two hits and striking out nine Tuesday at Chicago.
Insight: Richards is now 9-2 with a 2.81 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP and it's no fluke. He has some of the best stuff in the majors and although he sometimes has a hard time controlling it (3.3 BB/9, 15 WP), batters have a much harder time hitting it (77 H in 109 IP).
Description: Angels left fielder Josh Hamilton hit his first home run since June 3 Tuesday against the White Sox.
Insight: Hamilton homered in his first game back from the disabled list on June 3 after missing seven weeks due to a torn ligament in his left thumb, but he didn't do much for the rest of the month. He's still hitting .318 with four homers, 20 RBI and an .870 OPS in 129 at-bats this season.
Description: Angels 1B Albert Pujols homered Tuesday at Chicago.
Insight: He hit just two home runs in June after putting up 14 in the first two months of the season. Pujols has a career-low fly-ball rate and a career-high infield fly-ball rate, so he's batting just .244 on balls in play and .259 overall.
Description: Angels right fielder Kole Calhoun has gone 28-for-81 (.346) with six doubles, four homers, 13 RBI and 20 runs in June.
Insight: Calhoun entered the month with a .227 average, three homers, six RBI and 16 runs. After going 2-for-5 with a solo homer and two runs Sunday at Kansas City, the Angels leadoff hitter is batting .284 with seven home runs, 19 RBI, 36 runs and an .822 OPS in 169 at-bats this season.
Description: Angels 24-year-old 1B C.J. Cron hit two home runs Friday night and is putting together a second consecutive big month with the bat.
Insight: Cron hit .301 in May with three homers in 73 at-bats and is batting .300 in June with five home runs in just 50 at-bats. He's been best on the road against right-handers and the Angels are in Kansas City this afternoon facing right-hander Yordano Ventura. Start him.
Description: The Pirates have traded right-hander Jason Grilli to Los Angeles for reliever Ernesto Frieri. SOURCE: Bob Nightengale, USA Today
Insight: An All-Star for Pittsburgh in 2013, Grilli has cooled off this year, compiling a 4.87 ERA in 20 1/3 innings pitched. Despite his recent struggles, Grilli could eventually have a chance to pitch the ninth inning for the Angels, especially if current closer Joe Smith begins to falter.
Description: Los Angeles first baseman Albert Pujols is a career .526 hitter (10-for-19) with four doubles and three home runs against Minnesota starter Ricky Nolasco.
Insight: After a productive April, Pujols has failed to help fantasy owners in May and June. Pujols is batting .250 for the month and hit just two homers in 20 games. He's been dealing with a tight back of late, but we expect much more from the future Hall of Fame first baseman.
Description: Los Angeles center fielder Mike Trout went 1-for-2 with a homer, two RBI, two walks, two runs and a steal Tuesday against the Twins.
Insight: Trout (.307, 17 HR, 56 RBI) has the reputation of being an all-around excellent player rather than a power hitter, but his .604 slugging percentage is third in baseball. He has stolen five bases this month after stealing that many in the first two months combined.
Description: Instead of joining the rotation this weekend, Angels lefty Tyler Skaggs will make a rehab start for Triple-A Salt Lake on Thursday. SOURCE: Jeff Fletcher, Orange County Register
Insight: He's coming back from a strained hamstring. Hector Santiago (0-7, 4.41 ERA) will get the start on Saturday. If the rehab outing goes well, Skaggs (4-4, 4.34 ERA) should be able to re-join the rotation sometime next week.
Description: Los Angeles starter Jered Weaver held the Rangers to one run in eight innings Saturday at Angel Stadium.
Insight: Kevin Jepsen blew the save, denying Weaver what would have been his eighth win of the year. This was Weaver's second-longest outing of the season (108 pitches). He'll be on the mound Friday against Kansas City.
Description: Los Angeles first baseman Albert Pujols will take a seat Saturday versus Texas. SOURCE: Alden Gonzalez, MLB.com
Insight: He's dealing with a tight back. Pujols (.255, 16 HR, 44 RBI) has slowed down considerably since his sizzling April, batting just .240 over his last 175 at bats. Efren Navarro (.310, 0 HR, 2 RBI) will handle things at first base.
Description: The Angels have released designated hitter Raul Ibanez. SOURCE: Alden Gonzalez, MLB.com
Insight: At age 42, this might be the last we see of Ibanez in the major leagues. He wasn't bringing much to the table with just three homers and 21 RBI in 166 at bats. Ibanez's batting average has been under .200 most of the season.
Description: Angels first baseman Albert Pujols hasn't seen many pitchers he can't hit, but apparently Joe Saunders is one of the few.
Insight: Pujols is hitless in 11 at-bats against Saunders. Pujols started the season strong, slipped in May and has still not recovered to his earlier level, though he's batting .348 over the past week. It's best to avoid him Friday.
Description: The Angels will use a committee at closer, according to mlb.com.
Insight: Ernesto Frieri allowed his eighth homer of the year, a walk-off grand slam to Nick Swisher, Thursday at Cleveland and has given up six runs on eight hits in his last 1 1/3. Joe Smith, Cam Bedrosian and Frieri will pitch depending on the matchups.
Description: Angels starter Matt Shoemaker did a good job of keeping the Indians in check Tuesday at Progressive Field.
Insight: Cleveland managed just two runs against him in eight innings. Shoemaker's ten strikeouts Tuesday were a career-high. Fantasy owners shouldn't get too attached as top prospect Tyler Skaggs is expected to take Shoemaker's place in the starting rotation later this week.
Description: Los Angeles second baseman Howie Kendrick delivered three hits Tuesday in a victory over Cleveland.
Insight: Kendrick was caught stealing but that tends to go unnoticed on a night when you're a triple shy of the cycle. The No. 6 hole seems to suit Kendrick as he's hitting .297 from that spot in the lineup this season.
Description: Angels left-hander Tyler Skaggs (hamstring) will not start this weekend, according to Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register.
Insight: Skaggs was hoping to pitch in a simulated game Tuesday but wasn't ready. He has gone 4-4 with a 4.34 ERA, a 1.24 WHIP and 58 Ks in 76 2/3 innings this season. Skaggs will try to throw a bullpen session in the next day or two.
Description: Angels catcher Chris Iannetta is getting Tuesday off. Hank Conger will start behind the dish.
Insight: Ianetta had a career year in 2008 for the Rockies but has done little since.He's batting .261 with five homers and 20 RBI this season. Conger is batting .250 with three homers and 16 RBI in 100 at-bats.
Description: Los Angeles right fielder Kole Calhoun won't start Sunday's series finale against the Braves. SOURCE: Jeff Fletcher, Orange County Register
Insight: He's had a great month (.343 AVG in 35 June at bats) and an even better series (4-for-9) but the Angels would prefer to sit Calhoun against left-hander Mike Minor. Collin Cowgill (.297, 5 HR, 15 RBI) is filling in at right field.
Description: Los Angeles shortstop Erick Aybar had four hits, all singles, in six at bats Saturday against Atlanta.
Insight: Aybars (.288) is 16-for-46 (.348) with four doubles and seven RBI this month. He's a decent shortstop option, but his fantasy value would be better if he was still a threat to steal 20-30 bases. He's swiped just 17 bags on 28 attempts in 203 games going back to the start of last season after picking up 24 steals per season from 2010-12. He also hits near the bottom of the order so he's scored between 67-71 runs in each of the last five seasons.
Description: Angels first baseman Albert Pujols went 3-for-6 with a double, a homer and four RBI Saturday against the Braves.
Insight: Pujols has produced 16 doubles and 16 homers in 294 plate appearances this season, but he has to sacrifice average to hit for power these days. His line-drive rate is a career-low 16.1 percent and he has career highs with a 46.1 percent ground-ball rate and a 19.5 percent infield-fly-ball rate. As a result, he's hitting .235 on balls in play and .255 overall.
Description: Angels center fielder Mike Trout has hit safely in each of his last 20 starts. He went 3-for-6 with a double, a homer and four RBI Saturday night.
Insight: Trout didn't have a hit in a pinch-hitting appearance on June 3 so his hitting streak currently stands at nine, but he's provided fantasy owners with a .372 average, five homers, 21 RBI, 17 runs, two steals and a 1.116 OPS over his last 21 games.
Description: Angels closer Ernesto Frieri came into a 5-1 game in the ninth inning Saturday against the Braves and gave up five hits and four runs without getting an out.
Insight: Frieri had settled in over his previous 19 appearances, posting a 1.86 ERA and nine saves after giving up 14 hits, nine runs and five homers in his first 8 2/3 innings, but he had nothing Saturday. He's a low-tier closing option because of these types of implosions.
Description: Angels starter Garrett Richards was dominant again Saturday, firing six shutout innings and striking out 10 against the Braves.
Insight: Richards has allowed just one run on 12 hits while posting a 23/3 K/BB over 21 innings since his worst start of the season on May 30 (2/3, 5 H, 5 ER, 3 BB). He has a 2.87 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP this season.
Description: Los Angeles left fielder Josh Hamilton is 8-for-15 with a 1.455 OPS versus Braves starter gavin Floyd.
Insight: Hamilton has continued his hot hitting since returning from the injured list. He's batting .308 in his last 10 games. For the season he's batting .364 with a 1.016 OPS and in this favorable matchup should be a must start.
Description: Los Angeles left fielder Josh Hamilton is 6-for-9 with four extra-base hits and a 2.367 OPS versus Braves starter Aaron Harang.
Insight: Hamilton has continued his hot hitting since returning from the injured list. He's batting .333 in his last nine games. For the season he's batting .381 with a 1.054 OPS and in this favorable matchup should be a must start.
Description: Los Angeles 1B Albert Pujols has doubled six times and batted .421 in 19 at-bats against Athletics starter Tommy Milone.
Insight: Pujols hasn't had a multi-hit game since May 24 and is hitting .245 with a .783 OPS this season, though he does have 15 homers, 35 RBI and 35 runs. He should be used Wednesday with Milone on the mound for Oakland.
Description: Los Angeles left fielder Josh Hamilton has picked up multiple hits in four of his last five games.
Insight: Hamilton has flourished since he returned from a torn ligament in his thumb and is hitting .390 with three homers and a 1.073 OPS in 59 at-bats this season. He's also 9-for-29 (.450) with two homers against Oakland's Tommy Milone, so make sure he's in your lineup Wednesday.
Description: Angels starter Hector Santiago hurled six shutout innings and struck out eight in his return to the rotation Tuesday against the Athletics.
Insight: Santiago was sent to the minors in May after he went 0-6 with a 4.82 ERA. He replaced Tyler Skaggs, who went on the DL with a hamstring injury Tuesday. Santiago has solid strikeout potential but allows a lot of baserunners and should only be considered in AL-only leagues.
Description: Los Angeles 1B Albert Pujols is 5-for-7 with a 1.893 OPS against Oakland starter Jesse Chavez.
Insight: Pujols started the season with a bang, but his May was less than acceptable for fantasy owners, batting just .234 with a .732 OPS. He's been even worse in June (4-for-27 with one home run) and isn't a must start anymore.
Description: Los Angeles left fielder Josh Hamilton unleashed his third home run of the season Sunday in a victory over the White Sox.
Insight: He's looked sharp since making his return from the DL earlier this week (.348 AVG in 23 at bats). Injuries have plagued Hamilton off and on for the past several seasons but when he's healthy, he's been one of the most productive hitters in all of baseball.
Description: Los Angeles left-hander C.J. Wilson improved to 7-5 Sunday with a win against the White Sox.
Insight: Wilson (7 1/3 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 6 K's, 2 BB) has pitched like an ace this season, compiling a 3.32 ERA over 86 2/3 innings. Opponents are batting just .220 against him with 79 strikeouts. We'll see if Wilson can top this outing next time out against Atlanta.
Description: Angels center fielder Mike Trout hit a game-tying grand slam off White Sox ace Chris Sale in the bottom of the eighth inning Saturday night.
Insight: Sale took a 5-0 lead into the eighth but didn't get an out while allowing five runs to score. Trout has his average up to .295 and he has hit 12 homers with 43 RBI. His appears to be over the back injury that forced him to miss a few games this past week.
Description: Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton should be avoided on Saturday versus tough left-hander Chris Sale.
Insight: Hamilton is just 1-for-11 (.091) against the best left-hander in the American League. After a scalding hot first week of the season, Hamilton is 3-for-15 since his return from the disabled list.
Description: Angels center fielder Mike Trout (back) is in the lineup Thursday.
Insight: Trout missed two games over the weekend and only lasted an inning and a half Tuesday after getting treatment on his back Monday, but his MRI revealed only inflammation. He's serving as the DH Thursday.
Description: After failing to get out of the first inning on May 30 at Oakland, Angels starter Garrett Richards went eight innings and struck out nine without allowing a walk or a run Wednesday at Houston.
Insight: It was the second time this season Richards didn't walk a batter. The flamethrowing right-hander has a 3.25 ERA, a 1.15 WHIP and 73 Ks in 74 2/3 innings.
Description: The MRI on Angels center fielder Mike Trout's back revealed only inflammation, according to Alden Gonzalez of mlb.com.
Insight: Trout missed two games over the weekend and only lasted an inning and a half Tuesday after getting treatment on his back Monday. He's not in the lineup Wednesday but isn't expected to need a DL stint.
Description: Angels center fielder Mike Trout (back) left Tuesday's game after the top of the second inning due to mid-back discomfort, according to Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register.
Insight: It's the same ailment that kept him out of the lineup the previous two games. Trout had treatment on his back Monday and said he felt fine during batting practice Tuesday, but the effects didn't last long.
Description: Los Angeles center fielder Mike Trout (back) is back in the lineup Tuesday, according to Alden Gonzalez of mlb.com.
Insight: After missing two games with a stiff upper back, Trout is ready to rejoin the lineup at the same time as Josh Hamilton, providing a significant boost to LA's offense. Despite his unusually high number of strikeouts this season (63 in 242 plate appearances) the superstar obviously is a must-start in all formats.
Description: Los Angeles center fielder Mike Trout (back) is expected to start Tuesday against Houston. Source: Mike DiGiovanna, Los Angeles Times.
Insight: After missing two games with a stiff upper back, Trout appears ready to rejoin the lineup at the same time as Josh Hamilton, providing a significant boost to LA's offense. Despite his unusually high number of strikeouts this season (63 in 242 plate appearances) the superstar obviously is a must-start in all formats.
Description: The Angels will activate Josh Hamilton from the 15-day disabled list in time for Tuesday's series opener against Houston. Source: Mike DiGiovanna, Los Angeles Times.
Insight: Hamilton was scalding the ball (.444, 2 HR, 6 RBI) before he injured his thumb sliding into second base on April 8. Both he and Mike Trout (back stiffness) are expected to be in Tuesday's lineup, putting the Angels' offense at full strength for the first time since the season's opening week.
Description: Angels center fielder Mike Trout (back) is not in the lineup Sunday, according to Alden Gonzalez of mlb.com.
Insight: Trout said he expected to play Sunday after missing Saturday with upper back stiffness, but the Angels are playing it safe. The off day Monday will give Trout three days off in a row, so if he's not back Tuesday it would be a cause for concern.
Description: Los Angeles left fielder Josh Hamilton has started his rehab assignment and could be back with the big club as early as Tuesday.
Insight: He's had to overcome a thumb injury and a bone bruise. Hamilton was off to a blazing start before the injury, batting .444 with a pair of homers and six RBI in his first eight games. His return will force Collin Cowgill (.271, 2 HR, 9 RBI) back to the bench.
Description: Los Angeles 1B Albert Pujols is 7-for-16 with six doubles and a 1.283 OPS against Oakland starter Tommy Milone.
Insight: Pujols has played a lot of games this season and he could be a little tired based on his .105 batting average over the past five games (2-for-19). Pujols leads the Angels in home runs (14) and is second on the team in slugging percentage (.519) and RBI (32).
Description: Los Angeles 1B Albert Pujols is getting the night off Thursday against Seattle. SOURCE: Mike DiGiovanna, Los Angeles Times
Insight: Pujols hasn't had a day off all season so he was due for a rest. Though Pujols no longer hits for a high average (.262 in 210 at bats), he leads the Angels in home runs (14) and is second on the team in slugging percentage (.529) and RBI (32).
Description: Angels starter Jered Weaver has won six of his last seven decisions.
Insight: Weaver gave up five home runs and had a 5.79 ERA in his first three starts this season, but he's recorded a 2.01 ERA while giving up four home runs in 53 2/3 innings his last eight starts. Weaver's four-seam fastball sitting around 86 mph for the second straight season, but he's figured out how to cope with the velocity loss by using more two-seamers, curveballs and changeups.
Description: Angels starter Jered Weaver has won five of his last seven starts to raise his record to 5-3.
Insight: The right-hander has yielded two runs or less in all seven of the starts to lower his ERA to 2.85 and his WHIP to 0.995. That's pitching at an extremely high level. He'll face a Seattle team on Tuesday averaging just 3.66 rpg over the past six contests.
Description: Angels left fielder Josh Hamilton has a bone bruise in his surgically repaired left thumb, according to Alden Gonzalez of mlb.com.
Insight: Hamilton missed the last three games of his rehab assignment with soreness in his thumb after getting jammed by a pitch in the ninth inning Thursday. He'll try to take batting practice Wednesday and will resume his rehab assignment if he gets through it.
Description: Angels left-hander Tyler Skaggs gave up five runs in seven innings Monday at Seattle, but just two were earned. He struck out eight, walked two and allowed seven hits.
Insight: A two-out error by Erick Aybar in the bottom of the second led to three unearned runs for the Mariners. Skaggs has a 3.97 ERA, but fantasy owners have to like his 1.14 WHIP and improving strikeout rate (19 Ks in last 20 IP, 28 in first 45 2/3).
Description: Angels left fielder Josh Hamilton (thumb) joined the team in Seattle on Monday to have his surgically repaired thumb re-evaluated, according to mlb.com.
Insight: Hamilton missed the last three games of his rehab assignment with soreness in his thumb after getting jammed by a pitch in the ninth inning Thursday. If he's cleared Monday in Seattle he'll join the Salt Lake Bees, who are playing in nearby Tacoma from Tuesday-Friday, to resume his rehab assignment.
Description: The Angels sent Hector Santiago to the minors on Wednesday.
Insight: Santiago went 0-6 with a 5.19 ERA and a 1.59 WHIP in his first seven starts with the Angels, who acquired the lefty from the White Sox in the offseason, and appeared in just two games since he was demoted to the bullpen on May 9.
Description: Angels center fielder Mike Trout doesn't expect to miss any time after tweaking his hamstring Tuesday in a win over Houston. SOURCE: Los Angeles Times
Insight: Grant Green pinch-ran for Trout in the fifth inning. Trout has hit for more power this season (8 HR, 31 RBI) but it's come at the expense of his batting average (.270) and stolen base totals (five steals in 45 games).
Description: Los Angeles left fielder Josh Hamilton (thumb surgery) is targeting May 26 for his return to the lineup, according to Alden Gonzalez of mlb.com.
Insight: Hamilton tore a ligament in his thumb when he slid into first base in April. He was hitting .444 with two homers at the time of his injury and physically looked much more powerful than last season after packing on muscle in the offseason.
Description: Los Angeles first baseman Albert Pujols clobbered a pair of home runs Sunday in a win against the Rays.
Insight: Pujols' second homer was the 504th of his MLB career. That ties him with Eddie Murray for 25th on the all-time home run list. Next up is Gary Sheffield at 509. Pujols is tied for second in the AL with 12 jacks this season.
Description: Angels starter C.J. Wilson hurled a five-hit shutout Saturday against Tampa Bay.
Insight: Wilson's inconsistency prevents him from being a top-tier starting pitcher, but he's settled in just below that level. He's 5-3 with a 3.16 ERA, a 1.12 WHIP and a 61/21 K/BB in 62 2/3 innings this season.
Description: Los Angeles left fielder Josh Hamilton (thumb surgery) took batting practice on Thursday and didn't have any problems.
Insight: We are expecting Hamilton (.444, 2 HR, 6 RBI) back in the Angels lineup by the end of the month. If any impatient owner dropped him, you should scoop him up and stash him for the next couple of weeks.
Description: Angels reliever Joe Smith picked up his fifth save of the season Wednesday afternoon.
Insight: It wasn't like Ernesto Frieri wasn't available; he pitched a scoreless eighth inning. Manager Mike Scioscia used Frieri and Smith in the reverse order Tuesday and Frieri got the save. In fact, Smith and Frieri have alternated the Angels' last four save opportunities.
Description: Angels starter Garrett Richards held the Phillies scoreless on five hits while striking out eight batters in seven innings Wednesday afternoon to improve to 4-0.
Insight: Here's the kicker: Richards (2.42 ERA, 1.06 WHIP) had zero walks. So far, walks have been the young right-hander's only issue. However, he has issued just six free passes in his last 27 innings while striking out 30 batters in that span.
Description: Los Angeles shortstop Erick Aybar is hitting a mere .083 in 12 lifetime at bats against Phillies starter A.J. Burnett.
Insight: Aybar didn't play Tuesday night so at least he'll be well-rested for today's 1 p.m. start. The 30-year-old has produced 18 RBI this season, sixth-best among major league shortstops. Hopefully he's not your only option at shortstop today given the bad matchup.
Description: Los Angeles right-hander Matt Shoemaker registered his first career win Tuesday against the Phillies.
Insight: Shoemaker made it through five innings, allowing three hits and two earned runs. Tuesday was the 27-year-old's second major league start and his first of the 2014 season. The Angels haven't announced who their starter will be Sunday versus Tampa Bay but don't be surprised if Shoemaker gets the nod.
Description: Los Angeles Angels DH Raul Ibanez will take a seat for Tuesday's series opener in Philadelphia.
Insight: No DH makes it tough for Ibanez to get into the lineup. He's batting an ugly .139 with three homers and 18 RBI this season and has played only seven games in the outfield. Ibanez played three seasons in Philadelphia and should get a nice ovation from the fans whenever he gets into the batter's box.
Description: Angels 24-year-old 1B C.J. Cron is back in the lineup for Monday, batting fifth and playing first base.
Insight: Cron has gone 10-for-24 (.417) with three doubles, one homer and five RBI since he was summoned from the minors. Cron's presence has allowed Albert Pujols to DH lately to rest his ailing hamstring.
Description: Angels reliever Joe Smith blew a lead in the eighth inning Friday night, but he came back and saved Saturday's game.
Insight: We really have no idea what manager Mike Scioscia plans to do with the closer role. Ernesto Frieri has allowed one hit, one run and zero walks in 5 2/3 innings and saved two games since he was removed from the ninth inning, and Smith was used in the eighth Friday but Scioscia went back to him in the ninth Saturday for his fourth save.
Description: Angels 24-year-old 1B C.J. Cron hit his first homer of the season Saturday against the Blue Jays.
Insight: Cron has gone 10-for-24 (.417) with three doubles, one homer and five RBI since he was summoned from the minors. He hit .319 with six home runs, 26 RBI and a .971 OPS in 28 games with Triple-A Sacramento before his callup. MLB.com ranked him as the No. 3 first base prospect in baseball prior to this season. Cron's presence has allowed Albert Pujols to DH lately to rest his ailing hamstring.
Description: Angels left-hander Tyler Skaggs gave up three runs (two earned) on four hits with zero walks over eight innings Saturday at Toronto.
Insight: Skaggs only lasted 2 2/3 innings and gave up six earned runs on eight hits his last start, but he came back strong Saturday. The left-hander's ERA is 4.14 but he's only been hit hard in one of his seven starts.
Description: After Angels reliever Joe Smith blew a one-run lead in the eighth inning Friday night, Ernesto Frieri picked up the save in the ninth.
Insight: The Angels took the lead in the top of the ninth on a Raul Ibanez sacrifice fly. Frieri appears to have regained the closer role after losing it to Smith in late April. He's still not someone who inspires confidence because he has allowed six homers in 15 1/3 innings this year, but the right-hander has given up just one hit and no walks in his last 6 2/3 innings.
Description: Angels starter Garrett Richards threw his fourth straight quality start Friday against Toronto.
Insight: Richards gave up two runs on five hits in seven innings. The 25-year-old flame-thrower has a 2.80 ERA, a 1.11 WHIP, 46 strikeouts and just one home run allowed in 45 innings this season. His only issue is a 4.0 BB/9.
Description: The Angels have moved Hector Santiago to the bullpen, according to Bill Shaikin of the LA Times.
Insight: Santiago went 0-6 with a 5.19 ERA and a 1.59 WHIP in his first seven starts with the Angels, who acquired the lefty from the White Sox in the offseason. It will probably be a temporary move because the Angels are lacking quality starters.
Description: According to MLBlogs, Angels left fielder Josh Hamilton is targeting late May for his return to the lineup.
Insight: Specifically, he's hoping to be back for the series against Kansas City that begins on May 23rd. Hamilton tore a ligament in his thumb about a month ago. He had been hitting .444 with six RBI before the injury.
Description: Angels starter Hector Santiago dropped to 0-6 this season Wednesday against the Yankees.
Insight: Santiago allowed six runs (two earned) on five hits and walked three in 2 1/3 innings. The left-hander had a 3.56 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP with the White Sox last season, but he's recorded a 5.19 ERA and a 1.59 WHIP in his first seven starts with the Angels.
Description: Angels reliever Ernesto Frieri gave up a go-ahead homer to Yankees second baseman Brian Roberts Tuesday night.
Insight: Frieri took the loss and may have blown his chance to reclaim the closer job. The right-hander had thrown 4 2/3 scoreless innings without allowing a hit or walk since his demotion and picked up a save Monday with Joe Smith unavailable due to illness. Smith also missed Tuesday's game with tightness in his right side, so the Angels' closer role is up in the air right now. Frieri has given up six homers in 14 1/3 innings this season.
Description: Angels starter Jered Weaver has gone 3-0 with a 1.78 ERA over his last four starts.
Insight: He started out 0-2 with a 5.79 ERA in his first three starts. The right-hander worked out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in a 1-1 game in the top of the eighth inning Monday against the Yankees and finished with eight innings, one earned run and seven strikeouts in a 4-1 win. Weaver's velocity is down again but he continues to limit hard contact (13.9 LD%).
Description: With Angels closer Joe Smith unavailable Monday night due to a stomach ailment, manager Mike Scioscia went back to Ernesto Frieri.
Insight: Frieri struck out two in a 1-2-3 inning to get his third save of the season. The right-hander hasn't allowed a hit, walk or run in 4 2/3 innings since the Angels removed him from the closer role following several implosions. Smith saved three games and hasn't allowed a run since the switch, but he may end up losing the job due to his stomach issue Monday.
Description: Don't bother with Angels DH Raul Ibanez on Tuesday against the Yankees. He's 3-for-17 (.176) in his career against starter Hiroki Kuroda.
Insight: Ibanez has gone 0-for-14 over his last five games and is hitting .144 with three home runs and 30 strikeouts in 90 at-bats this season. Kuroda is right-handed so Ibanez will probably be in the lineup, but he's never had success against the Yankees starter.
Description: Angels third baseman Ian Stewart owns a .500 career average against Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda.
Insight: Stewart has gone 8-for-16 with one homer, six RBI and two walks against the New York right-hander. The former first-round pick is batting .193 with two homers and 25 Ks in 57 at-bats this season.
Description: Angels first baseman Albert Pujols went 1-for-3 with a solo homer Sunday against the Rangers.
Insight: Pujols has been dealing with hamstring tightness and served as the DH the last two games. His injury has allowed prospect C.J. Cron to start at first base in two straight games, and Cron went 5-for-9 with two RBI.
Description: The Angels have gone ahead and placed third baseman David Freese on the 15-day DL. SOURCE: Jeff Fletcher, Orange County Register
Insight: He's been diagnosed with a broken middle finger. The team expects Freese to return as soon as his 15 days are up. Luis Jimenez (.000, 0 HR, 0 RBI) and Ian Stewart (.220, 2 HR, 6 RBI) will split playing time at third base while he's out.
Description: The Angels will probably be without third baseman David Freese Saturday when they take on the Rangers. SOURCE: Scott Braun, MLB Network
Insight: Freese (.202, 2 HR, 8 RBI) has been diagnosed with a non-displaced fracture in his right middle finger. Doctors said he won't make the injury worse by playing so Freese doesn't expect to go on the DL. For now, consider him day-to-day.
Description: Cleveland managed just two hits and one earned run while striking out eight times in eight innings against Angels starter C.J. Wilson Wednesday night.
Insight: Wilson won 61 games in the previous four seasons and already has four in 2014. After giving up six earned runs in 5 2/3 innings in his first start, the left-hander has allowed eight earned in his last 34 innings (2.12 ERA).
Description: Angels DH Raul Ibanez is just a .071 career hitter versus Indians right-hander Justin Masterson (1-for-14).
Insight: Ibanez has been sidelined by illness, though he did pinch hit on Sunday. He's hit just .153 with three homers, 15 RBI and a .524 OPS in 72 at-bats this season. Don't expect to see him on Monday.
Description: Too bad Los Angeles left fielder Josh Hamilton is injured as he's a career .588 hitter 10-for-17 with a pair of homers against Cleveland starter Justin Masterson.
Insight: Hamilton is still sidelined with UCL tear in his left thumb, but could start baseball activities at the end of this week. The 32-year-old was off to a great start, batting .444 with two doubles, two homers and six RBI in eight games.
Description: An illness will keep Angels DH Raul Ibanez out of the lineup Sunday night against the Yankees, according to Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register.
Insight: Ibanez has hit just .155 with three homers, 15 RBI and a .531 OPS in 71 at-bats this season. Of course, he also looked washed up last April (.158) and batted .254 with 27 home runs over 107 games after that.
Description: Angels starter C.J. Wilson limited New York to one run on four hits in six innings to earn his third win Friday night.
Insight: Wilson (3.69 ERA, 1.29 WHIP) has 12 walks in 31 2/3 innings but he balanced them out with 33 strikeouts. He's allowed seven earned runs in 26 innings since giving up six in 5 2/3 on Opening Day.
Description: Angels shortstop Erick Aybar went 4-for-5 with a homer, three RBI and four runs Friday against the Yankees.
Insight: Aybar has collected 11 hits in his last 17 at-bats to raise his average 100 points (.175 to .275). The shortstop only has one steal this year after swiping 12 bags a year ago. He doesn't provide power, doesn't score more than 65-75 runs because he hits near the bottom of the order and is a career .277 hitter, so if he's not giving you speed he's not doing much fantasy-wise.
Description: Ernesto Frieri is out as Angels closer, according to Alden Gonzalez of mlb.com. Joe Smith will get a chance to run with the job.
Insight: Frieri has a 9.35 ERA and has given up an astounding five home runs in 8 2/3 innings. He'll pitch in low-leverage situations to try to work out what coach Mike Scioscia referred to as a release-point issue.
Description: Though Angels manager Mike Scioscia gave closer Ernesto Frieri a vote of confidence after Wednesday's blown save, he has made the switch to Joe Smith. SOURCE: Alden Gonzalez, mlb.com
Insight: Frieri allowed an abysmal five home runs and nine earned runs in 8 2/3 innings this season and Scioscia really had no choice but to make a change. Joe Smith has a 3.60 ERA, though all four of the runs he's allowed came in one appearance. He's been unscored upon in his other 10 appearances.
Description: Angels third baseman David Freese is not in Friday's starting lineup against the Yankees. Ian Stewart will get the start.
Insight: Freese can't buy a hit right now, batting .145 in 17 games including one his in his last 15 tries. When will the guy who slammed 20 HR and 79 RBI with an .839 OPS in 2012 for the Cardinals return?
Description: Angels closer Ernesto Frieri blew a 4-1 lead Wednesday at Washington, but manager Mike Scioscia said he's sticking with him, according to Alden Gonzalez of mlb.com.
Insight: Frieri allowed four runs on three hits with a walk in 1/3 of an inning. He has a 9.35 ERA and has given up an astounding five home runs in 8 2/3 innings. Joe Smith is probably next in line for saves, though Fernando Salas has some experience in the ninth inning.
Description: Angels left-hander Tyler Skaggs worked around four walks Tuesday at Washington to grab his second win of the season.
Insight: Skaggs threw seven innings and gave up two runs on three hits while striking out five. The left-hander's velocity is back up to where it was when he was a top-10 MLB prospect prior to 2013, and he has a 3.21 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP in 28 innings.
Description: Angels first baseman Albert Pujols launched his sixth homer of the season Saturday against the Tigers.
Insight: All six have come in the last 10 games. The 34-year-old Pujols is in a much better physical condition than last season and it has shown at the plate. He's hitting .282 with 11 extra-base hits, 14 RBI, 11 runs, a .960 OPS and a 7/7 K/BB in his first 17 games this year.
Description: Angels first baseman Albert Pujols is 7-for-14 with six doubles against Oakland's Tommy Milone.
Insight: Don't be fooled by Pujols' .237 average. The 34-year-old has hit four home runs in his last seven games and flew out to the deepest part of Angels Ballpark in dead center Tuesday night. He also has struck out just four times and physically looks much better than he did last year.
Description: Angels first baseman Albert Pujols homered for the third time in his last five games Sunday against the Mets.
Insight: Pujols is hitting just .240 so far, but he extended his hitting streak to nine games Sunday and hasn't struck out in his last seven. Overall he looks much better and healthier than he did in 2013.
Description: Angels center fielder Mike Trout went 3-for-4 with a solo homer Sunday against the Mets.
Insight: Trout homered in two of the three games and went 7-for-15 in Los Angeles' series against New York to raise his average from .257 to .320. He still hasn't attempted a steal but has four homers and nine runs.
Description: Los Angeles left fielder Josh Hamilton will miss 6-8 weeks because of a complete UCL tear in his left thumb, according to mlb.com.
Insight: Hamilton will undergo surgery for the injury, which he suffered while sliding head-first into first base Tuesday night. The 32-year-old was off to a great start, batting .444 with two doubles, two homers and six RBI in 27 at-bats, after a down year in 2013.
Description: Angels first baseman Albert Pujols drove in two runs Tuesday against the Mariners, giving him 1,501 RBI for his career.
Insight: Only 52 players in MLB history have reached that milestone. Among active players, he's second behind New York's Alex Rodriguez. Pujols (.219, 1 HR, 3 RBI) could realistically move into the top-40 before the end of this season.
Description: Los Angeles left-hander C.J. Wilson dominated Houston Monday for his first win of the season.
Insight: Wilson (1-1, 4.61 ERA) got rocked in his first outing (8 H, 6 ER in 5 2/3 IP against the Mariners) but was much better this time around. In eight innings, he only allowed four hits and one run. The seven strikeouts Wilson recorded were his most since September 22nd.
Description: Angels third baseman David Freese is not in Monday's starting lineup against Houston.
Insight: Freese is off to an ugly start (.162, zero homers, two RBI) and will sit while Ian Stewart gets the start. Stewart has just one at-bat this season. A solid power guy in Colorado, he's yet to prove he can hit elsewhere.
Description: Angels left-hander Tyler Skaggs tossed eight innings and allowed four hits and one run (unearned) Saturday at Houston. He struck out five and walked one.
Insight: Skaggs, who was considered a top-10 overall prospect by mlb.com in 2012 when he was with the Diamondbacks, worked on his mechanics after posting a 5.43 ERA, a 1.41 WHIP and an 89.4 mph four-seamer the last two years. He was clocked at 93-95 mph Saturday. Granted, it was against the Astros, but it was still an encouraging performance.
Description: Angels catcher Chris Iannetta is getting the night off Tuesday, according to Alden Gonzalez of mlb.com. Hank Conger will start behind the dish.
Insight: Ianetta had a career year in 2008 for the Rockies but has hit .227 with an average of 12 homers, 40 RBI, 36 runs and a .756 OPS over the last five seasons. This is his third year with the Angels.
Description: Los Angeles first baseman Albert Pujols hasn't had much luck against M's ace Felix Hernandez.
Insight: He's hitting only .192 in 26 at bats against the former Cy Young winner. Pujols (.258, 17 HR, 64 RBI in 2013) set career-lows in almost every statistic last season. Of course, much of that had to do with the torn plantar fascia he played through most of the year. We'll see if Pujols can stay healthy in 2014.
Description: The Angels and Mike Trout have agreed to a six-year contract extension that will pay him $144.5 million and keep him with the club until 2020. SOURCE: Alden Gonzalez, mlb.com
Insight: The contract will kick in after 2014 and cover his three arbitration years and first three years of free agency. Trout will hit the market again at age 29. For a player who put up 10 WAR in two straight seasons, an average annual value of $24.1M is a bargain for the Angels.
Description: Angels third baseman David Freese is expected to return to the lineup Thursday after sitting out Tuesday with tightness in his quad, according to Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register.
Insight: Freese batted just .262 with nine home runs, 60 RBI and a 721 OPS last year with the Cardinals, down from .293 with 20 homers, 79 RBI and an .839 OPS the year before. He's 11-for-44 (.250) with 11 singles this spring.
Description: Los Angeles right fielder Josh Hamilton will indeed make his Cactus League debut Monday against the Giants. SOURCE: Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times
Insight: Hamilton (.250, 21 HR, 79 RBI last season) strained his calf about three weeks ago. Assuming he doesn't suffer any setbacks, Hamilton should be a go for Opening Day against Seattle on March 31st.
Description: Angels left-hander Tyler Skaggs was clocked at 92-94 mph Friday, according to Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register.
Insight: Skaggs was considered a top-10 overall prospect by mlb.com in 2012 when he was with the Diamondbacks, but he has recorded a 5.43 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP over 68 innings in the majors while averaging 89.4 mph with his fastball. Los Angeles acquired him along with Hector Santiago for Mark Trumbo this winter.
Description: Angels right fielder Josh Hamilton (calf) felt good taking live BP Thursday and could make his Cactus League debut Monday, according to Alden Gonzalez of mlb.com.
Insight: Hamilton suffered a calf strain late February and the Angels have been bringing him along slowly. The 32-year-old put on 20+ pounds of muscle this offseason in an attempt to regain power after hitting just 21 homers in 151 games last season. He should be ready for Opening Day, barring a setback.
Description: Angels right fielder Josh Hamilton (calf) is scheduled to take live batting practice Thursday, according to Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register.
Insight: Hamilton suffered a calf strain late February and is targeting early next week for his Cactus League debut. The 32-year-old put on 20+ pounds of muscle this offseason in an attempt to regain power after hitting just 21 homers in 151 games last season. He should be ready for Opening Day, barring a setback.
Description: The Angels parted ways with lefthander Mark Mulder on Tuesday.
Insight: Mulder (103-60, 4.18 ERA in nine seasons) was likely to miss the whole season anyway after rupturing his Achilles in spring training. The 36-year-old will have to put his comeback on hold for now.
Description: The earliest Los Angeles right fielder Josh Hamilton (calf) will make his Cactus League debut is Sunday, according to the Orange County Register.
Insight: Hamilton has been running and hitting on the field after strain his calf in late February. The 32-year-old put on 20+ pounds of muscle this offseason in an attempt to regain power after hitting just 21 homers in 151 games last season. He should be ready for Opening Day, barring a setback of course.
Description: Angels manager Mike Scioscia doesn't want to use his closer, Ernesto Frieri, in four-out (or more) saves this season after he led the league with seven last summer. SOURCE: Orange County Register.
Insight: Frieri posted 37 saves with a 3.80 ERA, 1.238 WHIP and 98 Ks in 68 2/3 IP. However, if Scoiscia keeps to this limiter it might cost him a couple of save in 2014.
Description: Angels outfielder Kole Calhoun is not in Tuesday's lineup due to a sore hip.
Insight: The 26-year-old shouldn't be out long, its sore, not a serious injury. He hit .282 with eight homers, 32 RBI and an .809 OPS in 58 games last season after putting up a .354 average, 12 homers and a 1.047 OPS in 59 games at Triple-A. He's expected to start in left field for the Angels and could leadoff which would be a great spot for fantasy owners.
Description: Angels right fielder Josh Hamilton (strained calf) will miss at least two weeks, manager Mike Scioscia said. SOURCE: Alden Gonzalez, mlb.com.
Insight: The team is optimistic he'll still be ready for Opening Day, but we would have liked to see him get a full slate of spring training at-bats after his disappointing 2013 season. The outfielder came to camp having gained 20-25 pounds of muscle to try to regain his power.
Description: Angels starter C.J. Wilson tweeted out a lighthearted message to say he's fine after taking a comebacker off the left side of his head during live batting practice on Tuesday. SOURCE: mlb.com
Insight: "He was very cognizant; he was aware of what was going on, what was happening, and never lost consciousness," Angels GM Jerry Dipoto said. "The initial read is that neurologically he is fine." Wilson went 17-7 with a 3.39 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP last season even though the Angels only won 78 games and has averaged 15 wins per season with a 3.37 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP in four years since becoming a full-time starter.
Description: Angels right fielder Josh Hamilton will be shut down for a few days due to a strained left calf, according to Pedro Moura of the Orange County Register.
Insight: Hamilton was seen leaving the clubhouse on crutches. Coming off a disappointing season in 2013 (.250, 21 HR, 79 RBI, this is the last thing that Hamilton needed. For now, consider him day-to-day.
Description: The Angels and Mike Trout are working on a six-year contract extension that could pay him close to $150 million. SOURCE: Jeff Passan, Yahoo Sports
Insight: Trout's current salary pays him just over $500,000 a year so this would represent a hefty raise. After finishing second in AL MVP voting two years in a row, the move seems like a wise investment. Trout recently said that he would like to steal more bases this season. That's obviously good news for his fantasy owners.
Description: Angels lefty Mark Mulder's comeback appears to be over before it began. He suffered a ruptured left Achilles during agility drills, according to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times.
Insight: Mulder's surgery has a 5-8 month recovery time. The left-hander was attempting to pitch in the big leagues for the first time since 2008. He initially retired due to mechanical issues related to multiple shoulder injuries but made a major adjustment to his motion during the winter and was expected to compete for a rotation spot with the Angels.
Description: According to mlb.com, Angels outfielder Kole Calhoun looks like the leading candidate to lead off for the Angels this season.
Insight: The 26-year-old hit .282 with eight homers, 32 RBI and an .809 OPS in 58 games last season after putting up a .354 average, 12 homers and a 1.047 OPS in 59 games at Triple-A. He's expected to start in left field for Los Angeles and would be in a great spot for fantasy production if he leads off in front of the Angels' probable 2-3-4 hitters Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton.
Description: According to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times, Angels first baseman Albert Pujols is down seven pounds and says both his knee and foot are 100 percent.
Insight: Pujols had knee surgery before last season and then played through a torn plantar fascia in his foot. In 99 games, he hit a career-low .258 with 17 home runs and a .767 OPS, but he should bounce back at least to his 2012 numbers this season now that he's healthy.
Description: In the no news is good news category, Los Angeles first baseman Albert Pujols is having a "normal" offseason, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
Insight: Pujols didn't play after late July and produced a career-low 17 HR and 64 RBI. He might end up being a fantasy bargain if fantasy owners think at 34-years-old he might not return to his regular production level.
Description: Pitcher Jerome Williams has reportedly reached an agreement with the Houston Astros for 2014.
Insight: Williams wasn't going to be a starter in Anaheim, but could be in Houston. He was 9-10 with a 4.57 ERA and 1.39 WHIP in 25 starts last season. In eight seasons he's yet to prove he's a fantasy-worthy pitcher.
Description: According to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times, the Angels have signed 35-year-old first baseman Carlos Pena to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Insight: Pena has hit just .211 with a .767 OPS over the last five seasons. He hit .207 with eight homers in 89 games with Houston and Kansas City last year and will try to earn a bench role with the Angels in spring training. The Angels also signed former Tigers and Yankees outfielder Brennan Boesch to a minor league deal Tuesday.
Description: According to Jerry Crasnick of espn.com, the Angels have signed Mark Mulder to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. The 36-year-old retired in 2009 due to mechanical issues caused by two shoulder surgeries, but he decided to make a comeback after tweaking his delivery to emulate Dodgers reliever Paco Rodriguez.
Insight: Mulder's fastball was clocked at 89-90 mph during a mound session for three teams last month, and the Angels were considered the frontrunner to sign him. It's unclear if Mulder will attempt to come back as a starter or reliever. The lefty is 103-60 with a 4.18 ERA in his career, but he was 97-50 with a 3.87 ERA in his first six seasons and finished second in AL Cy Young voting in 2001.
Description: Raul Ibanez's new one-year deal with Anaheim will be worth $2.75 million according to Sports Illustrated.
Insight: That's exactly how much he made last season with Seattle. It's amazing how productive Ibanez continues to be in his early 40s but fantasy owners have to know the end is coming sooner or later. We wouldn't take him until later in the draft.
Description: The Angels have acquired third baseman David Freese and reliever Fernando Salas from the Cardinals for Peter Bourjos and Randal Grichuk.
Insight: Freese, the 2011 ALCS and World Series MVP and a 2012 NL All-Star, hit just .262 with nine homers, 60 RBI and a .721 OPS in 138 games this past season before hitting under .200 in all three postseason series.
Description: Los Angeles DH/1B Mark Trumbo could be available in a trade this offseason. SOURCE: Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times
Insight: The Padres are one team that could be interested in acquiring him. The Angels are dangling Trumbo and outfielder Peter Bourjos in an effort to improve their starting rotation. Trumbo smacked 34 HR last season but he hurt his fantasy value by hitting just .234 in 620 at bats.
Description: Angels right fielder Josh Hamilton is getting a day off Saturday against the Rangers.
Insight: Hamilton has hit .327 with five homers, 27 RBI and a .906 OPS over his last 43 games to bring his average up to .249 and his OPS to .737. He has hit just 21 homers with 78 RBI this year; fortunately, there will only be one game left in his miserable season after Saturday.
Description: Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick owns Texas starter Derek Holland. He has hit .378 with seven doubles, two homers, 12 RBI and a 1.083 OPS against the left-hander.
Insight: Kendrick has an extensive history against Holland, getting in 45 at-bats against him. The second baseman has hit safely in 11 of his 12 games since returning from the disabled list and is hitting .301 with 13 homers, 53 RBI and a .783 OPS in 469 at-bats this season.
Description: In 24 at-bats against Texas' Matt Garza, Angels right fielder Josh Hamilton has collected five hits while striking out six times.
Insight: Hamilton has hit .329 with a .914 OPS over his last 41 games to raise his average from .217 to .248, but he slugged just five home runs in that span and has 21 on the year. He shouldn't be started Thursday against Garza.
Description: According to his agent, the Angels haven't approached Mike Trout yet about signing a long-term contract. SOURCE: Los Angeles Times
Insight: Despite being an MVP candidate for the second straight season, Trout (.324, 26 HR, 92 RBI, 33 SB) will only earn $510,000 in salary in 2013 (plus whatever he makes for doing all those Subway commercials). The earliest he could become a free agent is 2017. On a side note, Trout didn't play Wednesday against Oakland. It was a routine off day and he should be back in there Thursday against Texas.
Description: Angels first baseman Mark Trumbo is 5-for-11 (.455) with a home run and five RBI versus Oakland starter Dan Straily.
Insight: Trumbo is posting solid power numbers (34 HR, 66 extra base hits, but fantasy owners would like to see a batting average above its current .235 level and a lower strikeout total (174 in 154 games). This is a favorable matchup and Trumbo should be in all lineups.
Description: Angels starter Jered Weaver (forearm) should be able to start Wednesday against the Athletics after throwing a successful bullpen session Sunday, according to Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register.
Insight: Weaver is dealing with some forearm tightness and missed his last start. The right-hander is 10-8 with a 3.36 ERA and 115 strikeouts in 147 1/3 innings this season.
Description: Angels outfielder Mike Trout is one of the rare hitters who excels against Seattle starter Felix Hernandez, who will start Sunday for the first time since Sept. 2.
Insight: Trout has lived up to expectations, which was tough to do because expectations were massive coming into the season. He has hit .327 with a .434 on-base percentage, .565 slugging percentage, 26 homers, 92 RBI, 108 runs, 102 walks and 33 steals.