Manager: Mike Scioscia, 15th year
Last 10 games: 5-5
Who to watch: CF Mike Trout (.307/.373/.613, 5 HR, 13 RBIs); 1B Albert Pujols (.280/.349/.587, 6 HR, 14 RBIs); RHP Garrett Richards (2-0, 2.84 ERA, 1.16 WHIP); RHP Jered Weaver (1-2, 4.74 ERA, 1.09 WHIP)
Season series vs. Nats (2013): Did not play
At age 21, Bryce Harper is the youngest position player in baseball and at 22, Mike Trout is the fourth-youngest player in the American League.
For the next three days, they’ll face each other for the first time when the Angels make their first trip to Nationals Park since 2008, which was before either phenom was drafted.
Trout leads a dynamic Los Angeles offense that, even without Josh Hamilton, ranks fourth in the majors in runs scored. The young outfielder is batting .307 with a .987 OPS. First baseman Albert Pujols has also helped make that happen, tying for the major league lead with six homers.
You might even have a chance to see Pujols join some elite company during the series, as the 34-year-old is two homers shy of becoming the 26th player in major league history to reach the 500 mark.
But the Angels are suffering similar problems to a year ago when they won their fewest games since 2003 - a pitching staff that continues to come up a bit short. Los Angeles is tied for 23rd in the league with a 4.21 team ERA.
Right-hander Jered Weaver and left-hander C.J. Wilson, the supposed anchors of the staff, have pitched to 4.74 and 4.21 ERAs, respectively. While Wilson doesn’t appear in the series, Weaver faces Gio Gonzalez on Wednesday in the most star-studded matchup of the set. Weaver will look to carry on the momentum from a quality start in his last outing following two rough appearances.
The Angels’ first two starters in the series - Garrett Richards and Tyler Skaggs - have arguably been the team’s best so far this season. The 26-year-old Richards is 2-0 with a 2.84 ERA through three starts. The 22-year-old Skaggs, who was acquired in the Mark Trumbo trade, has posted a 3.43 ERA through three starts.
But most attention will be directed at Harper and Trout, as the young All-Star outfielders take the field opposite each other for the first time during the regular season.