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Los Angeles Angels vs Washington Nationals Series Preview: The battle of Mike Trout and... Michael A. Taylor

Bryce Harper and Mike Trout won’t be able to duke it out for the title of best player in baseball this time, leaving it up to the rest of the Washington Nationals’ outfield to fill the void.

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Toronto Blue Jays Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Angels (61-58) vs. Nationals (70-46) Series Info:

Game 1: Tuesday, Aug. 15 at 7:05 p.m. EST (MASN/106.7 The Fan)

Game 2: Wednesday, Aug. 16 at 1:05 p.m. EST (MASN/106.7)

Pitching Matchups:

Tuesday: Tyler Skaggs (1-2, 3.63 ERA) vs. Gio Gonzalez (10-5, 2.59)

Wednesday: Ricky Nolasco (5-12, 5.24) vs. Tanner Roark (9-7, 4.74)

What to watch for:

Will Michael Taylor be able to pick up where he left off?

Before an oblique injury landed him on the disabled list, Michael Taylor was having a career year with a .278 batting average and .826 OPS.

Taylor went just 7-for-49 in his extended rehab stint between High-A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg, but was forced to rejoin the team amid Bryce Harper’s knee injury.

The Nats’ outfield depth is stretched thinner than it’s been all season, putting a lot of weight on Taylor’s shoulders to help patch together some offense.

Tanner Roark is turning a corner

Over his past six starts, Tanner Roark is (3-1) with a 3.31 ERA, 34 strikeouts and a .191 BAA in 35.1 innings pitched.

While those numbers are nowhere near his Cy Young-caliber campaign of yesteryear, he’s been able to drop his season ERA from 5.27 to 4.74 over that span.

The Angels’ offense ranks in the bottom third of the league in nearly every offensive category, making them a prime candidate for Roark to continue having success against.

Watch out for the surging Angels

Don’t look now, but the Angels enter play Tuesday with sole possession of the second Wild Card spot in the American League.

Los Angeles has won six in a row, 10 of its last 13 and 12 of its last 16, putting the Angels three games over .500 for the first time since April 12.

Coupled with the injuries the Nats have sustained, they’re going to have their hands full with this red-hot Angels squad.

Who to watch out for: Kole Calhoun

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Los Angeles Angels Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

From 2014 to 2016, Kole Calhoun was one of the more underrated hitters in baseball, hitting .266 with 61 home runs.

This season, however, Calhoun has taken a step back and is posting career-worst numbers across the board.

He has been able to heat up lately though (.361 BA in last 10 games), and it’s helping power the Angels through their current winning streak.