2011 Playoff Contending Los Angeles Angels V. Baltimore Orioles Series Preview

Danny Hauger@@DannyHaugerCorrespondent ISeptember 15, 2011

2011 has been an All-Star and career year for Howie Kendrick
2011 has been an All-Star and career year for Howie KendrickThearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Camden Yards is the site of a three game series with the visiting Los Angeles Angels and the Baltimore Orioles Friday through Sunday. Dan Haren and Tommy Hunter take the mound Friday. The Angels are currently three games behind the American League West leading Texas Rangers on Thursday afternoon before they face the Cleveland Indians.

This upcoming series means more to the Angels chasing down Texas than it does to the Orioles who are already advertising the visiting Red Sox on their website. The Angels have not found indifference from down and out opponents like the Mariners and Athletics and will be on guard for another contested series this weekend.

Robert Andino is developing into one of the finest players in the American League. Fans have been patiently awaiting this development since he was drafted by the Marlins in 2002.  The Orioles are proudly displaying their new found gem, showcasing his athleticism on the field.

Angels Defensive plays kept the club in striking range with Joel Pineiro and Jerome Williams on the mound this week in Oakland. Erick Aybar and Howie Kendrick have turned numerous double plays in the last three games to assist in close games.

For the Angels a hot bat has resurfaced from Howie Kendrick.  Two homers for Howie Kendrick on Tuesday night helped seal a contested rubber match with the Athletics in the third and seventh innings. Kendrick has gone through several hot streaks for a career year.

Dan Haren will start the first game of the Orioles series Friday. Haren's slider and cut fastball looked sharp last time out and Baltimore's Hunter has a similar approach to his pitch selection. These two starters should set the pace for a competitive series in Maryland. Santana and Weaver on short rest are the probable pitchers over the weekend for Los Angeles.

This series is within reach for the Angels who see a closing door in their division as Texas has continued to power through their opponents.  Consistent hitting will be a decisive indicator in their success tracking down the Rangers lead and playoff berth.