Here we go again. The Angels and A’s meet again, right back in the same position they were in when they met last weekend. The Angels are once again nursing a one game advantage.
In other words, same series, different weekend.
The fight for the AL West continues. Get ready for Round 2.
LAST TIME ON ANGELS VS. ATHLETICS…
It was just last weekend that the Angels went to Oakland and lost two of three and Garrett Richards. It was a pretty bad weekend, all told. It wasn’t as if they got clobbered though. They lost by two in the first game thanks to a Jason Grilli hiccup. The lost the second game on a fluky wild pitch. They won the third game handily. As per usual, this series is shaping up to be nothing but close games.
GHOST OF ANGELS PAST
Don’t look now, but Alberto Callaspo is a former Angels morphing into an Angels-killer. In 44 plate appearances this year, he’s carrying an .886 OPS against the Halos. If you know the offensive “prowess” of Callaspo, you know that that is way above his head. He was particularly good against them last series, going 6-for-13 with a homer and a double. Beware the Ghost of Callaspo!
THURSDAY, 8/28: C.J. Wilson vs. Sonny Gray
Wilson had his best outing months last weekend against the A’s, so things are finally looking up for the Professor of #PMA. Historically, the only guy that has really given him trouble is Jonny Gomes, so if Wilson really is fixed, he should be able to go toe-to-toe with Gray.
The Halos showed that they could get to Gray by being the first team to homer off him twice in a game and the first team to homer off his curve. They need to show this time that Gray just wasn’t having an off night because even with him falling victim to those dingers, he shut them down pretty good otherwise.
FRIDAY, 8/29: Jered Weaver vs. Jon Lester
Weaver was doing his typical Oakland dominance thing for six innings last weekend before he finally ran out of gas in the seventh. Hopefully he is a little more rested for this one and can extend his success even longer.
Lester dominated the Angels last weekend and has generally dominated them in the past. There is no reason to think that trend will change, which pretty much sucks.
SATURDAY, 8/30: Toobie Determined vs. Scott Kazmir
Um, this is awkward. We don’t actually know who will be starting for the Angels in this one. It is currently Thursday. If the Angels don’t make a move today or early tomorrow, they aren’t going to have time to make a deal and get the guy to the stadium in time for the start. That means they’d have to look within. The smart money is on Michael Roth, but Scioscia might prefer a “proven veteran” like Randy Wolf. Or he might go off the board entirely as he’s already suggested that Cory Rasmus might get the start and then turn the game over to the bullpen early. Nobody knows what’s going to happen, not even the Angels.
The Halos have faced Kazmir twice now this season and hammered him both times, knocking him out before the end of the fourth inning. Let’s hope they can complete the trilogy and that the third time is not the charm for Kazmir.
SUNDAY, 8/31: Matt Shoemaker vs. Jeff Samardzija
Only one Athletics has ever faced Shoemaker. It was Brandon Moss and he struck out. I think that is pretty clear and obvious scientific evidence that Shoemaker will throw a perfect game and strike out all 27 batters. You can’t argue with science.
Shockingly, the Angels have hammered Shark (does that make the Angels a Hammerhead?). In particular, Pujols has taken him deep three times in 19 PAs and Hamilton has done it twice in just two PAs. Samardzija hasn’t faced the Halos this year though. Most of the damage they’ve done against him came in an awful outing he had in Anaheim while playing for the Cubs last year. He gave up nine runs with four homers in 4.2 innings in that game.
These teams are just too evenly matched for them not to split the four games.
UNOFFICIAL PREDICTION (so don’t hold me to it)
I will limit my prediction to who will actually start on Saturday. It sure seems like a trade just isn’t going to happen, so the Angels will turn to Michael Roth instead and he’ll pitch well enough to hold down the rotation spot for the rest of the regular season.