The Angels are on the brink of falling out of playoff contention. What better team to draw for a series than the team with the worst record in the American League? Oh, sure, the A’s have a +12 run differential and the Angels are at a -18. What’s a mere 30 run differential between division foes?
Not to put too fine a point on it, but the Angels really need to win this series and probably even sweep it. Their playoff odds are down to 11.4% at Baseball Prospectus and 18.0% at Fangraphs. That’s the cusp of a percentage so small that I don’t even bother checking the change in odds every morning like I currently do. As tempting as it is to get those 30 seconds of my day back, I’d much prefer the Angels put up a good showing this series so that the following homestand versus three actual contending teams means something and doesn’t transform into a nine-game dirge.
Game 1: Hector Santiago vs. Felix Doubront
Boy, it sure would be nice if Santiago could slay the regression dragon for one game and capture that overachieving form he displayed in the first half. I don’t care if he needs to give himself another weird haircut, sit in kiddie pool with his uniform on or, I don’t know, throwing out a crazy idea here, fix his wonky mechanics, he just needs to get out there and at least give the Angels six decent innings. That may not be enough for them to win the game, but it will at least help make sure that the bullpen gets a modicum of much-needed rest.
Shoe was outstanding in his last start, but he’s been either awesome or awful in his starts this year with very few falling into the middle part of the spectrum. I’m really rooting for Matt, but I’m also braced for the worst at the same time.
But seriously, Gray has made a habit of mowing down the Angels in his short career. That included last season when this team could actually hit. It is hard to see how they could possibly get to him in their current state of total ineptitude.
I’m also a bit worried about how Heaney will perform in this game given that Oakland is setup to completely load their lineup with right-handers. That burned him badly against Toronto. Oakland is no Toronto on offense, but if the platoon split thing is a real problem for Heaney, it will show up in this game.