The Los Angeles Angels and Oakland Athletics play the middle game of a three-game series on Wednesday night. Oakland won the opener, 7-5, and has now taken 10 of the 15 meetings between the two American League West rivals this season.
The Angels dropped to 65-74 after losing Tuesday to the Athletics on the road. The Angels have won just one of their last five, including the last two straight.
The Angels will be in Oakland again for this game, and they are 30-40 in away games this season. They are batting .252 as a team with 197 home runs and currently holding a team ERA of 5.02.
Los Angeles is all but out of the playoff picture at this point, as they sit in fourth place in the AL West, 24.5 games behind the Houston Astros and 15 games out of a Wild Card spot.
Angels prospect Patrick Sandoval will get the start in this game as Los Angeles searches out players to build around moving forward. His last outing resulted in a no-decision despite only allowing one hit and no runs over five innings while striking out nine.
In his very short stint in the big leagues with just 22 1/3 innings pitched, Sandoval is 0-1 with a 5.24 ERA and 27 strikeouts.
While the Angels look to fill depth on their roster to become more of a threat in the American League, one constant remains the same. Mike Trout is, without a doubt, one of the best players in baseball. He is getting it done yet again this season after signing a massive contract in the offseason.
Trout leads the team in, well, just about everything. He is carrying a .293 batting average with 44 home runs and 102 runs batted in. The Angels have slowly added pieces around Trout to be successful, but everyone is waiting for the year they pull it together and make a real playoff run.
In The Mix
After winning at home Tuesday, the A’s are now 79-58 this season. They hold a 44-26 home record, giving them a pretty good advantage in Oakland. They are 3-2 over their last five games.
Oakland is in second place in the AL West, but they are stuck 9.5 games behind one of the best teams in baseball, the Houston Astros. They do, however, currently hold a Wild Card spot, though they’re tied with Cleveland for the second spot, with Tampa Bay a game ahead.
As a team, the Athletics are batting .249 with 216 home runs and have a team ERA of 4.07. They currently have just two players on the IL, staying relatively healthy at a pivotal part of the season
Getting the start for Oakland in this one is veteran Tanner Roark. The 32-year-old did not factor into the decision in his last outing against the Royals, where he gave up four runs over six innings.
Roark is now 8-8 with a 4.04 ERA and 135 strikeouts this season. This should make for an interesting pitching matchup as we have a seasoned veteran going up against a rookie prospect.
Leading the way for Oakland out of the batter’s box have been third baseman Matt Chapman and shortstop Marcus Semien. Chapman leads the team with 31 home runs and 78 runs batted in, and he also carries a .259 batting average. Semien has an average of .272 with 25 home runs and 73 RBI.
What To Expect
With a young pitcher on the mound for the Angels that Oakland has not seen, this could go great, or really bad in a hurry for Los Angeles. The A’s have the proven guy on the mound, but he has not been dominant this season. I believe we will see a good outing from Sandoval that will give the Angels the upset win in a low-scoring game.