A west coast clash tonight with the Angels and Athletics squaring off in Oakland. A lot of unanswered questions for both squads as the season progresses. Neither figure to be significant threats at a World Series, but at this juncture they should have been there to begin with already in one of the past few seasons. The Athletics had all the opportunities in the world to make that come to fruition, and the Angels tried to buy their way to the World Series, acquiring big bats like Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton. Pujols has never been able to recapture how he was in St. Louis and Josh Hamilton is of course back in Texas after relapsing with drugs again. Hamilton was never the player he was with the Rangers either, so the Angels have found themselves frustrated and wondering what is going on. In today’s MLB attempting to buy yourself a World Series doesn’t always result in an actual World Series. The starting rotation has never been on an elite level to begin with in any case. I made a ton of cash betting Angels’ team totals to go OVER a couple of seasons ago over a two month span, that is the only time the offense was clicking like it should. To make matters worse, Pujols left with an injury to his hammy last night. The Angels have a lot of work to do if they want to turn this into a good season.
The Athletics are like the Sharks and Blues of the NHL. You think from their play in the regular season they’d be a threat in the postseason. But no, all the postseason looks like is spring training to them. The A’s had their chance last year against the Tigers, yet again I should mention, but came out empty handed. The moment the Athletics had the bases juiced against Max Scherzer and came up with no runs, was a moment when a little bit of the Athletics died. That series still haunts Athletic fans and will do so for years to come. I do think the A’s will eventually come around and have a decent season, but how can we take them seriously to do anything more? They look to defeat the Angels tonight at home after what is looking like a loss against them last night. It is 6-3 in the 7th in favor of the Angels as I write this. Let’s search for a winner for today.
L.A. Angels vs. Oakland Athletics
Garrett Richards (1-1, 3.75 ERA) vs. Jesse Chavez (0-1 0.71 ERA)
Garrett Richards was rolling right on along for the Angels before a knee injury took it all away. Richards was molding himself into an ace, but that unfortunate injury stopped him right in his tracks. Following three straight seasons in which he flirted in the 4.00-5.00 range with regards to his ERA, Richards was pitching some of the best baseball of his life last season. He ultimately finished with a 2.61 ERA in a year cut short by the injury. A big improvement for a guy that was a career rotation filler up to that point. Thus far in his return he’s been up and down with an ERA of 3.75. What scares me here for Richards is that the A’s have been mashing the ball against righties with a batting average of .280. They couldn’t hit a lefty to save their lives, but have been doing well against right-handers. Conversely, the Athletics have been the exact opposite, they can’t hit righties.
Right-hander, Jesse Chavez, enters the starting rotation after replacing Kendall Graveman. In the work he’s done this season, Chavez has done just about everything the A’s have asked him to do. He enters tonight with a 0.71 ERA and 13 strikeouts with a 0.79 WHIP in 12.2 innings pitched. Chavez allowed no runs out of the bullpen before he made his first start last week, holding the Angels down to only 1 run and 1 hit in 6.2 innings. The Angels are batting only .217 against righty pitchers. The A’s and Angels typically go back and forth on one another and I expect the flip-flop pattern to occur again tonight. I like the Athletics.
PICK: ATHLETICS TO WIN -104