The Oakland Athletics are in Los Angeles tonight looking to avoid the sweep in game three of a three game series with the Angels. The Angels took game one Monday night behind a dominant pitching performance from Andrew Heaney. Heaney went six strong innings, allowing only two hits and one earned run while striking out ten in the 3-1 win. Game two saw the Angels win in blowout fashion, 8-2, powered by C.J Cron’s two homer and four RBI explosion. The Angels will look for the sweep by sending rookie sensation Parker Bridwell (7-2 2.89 ERA) to the mound to face off with the Athletics’ Kendall Graveman (4-4 4.24 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 7:07 PM PST from Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California.
Oakland Athletics vs. Los Angeles Angels Pick
Kendall Graveman (4-4, 4.24 ERA) vs. Parker Bridwell (7-2, 2.89 ERA)
The Los Angeles Angels have been hanging around all year long in the race for the American League wild card. With a very strong August that has seen them go 17-10, they now find themselves as legit contenders in the American League. Entering play today the Angels are just one game back of the Minnesota Twins for the second wild card spot in the American league. However, if Los Angeles is going to be taken seriously as contenders, they have to beat teams like the Oakland Athletics. They took care of business in games one and two and need to slam the door shut here in game three. Tonight, they will look to rookie starter Parker Bridwell to get the job done.
Parker Bridwell may very well be the best pitcher you haven’t heard of this season. The Angels have been mediocre most of the year and stuck out on the west coast, Bridwell hasn’t gotten the attention he has deserved. His 2.89 ERA would be third in the League if he pitched enough innings to qualify. He hasn’t been a flash in the pan as he now has three months under his belt pitching in the bigs and has acquitted himself very well. Bridwell had won his previous five decisions before a bit of a hard luck loss in his last outing that saw him shut down the very dangerous Houston Astros lineup, to the tune of just two runs over seven innings. The kid is young and good, and the best thing he brings to the table? Wins. The Angels just seem to get the job done with Bridwell on the mound as they are 12-2 in his 14 starts this season.
There isn’t a lot to say about the Oakland Athletics this season. They came into the season with little hope of competing and have fallen into obscurity over the last several weeks as most of their talent was traded away at the trade deadline. At this point, the Athletics are just going through the motions and looking once again to “maybe next year.” They find themselves fighting it out with Chicago and Detroit for who will finish with the worst record in the American League. Looking to avoid the sweep they will send Kendall Graveman to the mound.
Graveman has had a decent season this year. He missed over two months with injury but has come back off the DL and has been a serviceable option for the Athletics as they plod through the dog days of summer. In his first start after coming off the disabled list, he got ran off the field in San Francisco as the Giants whacked him for seven runs in just two innings of work. Besides that one bump in the road, Graveman hasn’t been all that bad. In his last start against the Texas Rangers, he went seven innings and gave up only one earned run in an A’s victory. He is capable of pitching well he is just very inconsistent.
This is a classic late August matchup of a team making a push for the playoffs, the Los Angeles Angels, and a team that is making a push for the season to end so they can hit the golf course, the Oakland Athletics. The A’s have nothing but pride to play for at this point, and they are just outmatched in this one. Graveman can be decent, but Bridwell can be dominant. Angels manager Mike Scioscia deserves the AL manager of the year award for the work he has done this year to keep this team competing through all of their injuries, and I think a team this well managed just won’t let an easy game like this slip by. I rarely like taking a run line bet, but this one seems to offer tremendous value as you can get the much better team, the Angels, at +160 on the run line today. Graveman scares me a little bit as he was sharp in his last outing but he could also blow up and get sent packing by the third inning, so I like the play. I look for the Angels to finish out the series and complete the sweep in a big way tonight in LA. Give me the Angels on the run line at +160.
PICK: ANGELS -1.5 RUNS AT +160