The LA Angels have answered the challenge and have been coming up in a big way. The Angels were playing so great prior to the All-Star break, but after they went on one epic slide. The offense was dead, the team looked dead, and it looked like they were going to play themselves right out of the postseason after so much promise earlier. Baseball can be cruel like that, one month you’re hot and then the next nothing is working to pick a win up. The Angels haven’t been that hot since recently. They are now picking up where they were months ago. It is a nice time for the Angels to get hot, because without it they wouldn’t be looking at the postseason at the moment. They’ve won seven straight games and looking more and more confident with every passing game. The Angels are built in a way that they should be going on runs like this. A roster that includes Mike Trout and Albert Pujols should not be sitting out of the postseason.
The way they have been playing, it seems like they are going to grab a spot. But keep in mind, this is baseball, they could give it all up just as quickly and left wondering what the hell just happened. What got them going was a series against the Astros a week ago. The first two games didn’t go well, losing the first two, but then they came back to take the next two. They needed that. Their win against the Athletics, a 8-1 drubbing, put them ahead of the Astros for one of the wildcard spots. The Astros have been in slide mode for a couple months now, and the Angels are looking to take advantage of their misfortunes. The Athletics have been going on a tour against California teams lately, with not any success at all. The Angels have won seven straight, while the A’s have gone 1-9 in their last ten games. Barry Zito gets another start tonight, as he finished out his career.
Oakland Athletics vs. L.A. Angels
Barry Zito (0-0, 18.00 ERA) vs. Garrett Richards (15-11, 3.73 ERA)
Like I said a few days ago, the Athletic didn’t bring Barry Zito up to win games. They realize his arm is shot and the A’s are out of the postseason picture. I think it is just a nice gesture on their point to ensure that Zito doesn’t finish his career up in the minor leagues. Zito hasn’t don’t anything of substance, recently getting hit for 4 runs in only 2 innings of action. The Giants ultimately went on to win 14-10. It was the last matchup between Tim Hudson and Zito, who will both be retiring. Zito has a 18.00 ERA on the season in his limited action. He didn’t play at all last season, this is his first action since 2013. In just three innings pitched, Zito has given up 6 runs this season.
This is more of a fade pick of Zito, but Garrett Richards isn’t all that bad of a pitcher. He had a great 2014 and was a focal point of the Angels’ pitching staff. An injury knocked him off course, but he is back pitching well. At least enough to best Zito in this matchup tonight. Pitching at home Richards has been better, posting a 3.08 ERA and 1.12 WHIP in Anaheim. That should be enough to get past Zito tonight. Given that the Angels need all the wins they need right now, the Athletics are out, and they are up against Zito, I think that this line should actually be higher. It seems silly saying a -230 favorite should be higher, but I see this as -290. I am going to have to lay the -1.5 in this game with the Angels.
PICK: ANGELS -1.5 (-120)