We have an American League West Division showdown on our hands tonight as we take a look-in at the series between the Oakland Athletics and the Los Angeles Angels. Tonight marks game two of a three-game set that saw the Angels come back from an early 3-0 deficit last night to steal game one at home, 4-3. The Athletics are hoping to get right back on track tonight as the loss yesterday was just their second loss in nine games and they currently hold a game and a half lead over the Seattle Mariners for the second and final wild-card spot in the American League. The Angels are hoping to get themselves back into contention as well as they climbed back over .500 with yesterday’s win.
Starting tonight for the Angels is Tyler Skaggs (8-7 3.34 ERA), and for the Athletics, it is Edwin Jackson (3-2 2.87 ERA). The Angels are -115 home favorites. The game total over-under is set at eight runs. First pitch is scheduled for 6:07 PM PST from Angel Stadium in Anaheim.
Life without the best player in baseball. What does that look like for this already struggling Angels team? Mike Trout was placed on the ten-day disabled list yesterday with an injured wrist. The Angels are expected to take things very slowly with Trout as they realize that they realistically don’t have much of a chance at all at making the playoffs this season. It is going to be impossible to replace his bat in the lineup. But, the Angels should get a little boost for this one though as Shohei Ohtani is expected to start after sitting out the last two games against left-handed starting pitching.
Starting tonight for the Angels is Tyler Skaggs. Skaggs is coming off the DL to make his first start in two weeks. Skaggs hit the DL with a strained adductor muscle, the second time he went to the DL for the same injury in a little over a month’s time. You almost wonder why the Angels are pushing him so hard when he is struggling to stay healthy. They essentially threw up the white flag the trade deadline when they stood pat and made no moves to improve the team, so why push this guy so hard?
Skaggs was enjoying a breakout year with the Angels before his hips started causing him issues. The guy probably should have made the All-Star team this year as he finished up the month of June with a 2.64 ERA. In the month of June itself, he was nearly unhittable as he made five starts and went 3-1 with a 0.84 ERA. But then he was sent to the DL with a left adductor strain and missed two weeks and came back and was terrible.
In July, Skaggs was just 2-2 with a 6.33 ERA. Including giving up ten runs to a hitting starved Tampa Bay Rays in his last start before heading back to the DL with a right adductor strain. You just have to wonder how healthy Skaggs is at this point. Hitting the DL for the same injury less than a month apart tells me they rushed him back last time and that they may be rushing him back again this time.
The A’s will look to Edwin Jackson tonight to continue his hot streak. Whether you want to admit it or not, Jackson has been really good for the A’s since they signed him to a minor league contract in June and added him to the rotation shortly thereafter. The guy has made eight starts for Oakland, and he has a 2.87 ERA to show for it, the A’s have won six out of the eight games he has started.
He has been even better recently as he hasn’t allowed a run in his last two starts. In a combined eleven and two-thirds of work over his last two starts, he has not given up a single run on eight hits, and the A’s won both games. It looks like Jackson has found the fountain of youth this season with his fifteenth major league team and is excited about being in a pennant race.
I don’t expect much out of Tyler Skaggs tonight. The guy is clearly not healthy, and I am surprised they rushed him back given their current situation. The Angels are in fourth place in their division, fourteen games back of the Houston Astros, and are even nine and a half games back of the second wild-card. This team is going nowhere, and it is surprising to see them risk the long-term health of one of their young guys.
I see Jackson as continuing his stellar results tonight, and the A’s taking this game. Oakland is hot, they have won seven out of their last nine games and despite all the haters expecting them to fall out of the race any day, they continue to win games at a high rate. Only time will tell if the A’s have enough in the gas tank to make it to the postseason, but I see a lot of value in backing them as underdogs tonight. Give me the Oakland Athletics as road underdogs tonight in game two at +105!