The Athletics are traveling south to Anaheim where they will be taking on Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels in a four-game weekend set. Both of these AL West teams are close to the second wild card spot, so this series is big for both teams. The four-game set can also help the Athletics decide whether they should buy, sell or hold at the trade deadline. The clubs have met 10 times this season, with the Athletics leading the season series 6-4. However, the two teams are only separated by three runs, the A’s leading 51-48.
Game 1: Thursday, June 27 | 10:07 PM EST
Probable Starters: Mike Fiers (7-3, 4.20 ERA) vs. Griffin Canning (2-4, 3.88 ERA)
After a rough April, Mike Fiers is pitching great. Including his no-hitter in May, he has thrown 57.1 innings with an ERA of just 2.51. He’s also only pitched less than six innings once since the no-hitter, as he now has a streak of seven consecutive quality starts. He pitched against the Angels once in LA, going six innings while allowing three runs on June 6.
Griffin Canning also got things going after a rough start to the season. The Angels’ rookie faced Oakland twice already this season. He threw six innings in both match-ups, giving up five earned runs over his 12 innings pitched. The 23-year-old has shown great control so far as he currently posts a 1.02 WHIP.
Prediction: The Athletics should be getting used to Canning, as this will be his third time facing Oakland this season. Fiers has been consistent and can certainly continue the trend. The A’s should take game one 6-4.
Game 2: Friday, June 28 | 10:07 PM EST
Probable Starters: Brett Anderson (7-5, 4.26 ERA) vs. Noe Ramirez (3-0, 2.95 ERA)
Brett Anderson is having a very average year. He’s sitting at a 4.26 ERA along with a 1.40 WHIP. Anderson has fared well against the Angels in his career. Current Angels hitters post a line of .165/.195/.228 in 82 plate appearances against the south paw. The 31-year-old veteran will look to continue this trend Friday night in Anaheim.
The Angels have jumped on the opening pitcher train as they now use Noe Ramirez in that role. He throws about an inning or two before handing the ball over, usually to Felix Pena. Ramirez hasn’t allowed an earned run since May 23. Two of his outings came against Oakland where he threw a total of 4 and 1/3 innings without allowing a run. Pena, on the other hand, hasn’t pitched as well against the Athletics this season. He’s thrown 5 and 1/3 innings, posting an ERA of 18.56 versus the A’s.
Prediction: Even though Brett Anderson has great numbers against the Angels, it’s hard to see him doing that good against a team with players like Mike Trout and Justin Upton. The Athletics barely touched Noe Ramirez this year, but they’ve had Felix Pena’s number thus far. Depending on how Brad Ausmus manages his pitchers, the Angels should win game two 7-3.
Game 3: Saturday, June 29 | 10:07 PM EST
Probable Starters: TBD vs. Tyler Skaggs (7-6, 4.30 ERA)
The Athletics have not named a starter for Saturday night’s game. This is likely due to Frankie Montas’ absence. Montas got suspended 80 games for PED usage, and it weakened an already struggling pitching staff.
Tyler Skaggs has had a roller-coaster type year. For example, he threw six innings in a start against Toronto where he only allowed two earned runs. His next start only lasted 4 and 2/3 innings against the Tigers where he allowed seven earned runs. The 27-year-old lefty has had two rough outings against Oakland this season. He has a 7.27 ERA against his AL West counterpart. This has been a common feat throughout his career, as active Athletics slash .299/.371/.494 against Skaggs.
Prediction: The Athletics have had trouble with their rotation all season long. Tyler Skaggs isn’t very reliable against Oakland. Don’t be surprised if an offensive showdown occurs Saturday night. The Athletics should take game three 11-8.
Game 4: Sunday, June 30 | 4:07 PM EST
Probable Starters: Chris Bassitt (4-3, 3.86 ERA) vs. Andrew Heaney (1-1, 4.99 ERA)
The only time Chris Bassitt gave up more than three runs in a single start came against the Angels on May 27. He’s having a pretty solid year, especially for an Athletics team that needs innings out of their starters. It’s hard to tell with just one start if the Angels have Bassitt’s number, or if it was more of a fluke. The Athletics’ starter will get another chance against Los Angeles on Sunday afternoon.
Andrew Heaney first pitched this season on May 26 after returning from Tommy John surgery. The 28-year-old has been struggling as he’s sitting at a 4.99 ERA in his six starts this season. He also only reached the six-inning mark once at Seattle. A good sign for the southpaw is that current Athletics hitters slash a line of .148/.203/.370 against him.
Prediction: Chris Bassitt is having a good year on the mound up to this point. He can go either way Sunday against the Angels. Andrew Heaney is looking to turn things around after a rough start to his campaign. The A’s don’t hit well off of him, so the Angels should take game four 4-2.
- Sean Manaea hasn’t pitched yet this season due to Tommy John surgery.
- Blake Treinen’s shoulder injury makes for a huge blow to Oakland’s bullpen. He will likely return in the middle of July.
- Marco Estrada is yet another sidelined pitcher who is going to return around the same time as Trienen.
- Jharel Cotton hurt his elbow and won’t be back to pitch until at least August.
- Daniel Gossett is another bullpen arm out for the A’s. He will miss the rest of this season.
Los Angeles Angels:
- Andrelton Simmons should play this weekend after recovering from an ankle injury.
- Zack Cozart injured his shoulder and is likely sidelined until August.
- Matt Harvey has a back injury and should only miss a few starts. He could be back by the middle of July.
Feature Image Courtesy of Zimbio.