An important four-game series will begin in Anaheim Thursday as the Oakland Athletics will come to town to battle the Los Angeles Angels as the two teams jockey for position in the Wild Card race. Both teams are playing relatively well, so this should be an entertaining series. The moneyline for Thursday’s game is Los Angeles -150.
A’s Look to Stay Hot
The Oakland Athletics come into play Thursday winners of eight of their last 11 games. The A’s will send right-hander Tanner Anderson to the mound to open things up at Angels Stadium of Anaheim. Anderson is 0-2 on the season with a 4.20 ERA in three starts on the season. He has struck out 12 hitters in 15 innings so far. Anderson has never faced the Angels. He allowed three runs on seven hits in his previous start against Tampa Bay on Friday. Oakland owns the sixth-best ERA in the American League at 4.20.
The A’s offense is led by shortstop Marcus Semien, who has a .275 batting average. Third baseman Matt Chapman leads the team in home runs, totaling 19 on the season. Leftfielder/DH Khris Davis has driven in 43 runs, along with Chapman. The A’s are not a team that is laden with .300 hitters, but they are consistent, and they hit the ball out of the park, hitting 124 home runs on the season.
Angels Back Above .500
The Los Angeles Angels come into play with a 41-40 record, good for fourth in the American League West, nine games behind division-leading Houston. However, the Angels are just 3.5 games out of the second Wild Card spot in the American League. They will send righty Griffin Canning to the mound to get things going against the A’s. Canning is 2-4 on the season with a 3.88 ERA in 10 starts.
Canning has struck out 57 hitters in 55 2/3 innings pitched. In his last outing, he was beaten by the St. Louis Cardinals. He gave up two earned runs in 5 1/3 innings. He has surrendered 13 runs in his last 23 1/3 innings and will be pitching with an extra day of rest. The Angels’ pitching staff has been a bit of an Achilles’ heel this season, as they have a team ERA just under five at 4.90.
The Angels offense is a good one. Mike Trout is back to MVP form once again as he leads the Angels in batting average at .307, home runs with 22, and RBI with 56. Second baseman Tommy La Stella is having an All-Star year with an average at .300, with 16 home runs and 44 RBI. Another note on Trout: He leads the Angels in EVERY offensive category except triples and strikeouts.
The A’s and Angels are no strangers to one another. Both teams will be sending young starters to the mound. Canning has struggled as of late; therefore, money should be spent on Oakland in this one.