Athletics vs. Angels Game 3
By: Willie Bee
Fans at the Big A were treated to free baseball Tuesday, and it came with a happy ending as the Los Angeles Angels won their fifth straight game in a 14-inning, 2-1 decision against the Oakland Athletics.
Collin Cowgill's 2-out blast in the 14th decided matters in Game 2 after starting hurlers Drew Pomeranz and Hector Santiago hooked up in an unexpected duel earlier in the evening. The victory pushed the Angels a little closer to the A's in the AL West standings, and put LA on the cusp of sweeping their division rivals out of town.
Staff ace Jered Weaver will be on the mound for the Halos, his first pitch scheduled for a little past 10 PM (ET). The MLB odds like Los Angeles' chances of earning a 6th-straight dubya with the Angels priced in the -125 to -135 span on the moneyline. Oakland sends Tommy Milone to the bump in hopes of staving off LA's brooms, and an 8 run total that leans slightly to the 'over' awaits scoreboard bettors.
Weaver Out To Avenge
June 1st Loss To A's
Oakland has won Milone's last four assignments after dropping the former Southern Cal star's first five starts of 2014. Included in both of those stretches were very similar efforts against the Angels, the first one a loss in Anaheim (6 IP, 2 ER) and the other a home win at the end of May during the previous series between the two clubs (6 IP, 3 ER).
Weaver is climbing the hill for his 14th start of the campaign, LA winning six of the last eight to sit 7-6 overall when their big righthander pitches. He has worked at least six innings in each of this last seven assignments, and coming off an 8-4 win over the ChiSox last Friday when he allowed two runs over a half-dozen frames.
The outing just before that was his only look at the A's this season, and it wasn't pretty with Weaver charged with six runs (5 earned) and 11 hits of a 6-3 setback in Oakland. Weaver had won eight of 11 starts previously vs. the Athletics while compiling a miniscule 0.87 ERA in 82+ innings.
Umpire Notes, Finals
Thoughts & A Free Pick
A full-time rover in his first season working MLB games, John Tumpane should finish off this series under the mask for the umpire crew. He is 7-4-2 (O/U/P) to this point, three of his last four plate assignments shooting past totals with plenty of room to spare. Wednesday will be his first game behind the dish in Anaheim, and Tumpane's first involving the A's or Angels.
It's going to be a bit more humid this evening than the past two nights, but nothing else about the weather concerns us in Game 3. What we are concerned about, at least as far as Oakland avoiding LA's brooms, are the A's bats and 3B Josh Donaldson's glove. The Athletics have mustered just a run in each of the first two contests of this series, striking out 23 times, and Donaldson has committed four errors to aid the Angels' cause.
I'm getting on the broom bandwagon and making my free pick on Weaver and the Halos.
My Pick: Angels -125
Season: 62-58 (+3.35)
Athletics vs. Angels Game 2
By: Willie Bee
Off a 4-1 win in the opener, the Los Angeles Angels are shuffling their rotation up a bit due to some late injury news, but even with their switch we still get an all-southpaw mound duel in the second game of the series (10:05 PM ET).
Hector Santiago is taking the hill for LA while Oakland sends out Drew Pomeranz in hopes of leveling the set. Many shops have not caught their MLB odds up to reflect the late switch for the Angels, but the moneyline should wind up right around a pick 'em with a total in the 8.5 to 9 run range.
Monday's 7.5 run total was never really threatened as Garrett Richards, Jesse Chavez and the two bullpens combined to hold the hitters at bay. Richards enjoyed his best outing in front of the home fans this year, with relievers Joe Smith and Ernesto Frieri striking out five of the six batters they faced to preserve the victory.
Angels Look To Break
7-Game Skid Behind Santiago
A tough-luck loser to the Yankees his last time out, Pomeranz had the misfortune of going against Masahiro Tanaka in New York's 2-1 triumph. The former Ole Miss star allowed just one earned run, that coming on a Brett Gardner homer, and struck out seven in his sixth consecutive start after beginning the season in Oakland's bullpen.
Pomeranz's first career start against the Angels came 11 days ago in Oakland, and he earned the dubya though it wasn't necessarily a performance to brag about. The A's lineup gifted him with a 7-0 lead, Pomeranz hanging around just long enough to profit despite giving up five runs in 5.1 innings.
Tyler Skaggs was originally listed as Tuesday's starter, but a hamstring injury sent him to the DL, necessitating Santiago's recall from Triple-A. Santiago began the season in LA's rotation, the Angels losing all seven of his starts before a demotion to the 'pen and, ultimately, the minors. His best outing actually came against the A's on April 14 (7 IP, 1 ER), missing a win when Frieri coughed it up in the ninth for a 3-2 Oakland triumph.
Umpire Notes, Final
Thoughts & A Free Pick
Bob Davidson is next in the umpire rotation to call balls and strikes, bringing a 3-8-2 O/U/P mark into this contest. This is his first look at either the A's or Angels, and four of his last five plate assignments in Anaheim put money in the pockets of 'over' bettors.
It should be a few degrees cooler for the start of Tuesday's game, but otherwise the same forecast with a light SW breeze blowing out to center. That doesn't mean that Angels skipper Mike Scioscia will feel any cooler, however, after he was ejected by Davidson in Monday's opener. Scioscia was still mad about the replay reversal that changed a Mike Trout homer into a ground-rule double. An early objection to Davidson's strike zone tonight could get this game off to a heated start.
I'm looking for the bats in both lineups to heat up as well, and will offer up my free pick on the 'over.'
My Pick: Lines Still Unofficial, Over 9
Season: 61-57 (+3.30)
Athletics vs. Angels Game 1
By: Willie Bee
Current MLB futures odds suggest we're heading towards a Bay Area battle in this year's Fall Classic.
The Oakland Athletics lead the list as 4/1 picks to win the 2014 World Series, and the San Francisco Giants are just behind at 5/1 as the National League half of the clash. Mike Scioscia and the Los Angeles Angels are all in favor of a West Coast Series, but they'd love to see the American League portion of the battle shift a bit south to Anaheim. Presently 15/1 to win their second MLB Championship, the Angels have a chance to at least cut into Oakland's division lead this week when they host the A's for a 3-game set. A quick check of SBR's live baseball odds reveals the Halos are slight favorites to get the series started on a winning note Monday (10:05 PM ET).
Garrett Richards is up next in Scioscia's rotation, and the Angels are -115 chalk.
Oakland's Jesse Chavez takes the ball from Bob Melvin with an 8.5 run total that is priced to the 'under.'
A's Begin Series With 4.5-Game Cushion At Top Of Division
Oakland (39-24, +8.3 units, 33-37-3 O/U/P) is finishing up a 9-game road trip that started with a pair of series wins over the Yankees and Orioles. The Athletics have risen to the top of the American League in part by their outstanding road record (22-12), and enter this set with nine wins in the last 13 contests.
Los Angeles (34-28, +1.3 units, 35-25-2 O/U/P) completed a broom job against the White Sox over the weekend with a 4-2 win on Sunday. The sweep was highlighted by a dramatic Saturday rally when the Angels came back from a 5-0 deficit, Mike Trout's grand slam in the eighth serving as the big blow. The 3-0 start to this 6-game homestand followed a 3-7 road trip through Seattle, Oakland and Houston.
This is the third of six series on the 2014 regular season calendar between the division rivals. The most recent get-together less than two weeks ago in Oakland where the A's swept the Halos out of town. They collided in Anaheim about two months ago with the Athletics winning two of those three games, 'over' bettors also cashing twice.
Oakland has found the Big A to be a fairly hospitable diamond recently, winning 18 of the last 29 played in Anaheim. Six of the last nine on this field, including the April series, failed to reach the total.
Mound Duel Pits Pair Of Payoff Pitchers
After helping the A's to wins in his first six starts and posting a 1.89 ERA in 38 April innings, Chavez has come back down to earth a bit with Oakland splitting his six subsequent assignments. The Cali native is off a dubya last Wednesday in New York where he pitched the first six innings of a 7-4 victory over the Yankees, part of 4.8 units of black ink baseball bettors have picked up in Chavez's outings. One of his April appearances came in Anaheim against the Angels, a 3-2 Oakland triumph in which Chavez worked seven innings with only one unearned run coming around. That was his first start vs. LA after eight previous relief outings against the Halos. Richards has also added to bankrolls this season with the Angels 8-4 with him on the mound (+3.1 units). Two of those losses, however, came in the former Sooner's starts vs. Oakland, including a very ugly showing about two weeks ago when the A's sent him to the showers before he could get through the first inning (0.2 IP 5 H, 3 BB, 5 R). Richards rebounded nicely from that with eight shutout innings last Wednesday in Houston, the third time this year he has worked 7+ innings without allowing a run.
Weather should not be an issue Monday, or for the rest of the series. A few clouds are in the forecast, but no mention of rain with the thermometer in the mid-70s at the outset of Game 1 plus a 5-8 mph breeze from the SW (out to center). As well as the A's are playing, they're dealing with a cross-country flight for this one and no doubt getting anxious to return home in a few days. I'm going to buck Richards' home trends, and season history vs. Oakland by hopping on the home chalk express with my free MLB pick.
My Free MLB Pick: Angels -115 Season: 60-56 (+3.40)