With the A's jumping out of the gate fast, winning 11 of 12 at one point, and the Texas Rangers piling up injuries faster than a speeding train wreck, this was supposed to be the year Oakland pulled away and put the AL West race to bed early.
The Angels, however, have not cooperated and enter play tonight just 1.5 games back of the A's. At 30-23, the Angels own the AL's 4th best record and would be the first wild-card if the season ended today. It does not; in fact it is exactly 1/3 over.
One of the A's most pleasant surprises, Drew Pomeranz, takes the mound tonight sporting a nifty 1.38 ERA. He is opposed by arguably the Angels' most pleasant surprise, or development, in Garrett Richards. Richards is 4-1 with a 3.00 ERA.
Is Bob Melvin seeking to sneak a bit more offense into the lineup? Against the RHP Richards, Eric Sogard (.188 BA, .492 OPS) is on the bench with Alberto Callaspo at 2B. Hmm...The lineups: