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Oakland A's series preview: The Los Angeles Angels in 1,249 more words

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The Angels return to the Coliseum with the Athletics hoping to turn the tables after the Halos took two of three last weekend in Anaheim.

The beer league manager thought, "Who do I pick next from these four?"
The beer league manager thought, "Who do I pick next from these four?"
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Games 11-13 of the 19-game season series between the Oakland Athletics (29-40) and Los Angeles Angels (34-33) come your way this weekend, with the Halos leading the season series 6-4. The Oakland Athletics took three of four from the San Diego Padres while the Angels split four games with the Arizona Diamondbacks during this week's interleague interlude.

The Angels enter this series in third place in the American League west trailing the Houston Astros by 5½ games. The A's trail the Astros by 11½.

Commissioner Rob Manfred is visiting the Coliseum today as part of his effort to visit all 30 teams at their stadiums this year.

Starting on the mound

The A's will face the Halos' three right-handed starting pitchers this weekend: Matt Shoemaker, Jered Weaver, and Garrett Richards.

Friday vs. RHP Matt Shoemaker
Friday (6:35 PM PDT)
Matt Shoemaker vs. Sonny Gray
4.85 ERA 1.60
4.44 FIP 2.56
3.81 xFIP 3.22
22.5% K% 23.9%
0.77 GB/FB 1.66

Oakland beat Matt Shoemaker last Sunday in the 8-1 laugher that saw the Angels charged with three errors. Shoemaker earned three runs out of the four on his line while striking out five and walking none in 5⅔ innings.

Shoemaker is throwing a 90 mph fastball, sinker, splitter, slider, and knuckle curve, says his Brooks Baseball profile.

Saturday vs. RHP Jered Weaver
Saturday (1:05 PM PDT)
Jered Weaver vs. Jesse Hahn
4.65 ERA 3.62
4.96 FIP 3.35
4.77 xFIP 3.85
11.9% K% 15.0%
0.84 GB/FB 2.30

Jered Weaver enters this weekend's series with the third lowest BB/9 rate (1.484) and the most home runs allowed (16) in the American League. He faced the A's twice in April, with the Angels losing both of those games, pitching a quality start on April 22 but allowing six earned runs and two home runs on April 28. He has not thrown a quality start in his last three tries.

Weaver throws an 85 mph fastball, sinker, curve, change, and slider, according to Brooks Baseball, and his strategy has always been to make you pop out. Weaver owns the fourth-highest infield fly balls per fly ball rate amongst 55 qualified American League starting pitchers.

Sunday vs. RHP Garrett Richards
Sunday (1:05 PM PDT)
Garrett Richards vs. Scott Kazmir
3.59 ERA 2.84
3.91 FIP 3.60
4.18 xFIP 3.69
19.3% K% 23.1%
1.63 GB/FB 1.26

The A's played Garrett Richard on April 30, when he pitched six innings, struck out five, walked three, and allowed one earned run to earn the win in an Angels 2-1 victory. Richards is 9-for-12 in quality starts, though on June 6 he could not get out of the first inning against the New York Yankees, giving up five hits, two walks, and six runs in two-thirds of an inning.

Richards throws a 96 mph fastball, slider, sinker, and rarely thrown curve, says Brooks Baseball. The curve mainly comes out when the pitcher is ahead in the count against left-handed batters. He's thrown it 22 percent of the time this year in that circumstance, compared to four percent overall.

At the plate and in the field

Angels AL Ranks A's
11th (3.94) RS/G 7th (4.42)
10th (97) wRC+ 5th (104)
5th (70) HR 10th (59)
12th (.242) AVG T-4th (.258)
12th (.302) OBP T-4th (.322)
10th (.385) SLG 8th (.395)
7th (.143) ISO 11th (.137)
13th (22) SB 5th (43)
8th (39) Errors 15th (65)
11th (-13) DRS 7th (7)
7th (1.6) UZR/150 15th (-10.9)
2nd (.726) DE 4th (.718)

Last Sunday's three error performance, combined with four more errors against the Diamondbacks, put the Angels on 39 and drops them from fourth to eighth in that simple measure. Between the A's and Diamondbacks series, the Angels also dropped down the Defensive Runs Saved standings, dropping from 7th (-2) to 11th in the American League (-13).

Does it seem like Johnny Giavotella has been particularly pesky against the A's? He has a .271/.328/.367 line overall on the year, but against the A's he's .258/.343/.387, having hit one of his three home runs against the A's. He's just generally improved from his previous performance with a 101 wRC+ this year, compared to a career 77.

Who are the leaders?

A quick look at where the Angels appear in the top 10 in select American League leaderboards:

  • Mike Trout: Position player WAR (2nd, 4.0), OBP (7th, .382), SLG (2nd, .584), Runs (3rd, 49), home runs (2nd, 18), walks (10th, 31), intentional walks (2nd, 9)
  • Albert Pujols: SLG (6th, .541), home runs (1st, 19)
  • Johnny Giavotella: Sacrifice hits (5th, 4)
Sogard Line

The Eric Sogard Line is Sogard's wRC+, representing my gut feel for what represents serviceable offensive production for a bottom of the order hitter with a good glove, but you probably don't want more than one or two of those in your lineup.

Sogard's wRC+ ticked up from 69 to 70 after going 4-for-17 with two walks, two strikeouts, and a double in the four games against the San Diego Padres. The Angels have given 31% (748 of 2,425) of plate appearances to batters batting at or below the Sogard Line, which is up from 21% at the last meeting. The Sogard Line has moved up from 65 since last Friday, and now includes Erick Aybar's 267 plate appearances (69 wRC+).

Bullpen

Angels AL Ranks A's
14th (180.0) IP 12th (190.1)
8th (3.40) ERA 15th (4.68)
3rd (3.28) FIP 12th (4.15)
8th (3.84) xFIP 11th (4.08)

Last week I said it was hard for Angels manager Mike Scoscia to go wrong with his bullpen. A week later, Cam Bedrosian and Fernando Salas have added around a run each to their ERA, and the Angels replaced Drew Rucinski with Trevor Gott.

Huston Street went 3-for-3 in save opportunities last week, including two against the Athletics. The Angels are fairly well rested heading into the weekend slate after C.J. Wilson pitched eight innings Thursday in Arizona.

2015 Stats Recent usage (pitch count from www.rosterresource.com)
Player Hand IP ERA K% GB% FB% 18-Jun 17-Jun 16-Jun 15-Jun 14-Jun 13-Jun 12-Jun
Huston Street R 27.0 2.33 26.4% 25.4% 47.9% 19 15 26
Joe Smith R 26.2 3.04 26.4% 50.7% 24.6% 16 13
Fernando Salas R 27.0 4.67 23.9% 33.8% 42.9% 10 28 23
Cesar Ramos L 18.0 2.50 18.9% 46.2% 28.8% 16 25
Cam Bedrosian R 13.1 4.05 15.6% 47.6% 28.6% 8 22 4
Trevor Gott R 2.0 0.00 25.0% 0.0% 50.0% 18 7
Jose Alvarez L 27.2 3.25 24.1% 48.6% 36.1% 10 8 10

The games

Thank goodness the Warriors won in six games, as a seventh game would have been a dual-event nightmare between visits from Commissioner Manfred and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, and rumored attendance by the President of the United States, who is visiting the Bay Area for the U.S. Conference of Mayors in San Francisco as well as fundraisers.

Fireworks will follow the A's game Friday, hence the 6:35 start time. Saturday the A's are giving away to 15,000 fans the Sonny Gray Solar Powered Gnome which "uses the power of the sun to light up the ball in Sonny's hand."

Gates for Saturday's 1:05 contest open at 10:30. Sunday's game begins at the usual 1:05, with gates at 11:05.

Time (PT) Probable starters TV Promotion
Friday 6:35 PM Matt Shoemaker vs. Sonny Gray CSNCA Fireworks
Saturday 1:05 PM Jered Weaver vs. Jesse Hahn CSNCA Sonny Gray Solar Powered Gnome
Sunday 1:05 PM Garrett Richards vs. Scott Kazmir CSNCA