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Athletics vs Angels: Series Preview #7

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Los Angeles Angels Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Considering how the home stand started and how it ended, a 5-4 overall record over the A’s nine game stretch isn’t too shabby. The A’s, unfortunately, will now have to leave the comfy confines of home and embark on a three team road trip for the next nine game stretch, taking on the Angels, then Astros, then Twins. Overall, the A’s are currently in second place with a 10-9 record, three games behind the Astros for first place and 1.5-2.5 games ahead of the rest of the division trailing behind.

The Angels were like the A’s only in that (only in that) the Angels have a lot of talented players but would really need everything to break right for the team to stay competitive all year. After splitting the opening four game series against Oakland, the Angels have not had things break right. Upon leaving Oakland, the Angels promptly won four straight games versus Seattle and Texas, propelling the team to the top of the standings and instilling hope in all the greater Orange County area, before immediately losing the next eight of nine games against Texas, then Kansas City, then Houston, and then Toronto. The Angels are currently 9-12 and in fourth place in the AL West.

It is safe to say that things aren’t breaking exactly right for Anaheim. The Angels currently have the second worse run differential in the American League, leading only the last place Royals.

In all honesty, despite Garrett Richards’ Hardenesque ability to hurt himself yet again (he has been placed on the 60-day DL), the Angels starting rotation has been the biggest non-Trout strength of the team, at least in recent weeks. No one in the rotation of Nolasco, Shoemaker, Chavez, Skaggs and others has an ERA below four or has earned more than 0.0 WAR so far on the young season, but it’s also often the case that the starting rotation isn’t the reason that the Angels are losing as much as they are. The offense, armed with the greatest gift of all of baseball with Mike Trout, is in the bottom-10 in all of baseball in runs scored, OBP, and SLG and lacks any semblance of consistency, and the bullpen is riddled with injuries and in recent weeks has been giving up runs at double the rate of the starting pitching.

It is not all doom and gloom for the Angels, who still have a few bright spots scattered on the roster. Andrelton Simmons is doing his best to become a two way player, and has an OBP of .370 to begin the year to compliment his best defense in the league from shortstop. Longtime backup catcher Martin Maldonado has done the same in the opportunities he’s been given. Mike Trout is still very good, as is to be expected. On the pitching side of things, Cam Bedrosian (currently on the 10-day DL) has been elite out of the bullpen so far, not allowing a single run to score yet in this young season, and the starting rotation has just gone more than a week in which the starter has given up fewer than three runs.

There isn’t much to be happy about otherwise in Anaheim. Pujols has sixteen RBI, which is meaningless, and is otherwise off to yet another early season slump with the Angels. Kole Calhoun, one of the only other legitimately feared hitters in the Angels’ lineup, is slugging under .300 to date, and C.J. Cron is struggling to slug the Mendoza line. The Angels are basically getting the entirety of their offense out of two players, and with the bullpen hemorrhaging runs to the tune of an ERA above six in the last week-plus, the ship will need to right itself quickly otherwise the entire season can be sunk.

Here are the matchups for the upcoming three game series against the Angels:

Tue, 4/25 @ 7:07 - Hahn (1-1) vs Ramirez (2-2) on NBCSCA and

Wed, 4/26 @ 7:07 - Manaea (1-1) vs Shoemaker (0-1) on NBCSCA and

Thu, 4/27 @ 7:07 – Cotton (2-2) vs Nolasco (1-2) on NBCSCA and

Link to Halos Heaven