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Game Thread #34: A's vs Angels

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After dropping last night’s contest by a final score of 7-3, the A’s (15-18) will once again try for their second consecutive series win as they host Anaheim (17-18) at the Coliseum this afternoon.

They’ll have to do it against former A’s pitcher Jesse Chavez, who is 2-4 with a 4.46 ERA. Owing to the fact that he spent just over three seasons in Green and Gold, Chavez has pitched a total of 175 1/3 innings at the Coliseum over his career, where he has won 14 games, lost 11, and tallied a 3.39 ERA in its spacious confines.

This season is Chavez’s first as an Angel, where he was brought in to assume the role as the Halo’s 5th starter in the rotation. His 4.46 ERA and 3.22 BB/9 are both second-to-last amongst Angel starters while his 7.43 K/9 and 1.35 WHIP are dead last.

Although he pitches from the right side, right-handed hitters have actually fared far better against Chavez this year, slashing .301/.366/.521 with a .327 BAbip compared to .219/.275/.359, .255 from the left side.

He’ll face an A’s lineup that has scored 20 runs in its previous 4 games while Yonder Alonso is making the case that he’s Oakland’s best hitter. In hitting two more home runs yesterday—the basis for the only runs the A’s would score—Alonso has now hit 11 on the season. As we all know, it’s the first time in Yonder’s career that he’s hit double-digit home runs in a season, except that he accomplished that feat after just 33 days. In his two best home run seasons—2011 as a member of the Reds (in limited action), 2012 as a member of the Padres, and last season in Green and Gold—Yonder averaged just one home run per every 17.6, 61, and 68.8 ABs, respectively. In 2017, he’s averaging one home run per 8.8 ABs! I won’t project Yonder’s home run total over 500 or so ABs at his current pace—because I don’t want to be that guy—but we all have calculators. Considering his declaration, our loyalty and unquestioning optimism, and his Spring Training performance, very few of us are that surprised, which is probably the most surprising part of the whole ordeal, if you ask me.

On the mound, the A’s will counter with Andrew Triggs (4-2, 2.34 ERA), who will face an Anaheim lineup that broke out last night against Jharel Cotton, hitting 3 home runs while scoring 7 runs in the game’s first 4 innings. Prior to the mini-offensive onslaught, the Angels were previously second-to-last in the American League in Road OPS (.637) and last in the AL West in Road wRC+ (76), and HRs (17).

For Triggs, despite starting the season with 3 wins and no earned runs over his first 3 starts, he has lost 2 of his previous 3 while allowing 9 earned runs in 17 innings (4.76 ERA).

Like Chavez, right-handed hitters are faring better against Triggs (.253/.291/.320 with a .333 BAbip compared to .175/.254/.228 with a .200 BAbip). In the case of Triggs, he’s also striking out right-handers at a greater clip (20 of his 27 Ks are vs. RHB).

As we observed last night, though, I think we'll accept fewer runs over more punch-outs.

Today's lineup for Anaheim, sans both Mike Trout and Albert Pujols, is a career 6-for-20 with 3 walks vs. Triggs, who is 1-0 with a 0.82 ERA in 3 career outings versus Anaheim, and will feature a mix of lefty/righty.

For Oakland, they'll counter with a right hand-heavy lineup in an effort to take advantage of the reverse platoon splits vs. Chavez, where they're a combined 4-for-18 against him. Chavez is 2-0 in 7 appearances with a 1.13 ERA vs. Oakland.

Today's Lineups

Yunel Escobar - 3B Rajai Davis - CF
Cameron Maybin - CF Ryon Healy - 3B
Kole Calhoun - RF Yonder Alonso - 1B
Luis Valbuena - DH Khris Davis - LF
Jefry Marte - 1B Jed Lowrie - DH
Ben Revere - LF Mark Canha - RF
Andrelton Simmons - SS Chad Pinder - 2B
Danny Espinosa - 2B Bruce Maxwell - C
Juan Graterol - C Adam Rosales - SS
Jesse Chavez - RHP Andrew Triggs - RHP