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Series #23: Athletics vs Angels - An End to a Losing Streak

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MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Seattle Mariners Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Angels’ Current Record:

37-32. The Angels have lost four straight games after being swept by the Mariners, and are currently seven games out of a wild card spot.

Possible Lineup:

Ian Kinsler - 2B

Mike Trout - CF

Justin Upton - LF

Albert Pujols - DH

Zack Cozart - SS

Martin Maldonado - C

Chris Young - RF

Luis Valbuena - 1B

David Fletcher - 3B

Probable Starting Pitchers:

Tyler Skaggs - LHP

Nick Tropeano - RHP

Andrew Heaney - LHP

Recent Bullpen Usage:

The Angels’ bullpen was heavily used while on the losing end of a sweep to the red-hot Mariners in their last series, but is at least somewhat rested given the Angels’ off day yesterday.

Hottest Hitter(s):

Surprising absolutely no one, Mike Trout has been the main contributor on offense. The best player in baseball has slugged .765 and has nineteen walks versus twenty three strikeouts in his last twenty seven games. He also has eleven home runs during that same time span, and a league leading twenty three overall for the year.

Coldest Hitter(s):

With Kole Calhoun and his .375 OPS mercifully put on the disabled list and rehabbing in the minor leagues, the players currently struggling with the bat the most on the Angels are Zack Cozart and Martin Maldonado. Both players have done some serious damage against the A’s early on in the season, but both players each have OPS’s under .600 over the last month at the plate.

Hottest Pitcher(s):

The Angels were going to live and die by the health of their starting rotation, and while a major piece of it went down in Shohei Ohtani, until recently, the rest of it had held up relatively well. Tyler Skaggs and Andrew Heaney each have had strong seasons to date, and have gotten better over the last month, though each lefty could stand to go deeper into games, both averaging below six innings a start. Out of the bullpen, Blake Parker has excelled in his closer role, with thirty nine strikeouts in thirty three innings and a 2.67 ERA.

Coldest Pitcher(s):

Though he has the second most appearances on the team, Cam Bedrosian has a 6.10 ERA during the last month of play. Also out of the bullpen, old friend (depending on who you ask) Jim Johnson has an ERA above five for the last month. Nick Tropeano has been the lone ineffective starter in the rotation for the Angels, with a 6.29 ERA during his last five starts.

Key Injuries:

The injury bug hasn’t been kind to the Angels lately. Shohei Ohtani has a UCL tear and is out for the year, with the Angels hoping he can avoid Tommy John surgery. Matt Shoemaker is also out indefinitely, and Garrett Richard’s status is uncertain after hurting his hamstring in Wednesday’s game. Zack Cozart is also day-to-day after sustaining an injury in Wednesday’s game, and Andrelton Simmons has been out since early June with an ankle injury.

* * *

After another sweep at the hands of the Astros, the A’s are now a paltry 1-8 against the AL West leaders. The offense, other than Khris Davis and Matts Chapman and Olson, has gone silent once again, and suddenly the A’s have plummeted below the .500 mark. The A’s have lost four of five, and are looking an awful lot like a team with little experience in the majors and lots of growing pains to endure. Their pitching staff is stretched thin, but relievers are finally coming back from the disabled list and in two of three games this upcoming series, starters in the opening day rotation will be taking their turn.

The Angels have taken their fair share of lumps recently as well, be it via injury news or by being the losers of four straight games. However, the best player in baseball is still manning center field for them, and he’s as hot as he’s ever been, which always spells danger for opposing pitching. The Angels also have the strongest section of their rotation pitching in this series, save for Nick Tropeano’s struggles, so the team won’t be a cinch to score off of.

Game #70: Friday, June 15th, 6:35 - NBCSCA, FSW, MLB.tv

Chris Bassitt vs Tyler Skaggs

Bassitt is making just his second start since 2016 and will now get his first real test against a potent lineup. Bassitt excelled as a starter in 2016 and excelled in his first start against the Royals, but it is yet to be known if Tommy John surgery sapped him of his magic. Skaggs didn’t allow a run versus the A’s in his only start against them this year, back in March.

Game #71: Saturday, June 16th, 1:05 - NBCSCA, FSW, MLB.tv

Sean Manaea vs Nick Tropeano

Sean Manaea is finally looking like he’s back on the right track after a rough month of May. He is finally starting to locate better, and has had the poise of the April version of himself. Tropeano is the weak link in the Angels rotation, so, given the matchup, and given how the ball plays in Oakland during the day, the A’s best chance for a solid win is this day.

Game #72: Sunday, June 17th, 1:05 - NBCSCA, FSW, MLB.tv

Daniel Mengden vs Andrew Heaney

Mengden is looking to bounce back after a consecutive duds for starts. Before this bump in the road, Mengden had been the best starter for the A’s, and one of the primary reasons the team has been able to hang around .500 all year. Andrew Heaney has some of the best movement on the his pitches on the Angels’ staff, and could potentially provide fits for the A’s hitters.