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Oakland A’s Series Preview #1: Angels fly in to open season

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2020 MLB season begins with A’s vs. Angels at Coliseum

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Oakland Athletics
Just keep swimming (away from Oakland, please)
Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

The Oakland A’s are opening their 2020 season in a few hours, and their Opening Day opponent will be the division rival Los Angeles Angels — click here for How To Watch info for Friday’s opener. Here’s a quick look at the competition.

Los Angeles Angels

2019 record: 72-90

The Angels had another disappointing season in 2019, losing 90 games and failing to take MVP Mike Trout to the playoffs yet again. They dealt with a ton of injuries and basically didn’t have a pitching staff, though the latter is completely their fault for consistently refusing to seriously build one. Read more at our AL West preview.

They did a decent job loading up last winter, though once again they prioritized a nine-figure salary for a hitter they didn’t really need (Anthony Rendon) and settled for merely a couple of modest deals for pitching. Still, they’re almost certainly better than last year. We’ll see what kind of start they get off to in four games at the Oakland Coliseum.

Opening Day lineup

  • 3B David Fletcher
  • CF Mike Trout
  • DH Shohei Ohtani
  • LF Justin Upton
  • 2B Tommy La Stella
  • 1B Albert Pujols
  • C Jason Castro
  • SS Andrelton Simmons
  • RF Brian Goodwin

Even absent Rendon, who is out with an oblique issue, that’s still a pretty good lineup. Fletcher is a solid OBP guy, Trout through Upton are scary, and La Stella had a breakout season in 2019. Pujols is a below-average hitter now but he can still run into a few homers here and there, and Goodwin was a positive last year. Finally, catcher Castro and defensive whiz Simmons bring value on the other side of the ball while still holding the potential to be decent with the bat.

Click here for the A’s Opening Day lineup.

Starting pitchers

These are the four expected starters:

  • Fri: Andrew Heaney (L) vs. Frankie Montas (7:10 p.m.)
  • Sat: Dylan Bundy (R) vs. Sean Manaea (1:10 p.m.)
  • Sun: Shohei Ohtani (R) vs. Mike Fiers (1:10 p.m.)
  • Mon: Griffin Canning (R) vs. Chris Bassitt (12:40 p.m.)

The A’s have a lineup stacked with righties to face Heaney. They saw the southpaw twice last year, and he allowed a total of six runs in 11⅓ innings, including homers by Ramon Laureano and Matt Chapman.

Bundy is the newcomer, acquired from the Orioles over the winter. The A’s saw the right-hander once last summer in Baltimore, plating six runs in five innings on four homers — two by Khris Davis.

The A’s last batted against Ohtani in April 2018, and he tossed quality starts both times they met. Once he struck out a dozen in seven shutout frames. He just went through Tommy John surgery and recovery, and is now ready to return.

Canning is a 24-year-old who had a nice rookie season last year, though like Heaney and Ohtani he also missed time to injury. He went six innings each against the A’s in a trio of outings, totaling just seven runs allowed.

Bench/Bullpen

Here’s the Halos’ full Opening Day roster:

L.A. Angels 30-man roster
Pitchers Hitters
Starters

Andrew Heaney (L)
Dylan Bundy (R)
(Shohei Ohtani (R))
Griffin Canning (R)
Matt Andriese (L)
Patrick Sandoval (L)

Relievers

Hansel Robles (R)
Cam Bedrosian (R)
Ty Buttrey (R)
Mike Mayers (R)
Kenyan Middleton (R)
Felix Pena (R)
Noe Ramirez (R)
Ryan Buchter (L)
Hoby Milner (L)
Jacob Barnes (R)
Catchers

Jason Castro (L)
Max Stassi (R)

Infielders

Albert Pujols (R)
Tommy La Stella (L)
Andrelton Simmons (R)
Anthony Rendon (R)
David Fletcher (R)
Matt Thaiss (L)
Jared Walsh (L)
Taylor Ward (R)

Outfielders

Mike Trout (R)
Shohei Ohtani (L)
Justin Upton (R)
Brian Goodwin (L)
Michael Hermosillo (R)

10-day IL: RHP Dillon Peters (oblique), RHP Jose Quijada (undisclosed), RHP Jose Suarez (undisclosed), RHP Julio Teheran (coronavirus), 2B Luis Rengifo (hamstring)

45-day IL: RHP Justin Anderson (TJS)