Game 1: Friday 6:35pm PT – Shoemaker (4-5, 4.85) vs Gray (8-3, 1.60)
Game 2: Saturday 1:05pm PT – Weaver (4-7, 4.65) vs Hahn (4-5, 3.62)
Game 3: Sunday 1:05pm PT – Richards (7-4, 3.59) vs Kazmir (3-4, 2.84)
Here we go again! The Halos are headed into a three game weekend series vs the Oakland A’s. Sound familiar? It should, we just did this last week folks. Only differences being this time around the games are being played in Oakland as opposed to Anaheim and last time I wasn’t drinking while I wrote the series preview. As is always the case in life, nothing is perfect. That clearly still rings true because the dreadful city of Oakland still exists on our planet. And also because I wasn’t sipping cocktails the last time I wrote the series preview between these two teams, and I think we can all agree that both of those are big time bummers.
If you recall, I sort of predicted a show of long balls from Trout and Pujols in last weekend’s Angels/A’s series. They delivered on that premonition. Wait, am I tooting my own horn here? Yes I am. Cover your ears if that horn sound annoys you, because I am going to toot it again. Don’t cover your eyes though, just your ears, because it’s tough to read this without eyes. And if you can’t read this then I can’t go on to point out that I also correctly referenced the sizzling Billy Burns being a player to look out for, the resurgent Josh Reddick as someone who regularly gives the Angels fits, and the damn near impossible to hit Sonny Gray all being trouble in the making. Well, those players certainly shined. Told you so! Hmmm, do you remember me saying this, or were you the one drinking last week? You must’ve been because I definitely remember it! Toot toot!!
Apparently the Angels may have wronged someone or some-thing. Not only do they have to actually go to the city of Oakland and spend time working there, but they also have to face Sonny Gray AGAIN while doing so. None of those things are good, especially the Sonny Gray part. Actually the whole being in Oakland part is definitely worse, but they’re both really, really bad.
Sonny is just flat-out owning the Angels this season. To be fair to our Halos, Sonny Gray seems to own anyone and everyone in 2015 that shows up to work with a hat and a bat. But he seems to have a little something extra every time the Angels dig into the box against him. Dude is 3-0 against the Angels in 2015 already with something just north of nothing as an ERA and he’s 8-2 lifetime versus the Halos with a 2.22 ERA. Don’t expect game 1 of this series to be any different. It will most likely be lights out for the Angels with Sonny cruising along. If it makes you feel any better, the lights could go out on the A’s too because they can’t afford to keep them on at the stadium. Power costs money, and much like the plumbing in the visiting teams’ locker room, the A’s are broke. Matt Shoemaker will oppose Gray on Friday night, and much like last week Matt needs to keep his splitter down and keep the ball in the yard to have a good chance to defeat his counterpart.
Saturday the Angels face another tough right hander in Jesse Hahn. It is no secret the Halos struggle mightily against right handed pitching this year. Collectively they are hitting .243 against righties. That trend might continue Saturday afternoon because Hahn will provide quite a test for the Halo bats. He has pitched an awful lot better in 2015 than his 4-5 record and 3.65 ERA indicate. He’ll face off against Jered Weaver. I don’t really know what to say about Weaver other than if he is going to throw his “heater” at 83 mph, it will be tough to make any bats go cold. The precision spotting it requires to be successful at the MLB level with a fastball that clocks 83 mph is beyond difficult to replicate pitch after pitch. In fact it’s borderline impossible and that is why Weaver is struggling thus far. Basically if Weaver misses his spots at all, the ball gets hit HARD. How hard? Well hard enough to lead the American League in balls that have cleared the fence. Sixteen times already in 2015 Weaver has allowed a homerun. That isn’t good. Weaver allowed 27 dingers in 2014 which was a career high. He is on track to surpass that in 2015, a record nobody with any affiliation to the Angels wants him to break. Let’s hope that number has stalled at 16 when the Angels board their flight on Sunday to exit their stay in Hell. I meant Oakland. Please forgive me as it can be super easy to confuse the two.
The most interesting contest in the series in my opinion takes place Sunday. Halos staff ace Garrett Richards faces off against our old friend Scott Kazmir. No matter what, I know you remember Kazmir. He was the guy who led us ALL to drink while he was pitching for the Angels. Kaz wasn’t good during his time in Anaheim. In fact, he was terrible. But now he is really good again, and for the life of me I can’t understand how or why. But he is. The Angels however should match up well against Kazmir being that he is a lefty and the Angels employ an overly right handed hitting lineup. If the Angels figure out a way to pull off a W in either game 1 against Sonny or game 2 against Hahn, they will have a very legitimate shot to win this road series with a victory on Sunday. Richards has round back into form after his meltdown in New York with back to back quality starts his last two trips to the mound. He has looked locked in and there is nobody the Angels should rather have on the hill in any game than Garrett Richards. He is their guy.
Starting tonight, enjoy this series people. There really isn’t a rivalry in baseball that delivers closer contests and more competitive baseball than the Angels and A’s. They have played one another 873 times in their histories with the A’s having a slight edge in overall record at 459-414. I wouldn’t expect anything different this time around.
Cheers, I’m done with this article and so are you! Cocktail time for everyone, it’s the weekend people!