I wrote here before the Oakland series about how important it was for the Angels to not just win the series, but to make a statement and sweep the series.
The Angels got a rest day, but now is no time for them to rest on their recent domination of the A’s.
Today’s Major League schedule features only five games, including the Yankees vs. the Orioles and the Rays vs. the Rangers. The Orioles are tied with the Athletics for the Wild Card lead with Rays a game and a half behind them and the Angels two and a half games out. If The Orioles win, the Angels remain two and a half games back since the A’s are idle today. If the Orioles lose, they pick up a half game while getting massages and go in to this weekend’s series against the Tigers.
The Tigers currently sit a half game behind the Angels in the Wild Card, but are only a game behind the Central’s front running Chicago White Sox. Detroit is still very much playing for it’s division, but after sweeping the White Sox, the Tigers come in to town after losing two of three from the Indians.
The Orioles start a four game set with the AL East leading Yankees. Sitting one game back in their division, the O’s can take a big bite out of that lead. The Orioles come in to the series winning seven out of their last ten, while the Yankees are in a mini slump losing six of their last ten. This series could either help the Yankees cement their lead in the East while pushing the Orioles down in the Wild Card, or, could cause a serious shake up in the standings.
Orioles take three of four, because I am biased like that, and because I want to see ESPN freak out.
The A’s start a three game set against the Mariners tomorrow. Nothing like an easy opponent after getting your brains bashed in amirite? Or aminot? The A’s have to face Felix Hernandez in the first game of the three game set, Then Hisashi Iwakuma who has only allowed one earned run in his last four starts followed by Jason Vargas Who is 2-0 with a 1.98 ERA against the A’s this year. The A’s are second in runs scored since the All Star break, but that’s three pitchers who have been very good the last few weeks.
A’s take two out of three. Good pitching beats good hitting, unless that good pitching has terrible hitting and runs into another team that possesses good pitching. Still with me? Oakland’s offense has been better than expected since July, but their pitching has also been top notch. Felix wins, but the rest of the series belongs to the A’s.
The Rays start a three game set against the Rangers stating tomorrow. Well hot damn, this pennant race can get real fun, real quick after this weekend. First, this series is taking place in Tampa, not that bandbox in Arlington. Second, the Rays have Jeremy Hellickson, David Price and James Shields slated to go this series. Third, The Rangers aren’t playing at home (I know I said it, I was there when I did it, but it bears repeating because of the home road splits the Rangers have). The Rangers counter with a very mortal looking Derek Holland, a version of Yu Darvish that has been very good of late, and Matt Harrison who is 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA his last two starts (one that came against the Rays).
Rays take two out of three, and all hell breaks loose. This would bring the Rangers closer to the pack in the AL West as well as tightening up an already claustrophobic AL East Race.
Angels and Tigers go head to head for a three game set starting tomorrow (Of course, you already knew that, why else would you be at an Angels blog). As of right now the Tigers are lined up with Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander and Anibal Sanchez. Jered Weaver is supposed to pitch on Saturday, but as of now his availability is unknown thanks to a Dustin Ackley line drive (I’m watching you Dustin). The expected rotation is Ervin Santana, C.J. Wilson and then Zack Greinke in the finale.
Our offense is running into a buzz saw of pitching, and our pitching is set to go up against a dangerous offense.
Our offense leads the AL in runs scored since the All Star break, and our pitching staff has looked the pre All Star break version the last couple weeks.
Seeing as I am incredibly superstitious and don’t want to (spell it) J-I-N-X anything (you didn’t spell it did you), I’m not predicting this series, but I will reiterate what I said last week by saying that for every series to be a true “win,” a sweep is a must. Our boys aren’t facing a bottom feeding team unfortunately, but with each team ahead of them (sans the Athletics) playing division leaders, they have a very real chance to make up serious ground this weekend.
This is going to be a fun weekend of baseball for the American League, and for the Angels, a very important weekend with the A’s coming in for a four game set immediately following the Tigers series. They control their own destiny at this point, and with the way they’ve been playing, fans are starting to get confident about this teams playoff chances (which currently stand at 45.9%, up 21.1 points from a week ago per baseballprospectus.com).
This weekend is guaranteed to have fans glued to their TV, Desktop, Laptop, Blackberry, iPhone, iPad, Nook, Kindle Fire or whatever electronic device it is that you possess. I also expect sales of Maalox, Mylanta, Tums etc. to spike this weekend. I, personally, am already prepared. Cheers.