Aug 23, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher C.J. Wilson (33) before pitching against the Oakland Athletics during the first inning at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

C.J. Wilson, Angels Open Pivotal Series Against A’s

One year ago, the Angels trudged into the Labor Day weekend 18 games back of division leading Texas. Albert Pujols recovered from season-ending foot surgery, Jered Weaver hadn’t reached double-digit wins, and the Halos prepared themselves for a fourth straight missed postseason.

How fortunes change over the course of a season. Oakland heads to Angel Stadium one game back of Los Angeles for the Major’s best record at the beginning of a decisive four-game set.

The teams’ careened down differing paths following the All-Star break. Oakland hasn’t fully recovered from Yoenis Cespedes trade deadline sendoff to Boston despite the addition of Jon Lester, and their AL West lead dwindled over the next few series’ before the Angels took sole ownership on Aug. 19.

Injuries to Tyler Skaggs and Garrett Richards’ haven’t stopped Los Angeles from riling off wins in 11 of 15 games. Matt Shoemaker and Hector Santiago combined to limit Miami to one earned run through 12 2/3 innings.

Not that they needed too much run support, but the Angels scored 14 runs over the last two games, highlighted by Mike Trout’s 30th home run of the year.

The Angels lost two of three at O.co Coliseum last weekend, running their mark to 4-8 against the division rival.

Pitching Matchup C.J. Wilson (10-8, 4.45 ERA) vs. Sonny Gray (13-7, 3.00 ERA)

If there were ever a time for C.J. Wilson to step up this would be it. The left-hander has posted a 1.96 ERA over his last three outings, including a 6 1/3-inning, one-run start in Oakland last Saturday.

Wilson’s still looking for his first three-game win streak of the season. His issue, as it’s been all season, is a high walk rate. Wilson carries his highest walk per nine inning ratio since 2010. Last weekend, he gave three A’s free passes, none of which crossed home plate.

After winning four of five meeting with Oakland in 2013, Wilson looks for his first this year. He’s 11-7 lifetime in 47 appearances, including 18 starts, with a 3.24 ERA.

Sonny Gray carries similar success against the Angels. He’s undefeated in three starts and limited them to three runs in each of his two outing this year.

The staff’s ace tossed 8 1/3 innings in the A’s 5-3 victory last Friday in snapping a four-game losing streak.

Walk offs:

  1. Trout is 3-for-8 with two home runs against Gray.
  2. Josh Hamilton is batting .342 with three homers over the last ten games against Oakland.
  3. The A’s have outscored the Angels 63-47 this season.

TV: 7:05 p.m. PT, Fox Sports West, CSNCA, MLB Network

Radio: KLAA 830, 95.7 FM The Game

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Tags: C.J. Wilson Los Angeles Angels

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