Series Preview: Los Angeles Angels (44-49) vs. Oakland Athletics (56-39)
By Mark Smith
Los Angeles Angels starting pitcherC.J. Wilson
(33) delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
This week feels like an eternity for most baseball fans. The Midsummer Classic is over and all you can do is stare at the standings for the remainder of the All-Star break. Rest assured, the Angels hit the pause button at the perfect time after getting swept by the Mariners during a three game set against Seattle.
The Halos will begin the second half of the season tonight against Yoenis Cespedes and the division leading Oakland A’s. For those of us who thought the A’s were a flash in the pan last season, I regret to inform you that they are here to stay.
Game One: A.J. Griffin vs. Jered Weaver
Griffin looked flawless against the Red Sox prior to the All Star break, allowing no runs on six hits. According to MLB.com, Griffin has allowed two or fewer runs in four of his past five starts, all the while lowering his WHIP to an impressive 1.12. In his last start, he limited the Red Sox to six hits over eight shutout innings.
Jered Weaver appeared to be settling back into his role as the Angels ace after a short stint on the DL. Weaver gave up two runs in a 20 2/3-inning stretch spanning three starts. Unfortunately, Weaver left the first half with a bad taste in his mouth, giving up four runs in 5 2/3 innings in a loss at Safeco Field to finish the first half. Look for the ultra-competitive big man to come back strong in the second half of the season.
Game Two: Dan Straily vs. C.J. Wilson
Oakland’s Straily has been dialed in as of late. According to MLB.com, Straily has given up just three hits total in his past two starts, spanning 13 1/3 innings, and has limited opponents to two runs or fewer in seven of his past nine outings.
Mr. 100% handsome finished his second half strong after an up-and-down first few months. Wilson finished the second half at 5-1 with a 2.04 ERA over his past six starts. Many hope that he can avoid regressing in his second half as he did last season, posting a 5.54 ERA in 16 starts.
Game Three: Jerome Williams vs. Bartolo Colon
Colon is one of those rare pitchers who’s ERA gets lower as he ages. After being suspended for PED use last season, Colon has been the subject of suspension talk again this season. The A’s report that Colon has only yielded just 15 walks and nine home runs in 126 2/3 innings. In his final start before the break, he allowed Boston two runs on eight hits and no walks with four strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings.
Jerome Williams is 5-5 with a 4.60 ERA. Williams looked atrocious heading into the All-Star break, recording no more than 10 outs each turn while giving up 18 runs (17 earned). Williams posted a 19.13 ERA in that stretch, inflating an ERA that started July at 3.21. He had only four K’s during that stretch while collecting two losses.