Game No. 13: Los Angeles Angels (6-6) vs. Oakland A’s (8-4)

By Jose Serrano

Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

It’s only April, but the importance of this week’s three-game series with the Oakland A’s cannot be overstated. The Angels’ two-game deficit can turn into five with the blink of an eye. Last season, the Halos lost six of the first nine against the eventual division champions and never fully recovered, watching their northern neighbors take the crown for a second straight year.

Pitching Matchup: Hector Santiago (0-2, 7.71 ERA) vs. Jesse Chavez (0-0, 1.38 ERA)

Hector Santiago’s loss last week to Seattle doesn’t tell the whole story. He went unscathed through the first two innings and got two quick outs in the third before a third strike to Brad Miller bounced away from catcher Chris Iannetta. The Mariners subsequently scored four and sealed Santiago’s fate.

The good news for Santiago is that his offense has found its groove; the Angels scored 25 runs over the weekend en route to a series win over the New York Mets. With a career 5.40 ERA against the defending division champs, he’ll need all the offense he can get. Led by Yoenis Cespedes’ .750 batting average, Oakland batters have tattooed the lefty for five earned runs and 11 hits in just 8 1/3 innings. Even more alarming is the high walk rate, allowing eight in that span.

Jesse Chavez is filling in nicely in A.J. Griffin and Jarrod Parker’s absence. The 30-year-old right hander has only given up two earned runs this season but doesn’t have a win to show for it. In his last outing, Chavez limited the Minnesota Twins to one run on six hits while striking out a career-high nine batters. He’s become the leader of an A’s staff that leads the league in wins (8), quality starts (10), and ERA (2.17).

Walk offs:

  1. The A’s took 11 of 19 meeting between the teams last season.
  2. Albert Pujols is batting .302 with five home runs in 39 games against the A’s.
  3. Oakland starters threw 17 scoreless innings against Seattle over the weekend.

TV: 7:05 p.m. PT, Fox Sports West, ESPN

Radio: KLAA 830, 95.7 FM The Game (Oakland)