Page’s Weekly Predictions: LA Angels Opening Week
Monday, April 3rd @ Athletics
Probables- Ricky Nolasco vs. Kendall Graveman
Neither the Angels or the Athletics will send out their ace on Opening Day. Nolasco will take the mound for the Angels, which should be a good thing for the team. Nolasco has made four Opening Day starts in his career, so he is accustomed to this stage and all the emotions that come with it. Graveman, an owner of a 4.11 ERA in 2016, will be making his Opening Day debut for A’s. Nolasco had an impressive 3.21 ERA last in the 11 starts he made for the Angels.
This will be the first chance at seeing the new and improved Angels offense. All the regulars from last year (Trout, Calhoun, Pujols, Escobar, Simmons), players who ended last year hurt are back (Cron), and new additions such as Cameron Maybin are ready to get the team started off hot. The Athletics offense is an underwhelming one. Furthermore, in a stadium like the O.co Coliseum that favors contact over power, the Angels should be able to win this one. The team is made up of hitters who put the ball in play and good baserunners, which is a strategy that will pay dividends in big ballparks. After getting shut out by the Cubs in their first game last year, the Angels start this season with a win.
Prediction: Angels 5, Athletics 2.
Tuesday, April 4th @ Athletics
Probables- Matt Shoemaker vs. Sean Manaea
Both Shoemaker and Manaea were arguably their team’s most valuable pitcher last season. Shoemaker held a 3.88 ERA last season, enough to win him the Nick Adenhart Award as the Angels’ best pitcher. However, he was struck in the head by a line drive which effectively ended his season. He is hoping to prove the injury had no effect on his long term effectiveness. For the Athletics, Manaea was a bright spot in their otherwise dismal 2016 season. While his ERA was average at 3.86, he was a strikeout whiz, placing second among rookies with 124. His ERA is only going to improve as he learns more and more about the game. This will be the premier pitching match of the series, as I don’t see either starter allowing more than 4 runs. The Angels’ offense needs to jump on the youngster early to win, and I have no doubt they are capable of that.
Prediction: Angels 4, Athletics 1
Wednesday, April 5th @ Athletics
Probables- Garrett Richards vs. Jharel Cotton
In the third game of the series, the Angels will send Garret Richards to the mound. Richards avoided Tommy John surgery after undergoing successful stem cell treatment. While his therapy went well, his Spring Training performance was shaky. He owned a 5.11 ERA albeit a small sample size of only 12 1/3 innings. The A’s will be sending out youngster Jharel Cotton. After acquiring him at the trade deadline last season, Cotton was nothing short of phenomenal for the A’s. In five starts for Oakland, he held opponents to a .185 batting average with a 2.05 ERA. Cotton rode that wave throughout spring and should be given the pitching advantage of this matchup. Richards needs a strong start to his season if he plans to be the team’s ace again.
Prediction: Athletics 6, Angels 2
Want your voice heard? Join the Halo Hangout team!
Thursday, April 6th @ Athletics
Probable:s- Tyler Skaggs vs. Andrew Triggs
In the final game of this series, the Angels send out their first lefty in the form of Tyler Skaggs. Coming off of TJ surgery last season, Skaggs started hot but slowly returned to his old self. When he has control of his secondary pitches, he is untouchable. However, his control is shaky. He loves his curveball, but does not always have the movement he needs from it. For the Athletics, they will send out Andrew Triggs. He played in 24 games last season for the A’s. While he had a 4.31 ERA, that number went down to 2.81 in his six starts. He is hoping to show last season was not a fluke as a starting pitcher. His first test will come against the Angels. With his limited work through Spring Training, Skaggs may be shaky. His control may take some time to return, but this A’s lineup could cause problems for a lefty like Skaggs.
Prediction: Athletics 4, Angels 3