Los Angeles Angels (37-24) -115, 7 at Oakland A’s (33-27), 10 pm Eastern Friday
by Zman of Predictem.com
The two best teams in the American League West so far this season clash when the Los Angeles Angels visit NoCal to take on the Oakland A’s in the opener of a three-game weekend series Friday night.
Baseball bookies are listing Los Angeles and starting pitcher John Lackey as -115 road favorites for Friday’s game, with a total of 7 , while Oakland and Joe Blanton are getting right around even money.
Los Angeles has won five games in a row, and six straight series. Meanwhile, the A’s have been real streaky lately; in mid-May, they lost seven of eight games. Then they won five in a row. Then they lost four in row, leading up to their current four-game winning streak.
Oakland just swept three games at home from Detroit, while LA swept three games in Seattle. And the Angels did that without OF Vlad Guerrero, who has missed recent action with a sore knee, and is listed as questionable for Friday.
So going into this series, the Angels lead the second-place A’s by 3 games in the AL West.
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Los Angeles is 19-11 on the road this year, 31-30 vs. the run line, while Oakland is 20-13 at home this season, 34-26 vs. the run line.
These two teams split four games in LA five weeks ago, with the totals going 2-2, as the A’s won games by scores of 14-2 and 15-8, the Angels by scores of 2-0 and 6-1. Last year, Oakland took the season series from Los Angeles 10 games to nine, while the totals went 5-13-1, as the games averaged just 7.3 total runs per.
Lackey (1-1, 1.80), coming off a solid performance vs. Toronto last Saturday, has allowed five ER and 24 BR in his last three starts, covering 23 IP. The Angels are 2-2 in Lackey’s starts this year, the totals a perfect 0-4.
Lackey started five games vs. Oakland last year, allowing 10 ER and 41 baserunners in 33 2/3 IP. The Angels went 4-1 in those games, the totals 1-3-1.
Blanton (3-7, 4.27), coming off a bad outing last Saturday at Texas, has pitched 18 innings over his last three starts, allowing13 ER and 27 baserunners (hits + walks). Oakland is 4-9 in Blanton’s starts this year, the totals 7-6.
Blanton started four games vs. the Angels last year, giving up nine ER and 35 BR in 26 1/3 innings of work. The A’s went 3-1 in those games, as did the totals.
On the offensive side of this match-up, LA ranks 18th in the majors in team batting this season at .256, 24th in OBP at .320, 25th in team slugging at .383, and is averaging 4.2 runs per game.
Oakland ranks 19th in the majors in batting at .255 , 9th in OBP at .334, 27th in slugging at .378, and is averaging 4.5 RPG.
Seven of LA’s last 10 games have gone under their totals, because the Angels have scored just 33 runs and given up just 36 over that span.
Meanwhile, Oakland, after a bit of a dry spell, has tallied 31 runs over its last four games.
The Los Angeles bullpen has been great as of late, holding opponents scoreless with eight BR over its last five games, covering 12 1/3 IP.
The Oakland bullpen has given up four ER on 20 BR in its last five games, covering 17 1/3 innings of work.
Also on the injury front, 3B Chone Figgins is still out for LA, while DH Frank Thomas is on Oakland’s DL.
The totals are 22-37 in Angels games this year, 24-32 in A’s games, and 14-17 in games played at McAfee Coliseum, where games are averaging just 7.65 total runs per this season.
Zman’s Pick: I’m on the A’s tonight.