Oakland A’s day off report: Preview of the A’s three-game series with the Los Angeles Angels

April 24, 2017

MLB, Oakland Athletics

Oakland Athletics’ Sonny Gray throws during a spring training baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Tuesday, March 7, 2017, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

by Jerry Feitelberg

The Oakland A’s start a nine-game road trip Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Angels. The trip will take them to Anaheim, Houston, and Minnesota.

The A’s winners of five of their last six games, and an overall record of 10-9 find themselves in second place in the AL West, and they trail the first-place Houston Astros by three games. The Angels, on the other hand, are 8-12 and are tied with the Seattle Mariners for last place in the division.

The A’s are hoping to have their ace, Sonny Gray, back shortly. Gray had a successful rehab assignment Saturday night in Stockton. Gray went five innings and threw just 47 pitches. Gray finished his work in the bullpen throwing another 18 pitches. Gray is slated to pitch for Nashville Thursday night, and he is expected to throw 75 pitches in another rehab stint before returning to the A’s rotation. Kendall Graveman, who has been on the 10-day DL, will throw a bullpen session today in Anaheim and will be re-evaluated by the medical staff. Graveman is expected to return to the rotation very soon. The A’s also announced that they will be checking Rajai Davis’ hamstring injury and, hopefully, he will be able to play Tuesday night. The A’s also announced that they acquired outfielder Ryan LaMarre from the Angels in exchange for a player to be named late. LaMarre was assigned to Triple-A Nashville.

The A’s pitching staff has been pitching well lately. The A’s have received strong performances from Sean Manaea, Jharel Cotton, Jesse Hahn, and Andrew Triggs. The Mariners bombed Triggs on Sunday, but that was his worst outing in four starts this year.

The Angels pitching staff has not been very too terrific to start the season. Their ace, Garrett Richards, who elected not to have Tommy John surgery last year and had plasma-rich protein injections, had recurring arm problems after pitching against the A’s in the opening series earlier in April.  Richards is on the DL and may miss the season. Ricky Nolasco, Jesse Chavez, a former Athletic, Matt Shoemaker, and Tyler Skaggs are the Angel starters. Their offense is struggling, too. The Angels have the worst run differential in the American League. They are 12th in batting average and On-Base-Percentage (OBP). They do have three guys that did well last week. Mike Trout, AL MVP last year, had a great week hitting .429 with three doubles, 2 dingers, and 2 stolen bases. Shortstop Andrelton Simmons hit.321 with 2 homers and 5 RBIs. The Angels old man, future Hall of Fame candidate, Albert Pujols, hit .308 with a homer and 7 ribbies. However, Danny Espinosa, C.J.Cron, Cole Calhoun, and Yunel Escobar could barely buy a hit. Escobar was the only one of the four with a batting average over .200

The A’s offense came to life during the five-game win streak. Adam Rosales, filling in for injured Marcus Semien at short, had two big homers for Oakland. Ryon Healy has started to hit, and Trevor Plouffe homered a couple of times during the surge. Khris Davis leads the club with seven homers in just 19 games. Jed Lowrie and Yonder Alonso have been contributing both on offense and defense.

The pitching matchups for the series will be Jesse Hahn (1-1, 3.00 ERA0 going against JC Martinez (2-2, 6.46 ERA). Hahn pitched well his last two outings. He is a sinkerball pitcher who gets a lot of ground outs. His fastballs are clocked at 94.64 Miles per hour. When Hahn’s command is working, he can be one tough customer. The Angels are countering with Martinez. Martinez was used in relief earlier in the season. However, with the Injury to Richards, Angels’ manager Mike Scioscia has moved him into the starting rotation. On Wednesday, lefty Sean Manaea will pitch for Oakland and the Angels will send Matt Shoemaker to the hill. Manaea is 1-1 but has had solid back-to-back starts after a slow start in his first two games. Shoemaker is 0-1 with an ERA of 4.98. In his last start against Houston, Shoemaker gave up just three hits. However, all three hits were for extra-bases, and two of them left the yard. On Thursday, Jharel Cotton will pitch for the A’s. Cotton is 2-1 is his last three starts, and opposing hitters are batting just .203 against him. Ricky Nolasco ( 1-2, 4.76 ERA) will hurl for the Angels.

The A’s manager Bob Melvin has stressed to the team the importance of winning series. He would love the team to win at least two out of three before heading to Houston to face the Astros. The Astros beat the A’s twice when they were in Oakland, and the Astros have owned the A’s for a while. That may change as Gray and Graveman might be back, and the A’s fortunes may change.

 

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About rxslugger

Retired pharmacist who now has a career as a sports writer and broadcaster

View all posts by rxslugger

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