Preview of A’s series with Los Angeles Angels starts Friday night at the Big A

Every time the Los Angeles Angels win a game the halo shines on the Big A scoreboard in Anaheim. The visiting Oakland A’s will try and prevent that from happening on Fri May 20, 2022 as the A’s and Angels open a three game series. (file photo from Wikipedia)

By Jerry Feitelberg

The Oakland A’s (16-24) are going to the Big A in Anaheim to face the Los Angeles Angels (24-16) for three games this weekend. The A’s and Angels have been opponents since 1961 when the Angels entered the American League as an expansion team.

The A’s were in Kansas City at that time, but since 1968, they have become intrastate rivals. There is a natural rivalry between the San Francisco Bay Area and the Los Angeles area. The two areas compete for economic as well as political power.

The sports teams also reflect the rivalry. The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants have been in California since both teams moved to California in 1958. The Dodger-Giant rivalry has been in existence since their days in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Since 1968, not including this year, the A’s and Angels have played 832 games.

The A’s own the advantage 450-382, a winning percentage of .541. The A’s have made the playoffs six times since 2012. The Angels’ only appearance in the same period was in 2014. They lost in the AL Divisional round.

Things have changed in 2022. The A’s are in a rebuild mode. The A’s have revamped their lineup. Matt Chapman, Matt Olson, Mark Canha, Sean Manaea, Chris Bassitt, Yusmeiro Petit, Starling Marte, Josh Harrison, and Yan Gomes are no longer with the club.

The A’s team batting average is one point below the Mendoza line. The team payroll is about 48 Million dollars, the second-lowest in Major League Baseball.

The A’s are 16-24 for the season. They are 6-14 at home and 10-10 on the road. The A’s are in fifth place in the AL West and trail the first-place Houston Astros by nine games.

The Angels are 24-16 and are just one game behind the Astros in the AL West. They are 12-7 at home and 12-9 on the road. The Angels have two MVPs on their roster. Their star centerfielder Mike Trout has won three MVPs so far in his career.

Shohei Ohtani won the MVP last year. Ohtani is a player that should be on every fan’s must-see list. Ohtani is hitting. 253 with eight home runs and 27 RBIs. He leads the team in that category. As a starting pitcher, Ohtani is 2-3 with an ERA of 2.81. Trout is hitting .320 with 11 dingers and 23 RBIs.

The Angels have other stellar performers in their lineup. Rightfielder Tayor Ward has been a surprise this season. Ward is hitting .375 with nine big flies and 23 knocked in. Third Baseman, Anthony Rendon, has hit five balls out of the park and has 21 ribbies.

Other key performers are first baseman Jared Walsh and left-fielder Brandon Marsh. Walsh is hitting .248, with eight home runs and 26 RBIs. Marsh has an average of .282 with four homers and 22 RBIs. If they hope to get into the win column this weekend, the A’s pitchers will have to be at the top of their game.

The A’s Seth Brown leads Oakland with 18 RBIs. The A’s feature young players like Cristian Pache, Kevin Smith, and Sean Murphy in their lineup. Their veterans include journeymen like Chad Pinder, Tony Kemp, Stephen Piscotty, Christian Bethancourt, and Seth Brown.

The A’s bullpen has been remade. There are lots of new names out there. Pitchers like Justin Grimm, Kirby Snead, Sam Moll, and Domingo Acevedo. Last year’s closer, Lou Trivino, has been replaced by Dany Jimenez. Trivino has to regain his confidence if he hopes to get back as the closer.

The A’s will not be facing Ohtani or Noah Syndergaard this weekend. The Angels will use Chase Silseth on Friday, Michael Lorenzen on Saturday, and Patrick Sandoval on Sunday. The A’s pitchers will be Paul Blackburn on Friday and Frankie Montas on Saturday. The A’s have not announced a starter for Sunday’s game.

The A’s would love to spoil the Angels’ weekend. They will have to grind out the wins if they can. It won’t be easy, but as they say in baseball, you never know what will happen.

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