Coming off a three-game sweep of the Chicago White Sox, the Los Angeles Angels have an all-important three-game series against the AL West division-leading Oakland Athletics and a sweep must be in order.
The Angels currently lie 4.5 games behind the Athletics and are winners of four out of the last five games. Prior to that stretch Los Angeles had a prime opportunity to take the division lead from its divisional rival, but dropped all three games in Oakland that pushed it back to where it stands at this current moment.
It is a series the Halos must win and at the very least take two of the three games, if they want to keep any hope of winning the AL West this season. The Athletics currently hold the best record in the American League, and are second behind the San Francisco Giants for the best record in the MLB. If Los Angeles were to lose this three-game set, it would be a much tougher road to climb for it given that Oakland is a more complete team this season as it also possess one of the league’s top offenses.
The Athletics are first in the league in runs scored (316) and on-base percentage (.336), fifth in slugging percentage (.518), third in home runs (75) and fourth in total bases (891). That makes it all that more important that the Angels sweep the series. It will not only help close the gap to just 1.5 games, but also give them confidence that they can defeat Oakland, who they are 1-5 against this season, and build momentum moving forward.
In order for the Angels to accomplish this they will need the entire pitching staff to have a much better performance this time around as they struggled mightily in the three-game series in Oakland. Garrett Richards, in the first game of that series, had the shortest start of his career as he went two-thirds of an inning (allowed five runs on five hits with one home run and three walks).
In the second game, the Halos gave up 10 runs combined in the seventh and eighth innings that blew their two-run lead and cost them the game. Finally in the series finale game, Jered Weaver was less than perfect as he allowed five runs on 11 hits in six innings pitched. That included a four-run third inning and dug the Angels into a hole they could not come back from.
With that said, this time around, the Halos will need their starting pitchers to have solid starts, in particular Richards and Weaver, if they want to have any chance at winning the series. Ultimately, what this all points to is that the Angels must take care of business if they want to have a realistic chance at claiming the AL West division this season.
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