Week ahead for Angels: Marlins, Athletics visit The Big A
After a three-game stand vs. Miami, the Angels host AL West foe Oakland for a critical four-game series in Anaheim.
The Angels have a huge week at home with the Marlins and Athletics in town.
Kelley L Cox / USA TODAY Sports
By Rahshaun Haylock
The week ahead
It doesn't look like the A's are going anywhere. In fact, they'll be in Anaheim to conclude the week. The Angels will host Oakland for a four-game series beginning Thursday on FOX Sports West. That very important series will be preceded by a three-game interleague set with the Miami Marlins. The Angels have fared well in interleague play with a 10-7 mark this season. Facing the A's has not been as favorable -- the Halos have dropped eight of 12 against Oakland this season.
The week behind
It was a tough week for the Angels on a number of levels. First and foremost, the Garrett Richards injury could certainly have lasting ramifications as the club continues its march towards the preseason. Despite the injury, the club was able to sweep a four-game series at Fenway Park for the first time since 1962. The Angels had won eight of nine games heading into the weekend but their momentum sputtered in Oakland losing the first two of a three-game series. The win in Oakland on Sunday was the first of the season for the Angels.
Record and standings
It could be worse. The Angels, 77-52 entering Monday, dropped two of three to Oakland but still were able to leave the Bay Area with a one-game lead in the American League West.
The after Richards' injury, Matt Shoemaker took the ball for his spot in the rotation and was electric. Shoemaker retired 20 in a row after hitting the first batter of the game to flirt with a no-hitter in an outing manager Mike Scioscia called "uplifting." In the process he picked up his 12th win of the season which is tied with the Yankees Masahiro Tanaka for the most among American League rookies.
With a WAR of 4.4 Garrett Richards is in the upper echelon of Major League pitchers. His presence in the Angels rotation will be greatly missed. How the team responds over the next month-plus of the regular season will be the difference between making the postseason or coming up short.
Player to watch
Wade LeBlanc was signed by the Angels in the offseason. After being designated for assignment, he was picked up the Yankees and pitched one inning. New York then DFA'd him and LeBlanc found himself back in the Angels organization. In 21 starts this season for Triple-A Salt Lake, LeBlanc is 10-3 with a 4.00 ERA in the hitter friendly Pacific Coast League. He'll get the ball Monday against Miami which would have been Richards' spot in the rotation. No one is expecting LeBlanc to duplicate Richards' production but he has to be serviceable if the team is going to continue its hopes of making the postseason.
Stat to watch
#LightUpTheHalo#Angels 9, A's 4. Halos finish trip 7-3 and in sole possession of first place. 7-game homestand starts tomorrow.
4-8. The Angels record against Oakland this season. The clubs will face each other seven more times this season and the Angels are going to have to do a lot better in the head-to-head matchups if they want to win the AL West pennant.
"You're going to be thinking of Garrett once every fifth day when he was out there. You might not be able to replace that, but it doesn't mean that we're not going to be able to reach our goal as a cumulative pitching staff." -- Angels manager Mike Scioscia on the road ahead without Garrett Richards.