Hello old friends, it's a been a while! The Halos haven't see their division rivals since April 11-13 when they swept them out of Anaheim. The Angels were 5-4 after that series - one game above .500. Ah, the good ole days. Before the dark times, before the empire. The Angels haven't been above .500 since, and may not get above the water line at all this year.
The good news is that the A's are worse! The Angels may be sitting 8 games under .500, but being 5 games under after this series is not that unrealistic. We're talking about a team that's been swept by the Astros and Brewers in June, AND lost a series to the Reds and Rangers. But these Billy Beaners are an odd bunch, because they also swept the Yankees, a feat which we seemed to have recently completed backwards.
Oakland has the worst OBP in the American League. The are pretty average when it comes to most other offensive stats and are 8 HRs ahead of the Angels. Seems strange that a team who has Mike Trout and Albert Pujols is nearly last in the league in total home runs. Okay, maybe it's not that strange since Pujols is declining and no one else really has that power on the team (except maybe Marte). The A's also don't strike out a lot. They are #3 when it comes to fewest strikeouts, and of course the Angels are #1 in this category by a landslide. If there is one thing Billy Eppler is good at, it's finding low K players to add to the roster.
In terms of pitching, the A's have the 2nd worst ERA and BAA in the American league (though the Angels are #3 in both of those categories). Oakland also has the worst fielding percentage in the American League, but the Halos are only two spots behind them. Both bullpens are fairly equal, however the A's have Ryan Dull, Sean Doolittle, and Fernando Rodriguez in the pen, and all these guys have a WHIP below 1.00 and BAA before .180. Bullpen edge has to go to the A's because of these 3 guys.
Did you know the A's stadium is no longer called O.co? Since Overstock.com bailed on the naming rights (can you blame them?), the stadium can now be referred to as "Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum". Or if you are Arte Moreno, you'd call it "The Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum of San Francisco".
Did you also know that 36-year-old Rich Hill, who's been with 5 teams in the past 5 years, is one of the only A's starting pitchers with an ERA under 5.50? He's on the DL right now with a groin injury, so lucky us - not so lucky for him. The other dude is rookie Daniel Mengden who has two big league starts. Both these guys have exactly a 2.25 ERA.
Biggest question(s): Will the freak get his freak on and give some hope on his resurgence?
Matt Shoemaker vs. Kendall Graveman
Friday, June 17th, 2016 @ 6:35PM
No one messes with da splitter.
VERDICT: Gonna have to go with the Cobbler on this one for two reasons: He is awesome & the A's suck.
Tim Lincecum vs. Sean Manaea
Saturday, June 18, 2016 @ 1:05PM
Get your freak on.
Lincecum has faced much of the A's lineup in the past, but only with a few at bats. Yonder Alonso and Coco Crisp have faced him the most for a combined 35 AB and only 6 hits. Fuld has only seen Lincecum in 3 at bats, and hit the ball out of the park in two of them. In total, Lincecum has a .263 BAA, 8 walks, and 2 HR allowed in 57 combined at bats from the current A's roster. The Freak pitched well in AAA, but he hasn't pitched an MLB game in over a year, so this is a big game for him. Since he is still loved by many Giants fans, I'm sure those who are not scared of getting shot in Oakland will probably cross the bay to check out this game which could bring up some good support.
The A's have yet to announce the official starter for this game, but it's Sean Manaea's turn to pitch. Either Manaea or some other poor fool will get to pitch against the Freak in his comeback game. Manaea is a rookie with a whole 49.1 IP in his MLB career. He has a 6.02 ERA and has given up 8 HR in 49 IP.
You thought the Angels have pitching rotation problems? Look at this depth chart of the A's and take a look at their starting rotation. I'm no expert, but I think you need more than 2 guys who are official starters:
VERDICT: How can you not go with the Freak in this game? Plus, the A's have a horrible pitching staff, so even if it's not Manaea, the pitching matchup leans heavily toward Lincecum.
Jered Weaver vs. Eric Surkamp
Saturday, June 18th, 2016 @ 1:05PM
Weaver is sporting the highest ERA of his career this year.
VERDICT:Weaver has been not so great this year, but with flashes of his old brilliance. Surkamp on the other hand, has just been horrible. This game has to lean Angels.
OVERALL VERDICT: Angels "should" come out of this with a series win, and they do have a serious shot at another sweep.