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Series Preview: Athletics @ Angels (Return of the Cellar Dwellers)

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Newly acquired Ricky Nolasco will (probably) be making his Halo debut

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

ARTICLE UPDATED August 3rd @ 9AM.

The Angels are 6-4 against the A's this year, but lost the last 4 game series in Oakland.  Both of these teams have spent time in the cellar this season, a place they currently share.   As the 80s film once said: "There can be only one."  Both of these teams made some moves at the trade deadline, with the A's snagging 3 prospects from the Dodgers who are now their #3, #11, and #16 top prospects.

The A's are coming off a 12-14 month while the Angels went 15-11 during the month of July.  The A's were also just swept by the Indians in 3 games.

Biggest question(s): Who remains the cellar dweller?

Game 1
Matt Shoemaker vs. Sean Manaea
Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016 @ 7:05PM

Shoey and Weaver are now the last men (starters) standing from the start of 2016

Matt Shoemaker v. Oakland Athletics (2015-2016)
G AB H HR K BAA ERA
7 149 39 6 29 .262 4.37
Players/Stats to watch:
Billy Butler v. Matt Shoemaker (last 5 years)
AB H RBI HR BA
14 5 2 0 .357

Marcus Semien v. Matt Shoemaker (last 5 years)
AB H RBI HR BA
15 5 1 1 .333
Shoemaker is coming off a rough start where he gave up 5 runs in 6 innings.  It was his second 5 run game in the month of July.  But since early May, Shoemaker has lowered his ERA from around 9 to his current 4.17.  He's faced the A's twice this year and in 12 innings has only given up 1 earned run.
24-year-old rookie Sean Manea has not yet faced the Angels.  In 15 starts this year he has a 4.57 ERA and a 3-5 record.  In his last 4 starts, he has given up 3 or less runs (zero in two of them).  Also in those games, he has not walked a single batter.
VERDICT: Angels will probably kick off the series with a win, but Manaea has been tough as of late.

Game 2
Jered Weaver vs. Kendell Graveman
Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016 @ 7:05PM

Feel the Weave.  Believe in the Weaver.  I don't know, just win.

Jered Weaver v. Oakland Athletics (2015-2016)
G IP H HR K BAA ERA
5 32.1 31 3 13 .250 4.21
Kendell Gravemen v. Anaheim Angels (2015-2016)
G IP H HR K BAA ERA
5 30.2 27 2 17 .237 2.09
Players/Stats to watch:
Marcus Semien v. Jered Weaver (last 5 years)
AB H RBI HR BA
14 6 0 0 .429
Stephen Vogt v. Jered Weaver (last 5 years)
AB H RBI HR BA
28 9 4 2 .321
Albert Pujols v. Kendell Graveman (last 5 years)
AB H RBI HR BA
13 5 2 1 .385
Jered Weaver threw 5.2 innings of 1 run ball in his last start before being pulled by Scioscia and prompting dropping eff bombs all over the field.  In 3 of his last 4 starts he's only given up 1 run and had a 3.65 ERA in July.  Weaver threw a complete game shutout against the A's on June 19th, then followed it up with a 4.2 innings loss the following week.  His fastball has been sitting in the 82-84 MPH range all season, but he has touched 86-87 from time to time.
Graveman pitched back to back games against the Angels in June, both of which the A's won.  Graveman gave up just 3 earned runs through 13.2 innings and only allowed 1 walk.  Over the month of July, Graveman never allowed more than 3 runs in a game and he had a 2.67 ERA.  He also threw a complete game against the Rays on July 23rd.
VERDICT: Really depends on which version of Weaver shows up.  Graveman has also been tough to beat this year, so the A's probably have the edge here.

Game 3
Ricky Nolasco vs. Jesse Hahn
Thursday, August 4th, 2016 @ 4:05PM

Nolasco makes his Halo debut.

Ricky Nolasco v. Athletics Current Roster (Career)
AB H HR BB% K% BAA FIP
52 16 2 8.2 16.4 .308 4.95
Jesse Hahn v. Angels Current Roster (Career)
AB H HR BB% K% BAA FIP
27 7 1 15.6 9.4 .259 6.75
Players/Stats to watch:
Ricky Nolasco is making his Angel's debut so fans will soon be able to judge Billy Eppler's trading skills based on this one start.  Nolasco has never been a dominate starter, but he can eat innings.  In 14 of his 21 starts he has pitched 6+ innings.  His last time on the mound against the White Sox he pitched a strong 8 innings while allowing just 3 hits and 1 run.
Jesse Hahn will be re-called from AAA to take the spot of new Dodger Rich Hill.  He's started 8 games this year and has a 5.53 ERA.  Hahn's last start was his best of the year with 7.2 IP and only 1 run allowed on 4 hits.
VERDICT: Which way is the win blowing?

OVERALL VERDICT: Angels may win the series, but these are two of the worst teams in the AL so it could go either way.