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Series Preview: Angels @ A’s (SOS - Season Opener Series)

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It’s finally time for some real meaningful baseball!

MLB: Spring Training-Oakland Athletics at Los Angeles Angels Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Angels 0-0
Athletics 0-2

Here we are - finally at opening day (unless you count MLB’s publicity stunt in Japan last week which screwed with everyone’s head). So the A’s are actually 2 games into the season and the Angels haven’t even played a game but are ahead of them in the standings.

Last year, the surprise A’s won 97 games, finishing 17 total games in front of the 4th place Angels. But this time will be different, right? The good news is that despite the A’s looking like (on paper at least) a better team than the Angels last year - the Angels actually beat the A’s 10 games to 9 in the season series. These two teams will square up 19 times in 2019 and after the opening series won’t meet again until the end of May.

The A’s rotation may have as many question marks as the Angels and they haven’t even announced starters for game 3 and 4 year.

Know your foe:

A’s - who’s hot (Japan Series):

Marcus Semien 4 for 8 with 2 walks
A’s Bullpen (Trivino, Wendelken, Rodney, Petit) 8.2 IP, 0 ER, 11 Ks

Weather Forecast

GAME 1

Trevor Cahill (R) (3.76 ERA) v. Mike Fiers(R) (3.74 ERA)
Thursday, March 28th @ 1:07PM

Pitcher vs. Batters

Notable Stats

Summary:

Trevor Cahill gets to start the season for the Angels - and it’s against his former team. He knows these hitters and we’ll soon see if that’s an advantage or not. Of course Cahill has never really faced these guys either - at least not formally.

Pitch Data:

Kole Calhoun and Mike Trout are probably happy to be facing Mike Fiers on Opening Day because they have pretty much owned him. Fiers really hasn’t pitched that well against the Angels, and in 2018 he gave up 7 runs and 14 hits over 9 innings. Fiers did make an appearance in the Japan series where he gave up 5 runs over 3 innings against the Mariners.

Pitch Data:

Verdict: Given the Angels experience with Fiers over the past few years, that should give them the edge in this game. Starting out the season with a win would be a nice boost.


GAME 2

Matt Harvey(R) (4.94 ERA) v. Marco Estrada(R) (5.64 ERA)
Friday, March 29th @ 7:07PM

Pitcher vs. Batters

Notable Stats

Summary:

Here we are with the Dark Knight’s debut in Anaheim. Hopefully Matt Harvey is more of a Batman than a Mickey Mouse. This A’s lineup will be a new challenge for Harvey who hasn’t really faced any of them in his career.

Pitch Data:

Albert Pujols loves him some Marco Estrada. Just look at those beautiful numbers above. Estrada only tossed 6 innings in spring training and he gave up 6 runs on 9 hits and 2 walks. Estrada faced the Angels twice last year, allowing 6 runs over 11.1 innings.

Pitch Data:

Verdict: Matt Harvey may impress in this game. Hopefully he impresses. He certainly has the pitching matchup edge here.


GAME 3

Felix Pena(R) (4.18 ERA) v. TBD
Saturday, March 30th @ 6:07PM

Pitcher vs. Batters

Notable Stats

None

Summary:

Felix Pena’s experience with the A’s didn’t go so well last year and when he started against them in September he allowed 6 runs over 4 innings. Pena had a pretty impressive spring training with 25 Ks over 14.2 innings.

The A’s haven’t yet announced their pitcher, but if things line up as expected, it could be veteran Brett Anderson. Like Pena, he had an impressive spring training but is not a high strikeout pitcher. Anderson was hard on the Angels last year and in 3 starts allowed only 4 runs.

Pitch Arsenal:

Verdict: Anderson vs. Pena may be the best matchup of the series if it happens. Vet vs. “rookie”. Strikeout pitcher vs. well, Brett Anderson. Could be a game that goes either way.


GAME 4

Tyler Skaggs(L) (4.02 ERA) v. TBD
Sunday, March 31st @ 1:07PM

Pitcher vs. Batters

Notable Stats

Summary:

Go ahead and ignore Tyler Skaggs’ spring stats and his 7.45 ERA over 9.2 innings. If he can stay away from David and Semien, and last at least 5 innings, I’d call that a win for his start.

The’s “might” roll out Frankie Montas for the final game of this series. The 26-year-old showed some good promise in 2018.

Pitch Data:

Verdict: Skaggs will be looking for a strong start here after a rough spring. He was working on some stuff so I expect him to look much better in this one.


Overall Verdict: I would bet on at least a series split. The Angels have a good offense, perhaps even with Justin Upton out and they fared well against the A’s last year. Three wins would be huge but don’t expect a sweep (on either side).

Current Standings


Notes/Credits:
(ERA stats are from last season)
(Pitch tracking data from baseballsavant.mlb.com)
(Last 5 year splits from FanGraphs Splits Tool)