Matchup: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Oakland Athletics
Date/Time: August 24, 8:05 p.m. ET
MLB Betting Odds From 5Dimes Sportsbook
Probable Starters: LAA: Jered Weaver (13-7, 3.70) v. OAK: Scott Kazmir (14-5, 2.73)
A lot will be on the line on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Oakland Athletics wrap up their crucial three-game series at O.co Coliseum. Eight games remain between the two teams, as the A’s will head to Angel Stadium for a four-game set beginning August 28 and the Angels will return to Oakland on September 22 for three games. The A’s won on Friday night and followed that up with a last at-bat victory by a 2-1 score on Saturday night. With the Oakland win, the A’s and Angels are tied atop the AL West.
With the loss of Garrett Richards, who had been far and away the best starting pitcher for the Angels this season, the pressure falls on Jered Weaver, who has to shoulder the load in Richards’s absence. Despite declining velocity and declining stuff overall at age 31 with a lot of innings pitched on his right arm, Weaver has been a consistent performer for the Angels for most of the season. After giving up 13 runs in his first three starts, Weaver gave up just 37 runs over his next 17 starts to go into the All-Star Break with a 10-6 record and a 3.45 ERA. In seven starts since the break, Weaver has had some troubles. He’s 3-1, but that’s with a 4.46 ERA in that span. Weaver has walked four in three of his last five starts and that’s a trend to watch against the patient A’s. This is a huge start for Weaver as the Angels try to avoid a sweep.
There hasn’t been a better free agent pitcher signing than Scott Kazmir. Kazmir has been tremendous for the A’s with a 14-5 mark and a 2.73 ERA. Eighteen of Kazmir’s 25 starts have been quality starts and he has never ended a game with an ERA above 2.78 this season. There could be some underlying concerns with Kazmir, who dealt with triceps soreness earlier in the season, as his strikeout rate since the All-Star Break has dropped significantly. Kazmir has only struck out 3.8 batters per start since the Break after striking out nearly six batters per start in his first 19 starts. The A’s have scored 5.22 runs per game in support of Kazmir.
Weaver has faced the A’s a lot in his long career with the Angels. This will be Weaver’s 29th career start against the A’s. In his previous 28 starts, covering 185 innings, he is 11-9 with a spectacular 2.83 ERA. This season, however, Weaver has been roughed up in two starts as he has allowed 10 runs on 17 hits in 11.1 innings. The Angels are 17-10 in Weaver’s 27 starts for just over four units of profit this season.
Kazmir has five previous starts against the Angels in his career. He’s 2-3 with a 4.86 ERA. Amazingly, Kazmir has yet to face the Angels this season. As a member of the Cleveland Indians, Kazmir was roughed up by the Angels last year with five runs allowed over three innings. The A’s are 18-7 in Kazmir’s 25 starts for a profit of 7.31 units. He’s the seventh-most profitable starting pitcher this year.
Free MLB Pick: Oakland Athletics
The A’s have a chance for a huge sweep on national TV and their ace is on the hill. The Angels are adjusting to life without their ace and have to rely on Weaver, who has been roughed up this season by the A’s, to throw a gem. The A’s are now 8-3 against the Angels on the season and have only allowed 38 runs in those 11 games. Kazmir shouldn’t need much run support and the A’s have an advantage in the bullpen.