Moneyline: Angels (-166) Athletics (+156)
Starting Pitchers: Athletics (Ross) Angels (Haren)
The Oakland Athletics and the Los Angeles Angels are fairly similar teams this year. Both teams are much weaker offensively than most of the teams in the American League, but both of these teams have a very solid pitching staff. On the Angels best pitchers will be starting in this one, while the Athletics will counter with young Tyson Ross. Can Dan Haren bounce back from a rare loss in his last outing, or will the Athletics finish this series with a victory?
Oakland ranks first in all of baseball in overall ERA, so why don’t they have a better record? There are two very good reasons for this. First of all, the Athletics have committed 23 errors, which is the worst mark in baseball. Daric Burton and Kevin Kouzmanoff have both had a lot of trouble with errors at the corner infield positions. While the pitchers have been making great pitches, the defense hasn’t been supporting them well. In addition to this, the Athletics aren’t a good team offensively. Only one player, Coco Crisp, is batting above .253 so far this season. As a team, the Athletics are hitting .241. The Athletics have hit just ten home runs all year.
The Los Angeles Angels have also received great pitching, especially from their starters. Jered Weaver has been the best pitcher in baseball over the first month, while Dan Haren has another stellar season going as well. The Angels are third in all of baseball in team ERA. They have received more quality starts from their pitchers than any other team in the majors. The Angels do have a better defense than the Athletics, but like Oakland, they struggle offensively. In the past the Angels have had a power packed team, but outside of the middle of their order, the Angels are very unproven this year. One of the reasons that Los Angeles has been successful so far this year is Peter Bourjos has been a pleasant surprise. On the other hand, Torii Hunter and Vernon Wells are both batting under .200, and they must pick up their production.
The Angels are a better defensive team, and they have a huge pitching advantage in this one. Dan Haren is extremely tough to hit, especially in the first half of the season. I think the Angels will take care of business here.
MLB Free Pick: Angels ML
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