Los Angeles Angels (96-60) at Oakland Athletics (85-70)
Monday, September 22 - 10:05 PM EST
O.co Coliseum, Oakland, California
The last time the Oakland Athletics began a series against the Los Angeles Angels, they were within one game of each other atop the American League West. When the Athletics host the Angels in the opener of a three-game series on Monday, they will be 10 1/2 games back in a division Los Angeles has already clinched. Stumbling Oakland won two of three over the weekend and sits atop the AL wild-card race.
The Angels, who took two of three in each of their last two series against the Athletics, are getting veterans as much rest as possible over the final week while trying to secure homefield advantage throughout the postseason. Los Angeles leads the Baltimore Orioles by 2 1/2 games for the best record in the league and will have a large hand in the wild card race with series against Oakland and Seattle to finish out the regular season. The Athletics are two games ahead of the third-place Mariners in the wild-card race, with the Kansas City Royals a half-game out of the top spot.
TV: 10:05 p.m. ET, FSN West (Los Angeles), CSN California (Oakland)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Angels LH C.J. Wilson (13-9, 4.42 ERA) vs. Athletics RH Jeff Samardzija (6-12, 2.98)
Wilson is riding a three-start winning streak and put together the best of the bunch last time out, when he held Seattle to one hit in seven scoreless innings while striking out seven. The veteran is tuning up for the postseason and has allowed three or fewer earned runs in seven of his last eight outings. Wilson was sharp at Oakland on Aug. 23, surrendering one runs on five hits in 6 1/3 innings without factoring in the decision.
Samardzija has not allowed a run in 15 innings over his last two starts but was held out of the decision in both due to stagnant offense and a shaky bullpen. The Notre Dame product struck out 10 and did not walk a batter in eight scoreless innings against Texas on Wednesday before the bullpen gave up six runs in the ninth to blow the game. Samardzija allowed one earned run and struck out nine in eight innings at Los Angeles on Aug. 30 but suffered the loss in a 2-0 final.
1. Angels 2B Howie Kendrick was pulled from Sunday’s game with hamstring tightness and is day-to-day.
2. Oakland SS Jed Lowrie (left foot contusion) left Sunday’s game.
3. Los Angeles OF Josh Hamilton (ribs) has missed 16 of the last 17 games but received a cortisone injection over the weekend and is expected to play in the final week.
PREDICTION: Angels 3, Athletics 1