Oakland Athletics (78-56) at Los Angeles Angels (81-53)
Saturday, August 30 - 9:05 PM EST
Angel Stadium of Anaheim, Anaheim, California
The Los Angeles Angels have already ensured themselves of being in first place after Monday no matter what happens in the final two games of their showdown with the Oakland Athletics. The Angels will try to increase their lead in the American League West to four games when they host the Athletics in the third of a four-game series on Saturday. Los Angeles won a battle of the bullpens in Thursday’s opener and got the better start in Friday’s 4-0 triumph.
Oakland, which spent most of the season in first place in the West before falling off the pace recently, still owns the top AL wild card spot by 4 1/2 games over the Detroit Tigers. The Athletics’ problems are mostly on offense, where they have scored three or fewer runs 17 times since the start of August. That stretch began the day after the trade deadline, when Oakland shipped out Yoenis Cespedes in exchange for Jon Lester, who took the loss Friday.
TV: 9:05 p.m. ET, CSN California (Oakland), FSN West (Los Angeles)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Athletics RH Jeff Samardzija (6-10, 3.23 ERA) vs. Angels RH Cory Rasmus (3-1, 2.68)
Samardzija had one of his best starts since joining Oakland on Monday, when he struck out 10 and allowed two runs over eight innings to earn a win at Houston. The 29-year-old has gone at least six innings in nine of his 10 starts for the Athletics while striking out 53 and walking 10. Samardzija is getting his first taste of this rivalry and is 1-2 with a 3.72 ERA in four road starts with Oakland.
Rasmus got the nod in the rotation spot vacated by Garrett Richards’ season-ending injury and will make his first major-league start after 43 career appearances out of the bullpen. Rasmus threw 51 pitches in 2 2/3 innings against Miami on Monday and is expected to be available for 60 or more in Saturday’s contest. The 26-year old has made three appearances against the Athletics in 2014, allowing three runs — two earned — in 3 2/3 total innings.
1. Oakland CF Coco Crisp left Friday’s game with a neck strain and is day-to-day.
2. Angels SS Erick Aybar has hit safely in 14 straight games.
3. Los Angeles 3B David Freese is 0-for-10 with a pair of strikeouts in his last three games.
PREDICTION: Athletics 7, Angels 3