Oakland Athletics (67-89) at Los Angeles Angels (70-87)
Tuesday, September 27 - 10:05 PM EST
Angel Stadium of Anaheim, Anaheim, California
The Los Angeles Angels look to push the visiting Oakland Athletics deeper into the American League West cellar when the division rivals meet Tuesday for the middle contest of their three-game set. Los Angeles posted a 2-1 victory in the series opener to move 2 1/2 games ahead of Oakland, which has six games remaining while the Angels have five contests left.
Albert Pujols snapped a 1-1 tie in the eighth inning with a dribbler up the first-base line with the bases loaded that plated Yunel Escobar and gave the slugger his team-leading 119th RBI of the season. Mike Trout, who is hitting .433 (26-for-60) with five home runs and 11 RBIs in 16 games against Oakland this year after belting a solo shot in the opener, drew a pair of walks to raise his season total to a career-high 112 — one shy of the single-season franchise record set in 1995 by Tony Phillips. While the Angels have won five of their last six contests, the Athletics have dropped six of their last seven and scored a total of one run over their last three defeats. Stephen Vogt enters Tuesday with a five-game hitting streak after launching a solo homer the previous night for one of Oakland's four hits in the contest.
TV: 10:05 p.m. ET, CSN California (Oakland), FSN West (Los Angeles)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Athletics RH Daniel Mengden (2-8, 5.74 ERA) vs. Angels RH Ricky Nolasco (7-14, 4.60)
Mengden was unable to produce the first winning streak of his rookie campaign as he suffered his fifth loss in six decisions Wednesday after yielding four runs and six hits over 5 2/3 innings to Houston. The 23-year-old native of Houston was coming off the best outing of his brief tenure with Oakland six days earlier, when he recorded six strikeouts and scattered three hits over seven scoreless frames at Kansas City. Mengden, who never has faced the Angels, is 2-1 with a 4.25 ERA in five road starts during his rookie season.
Nolasco looks to extend his first winning streak of the year to three starts after combining to scatter 10 hits over 13 scoreless innings in victories over Toronto at home on Sept. 17 and at Houston five days later. The 33-year-old Californian has won three of his last five turns, striking out 19 and walking three while giving up 14 hits over 22 frames without allowing a run in the victories. Nolasco fell to 2-2 in six career starts against the Athletics on Sept. 6, when he yielded three runs on two hits and two walks in seven innings at Oakland.
1. Angels RHP Jered Weaver left Monday's contest after five innings with tightness in his lower back, which could keep him from making his final start of the season.
2. Oakland rookie 3B Ryon Healy is 4-for-8 over his last two games after going 1-for-16 in his previous four contests.
3. Angels RHP Garrett Richards is slated to be the pitcher during batting practice Wednesday, marking the first time he will face hitters since tearing the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow May 1.
PREDICTION: Angels 7, Athletics 4