OAKLAND ATHLETICS (79-60)
at LOS ANGELES ANGELS (77-63)
First pitch: Monday, 10:05 p.m. EDT
Line: Los Angeles -155, Oakland +145, Total: 7½
Two red-hot division rivals with hopes of catching the first place Rangers begin a key four-game series Monday night when Oakland (3½ GB) visits the Los Angeles Angels (6 GB).
The A’s enter this series having won 18 of their past 23 games (.783), putting them in first place in the AL Wild Card standings. The Angels have been even hotter, winning 15 of 18 (.833), which includes going 11-1 in the past 12 games, with six straight victories. When these two teams played last week, Los Angeles earned a convincing three-game sweep, outscoring the A’s 21-5 in the series. On Monday, Jarrod Parker takes the mound for Oakland with a 9-8 record, 3.66 ERA and 1.31 WHIP in 2012. Parker has started three times against the Angels this season, and is 0-2 (team 0-3) despite pitching quite well with a 3.05 ERA and 1.16 WHIP. Dan Haren is coming off two consecutive wins for the Angels, but still has a subpar 4.46 ERA and 1.34 WHIP in 2012, working his way to a 10-10 record. Ultimately this game should be a close one and with the lines heavily favoring the Angels, play on OAKLAND with the money to take this one.
This rare four-star FoxSheets trend also backs the A’s:
OAKLAND is 42-18 (70.0%, +26.3 Units) against the money line in the second half of the season this season. The average score was OAKLAND 5.0, OPPONENT 3.6 - (Rating = 4*).
The A’s rebounded from their sweep to the Angels well, sweeping the Mariners and allowing just four runs in the series while scoring 16. A concern for them must be Parker’s numbers on the road, where he has a 5.37 ERA and 1.51 WHIP this year, despite a 5-3 record (team is 7-4). Parker averages just 5.5 innings per start on the road compared to 6.1 at home, but given Oakland’s bullpen that has a 2.82 ERA and 1.15 WHIP in 2012, that might not be a problem. The A’s have an AL-best 54-35 record (.607) versus right-handed starters, and are 38-31 (.551) on the road, including four wins in six games at Los Angeles this year, play on them.
Haren has started three times against the A’s this season, going 1-1 with a 2.89 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. In his career, he is 3-3 (team 4-5) against Oakland with a 3.51 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. Haren also enters this game in a groove, posting a 1.45 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in his past three starts, striking out 17 batters in 18.2 innings. Since beginning the year 1-5, Haren has gone 9-5 since then. But even with a tremendous bullpen (2.60 ERA, 1.17 WHIP at home), the Angels are favored too much to like here—play against.