The Los Angeles Angels close out both a road trip and a streak of four consecutive series against American League West opponents as they face the Oakland Athletics in the Bay. A three-game set, the Angels have a chance to return the favor after they were defeated by the A’s in Anaheim last week.
Both the Angels and Athletics find themselves at the bottom of the AL standings. At 46-63, the Halos have the fourth-worst record in the AL and eighth-worst record in baseball. But at 41-68, the Athletics sit at the very bottom of the AL standings with the second-worst record in the Majors.
With just eight weeks remaining in the regular season and the playoffs well out of reach, both teams are searching for young players that can make impacts in 2023, as well as build winning habits before the MLB calendar resets.
Game 1: Monday, Aug. 8, 6:40 p.m. PT
The series opener on Monday night features Jose Suarez as the Angels starter and Cole Irvin for the Athletics. Suarez has had an up-and-down season, posting a 4.55 ERA in 55.1 innings. However, two of his best starts have also been his most recent.
Suarez has not allowed an earned run in his last 10.1 innings of work. He pitched 5.1 scoreless frames against the Kansas City Royals in late July, then gave up just one unearned run against the Athletics in their last meeting.
On the flip side, Irvin is having arguably his best season as a pro. In 115.1 innings, he has an ERA of 3.04 and a WHIP of 1.058, both career bests by a significant margin. With the Angels offense having some decent moments against the Mariners over the weekend, they’ll hope to continue that while facing a pitcher who is clearly in a rhythm.
Game 2: Tuesday, Aug. 9, 6:40 p.m. PT
Shohei Ohtani takes his rightful place on the mound Tuesday night, facing an Oakland team that he has fared well against throughout his career. Ohtani is also searching for his 10th win of the season, as it would make him the first player since Babe Ruth to have 10 wins on the mound and 10 home runs in one season. He finished at nine wins in 2021.
In his way is James Kaprielian, the same pitcher who shut down the Angels last week with the same stakes on the line. The Athletics defeated the Angels 3-1 when this duo faced off last, so Ohtani should look to flip the script.
Game 3: Wednesday, Aug. 10, 12:37 p.m. PT
The Angels have not yet determined a starter for the series finale. Last week, it was Janson Junk who got a spot start the day after Ohtani. But he was optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake, meaning it’s unlikely he’ll be called up here.
It could potentially be Touki Toussaint, who was supposed to start in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader vs. the Mariners, but was scratched after covering for Junk in long relief last Thursday. Starting Wednesday would mean five days rest.
For the Athletics, it’ll be Paul Blackburn, who has been an elite pitcher away from Oakland. However, he has struggled mightily when pitching at his home ballpark, as he holds an 8.31 ERA in 39.0 innings this season at home.
While this series has not bearing on the standings, every single player is fighting for their spot on a roster in 2023, when both teams hope to significantly improve from where they are right now.