Athletics vs Angels Series: What’s At Stake?


August 30, 2014; Anaheim, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics fans in attendance cheer against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Regular Season Games Remaining: 7 for the Athletics/6 for the Angels

Oakland Athletics’ Record: 85-70 (46-31 at home)

  • The Athletics presently hold the #1 Wild Card seed and are in second place in the AL West.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim’s Record: 96-60 (44-31 on the road)

  • The Angels have clinched the AL West Division

Season Series: The AL West rivals are split 8-8 for the season series. The Athletics have outscored the Angels by 2 runs this year (67-65). If the Athletics can’t win the division for the third consecutive year, can they at least win the season series, then eliminate the Angels during the postseason? Let us just imagine that for a moment.

OK, enough day dreaming. We’re back to reality and it’s time to discuss what’s at stake this series. The Angels have won the division and clinched home field advantage for the ALDS. They are fighting to maintain their 3 win lead over the Orioles for the best record in the American League, so that they will play the Wild Card team in the ALDS. The Orioles are closing in and could overtake them (which I’d personally like to see). The Orioles have a winning record against all of the AL West teams, except the Athletics. I know I wouldn’t mind seeing an O’s vs A’s ALDS. At this point, I don’t care who the A’s face in the ALDS. Can they just be IN the ALDS?

The A’s are attempting to defend their #1 Wild Card seed so they qualify to host the 1-game Wild Card elimination match. The A’s have a 0.5 game lead over the Royals. The Mariners trail the Royals by 1.5 games. The Indians, Yankees, and Blue Jays technically have not been eliminated from the Wild Card race, but it’s essentially a 3 team race for only 2 spots.

The Tigers have not yet clinched the AL Central, and the Royals trail them by only 1.5 games. The Royals face the Indians for a 3 game series, plus resuming a previously suspended game that they were losing. The battle in the AL Central will have have a major impact on the Wild Card race.

As discussed in my article about postseason: The A’s would play the Wild Card game on Tuesday, September 30 (ideally hosting the game). Assuming they win (which, of course, I am going to assume), ALDS Game 1 and 2 would be played on the road on Thursday, October 2 and Friday, October 3. Game 3 would be played in Oakland on Sunday, October 5 and, if necessary, they will also host Game 4 on Monday, October 6. If the series is forced to a Game 5, it will be played on the road on Wednesday, October 8

Baseball Prospectus calculated that the A’s have a 91.1% probability of clinching a Wild Card and playing in the postseason.


Monday, September 22, 7:05 PM PST: Jeff Samardzija, RHP vs C.J. Wilson, LHP

Tuesday, September 23, 7:05 PM PST: Sonny Gray, RHP vs Wade LeBlanc, LHP

Wednesday, September 24, 12:35 PM PST: Jon Lester, LHP vs Hector Santiago, LHP

Radio: OAK: 95.7 FM The Game, KIQI 1010 (Mon/Tues only) LAA: KLAA 830, KWKW 1330 (Mon/Tues only)


  • This is the final home series for Oakland
  • I hate the Angels with a fiery passion
  • Despite the MLB and ESPN’s love affair with Mike Trout, he’s never played Postseason baseball. Wouldn’t it be sweet revenge if he’s unexpectedly horrible in October?
  • I believe in Stephen Vogt… Alberto Callaspo is a different story
  • Rally possum > rally monkey
  • DO NOT MISS THESE GAMES. Buy tickets, call in sick, quit your job, carpool, whatever it takes. Be there, and be loud. No matter how this series and season ends, our team deserves our support and cheers. Besides, who needs an excuse to boo the Angels?
  • Josh Hamilton will probably not play, which disappoints me. I was hoping he could blow another catch in CF on Wednesday, a la 2012

"Josh Hamilton said he had 7 (7!) pain killing injections in his back and chest. He’s hoping to play by Weds or maybe Friday. #Angels-Jeff Fletcher (@JeffFletcherOCR) September 20, 2014"

Game 1: Jeff Samardzija, RHP (4-5, 3.13 ERA) vs C.J. Wilson, LHP (13-9, 4.42 ERA)

Both starters last took the mound on September 17th. Samardzija pitched 8.0 innings, Wilson pitched 7.0, and neither allowed any earned runs. Wilson received a win, while Samardzija received another no-decisionthanks to run support being an issue once again.

I hate C.J. Wilson for many of the same reasons I hate Josh Hamilton. They both played for the A’s divisional Rivals: the Rangers and now the Angels. They have have egos bigger than their salaries. And they have no issue publicly bashing Oakland. In 2011, Wilson expressed a lot of hate towards the Colisium.

"“I hate pitching there. The mound sucks, the fans suck. There’s no fans there…”– C.J. Wilson August 12, 2011"

Listen up C.J. Wilson. You might have gotten away with smack talking back in 2011 when you had a 2.94 ERA, but now that you’re up to 4.42 you might want to be more humble. I would love nothing more than to watch the A’s shut him up and absolutely humiliate him one home run at a time.

Athletics’ Game 1 Lineup:

  1. Crisp CF
  2. Fuld RF
  3. Donaldson 3B
  4. Gomes LF
  5. Norris DH
  6. Lowrie SS
  7. Freiman 1B
  8. Soto C
  9. Punto 2B

Pitcher: Samardzija

Wondering where Lowrie might be?

"Lowrie says his foot is sore but shouldn’t affect his range. Matter of handling soreness and swelling, much like with his broken finger. -Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) September 22, 2014"

Game 2: Sonny Gray, RHP (13-9, 3.28 ERA) vs Wade LeBlanc, LHP (0-1, 4.64 ERA)

It’s hard to deny how talented Sonny Gray is. He was drafted in the first round of the 2011 draft. Two years later he made his Major League debut, and only a few months later pitched 3 of the most important games of the 2013 season for the Athletics. He was on the mound for the game that the A’s clinched the division, as well as Game 2 and Game 5 of the ALDS. Gray is pitching in his first full Major League season, which may explain his rapidly declining statistics. Gray pitched 64.0 innings in 2013, and is already over 200 innings for 2014. Gray’s ERA was 2.79 prior to the All-Star break, but it’s since ballooned to 4.07. Gray has had only 1 win since July ended. 

More from Oakland A's News

There is good news! Wade LeBlanc isn’t just bad, he’s HORRIBLE against the Athletics. He’s pitched against the A’s for both the Angels (May 30th) and Yankees (June 4th). He will once again pitch against the A’s for the Angels. His first two appearances resulted in 7.1 total innings pitched, giving up 8 hits, 6 earned runs and 2 home runs. His 2014 ERA vs Oakland is 7.36, and I’d love to see that inflate further.

Athletics’ Game 1 Lineup:

  1. Crisp CF
  2. Fuld LF
  3. Donaldson 3B
  4. Norris DH
  5. Vogt 1B
  6. Lowrie SS
  7. Reddick RF
  8. Soto C
  9. Sogard 2B

Pitcher: Gray

Game 3: Jon Lester, LHP (6-3, 2.20 ERA) vs Hector Santiago, LHP (5-9, 3.98 ERA)

Jon Lester requires no introduction. He is one of the best pitchers in the game, but no matter how incredible he pitches, the A’s HAVE to score runs. I REPEAT. The A’s HAVE to score runs! It’s maddening to watch so many quality starts be wasted due to little to no run support. Hector Santiago isn’t the worst pitcher out there but he’s far from the best. The A’s need to take advantage of the fact that they aren’t facing the best that Anaheim can throw at them. Perhaps the A’s can take advantage of the fact that the Angels have already clinched, keep losing their players to injuries, and aren’t looking to limp into October.

Athletics’ Game 1 Lineup:

  1. Crisp CF
  2. Fuld LF
  3. Donaldson 3B
  4. Gomes DH
  5. Norris C
  6. Freiman 1B
  7. Lowrie SS
  8. Reddick RF
  9. Punto 2B

Pitcher: Lester