Game 144: Athletics-Angels …

Well, here we are. That 15-3 run the Angels went on beginning on Aug. 20 — essentially wasted over the last three nights, with the offense struggling against the young, supremely talented pitching staff of the upstart A’s. Now, with 19 left, they’re 3 1/2 games back of the second Wild Card spot, which is amazingly further back than the Brewers and Phillies are in the National League at this point. Here are the lineups, with a different look against a left-handed starter …

Athletics (82-60)

Coco Crisp, CF
Seth Smith, DH
Josh Reddick, RF
Yoenis Cespedes, LF
Brandon Moss, 1B
Josh Donaldson, 3B
George Kottaras, C
Cliff Pennington, SS
Jemile Weeks, 2B

Pitching: LH Brett Anderson (4-0, 0.69 ERA)

Angels (77-66)

Mike Trout, CF
Alberto Callaspo, 3B
Albert Pujols, DH
Torii Hunter, RF
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Erick Aybar, SS
Mark Trumbo, 1B
Vernon Wells, LF
Chris Iannetta, C

Pitching: RH Jered Weaver (16-4, 2.86 ERA)

  • Trumbo, as expected, is in the starting lineup, with Kendrys Morales getting that “natural” day off against a left-handed starter. But Trumbo’s struggles don’t warrant placement in the cleanup spot these days, so that means Hunter slides out of the No. 2 spot — a spot that has treated him so well all year — so that Pujols can have some protection. “This is just a fact of, the right-handed bats that you’d want to hit behind Albert right now, the one that matches up against Anderson and is really swinging  well, it would be either Trout or Torii,” Mike Scioscia said. “We want to keep Trout in the leadoff spot, and we’ll just flip Torii down there short term and see where it leads today.” It’s a look you can expect to see more of against left-handed starters.
  • Maicer Izturis (left ribs) will start to swing today. Scioscia said he should be available tomorrow.
  • Scioscia, on limitations for Weaver: “There won’t be a hard pitch count on him, but I don’t think we’re going to let him go out there and throw 115, 120 pitches today. We’re not going to cap him at 80 or 90. It’s supposed to be warm today, we’ll be watching a lot of things about how the ball’s coming out of his hand and how he’s holding up. I don’t think we need to artificially limit him to anything right now. We’ll see how the game flow goes.”
  • Scoiscia, on where the Angels stand right now: “We’re disappointed in the fact that if you look at just our record, it’s not where we want to be. I think what’s happened is very tangible. It’s not like any of this is some enigma. You can see where some of these things have set up back, and how adjustments are being made that are getting those areas back to where they need to be. So, there’s time for us to reach our goal. Discounting these last three games, if you look at where we are the last three weeks, we’re playing at an extraordinary level, and hopefully it’s going to translate into us reaching our goal.”
  • Pujols went a month without hitting his first home run of the season, and still, with three weeks left in the season, he reached 30 for the 12th straight season. Scioscia isn’t surprised, though, given how he turned his season around last year, too. “Although it was a little bit more prolonged, there was no doubt that he had enough time to do what we can do on the offensive end, and we’re starting to see that. It remains to be seen where he finishes with his batting average [currently.287], but you look at his home runs and his RBIs, he’s going to be 30 and 100 easily.”

Alden

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