The Los Angeles Angels are in the midst of a string of eight consecutive series against American League West rivals and have struggled thus far - except when they face the Oakland Athletics. The Angels attempt to register their fifth straight victory over the Athletics when they visit Oakland on Tuesday for the middle contest of their three-game set.
The only team in the majors ever to play four straight games lasting longer than 3 hours, 49 minutes, Los Angeles has gone 1-3 in the series versus divisional opponents thus far - with the only win being a three-game sweep over the Athletics at home from Aug. 28-30. The Angels topped Oakland again in the series opener, scoring twice in the 11th inning after squandering a two-run lead in the ninth for an 11-9 victory that pulled them within one-half game of Minnesota for the second wild card in the AL. Martin Maldonado homered twice and Kole Calhoun delivered a two-run triple to snap the 9-9 tie as Los Angeles set an AL record by employing 12 pitchers - three of which did not record an out. Rookie Matt Olson went deep twice, giving him three blasts in his last two games and 10 in 23 contests since being recalled from the minors on Aug. 8, as Oakland’s losing streak reached seven games.
TV: 10:05 p.m. ET, MLB Network, FSN West (Los Angeles), NBCSN California (Oakland)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Angels RH Garrett Richards (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Athletics RH Kendall Graveman (4-4, 4.54)
Richards has been limited to one start this season due to an irritated nerve in his right biceps. That outing also was in Oakland on April 5, when the 29-year-old Californian allowed three hits with one walk and four strikeouts in 4 2/3 scoreless innings before leaving with the injury. Richards, who is expected to be limited to 50 pitches, is 2-4 with a 4.20 ERA in 15 career appearances (11 starts) against the Athletics.
Graveman escaped with a no-decision against the Angels in Los Angeles on Wednesday after surrendering five runs on six hits - three homers - and three walks in five innings. The 26-year-old native of Alabama had gone four turns without serving up a blast and had allowed a total of three over his previous eight outings. Graveman is 2-2 with a 3.68 ERA in 10 career starts against the Angels, including a 1-1 record and 4.13 ERA in four turns this season.
1. Angels DH Albert Pujols is riding a five-game RBI streak during which he has driven in 12 runs while OF Mike Trout has walked in 12 consecutive contests - one shy of the club record set in 1961 by Albie Pearson.
2. Oakland OF Khris Davis is seven RBIs away from matching the career high of 102 he set last season.
3. Los Angeles recalled 1B Jefry Marte from Triple-A Salt Lake and claimed RHP Dayan Diaz off waivers from Houston.
PREDICTION: Athletics 7, Angels 5