The Los Angeles Angels expect to have Mike Trout back in the lineup Tuesday as they host the Oakland Athletics for the middle contest of their three-game series. Los Angeles was without the superstar for Monday’s opener due to a stiff neck but came away with a 3-1 victory to climb within one game of Minnesota for the second wild card in the American League.
Trout is mired in an 0-for-17 slump but has belted 24 homers against Oakland, his highest total against any opponent. The Angels improved to 3-5 on their 10-game homestand as Martin Maldonado went 3-for-3 and scored twice while Andrew Heaney put forth his best effort since returning from Tommy John surgery, allowing one run and two hits over six innings while recording a career-high 10 strikeouts. Los Angeles lost the first two sets on its homestand and hopes to avoid a third straight series setback against Oakland, which took two of three earlier this month. The Athletics registered only four hits in the win, including a solo homer by Dustin Garneau for their lone run of the contest.
TV: 10:07 p.m. ET, NBCSN California (Oakland), FSN West (Los Angeles)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Athletics RH Chris Smith (0-3, 5.56 ERA) vs. Angels RH Troy Scribner (2-1, 4.00)
Smith remains in search of his first win of the season as he makes his eighth major-league start after losing in Baltimore on Aug. 21. The 36-year-old Californian was tagged by the Orioles for five runs - four earned - and six hits over 4 1/3 innings in his shortest turn of the year. Smith has made two career relief appearances against the Angels, allowing two hits with four walks and five strikeouts in 3 1/3 scoreless frames.
Scribner will be making his fourth consecutive start after beginning his season - and major-league career - with a pair of relief outings. The 26-year-old native of Connecticut suffered his first loss on Thursday, when he gave up three runs and three hits in five innings against Texas. Scribner escaped with a no-decision in his first career turn versus Oakland on Aug. 4 after yielding five runs - two earned - on two hits and four walks over four frames.
1. Angels DH Albert Pujols went 0-for-4 on Monday, keeping him six hits behind Frank Robinson (2,943) for 34th place on the all-time list.
2. Oakland’s Jed Lowrie served as the DH in the series opener after leaving Sunday’s game against Texas with a left shin contusion.
3. Athletics SS Marcus Semien recorded one of his team’s four hits Monday and is 4-for-10 with three RBIs and three runs scored over his last three games.
PREDICTION: Athletics 5, Angels 4