The Angels are beginning to create some distance in the American League West.
Behind a strong start from Jered Weaver and home runs from Chris Iannetta and Albert Pujols, the Angels defeated the Athletics 4-0 last night at Angel Stadium in Anaheim.
Weaver allowed just three hits and three walks over seven scoreless innings in the victory. He’s now tied with Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello for the American League lead with 15 wins. As for the offense, Iannetta lifted a two-run homer off Jon Lester in the fifth inning which fell out of a leaping Coco Crisp’s glove and over the center field fence. Pujols added a solo shot for some insurance in the seventh.
The Angels now have a season-high three-game lead over the A’s, who have lost 12 out of their last 18 games. Still trying to find their footing after Garrett Richards’ knee injury, the Angels will send Cory Rasmus to the hill tonight in what is likely to be a bullpen game. Oakland will counter with Jeff Samardzija.
Your Friday box scores:
Athletics 0, Angels 4
Twins 1, Orioles 9
Reds 1, Pirates 2
Yankees 6, Blue Jays 3
Phillies 1, Mets 4
Marlins 2, Braves 5
Red Sox 8, Rays 4
Tigers 7, White Sox 1
Cubs 7, Cardinals 2
Indians 6, Royals 1
Rockies 2, Diamondbacks 5
Rangers 13, Astros 6
Brewers 2, Giants 13
Nationals 8, Mariners 3
Dodgers 2, Padres 3 (12 innings)
The book heading into the series was that the Dodgers’ starters needed to come up big for them due to questions in the bullpen and that the Brewers’ bullpen was going to dominate Dodgers batters, so they had best do what they can to score off of Milwaukee’s starters. So, of course, the Dodgers starters turned in performances of three and four and a third innings and eight of their nine runs the Brewers have given up have come from their relievers. I dunno, man. It’s baseball. It lends itself to anticipatory analysis worse than any other sport.
All I do know for sure is that this series has been as close as it gets so far, with each game being decided by a run and the outcome being determined late. The first two games have given me a sense that the teams are just feeling each other out and that the next three, in Los Angeles, will provide a bit more coherence to all of this. Not that there isn’t something a bit fun about incoherence when it comes to a playoff series.
Your viewing guide:
NLCS Game 3
Brewers vs. Dodgers
Ballpark: Dodger Stadium
Time: 7:39 PM Eastern
Pitchers: Jhoulys Chacin vs Walker Buehler
Jhoulys Chacin had an excellent NLDS start against the Colorado Rockies, turning in five scoreless innings. If he does something approaching that tonight the Brewers will be in pretty good shape given that Josh Hader — who pitched three shutdown innings in Game one — is available again tonight. To the extent Craig Counsell needs to dig more deeply into his reliever corps, however, things could get dicey. Corbin Burnes, Jeremy Jeffress, Corey Knebel and Joakim Soria have combined to allow seven earned runs in four innings. Brandon Woodruff, who has been dominant thus far, throwing five scoreless innings, stands a good chance of being the opener for Game 4, so Counsell will likely try to keep him off the mound tonight. That puts a decent amount of pressure on Chacin to get the game to Hader with as few innings remaining as possible.
For Los Angeles, it’s Walker Buehler who, the grand slam he gave up to Ronald Acuña in the NLDS notwithstanding, was the Dodgers’ most dominant starter down the stretch. In keeping with the somewhat flipped script so far, however, the Los Angeles bullpen has been solid, allowing just two runs over their ten and two-thirds innings in Games 1 and 2. Not that Dave Roberts wouldn’t love to see Buehler go deep tonight too.