Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#5973 Los Angeles Angels vs.
#5974 Oakland Athletics
Sunday, May 15, 2022 at 4:07pm EDT
Written by Nathaniel Reeves

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AL West rivals will close out a four-game series on Sunday afternoon at RingCentral Coliseum with the Los Angeles Angels taking on the Oakland Athletics. The series is tied at one apiece after Oakland won the first leg of Saturday's doubleheader 4-3 to cash in as a -138 favorite, with the nightcap coming after the time of publishing. Los Angeles is still in second place at 23-13, while Oakland has struggled overall with a 15-21 record.

This was a one-sided matchup last year, with Oakland dominating the season series 15-4. The Angels have not won the season series against the Athletics since 2018.

Angels bullpen finally falters

The resurgent Los Angeles pitching staff has been one of the storylines of the early season across baseball, but couldn't hold a late lead in the first leg of Saturday's doubleheader. Shohei Ohtani opened the scoring with an RBI groundout in the top of the first before Anthony Rendon and Andrew Velazquez added RBI singles in the seventh, only for normally reliable closer Raisel Iglesias to blow the 3-1 lead in the ninth inning.

Rookie starter Jhonathan Diaz tossed 4.2 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and four walks while striking out four. Iglesias suffered both a blown save and a loss for allowing three runs on two hits and a walk while getting just two outs. Ohtani was on base three times including a double while scoring once, while Brandon Marsh had a three-hit game.

The Angels remain up a good amount on the money line this season while going 20-17 on the run line. Overs are 14-17-6 for the Angels, and only one of their past four games has gone over the betting total.

This is the second-highest scoring offense in baseball at 4.94 runs per game on a .744 team OPS that also ranks inside the top three. After several rough seasons, the Angels pitching staff ranks fourth with a 3.27 collective ERA including a mark of 3.52 from the bullpen.

Mike Trout is hoping to put together a fully healthy season and looks like an MVP favorite so far, batting .314/.438/.676 with nine homers, 20 RBI and 27 runs scored. Taylor Ward is mashing to start the year with a .384/.505/.744 line, eight homers and 22 RBI.

Patrick Sandoval will be on the mound for the sixth time this season, hoping to continue a fantastic start as he's 1-1 with a 2.03 ERA and 27 strikeouts across 26.2 innings. The 25-year-old was shaky in his last outing against the Washington Nationals last Sunday, allowing three runs on seven hits and three walks while striking out 5.2 innings in a no-decision.

Los Angeles is dealing with some COVID issues, as its top two catchers in Kurt Suzuki and Max Stassi are out in addition to infielder Matt Duffy and utilityman Jose Rojas. Shortstop David Fletcher underwent adductor surgery last week. Starting pitchers Griffin Canning (back discomfort), Chris Rodriguez (shoulder surgery) and Cooper Criswell (shoulder soreness) are out. The Angels are also missing some key relievers with Archie Bradley (strained abdominal), Jose Quijada (strained oblique) and Austin Warren (nasal fracture surgery) on the IL.

Oakland wins for fifth time in seven games

Following an ugly losing streak that nearly reached double digits, Oakland has played much better this week, and picked up a dramatic win over the Angels on Saturday afternoon thanks to the heroics of Luis Barrera in just his fifth game this season since being called up. Oakland didn't get on the board until the seventh on Jed Lowrie's RBI single, and Barrera launched the walk-off three-run homer to cap off a two-out rally in the ninth with his first career long ball.

Starter Paul Blackburn continued his outstanding season with 6.2 innings of one-run ball, allowing five hits and two walks while striking out three. Lou Trivino earned the win for recording the last out of the ninth, escaping a jam. Ramon Laureano, who started that ninth inning rally, went 2-3 with two doubles, two runs scored and a walk.

Oakland is only a couple wins away from being in positive territory on the money line for the season while going 19-18 on the run line. Overs are 13-19-5 for the Athletics, and only two of their last 11 games have gone over the betting total.

It's been a massive struggle for the Oakland offense, which ranks 28th in baseball at 3.36 runs per game and dead last in OPS with a mark of .580. Oakland pitching has done its best to make up for it with a 3.57 collective ERA that is just outside the top 10 including a mark of 3.06 from a strong bullpen.

Sheldon Neuse has been Oakland's best overall hitter, batting .281/.344/.386 with four steals, 14 RBI and 14 runs scored. Sean Murphy has provided some pop with a .664 OPS, four homers and 17 driven in.

Frankie Montas will make his eighth start of the season for Oakland after taking a loss to the Detroit Tigers last time out, allowing four runs on seven hits and three walks in 6.1 innings while striking out four. The 29-year-old has been solid, going 2-3 with a 3.77 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 43 innings with trade rumors swirling.

Catcher Stephen Vogt (sprained knee), outfielder Skye Bolt (strained oblique) and outfielder Stephen Piscotty (strained calf) are missing from the Oakland lineup. Oakland is also down one of its best starting pitchers in Cole Irvin due to shoulder tendinitis, while Brent Honeywell Jr. is recovering from a stress reaction in his elbow. Reliever Deolis Garcia is rehabbing Tommy John surgery.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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With both teams sending a solid starter to the mound on Sunday, the best bet in this game is to roll with the team that features the much better offense. Saturday's ninth-inning aside, the Athletics have been miserable at the plate for most of the year, and that should continue against a high upside starter in Sandoval.

Health has been a bigger question than ability for Sandoval, and he finally looks to be at full strength in 2022 with a 55 ERA-/60 FIP- and over a strikeout per inning. The Angels are going to be dangerous whenever they get good starting pitching, as the star-studded core of the lineup is mashing en route to a 121 team wRC+ that is second-best in baseball.

Compare that to the Athletics, who are dead last in baseball with a 77 wRC+ after trading away so many of their best players, leading to a lot of losses so far even with their strong pitching. Los Angeles will be able to scratch out enough offense here to back Sandoval, who quietly is developing into a strong starter.

Prediction: Angels -130

Full-Game Total Pick

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While the overall numbers for the Angels at the plate are intimidating, this isn't their full squad as the current COVID situation has decimated their effective lineup depth in addition to a couple of others like Ward not being at full strength due to injuries. Montas has established himself as a well above average starter, and his ERA will start to fall soon if he maintains his current 1.02 WHIP.

Los Angeles spent most of its offseason retooling the bullpen and the unit has been mostly solid enough, while Oakland has the fourth-best bullpen ERA despite not having many big names. This is also a tough park for hitters, so expect another low-scoring game like the Athletics have been playing most of the season.

Prediction: Under 7 (even)
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Written By Nathaniel Reeves , "Nathaniel Reeves"

Nathaniel Reeves is an avid sports fan with degrees in journalism from the University of Washington and statistics from Western Washington University. He's always had a passion for applying statistical analysis to sports betting and has successfully handicapped college football, college basketball, and Esports for years. Nathaniel has endured being a lifelong fan of the Seattle Mariners, along with the Seattle Seahawks, UW Huskies and soon to be Seattle Kraken. He has been a very successful sports bettor the last several years and we are thrilled that Nate has chosen to bring his talents to us here at Winners & Whiners. You would be very wise to follow him daily. 
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