Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#2927 Oakland Athletics vs.
#2928 Los Angeles Angels
Saturday, September 18, 2021 at 9:07pm EDT
Written by Eric P.

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The Los Angeles Angels play host to the Oakland Athletics on Saturday night from Angel Stadium in a crucial game between AL West rivals. The Athletics enter the game firmly entrenched in the AL Wild Card race and need a win in a big way to help keep pace with the trio of AL East teams above them. For the Angels, the playoffs are out of reach but that doesn't mean that they won't relish the opportunity to play spoiler over the next few weeks. The Athletics escaped with a 5-4 win over the Angels in the series opener on Friday night and at this point, they don't care how pretty it is, they'll take a win any way they can. The two teams have met 19 times already this season and the Athletics have dominated to the tune of winning 15 of those games and will look to make it ten out of the last eleven overall on Saturday night.

Athletics Look To Stay Alive In Wild Card Race

The Athletics continue to find a way to stay alive in the American League Wild Card race. While they enter Saturday 2.5 games back of the second Wild Card spot, another win against the Angels will do wonders to their confidence and momentum and keep them right in the thick of things as the season winds down. The Athletics have won three games in a row and are 6-4 in their last ten games overall and seem to be turning a corner to their talents from the beginning of the season but for Oakland fans, hopefully, it isn't a case of being too late to pick up their play. Oakland is battling some injuries, with Elvis Andrus (shin) questionable to play this weekend. With Mitch Moreland (wrist), Stephen Piscotty (wrist_, Trevor Rosenthal (hip), and Chris Bassitt (face), out for the season already, the Athletics depth is certainly being tested. It hasn't seemed to impact the Wild Card contenders yet though and fans will be hoping that continues to be the case on Saturday.

Oakland's offense has quietly become one of the most consistent in baseball over the course of the season. They rank 11th in baseball in runs per game, despite only ranking 19th in batting average and 20th in hits per game. Ranking 16th in home runs per game helps but their timely hitting and baserunning continue to be a key advantage over their competition. Matt Olson continues to be the leader of the offense, topping the team in all five major offensive categories. Josh Harrison has helped out of late, hitting .360 in the last week with a handful of others flirting with .300 themselves. Olson has three home runs in his last six games and the Athletics have been one of the best offensive teams in baseball this month, which just happens to be coming at the perfect time.

According to MLB.com, Daulton Jefferies will get the start for the Athletics in a big shot to clinch the weekend series. He enters with just a 1-0 record and 3.60 ERA in just one start and five games overall. His only other start on the season was against the ANgels back on August 1st. In that win, he went five innings and allowed only three hits and three runs. He's been strong in long relief over his last four games and will have a good chance to keep the Angels at bay. The key is how long he'll be able to make it but the Athletics should expect him to eat up some innings before handing it over to their elite bullpen.

Angels Embrace Role Of Spoiler

The Angels have had a tough time meeting expectations this season but that doesn't mean that they won't be able to make life tough for the Athletics on Saturday night. They stayed close on Friday but just didn't have enough offense to finish off the job. They're only 4-6 in their last ten games but there's nothing that they'd like more than to put a halt to a divisional rival's playoff push. Unfortunately, Los Angeles has their own group of injuries to worry about. While it doesn't look like there will be any game-time decisions on Saturday, they continue to be without a solid bulk of starters. Mike Trout (calf), Justin Upton (back), Anthony Rendon (hamstring), Dexter Fowler (knee), Dylan Bundy (shoulder), and Jo Adell (abdominal), are all expected to miss the next few weeks of action and with many of those players missing the majority of the season, it's understandable to see the inconsistencies within the team.

While nobody has lit things up over the last weekend, everyone in the lineup has seemed to do their part of late. Brandon Marsh has led the way with a .304 average over the last week and adding that to the experience behind David Fletcher and Shohei Ohtani, will continue to give the team a chance to find runs. The team only has eight home runs over the last six games and needs to start getting the longball going to find more wins and consistency. With eyes set towards 2022 already though, it's hard to imagine exactly what to expect from the offense on a nightly basis, and with a host of utility players also getting the majority of the innings, to take down the Athletics they'll need a near-perfect performance.

According to MLB.com, Jose Suarez will get the start on Saturday as the Angels look to even up the series. He enters with a 7-7 record and 3.59 ERA across 11 starts and 20 innings total. He's seen Oakland twice this season, combining to go eight innings. With one loss across the two appearances, he's allowed five hits and four runs and will need to be sharp to give his team a chance on Saturday night. He hasn't taken a loss since August 22nd and hasn't allowed more than three runs since August 10th, meaning that Oakland could end up being his next victim.

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The Athletics have been dominant against the Angels this season, taking 15 of 19 games. With the Angels injury list only growing and growing, it seems like the perfect opportunity on Saturday for the Angels to clinch the weekend series and stay in the hunt for the Wild Card race. The Oakland lineup remains one of the healthiest in baseball at this point of the season and will make it tough for Los Angeles to keep pace and have the offensive firepower to pull off the upset. From a pitching perspective, Suarez has struggled against Oakland this season and while he's been better overall of late, he needs to prove he can get it done in a pressure-packed game against a playoff contender. For Jefferies, he was elite in his opening start against the Angels and with more inning snow under his belt, will be ready to go. Expect the Athletics to get the offense rolling early and often and against a depleted Los Angeles bullpen, they'll break the game open and rely on their own strong pitching to finish off the win.

Prediction: Oakland (-135)

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Friday's opener saw nine runs scored on the dot and while the Athletics have an offensive capable of performing, they still rely a lot on small ball to make that happen. With neither team being a top home run hitting team, it's hard to see either team breaking out a massive number on Saturday night. Both pitchers come in strong of late and while Oakland should be able to get to Suarez early, it might be a prolonged day of slight scoring. Jefferies should be able to keep Los Angeles' group of utility plays at bay anyway and the under seems like a good bet to hit. Additionally, according to covers.com, for the Angels, the under is 7-1 in Suarez's last eight starts as an underdog, is 6-1 in his last seven starts against a team with a winning record and is 5-1 in his last six starts on grass. In games between the two teams, the under is 5-1-1 in the last seven meetings and is 3-1-1 in the last five meetings in Los Angeles.

Prediction: Under 9
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Written By Eric Ploch , "Eric P."

Eric grew up surrounded by sports, whether it was spending the weekend catching games in person or on tv, or heading out to the fields to play whatever sport was in season. What started as a hobby, soon became a passion, as he became the sports editor of his high school newspaper, then wrote for his university newspaper during his undergrad years. After obtaining a degree in Sports Operations and Promotions, and spending 8 years deeply immersed in the sports world, Eric decided to take his love for analytics and predictions, and his experience, to online sports fans everywhere. James is now an integral part of our team here at StatSalt and has also been a very successful sports bettor over the years. Be sure and follow him daily.