Los Angeles Angels (76-78) vs. Chicago White Sox (62-92)
MLB Baseball: Monday, September 25th, 8:10 pm EST
Ricky Nolasco (6-14, 5.06 ERA) vs. James Shields (4-7, 5.40 ERA)
Line: LA Angels -152/Chicago White Sox +142
The Angels open a four-game series in Chicago on Monday against the White Sox. The Angels probably need a sweep to stay alive in the wild card race and even that may not be enough. They were tied for the wild card as recently as 10 days ago, but they have fallen apart and lost six in a row, all but ending their postseason aspirations. It’s too bad, because I would have liked to have seen Mike Trout in the playoffs, but at 76-78 and 4.5 games out that’s probably not happening.
The pitching matchup on Monday is an interesting one in that this could be the final year for Ricky Nolasco and James Shields. Depending on the last few games of the season, this could even be their final ever starts. Nolasco is 34 and Shields is 35 and neither one looks like their old self.
Nolasco making last or second to last start?
Ricky Nolasco gets the call for the Angels on Monday in what could be his last start in the majors. He’ll be 35 later this year and at 6-14 with an ERA over five, I can’t imagine that many teams are going to come calling for next year. I could be wrong obviously, but I’d set the odds at less than 50% that Nolasco returns to the majors next year. He’s made a lot of starts this year, just not many great ones.
I had been saying for months that Nolasco could help derail the Angels postseason plans, and it looks like I may have been right. He hasn’t won a game since August 16th, a span of six starts. He has two losses and four no-decisions, but that’s too long a gap without any wins for a team trying to make the playoffs.
Shields making second to last start?
The same question could be posed to the other man starting on Monday as well. James Shields is 35 years old and his ERA is even higher than Nolasco’s, coming in at 5.40 and he’s only 4-7 on the season. Shields will be 36 in a few months, and he’s had a great career, but he is not the same pitcher and I don’t know if he’ll want to give it another go.
His place in the rotation would likely come up the last day of the season, but the White Sox may decide to try out a youngster so that’s why I question if this could be his last start. He’s pitched OK lately, going five starts without giving up more than four earned runs, and he’s 2-3 during that time. But we expect more from James Shields.
The Los Angeles Angels are:
- 0-6 in their last 6 versus the American League Central
- 1-5 in their last 6 road games
- 0-6 in their last 6 overall
The Chicago White Sox are:
- 5-2 in their last 7 games at home
- 5-2 in their last 7 home games versus a team with a losing record
The Angels are pretty much done and they are playing like it. I don’t like them in any scenario right now and that includes Ricky Nolasco on the road. Let’s take the White Sox and Shields at home.