The Los Angeles Angels have one thing going for them in their quest for a wild card berth in the American League – the schedule. The Angels get to play the lowlyKansas City Royals three times this weekend while the New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays, Baltimore Orioles and Oakland Athletics beat up on each other. Los Angeles is currently outside of the race, 3 1/2 games back of the Yankees and Orioles for the No. 2 spot.
The Angels avoided a four-game sweep against the A’s on Thursday, when Jered Weaver returned and gave the team a big emotional lift with seven scoreless innings. The ace right-hander appears healthy and could start three or four more times this season if the Angels stay close. A nine-game homestand looms after the weekend with visits from Texas and Chicago, but Los Angeles will get the Mariners twice in the final three series. The Royals have won four of six but are coming off a 10-inning loss at Minnesota. Kansas City piled up 19 runs in its two wins over the Twins this week and is capable of scoring in bunches with Alex Gordon, Billy Butler and Salvador Perez forming a strong middle of the lineup.
Angels Royals Betting
When: 8:10 PM ET, Friday, September 14, 2012
Where: Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri
TV: 8:10 p.m. ET, FSW (Los Angeles), FSKC (Kansas City)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Angels LH C.J. Wilson (12-9, 3.69 ERA) vs. Royals LH Bruce Chen (10-12, 5.36)
Wilson has won three straight starts after going without a victory in his previous 11 turns. The left-hander turned in his best outing in months against Detroit on Sunday, allowing an unearned run on four hits in 7 2/3 innings. Wilson scattered three runs on nine hits over 6 2/3 frames against Kansas City on July 23 but did not factor in the decision. He is 3-0 with a 2.61 ERA in 14 career appearances – four starts – against the Royals.
Chen has been battered around for 11 runs on 12 hits in 12 innings of back-to-back losses. The veteran lefty has yielded seven home runs in those two turns, matching his total from the previous nine outings. Chen kept Los Angeles in the park opposite Wilson on July 23 but did not earn a decision, allowing three runs on five hits in 5 1/3 frames. Howie Kendrick, Albert Pujols and Vernon Wells are a combined 16-for-45 (.356) with seven homers off Chen.
1. Angels RF Torii Hunter was dropped into the cleanup spot on Thursday and responded by going 3-for-4 with a homer and four RBIs.
2. Perez has hit safely in 17 straight games, a career high and the longest streak for the Royals this season.
3. Los Angeles CF Mike Trout has hit safely in seven straight games and is batting an AL-leading .331.