The Los Angeles Angels have won six games in a row and will try to strengthen their chances for an American League wild-card playoff spot when they host the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night (10 p.m. ET, ESPN/WatchESPN).
The Angels entered play Tuesday a half-game behind the Houston Astros for the second wild-card spot in the American League. Los Angeles has won its past three games against the Athletics and is 10-7 this season against the team currently last in the American League West.
Looking ahead, the Angels finish the regular season with a four-game series against the AL West-leading Texas Rangers beginning Thursday. The Angels have a 10-5 record against the Rangers this season, including 5-1 in Arlington.
In manager Mike Scioscia’s previous 15 seasons, the Angels made the playoffs seven times. The only time the Angels have made it to the playoffs as a wild-card team was in 2002, when they won the World Series in seven games against Barry Bonds and the San Francisco Giants.
The Angels are scheduled to start Nick Tropeano, who has pitched 31 innings this season.
Tropeano relies on fastballs, throwing them about three times as often as he does curveballs. But he has the same number of strikeouts with his fastball as he does with his curveball (12). Of opponents’ swings against his curveball, 40 percent are whiffs.
Tropeano prefers the curveball as an out pitch. He throws it 29 percent of the time when there are two strikes on the batter compared with 16 percent of the time before there are two strikes.
Record doesn’t reflect Athletics starter Bassitt’s performance
Chris Bassitt (1-7, 3.07 ERA, 1.17 WHIP) is scheduled to start for the Athletics. Among the 93 AL pitchers who have made at least 10 starts this season, Bassitt is sixth in ERA and 18th in WHIP.
Opponents’ batting average on balls in play against Bassitt is .274, below the American League average of .295. He allows a .654 OPS, better than the league average of .721.
Run support has been an issue for Bassitt. In his past four starts, the right-hander has gotten seven runs of support from his Athletics. In Bassitt's first four losses, the Athletics scored one run in each game. In each of those four games, the Athletics’ opponent was held to three or fewer runs.
The Athletics’ bullpen has the worst ERA in the American League (4.65). Oakland has the worst winning percentage in the American League (.793, 65-17) when leading in the seventh inning or later.
Oakland’s Billy Butler, in the first season of his three-year, $30 million contract, ranks no higher than ninth among American League designated hitters (out of 11 qualifiers) in wins above replacement, home runs or slugging percentage.
Marcus Semien, with 34 errors at shortstop, has matched Bert Campaneris in 1968 for most by an Athletics player since the franchise moved to Oakland before the 1968 season.
The Angels are 32-16 (.667) in one-run games, the second-best record in baseball, trailing the Pirates (36-17, .679).
Mike Trout robbed an opposing batter of a home run Saturday, his major league-leading third home run robbery this season. Since the start of 2012, Trout has robbed opponents of eight home runs, two more than the next-closest player (Carlos Gomez).