Sunday, March 31, 2019

MLB Game Preview: Los Angeles Angels vs. Oakland Athletics - 3/31/2019 - 4:07 PM EST

MLB Game Preview: Los Angeles Angels vs. Oakland Athletics - Date: 3/31/2019 Montas up next for A's vs. Angels Right-hander Frankie Montas will seek to continue a run of mastery by Oakland Athletics starting pitchers Sunday when he faces the visiting Los Angeles Angels in the finale of a four-game series.Mike Fiers, Marco Estrada and Brett Anderson each pitched six shutout innings in the first three games of the series, turning over 4-0, 2-0 and 4-0 leads, respectively, to the Oakland bullpen.The A's held on to win two of the three games despite allowing eight late runs, six in a 6-2 loss on Friday and two in a 4-2 win on Saturday.Montas, who made the Athletics' roster thanks in large part to injuries to Sean Manaea (shoulder surgery) and Jesus Luzardo (sore shoulder), will be facing the Angels for the fourth time in his career, but the first time as a starter. He made three relief appearances against L. A. in 2016 and 2017, allowing one run and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings (1.69 ERA).The 26-year-old went 5-4 with a 3.88 ERA in 13 appearances, including 11 starts, last season.Montas became the next-man-up in the A's opening rotation after pitching brilliantly in the spring, compiling a 2-0 record and 0.56 ERA in five games, including two starts.His counterpart Sunday, Angels left-hander Tyler Skaggs, had no such luck in Arizona, going 1-2 with a 7.45 ERA in three spring starts.He pitched five times against the A's last season, including in the second game of the opening series, with the Angels having lost 6-5 the day before. Skaggs blanked the A's over 6 1/3 innings that day, allowing three hits, as the Angels broke into the win column with a 2-1 win.The 27-year-old went 2-2 in his five starts against Oakland last season, running his career record against the A's to 2-6 with a 5.19 ERA. He's pitched well in Oakland, going 2-3 with a 3.21 ERA in six starts.One batter Ska ggs surely will have to deal with Sunday is Mark Canha, whose two-run home run proved to be the difference in Saturday's 4-2 win.Canha started in center field Saturday, but likely will be at first base Sunday against the left-handed starter. Lefty-swinging Kendrys Morales has started the last two games at first base in place of injured Matt Olson."I'm confident," Canha told reporters of his ability to play both infield and outfield positions. "I work on everything. I'm still taking reps in the outfield. I'm still doing my work at first. Just kind of staying on top of everything like I always do." If there was a positive for the Angels in Saturday's loss to the A's, it was that they were able to give closer Cody Allen the night off after he'd thrown a scoreless ninth inning Friday.Three L. A. relievers nonetheless teamed to shut out the A's on three hits over 4 1/3 innings, giving the Angels a chance after they'd fallen behind 4-0.The Angels are hoping to bring Allen along slowly early in the season, and thus weren't concerned that his fastball speed in his season debut Friday was a bit slower than his 2018 numbers in Cleveland."He and (pitching coach Doug White) are working on some things mechanically, which is part of the reason I was glad to get him into more of a softer situation to start," Angels manager Brad Ausmus noted to reporters before Saturday's game. "We're hoping the velocity will get better as he gets stronger." --Field Level Media