|7:07 PM PT8:07 PM MT9:07 PM CT10:07 PM ET22:07 ET2:07 GMT10:07 7:07 PM MST9:07 PM EST9:37 PM VEN6:07 UAE (+1)9:07 PM CT, June 28, 2019
Angel Stadium of Anaheim, Anaheim, California Attendance: 41,913
Angels face A's, look to extend winning streak to five
Oakland Athletics at Los Angeles Angels
- The A's have gone eight straight games without scoring a run in the first inning and in 81 games on the season, they've have failed to score a first-inning run 65 times -- most in the AL. As a team, they're batting a major league-worst .186 in the first and are last in the AL in first-inning scoring with 25 runs.
- Matt Chapman hit his 19th homer of the season Wednesday at St. Louis, his first on the road since May 20. On the year, he has a 1.106 OPS at home compared to a .675 OPS on the road. That difference of .431 is the biggest among AL batting qualifiers (with home OPS being better).
- Marcus Semien had a career-best 15-game road hitting streak -- during which he slashed .364/.408/.621 -- end Wednesday. On the season, he has reached base 132 times, the most by an Oakland batter through 82 games since Josh Donaldson got on 133 times in 2013.
- The Angels, who are coming off a two-game sweep of the Reds, are 14-21 (.400) against AL West teams and 27-19 (.587) against teams outside their division. Their pitching staff has a 5.46 ERA in division games and a 4.54 ERA in all others.
- Mike Trout has been phenomenal after the count reaches 2-0, slashing .543/.734/1.143 -- all MLB highs among the 97 batters with at least 40 plate appearances in such situations. His 1.877 OPS after 2-0 counts is the best in a single season by any batting qualifier in the pitch-count era (1988).
- Tommy La Stella has 16 homers at the season's midpoint to become the first Angels middle infielder with 16 home runs through 81 games since Bobby Grich had 16 in 1981. La Stella, with 26 strikeouts, also joins Don Baylor from 1979 (17 HRs, 27 Ks) as the only Angels with at least 15 home runs and fewer than 30 strikeouts through 81 games.
- Study: Seams on balls behind HR surge
- Cole to Yanks for record $324M, 9 years
- SS Gregorius to Phils for 1 year, $14M
- White Sox acquire RF Mazara from Rangers
- Nats give Strasburg $245M for 7 years
Justin Bour may or may not be in the lineup for the Los Angeles Angels on Friday against the Oakland A's, but that's OK with him.
Bour signed a one-year contract for $2.5 million with the Angels during the winter, and got plenty of chances to play early in the season. The designated hitter spot was available because Shohei Ohtani was still recovering from Tommy John surgery, and spelling Albert Pujols provided an occasional spot for him in the lineup at first base.
The Angels, who have won four straight games, were hoping to get the Bour who hit 20 homers last season for Miami and Philadelphia, and 25 homers in 2017 with the Marlins.
But Bour failed miserably, hitting just .163 with four homers, 14 RBIs and 31 strikeouts in 30 games before being sent down to Triple-A Salt Lake on May 14.
After spending nearly a month retooling his swing while playing for the Bees, Bour has returned with a bang, giving the Angels a good option off the bench when either Ohtani or Pujols needs a day off.
In Bour's first game back with the Angels on June 11, he hit a three-run homer in a victory over the Dodgers. In his most recent game, Wednesday against Cincinnati, he homered twice.
Overall in his seven games since returning to the big league club, Bour is hitting .304 with four homers and nine RBIs. Consequently, Bour can be patient while waiting to see his name in the lineup, and feel confident when he gets a chance to play.
"I've felt good for a while now," he said. "Now it's just a matter of contributing when I get the opportunity. Obviously I've been getting playing time sparingly, and I'm just trying to do the most with it when I get the opportunity."
Right-hander Mike Fiers will start on the mound for Oakland, and Bour is hitless in three career at-bats against him. Ohtani is 3-for-5 and Pujols 6-for-25 with two homers, so Bour isn't likely to start the game unless Angels manager Brad Ausmus decides to go with the hot bat. Pujols has just two homers in his past 16 games.
Fiers is 2-0 in two starts against the Angels this season, including his start March 28 when he threw six scoreless innings and allowed just one hit. He's been especially sharp lately, starting with his no-hitter against Cincinnati on May 7. In his last nine starts beginning with the no-hitter, Fiers is 5-0 with a 2.51 ERA.
It's a complete turnaround from the start of the season, which included three consecutive starts in April in which he allowed six runs.
"I was dealing with some things early on in the season," Fiers said. "I think I was throwing pitches different because I was dealing with some things. It was no excuse, because I told (A's manager) Bob (Melvin) I was good to go out every day. Starting off the season bad, I knew I had to pick these guys up. They signed me here to be a leader and win ballgames. I had to put it on myself and pitch better."
In his career against the Angels, Fiers is 5-4 with a 5.19 ERA in 12 games (11 starts).
Reliever Noe Ramirez will be the Angels' "opener" on Friday, scheduled to pitch the first inning followed by Felix Pena, who will take the mound to start the second inning. Pena is 0-2 with an 11.81 ERA in five career games (three starts) against Oakland.
--Field Level Media
Updated June 28, 2019