Angels look to end six-game skid against A's

Fri Jul 30 3:09am ET

The Los Angeles Angels continue to spin their wheels as they try to contend for an American League wild-card spot.

The Angels are six games behind in the race for the final AL wild card and have dropped six in a row to the Oakland Athletics, who have gripped that final playoff spot for a lengthy stretch.

Los Angeles will get another opportunity to inch closer to Oakland when the teams meet Friday night in the second game of their four game series at Anaheim, Calif.

The A's beat the Angels 4-0 in the series opener on Thursday behind seven shutout innings from Frankie Montas, who struck out 10.

A lot of attention will be on the starting pitchers again Friday when Angels left-hander Patrick Sandoval takes on Oakland right-hander Chris Bassitt for the third time this season.

The A's and Bassitt won the previous two matchups, 6-2 and 5-0 in late May.

Bassitt threw his first major league complete game in the second of those contests, but Sandoval has improved considerably since then.

Sandoval came within two outs of a no-hitter in his outing against the Minnesota Twins on Saturday in Minneapolis. He was also one out from a complete-game shutout before he was lifted, and the Angels held on to win 2-1.

Sandoval (3-4, 3.52 ERA) was charged with the lone run after giving up just one hit against the Twins. He struck out 13 and walked one on 108 pitches, the fourth straight game he reached triple digits.

"He just keeps getting better," Angels manager Joe Maddon said. "His confidence is sky high."

Maddon said Sandoval showed his grit on July 18 against the visiting Seattle Mariners, getting tagged for six runs through the first 4 2/3 innings. He bounced back to retire the final seven batters he faced, however, including five by strikeouts.

The offense wasn't able to rally and the Angels lost 7-4, but Maddon said that performance carried over to Sandoval's most recent outing.

"We're always aware of pulling guys early for various reasons, but if you want a young pitcher to really be able to develop mentally, you've got to leave him out there for a bit," Maddon said.

After three relief appearances to start this season, Sandoval made his first start on May 17 against the Cleveland Indians. He was limited to 57 pitches and allowed two runs and six hits over four-plus innings of a 7-4 win by the Angels.

After facing the A's the following week and allowing two runs and four hits in five innings, Sandoval showed he learned from that experience and blanked Oakland on five hits over five innings five days later.

Bassitt was better, however, holding the Angels to two hits with nine strikeouts and one walk in a 5-0 win.

Bassitt (10-3, 3.46 ERA) will be making his second try at setting a career-high win total for a season. He won 10 consecutive decisions after starting 0-2 this year, but he has struggled in three of his four starts in July.

"You can either hang your head and just be sad about a butt whooping, or you can figure out what the heck's going on and clean it up," Bassitt said. "I'm going to do the latter."

Bassitt is 5-3 with a 3.88 ERA in 11 appearances overall against the Angels, including nine starts.

--Field Level Media