If there was any doubt about the momentum swing in the AL West, a second straight win for the Los Angeles Angels over the Oakland A’s, shutting them out 4-0, proved where this season is going for both teams after another great performance from Jered Weaver and some big hitting from Albert Pujols and Chris Iannetta.
Pujols hit his 24th home run of the season reaching 82 RBIs, his first home run since August 16. Iannetta took care of the other three runs, first with a two-run homer in the fifth inning, his sixth of the season, and then by walking with the bases loaded in the sixth inning, getting Howie Kendrick to score. It was a rough day for Jon Lester, picking up his 9th loss of the season. He only struck out three in six innings, allowing six hits and three runs before his relievers didn’t do a much better job.
Weaver gave up only three hits, winning his second straight decision against the A’s, also picking up one at the end of their series in Oakland a week earlier. Dating back to mid-June, Weaver has only lost one decision in 14 starts, as the Angels took control of the division, improving to 81-53, the best record in Baseball and also giving them a three game edge of the A’s, who probably don’t have to worry about their wild card situation but should be worried about their slide this month, which might have something to do with their trade decisions.
Since August 12, the Angels have won 15 of their 19 games, two of those losses coming on the road series against the A’s. Mike Trout was quiet in this game against Oakland but he remains one of the more reliable power hitters in Baseball, while the resurgence of Albert Pujols and especially that of Josh Hamilton has turned this team into a group that’s almost impossible to get around on their good days. The A’s don’t have that kind of talent, and it seems that at some point, the gaps in that aspect is too difficult to hide even through smart managing and better team cohesion.
There are still two more games between the two teams to be played in this series, and also a three game series in Oakland late in September. While the Seattle Mariners are still in the picture, they’re probably not going to interfere in this division-crown race, which will go down to the wire. The A’s are counting on the Angels, at some point, stopping to hit this well into the bleachers. However, after two years of overpaying and disappointing, it seems the Angels are finally clicking on all cylinders and hope that this momentum lasts through September and into the playoffs.