On Sunday the Athletics were statistically eliminated by the Texas Rangers for the 2011 playoffs
This three game series is crucial for the Angels' chances of catching the Rangers in the playoff race.
Sunday night the Oakland Athletics were statistically eliminated from the playoffs by the Texas Rangers. They now are positioned 16.5 games behind the Rangers with only 16 games left to play on their schedule.
Don't count on the A's rolling over any time soon however. The Seattle Mariners were evidence of that after splitting the four game series with the Angels recently. Still, the Athletics are struggling.
The A's are 44-60 since their hot streak ended in May.
Gio Gonzalez is 5-2 lifetime against the Angels
Joel Pineiro's 6-6 record has been a mixture if success and let downs. His ERA Monday before the Oakland series is 5.11. When Pineiro keeps his breaking pitches down, his efficiency is at an optimum level.
The fourth and fifth Los Angeles starters in the rotation will determine the likelihood of tracking down the Rangers, who are ahead 2.5 games in the standings Monday afternoon.
Oakland Athletics starter Gio Gonzalez is another pitcher who has appeared to be two different players at times. Gonzalez has been missing targets lately but his otherwise brilliance has kept an admirable ERA of 3.43. He is 2-1 with a 5.09 ERA.
Pineiro has a losing record against Oakland in his career (9-10). Gonzalez is 5-2. The managers will be interested in the pitching matchup as they make preparations for their starting rotations next season.
Peter Bourjos has improved his swing in 2011
Center-fielder Peter Bourjos contributed a two-run home run yesterday, while Jeff Mathis and Maicer Izturis were clutch against the New York Yankees.
Significant role players Howie Kendrick, Erick Ayba and Hank Conger will all need to produce to reduce Texas' lead.
Jeff Mathis hit well against the Yankees but bats below .200 lifetime.
The A's have committed seven defensive errors in the past four games. The total now rings to 117, second only to the Chicago Cubs in the majors. Athletics errors have resulted in 80 unearned runs in 2011.
The Angels' hot bats of early September have since cooled. They will often stretch four or more innings without a run, putting extra pressure on their bullpen and starting rotation.
Jeff Mathis was a surprise producer to help the halos win the Yankees series but the A's need more surprises in order to sweep the Athletics.
The driving distance from Angel Stadium to the ballpark in Oakland is 399 miles. The decibel difference heard by players on the field is drastically different from one location to the next.
Sunday's crowd filling Angel Stadium in Anaheim was roaring for the conclusion of the New York series. Listen closely tonight for the sounds of silence at the Oakland ballpark.
The Angels need to motivate themselves and focus on the fundamentals to gain a win or a sweep against the Athletics, who have drawn dwindling crowds in September.