We desperately needed to have a positive home-stand last week to put us firmly in the Wild Card running. It looked like that was on the cards heading into the top of the eighth inning against the Texas Rangers on Saturday, but everything went downhill from there.
A 3-3 split hasn’t blown our chances, but it has let a good opportunity to gain ground go to waste. That’s especially the case bearing in mind we won what should have been the ‘harder’ series of the two against the Chicago White Sox 2-1 , only to then continue our disappointing form against the Rangers.
We can’t change those results now; what we can do is recognise that this is now the most important week of our season.
We have 19 games left, finishing up with a combined seven against the Seattle Mariners and six against the Houston Astros. We come into this week on a 77-66 win-loss record and I’m sticking with my plan that we need to be aiming for 90 wins, now requiring a 13-6 record the rest of the way.
Put another 3-3 week together against the Royals and Angels and that leaves us needing an extremely difficult 10-3 record against the Mariners and Astros; in other words, basically no real margin for error at all. Take advantage of what should be lesser opposition by going 5-1 and that changes the equation to 8-5 over our more challenging rivals, still no easy feat but definitely possible.
In short: this week will determine if we’ve got a decent shot at pulling this off or if we’ll be left hoping for a near-miracle end-of-season run.
Kansas City Royals (A)
Season series so far: 3-1
Looking at the series against the Royals, it puts into context why dropping those final two games against the Rangers was so frustrating.
Although KC have had another difficult rebuilding season at 65-78, they’ve grown into it and actually have a winning record since the All-Star break (29-25). Their recent form shows that the Royals team we’re facing in this series is better than their season record suggests, so they are going to be no pushover.
The current probable pitchers are as follows (although I would prefer to see Daulton Jefferies get the start in Game 3 in place of Blackburn):
- Gm1. Frankie Montas – Jackson Kowar
- Gm2. Sean Manaea – Mike Minor
- Gm3. Paul Blackburn – Carlos Hernández
LA Angels (A)
Season series so far: 12-4
We all know how it works: every pre-season the media talk up the Angels and yet somehow consistently they find a way to be less than the sum of their parts. Losing Mike Trout for an extended period obviously has been a big blow, but even accounting for that it’s been another disappointing season for the Halos.
We have taken full advantage of their frailties so far this season and need to make sure we carry that on here.
- Gm1. Cole Irvin – José Suarez
- Gm2. James Kaprielian – Jaime Barria
- Gm3. Frankie Montas – Packy Naughton