There should not have been a sense of urgency surrounding this weekend's series between the
The Angels have the best record in the major leagues. The A's have the second-best record. The teams might joust over the
However, as the two teams open a three-game series in Oakland on Friday, followed by a four-game series next week in Anaheim,
The Angels need to win the AL West.
To the division winner: a spot in the division series. To the wild-card teams: a one-game playoff for a spot in the division series.
With Richards injured, the Angels do not have the kind of dominant starting pitcher desired for a sudden-death game.
According to the ERA+ statistic, in which 100 represents a league-average starting pitcher, Richards is the only Angels starter significantly above average.
Jered Weaver, the Angels' longtime ace, rates exactly average, according to the statistic.
In a wild-card game, the A's could turn to