ORIOLES (34-69) AT ANGELS (54-51)
9:07 p.m. ET; FS-W, MLBN, MASN2, MLB.TV
The Los Angeles Angels (+1.5) will host the Baltimore Orioles (+1.5) on Saturday, and of course they’ll feature the best player in the majors in center fielder Mike Trout.
But across the outfield grass to Trout’s left is right fielder Kole Calhoun, who has been a key offensive cog in the Angels’ good start to the second half of the season. Despite losing the first two games of the series to the Orioles, the Angels are 9-5 since the All-Star break.
Since the break, Calhoun has hit four home runs, five doubles, 10 RBIs, scored nine runs and walked six times. His 23 homers for the season are the most since hitting a career-high 26 in 2015, and rank second on the team behind Trout’s 33.
“He’s done a lot of damage for us all year, extra-base hits, home runs, streaky at times,” Angels manager Brad Ausmus said. “But when he gets hot, he’s a middle-of-the-order-type hitter. When he gets hot, he can help carry us a little bit.”
Calhoun is hitless in three career at-bats against Aaron Brooks, Baltimore’s scheduled starter for Saturday’s game. Those at-bats, though, came when Brooks was pitching for the Oakland A’s. Brooks is still trying to find his groove with the Orioles.
For starters, Brooks (2-3, 5.01) is hoping to pitch deeper into the game than he has recently as he continues his transition back to a starting role.
He was claimed off waivers from the Oakland Athletics (-1.5) on July 6, but in his three starts for the Orioles, he has failed to last at least four innings in any of them. In his most recent start, he gave up six runs (five earned) on nine hits and one walk in 3 2/3 innings in a loss at the Arizona Diamondbacks (-1.5).
While with Oakland, Brooks had his best start of the season in his first start on April 1. In that one, he shut out the Boston Red Sox (-1.5) on two hits over six innings. He lasted at least five innings in each of his first five starts with the A’s, but hasn’t lasted five innings since, and was moved to the bullpen.
He has pitched well against the Angels this season, all while playing for Oakland. In three 2019 relief appearances, Brooks has a 1.80 ERA, giving up one run on four hits in five innings. In his career vs. the Angels, Brooks’ ERA in five relief outings is 1.35.
Orioles infielder Jace Peterson may be in line to start Saturday after being called up Thursday from Triple-A Norfolk. He had a big, two-run single in the 15th inning of Baltimore’s 16-inning victory in the first game of the series on Thursday. Peterson, 29, has primarily been a third baseman but has played every infield position as well as left field this season.
“He’s earned it,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “It was more about getting Jace here for his bat and his versatility. He was swinging the bat really well.”
That 16-inning game further hampered the Angels’ pitching situation, already lacking depth because of injuries and poor performance. The Angels have not announced a starter for Saturday’s game.
–Field Level Media