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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, April 9, 2013 at 9:00 AM

It’s taken forever…but the 2013 Los Angeles Angels will FINALLY play their home opener Tuesday Night against the Oakland A’s in a game that will be televised nationally by the MLB Network.

This is already a very important game because the A’s are off to a hot start after opening against the two weakest teams in the AL West, while the Angels had a brutal opening to the season on the road against potential World Series teams Cincinnati and Texas. The Halos need to make up ground quickly now that they’re back in friendly territory.

 

CURRENT RECORDS

Oakland: 5-2 (market projected 84-78 in Preseason)

LA Angels: 2-4 (market projected 91-71 in Preseason)

That’s already 2.5 games in the standings. Yes, the Angels will get their shots at Seattle and Houston down the road, while the A’s will have road games vs. top teams to deal with. But, the way a season starts often sets the tone for the whole campaign. The Angels don’t want to dig another hole. Albert Pujols got off to a slow start in 2012…and the team ultimately finished a few games short of the playoffs. Oakland has already sent a message to MLB (and the markets) that they don’t consider last year a fluke…and they plan on contending once again. 

 

TONIGHT’S PITCHERS (stats from 2012)

Oakland…Jarrod Parker: 13-8, 3.47 ERA, 1.26 WHIP

LA Angeles…C.J. Wilson: 13-10, 3.83 ERA, 1.34 WHIP

Wilson may be the key to the Angels season. Everyone’s talking about the addition of Josh Hamilton. He may or may not have a superstar season depending on his mindset. Wilson was a disappointment last year, basically turning into a generic innings muncher rather than providing ace-level domination. You can see that Parker bested him across the board at a fraction of the salary.

Wilson didn’t sparkle in the season opener at Cincinnati, allowing three earned runs (four total) in six innings, while putting nine guys on base for a 1.50 WHIP. Parker struggled even worse in his opener vs. Seattle. And, that came on the heels of a very shaky Spring. Both pitchers are under pressure to impress in their second outings.

 

INNINGS PER START AND K-RATE (stats from 2012)

Jarrod Parker: 6.3 IP per start and 6.9 K-Rate

C.J. Wilson: 6.0 IP per start and 7.7 K-Rate

Parker was a pleasant surprise last year…and needs to maintain those numbers if the A’s are going to be serious contenders this year. Wilson still gets strikeouts…but the Angels are hoping for at least 6.5 innings per outing this year with a better ERA.

An interesting battle for handicappers because of the pitching dynamics, the divisional race, AND the fact that it’s the home opener for a contender. You don’t often say games are going to have a “playoff feel” to them in April. That might be the case here given a packed house and a result that really matters to both teams.

JIM HURLEY is looking at this game as well as the following for serious play Tuesday Night:

Chicago White Sox at Washington

NY Yankees at Cleveland

Tampa Bay at Texas

Cincinnati at St. Louis

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We’ll preview Wednesday Night’s Yankees/Indians showdown (ESPN’s national game) for you tomorrow here in the VSM blog…the home for handicappers and big Las Vegas bettors! Look for big game write ups in MLB and NBA on a daily basis through the Spring…particularly when we get to some of those dream matchups in the NBA playoffs!

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