MLB playoff contenders square off in trio of weekend series

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Jun 10, 2014; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels first baseman Albert Pujols (5) is tagged out at home plate by Oakland Athletics catcher Derek Norris (36) during the sixth inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Angels (76-50) at Oakland Athletics (74-52)

Why series is important: This is pretty simple. The Angels lead the division by two games. A sweep by LA would mean that lead grows to five. If the Angels manage only one win, they would still hold the division lead. A Oakland sweep puts the A’s back atop the AL West.

Incentive? Both teams will have plenty.

Pitching matchups:

Fri: Hector Santiago (3-7, 3.46, 1.215) v Sonny Gray (12-7, 2.99, 1.223)
Sat: C.J. Wilson (10-8, 4.59, 1.419) v Jon Lester (w/OAK: 3-1, 2.93, 1.084; Overall: 13-8, 2.58, 1.113)
Sun: Jered Weaver (13-7, 3.70, 1.235) v Scott Kazmir (14-5, 2.73, 1.058)

With Garrett Richards done for the 2014 season, the Angels sure could use Wilson and Weaver to pick up some of the slack. As for Santiago, he’s not pitching poorly as much as lacking in run support. Only three times have the Angels provided him with four or more runs.

The trio Oakland sends to the hill is pretty daunting. All three could finish in the top ten in the Cy Young vote. But here’s something a tad strange with Gray. He’s fared better away from

2014 results-to-date: Angles hold 6-3 advantage

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