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LAst Night's Action: Angels Choke Away October Hopes

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Oakland Athletics defeat LA Angels 3-1. There is one word to describe the remaining teams fighting for playoff spots: choke. As bad as the Boston Red Sox have choked in September, it’s not like the Tampa Bay Rays or the Angels have lined right up there to overtake the Sox.

After hitting his first home run of his career against Texas on Thursday, Jemile Weeks led the game off with yet another homer to right centerfield off of Jered Weaver. After three pitches, the Angels were playing from behind. Things turned up for the Angels when Torii Hunter tied the game with a solo homer in the seventh inning.

But the A’s added runs off of Weaver in the eighth and the ninth inning while the Angels’ offense stalled. With the Rangers victory over the Seattle Mariners, the Rangers have clinched the AL West for the second consecutive season.

Granted the Angels are still in the wild card race, but now trailing the Red Sox by 3 ½ games with five games left, let’s just put that to bed. It’s done. They had their chances but couldn’t beat the Rangers head-to-head, and their offense just sputtered recently on the road against Baltimore and Toronto. Thank you for showing up, and thank you for saving me a trip to Anaheim.

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LA Dodgers defeat San Diego Padres 2-0. The only significance of this game was two Dodgers’ march towards history.

Matt Kemp: After striking out and flying out at the spacious Petco Park against Wade LeBlanc, Kemp went opposite field and hit a home run to a place in the park where balls usually never land. That gave him 37 homers, tied with Albert Pujols for the lead; 119 RBI, the most in the league; .326 batting average, .003 behind league-leader Jose Reyes. And he turned 27 years old today.

Eugenio Velez: In contrast with Kemp’s MVP season, Velez is going down in history for LVP. With three strikeouts, he broke the record set by Hal Finney of the 1936 Pittsburgh Pirates. Finney went 0-for-35, the most at-bats in a season without a hit. Velez in now 0-for-36.

But there is more. Going back to last season Velez is now 0-for-45 which ties the record of most consecutive at-bats without a base hit for a position player set by Bill Bergen of the 1909 Brooklyn Superbas (a.k.a. Dodgers), Dave Campbell of the 1972 San Diego Padres and Craig Counsell of this season’s Milwaukee Brewers.

In his final at-bat, Velez hit an 0-2 pitch that was inches away from being a double down the left field line. Instead the ball was foul, and Velez swung and missed to strike out. It was the first time through all of this that I actually felt bad for him. But there it is. His next at-bat could be the history breaker.

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TONIGHT’S ACTION

USC Trojans at Arizona State Sun Devils. 7:00 p.m. ESPN, AM 710 KSPN.

UCLA Bruins at Oregon State Beavers. 12:30 p.m. FS Prime Ticket, AM 570 KLAC.

Oakland Athletics at LA Angels. 6:05 p.m. KCOP, AM 830 KLAA.

LA Dodgers at San Diego Padres. 5:35 p.m. FS Prime Ticket, AM 790 KABC.

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LA Galaxy at Columbus Crew. 4:30 p.m. FSWest, AM 1150 KTLK, AM 1330 KWKW.

Toronto FC at Chivas USA. 7:30 p.m. KDOC, KWHY, AM 690 W Radio.