Willits, Budde get a start

Reggie Willits will make just his second start in the past seven games today and bat out of the leadoff spot. Willits, who is on a 1-for-16 slide to drop his batting average to .292, had a three-hit game (with two doubles) as recently as Sept. 25 against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Willits lost playing time after Kendry Morales was recalled on Aug. 24 and Casey Kotchman returned to the lineup a few days later from a pair of injured fingers. Morales, who is not in Wednesday’s starting lineup, has occupied the DH spot of late and has hit safely in a career-best 10 consecutive games with a .405 batting average over that stretch

While Willits will bat first, Ryan Budde will occupy the No. 9 spot in the batting order and give Jeff Mathis a much-needed day off. Budde will be making his fifth career start and first since Aug. 23. He gave the Angels a victory Aug. 20 with a walkoff hit against the Yankees.

The Angels lineup for Wednesday against A’s right-hander Joe Blanton:

Reggie Willits RF
Orlando Cabrera SS
Vladimir Guerrero DH
Garret Anderson LF
Maicer Izturis 3B
Casey Kotchman 3B
Gary Matthews Jr. CF
Howie Kendrick 2B
Ryan Budde C

Joe Saunders P

Anderson is batting .290 against Blanton in his career, Cabrera is batting .323 against him, Izturis is batting .478 in 23 at-bats and Kotchman is batting .357. Guerrero is batting just .250 against Blanton with a home run and four RBI in 28 at-bats.

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Playoff ticket alert

So you didn’t win that $330 million Mega Millions lotter draw the other night? Not to worry. The Angels will offer you better odds. Maybe not a better prize but better odds. That’s right, the Angels are going to an online lottery to determine who gets playoff tickets. There will be no camping out at the ballpark, no lining up around the block and no hopless dialing to get into the TicketMaster system once the clock strikes that magic hour when tickets go on sale.

Here’s how it works: Registration for the lottery will begin Wednesday (Sept. 5). Fans must go to www.angelsbaseball.com to register. There will be a limit of one entery per household. The one-time registration process will count for all three potential playoff series (ALDS, ALCS, World Series). Winners get to purchase up to four tickets for the round they were selected.

In order to be eligible for all three rounds, registration must be completed by Sept. 14. If you can’t make that deadline, and the Angels advance, the next deadline is noon on Sept. 24 for the ALCS and World Series. If that deadline is missed and the Angels make the World Series, the next deadline is noon on Oct. 5.

The official lottery rules are supposed to be available at www.angelsbaseball.com, but I just did a quick check and couldn’t find a thing. Maybe it will be posted later. Good luck.

UPDATE: The registration portion of the Angels website now is available. Click here.

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