Posted April 28, 2013 on AP on Fox
There hasn't been much of a home-field advantage in recent meetings between the Oakland Athletics and the Los Angeles Angels. The home team has taken just five of the last 21 meetings heading into Monday night's opener of a three-game set at the O.co Coliseum. The trend of visiting teams enjoying success between these AL West rivals continued in the first 2013 series, as Oakland (14-12) outscored Los Angeles 28-11 in a three-game road sweep from April 9-11. The Angels (9-15), however, went 6-3 at the Coliseum last season. Neither club is playing well entering this set, with Oakland losing eight of 10 and Los Angeles five of seven. The Athletics should be boosted by Yoenis Cespedes, who returned in heroic fashion Sunday in a 9-8, 10-inning win over Baltimore in his first action since April 12 after being out with a strained muscle in his left hand. Cespedes hit a tying, two-run homer in the ninth inning as Oakland ended a four-game slide. The A's have won nine straight with the Cuban slugger in their lineup this season and are 5-10 without him. "He's very impactful, obviously,'' manager Bob Melvin said. "That home run was kind of what he's all about. We need him in the lineup and he showed today why.'' Cespedes also showed why earlier this year against the Angels, going 5 for 13 with three walks and four runs scored. Brandon Moss was 7 for 13 with nine of his 16 RBIs in that series while Josh Donaldson was 6 for 14. Donaldson is 12 for 22 over his last seven games. The Angels are searching for answers at the plate after hitting .208 with six walks and 36 strikeouts while losing three of four in Seattle, capped by Sunday's 2-1 defeat. Mike Trout went 3 for 14 with no runs scored and Albert Pujols was 2 for 15 as his homerless stretch reached 19 games. Those players have enjoyed vastly different results against Oakland starter Daniel Straily (1-0, 2.70 ERA), with Trout going 4 for 7 and Pujols 0 for 6. Straily is replacing Brett Anderson, who will be skipped due to lingering soreness in his right ankle. This is the right-hander's second outing - he allowed two runs over 6 2-3 innings in an 8-3 win over Houston on April 5 to replace the suspended Bartolo Colon before being sent to the minors the next day. Straily went 1-0 with a 6.35 ERA in two 2012 outings against the Angels. Angels manager Mike Scioscia rested his bullpen Sunday as Jason Vargas went the distance. That could pay dividends, since Scioscia may not know what to expect out of starter Tommy Hanson (2-1, 4.24) on Monday. Hanson will return from the bereavement list. He was in Georgia due to the death of his stepbrother, and said that he was able to throw. "It's not the same as getting bullpens in and working out," Hanson told the Angels' official website. "I worked out at a hotel gym and did some shoulder stuff and ran, and a little bit of core stuff." The right-hander, who last pitched April 19, has never faced Oakland.
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