Angels-Athletics Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated September 02, 2012
Pitching has been key to the Oakland Athletics' success over Los Angeles, but the Angels have plenty of reason to be concerned about Oakland hitters as well this week. The Athletics will go for their 10th straight win Monday when they open a three-game home series against the Angels. While Los Angeles (71-63) has won nine of 12, it sits 5 1/2 games behind Oakland (76-57) for second place in the AL West. The Athletics have kept the Angels at bay by winning nine straight for the first time since a 10-game run in June 2006, the last season they made the playoffs. They are three games behind Texas for first place in the division and the league's best record, and are now tied with the Yankees for the AL's second-best mark. Oakland swept Boston over the weekend, finishing the three-game series with a 6-2 victory Sunday as Seth Smith and Stephen Drew homered. The A's won the first two games 20-2 and 7-1. "It's crazy," Anderson said. "Who would have predicted that Sept. (2) that we'd be tied with the Yankees for the same record? Everything's working right now - offense, defense, pitching. When that's happening, special things are going to happen." Oakland's success should come as little surprise to Los Angeles, which is 5-7 in the season series. The A's have a 3.17 ERA in those 12 meetings, slightly lower than their 3.41 season mark which is second-best in the AL. However, offense may be a bigger factor this week. Although the numbers are slightly skewed by the 20-run game against Boston and a 12-run performance the previous night against Cleveland, Oakland has averaged 8.0 runs and hit 20 homers over the last nine games. Josh Reddick is batting .429 with three homers and 10 RBIs in the eight games he's played during the streak after hitting .149 over his previous 23. The Angels had a five-game winning streak snapped Sunday by a 2-1 loss at Seattle in which they were limited to six hits and went 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position. Albert Pujols doubled to extend his hitting streak to 11 games, but Mike Trout went 0 for 4. The Angels haven't had much better success against Oakland's Tommy Milone (11-9, 3.73 ERA), who is looking to win his season-high third straight start. After going eight innings against Minnesota on Aug. 22, the left-hander allowed seven hits over six innings of a 7-0 victory over Cleveland on Tuesday. Milone has won both of his starts against the Angels this year, allowing three runs over 12 innings. Los Angeles counters with fellow southpaw C.J. Wilson (10-9, 3.86), who snapped an 11-start winless streak against Boston on Wednesday, allowing three runs in six innings of a 10-3 victory. He had given up 13 runs in 9 2-3 innings over his previous two starts. "It's a big step forward for C.J.," manager Mike Scioscia said. "He got away from some of the things that make him so good. He's a lot better pitcher than he showed for the last month." Wilson is 1-2 with a 2.84 ERA in three starts against the Athletics in 2012. He surrendered six runs - three earned - nine hits and five walks over five innings of a 10-4 loss Aug. 7. These teams will meet again in Anaheim for a four-game set beginning next Monday.
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