Oakland’s Mark Mulder hopes to rebound from his worst start in nearly two years when he opposes Philadelphia ace Kevin Millwood in opener of a doubleheader between the Athletics and Phillies at Veterans Stadium.
Saturday’s scheduled game was postponed due to rain, forcing the Phillies to play a doubleheader for the second straight Sunday. They swept the Montreal Expos last week.
Oakland manager Ken Macha is not a fan of doubleheaders.
“I don’t like doubleheaders, it makes for a real long day,” he said. “But it shouldn’t be too bad for either team. I assume the Phillies have Monday off as we do.”
The Phillies, actually, open a three-game series at Anaheim against the Angels on Monday night.
Mulder pitched briliantly most of this season before he was roughed up for eight earned runs and 12 hits over 3 2-3 innings Tuesday in a 13-2 loss to the Florida Marlins. The left-hander had yielded just eight runs in his previous 60 innings.
Mulder’s ERA, which ranked second in the AL at 2.36 before the game, rose to 3.08. It was the first time he had been charged with eight earned runs since Aug. 23, 2001, against Cleveland, a span of 49 starts.
“Every now and then, the game reminds you that you just have to keep going,” Mulder said. “It didn’t go my way and it didn’t go the team’s way tonight.”
Millwood also struggled in his last outing—a 4-0 loss to the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday.
He allowed four runs and seven hits over five innings and lost his second consecutive start. The four runs was the most he has surrendered since giving up seven against Florida on April 17—a span of nine starts.
Oakland won for the fifth time in eight games with Friday’s 7-4 win in the series opener, as Miguel Tejada tied a career high with four hits and drove in three runs.
The game marked the Athletics’ first appearance in Philadelphia since they moved west after the 1954 season. The Philadelphia Athletics joined the American League in 1901, moved to Kansas City in 1955, and went to Oakland in 1968.
Philadelphia, which has lost four straight, continued an offensive tailspin. With some of their big bats slumping, the Phillies have scored just 16 runs in their last six games.
“This is about as frustrated as I’ve ever been, but I’ve got to deal with it,” Burrell said. “The fans want a winner. It’s frustrating knowing I’m not doing what I’m capable of doing. I know what the people want. I know I’m capable of giving it to them.”
STANDINGS: Athletics - 2nd place, 6 GB, AL West. Phillies - 3rd place, 9 1/2 GB, NL East.
ATHLETICS PROBABLE GAME ONE STARTER: Mulder (8-3, 3.08 ERA). Before struggling in his last appearance, Mulder had won seven of eight starts with a 1.47 ERA. He leads the AL with five complete games, and is among the league leaders in wins, ERA and innings pitched. Mulder has never faced Philadelphia.
PHILLIES PROBABLE GAME ONE STARTER: Millwood (6-3, 3.43 ERA). Although Millwood hasn’t pitched up to his usual standards in losing his last two starts, the Phillies haven’t scored a run in either of those games. Before lasting five innings in Tuesday’s loss to Seattle, the right-hander had pitched at least seven innings in five straight starts. This will be Millwood’s first career appearance against Oakland.
ATHLETICS PROBABLE GAME TWO STARTER: Aaron Harang (0-0, 0.00). Harang will make his first start of the season after working four scoreless innings in relief at Minnesota on May 28. The 25-year-old righty was 5-4 with a 4.83 ERA in 16 games, including 15 starts, last season.
PHILLIES PROBABLE GAME TWO STARTER: Randy Wolf (6-3, 3.43 ERA). Wolf is 1-1 with a 4.66 ERA in four starts since opening the season 5-2 with a 2.92 ERA. The 26-year-old left-hander allowed three runs and two hits, both homers, in Sunday’s 4-3 win over Montreal, striking out six and walking two. He makes his first career appearance against Oakland.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Athletics - Eric Byrnes, .321 avg.; Erubiel Durazo, 38 RBIs and 34 runs; Tejada and Eric Chavez, 10 HRs; Chavez, 5 SBs. Phillies - Mike Lieberthal, .330 avg.; Jim Thome, 13 HRs and 43 RBIs; Jimmy Rollins, 39 runs and 7 SBs.
INTERLEAGUE RECORDS: Athletics - 2-2; Phillies - 0-4.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Athletics - Oakland leads the AL with a 3.28 ERA, seven complete games, three shutouts and an opponents’ batting average of .231. … Oakland has the most interleague wins with 68. … OF Byrnes has just two hits in his last 21 at-bats, dropping his average to .321. Phillies - C Lieberthal extended his hitting streak to 10 games, batting .421 (16-for-38) with seven RBIs during the trend. … Philadelphia is batting .218 (29-for-133) in four interleague games this season. … The Phillies worked out free-agent infielder John Valentin before Friday’s game and might sign him to a minor league contract. Valentin started spring training with Baltimore but was released March 29.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Athletics - 15-17 on the road; Phillies - 17-15 at home.